December 2022 Newsletter

Mason District Community,

Welcome to the Mason families receiving this newsletter for the first time. The Board worked with the Office of Communication and Community Relations (OCCR) to include all families with students within each Magisterial District in the distribution lists for each School Board Member. 

As we alert the community of these updates, please be informed that you should be also be receiving FCPS This Week, which has important information about Fairfax County Public Schools. Recipients are encouraged to manage their subscription preferences in News You Choose.

In my newsletter, I share important updates about policies and other School Board actions that impact Fairfax County Public Schools - specifically Mason District. I hope you will find this information helpful, and I look forward to your feedback. However, if you wish to unsubscribe, you can click “unsubscribe” at the bottom of this email.

It's been a busy month in the Mason District! Schools have been bustling with energy with music performances, theatre productions, athletic competitions, and unique learning opportunities filling the calendar. 

Last week, I had the opportunity to visit Falls Church High School with Congressman Donald Beyer. We had a great conversation with the student government class and I was impressed by their thoughtful and relevant questions. We also had a chance to observe the current construction, second chance breakfast, and a competitive door decorating contest in progress. Thank you Dr. Nowak, students, and staff.


As previously mentioned, Justice High School was honored by the National Alliance of Black School Educators (NABSE) as a National Demonstration School. The honor is in recognition of the school’s instructional achievements. Justice is one of a select group of majority-minority schools invited to present strategies, systems and practices that the school has implemented. Principal Narcisse and school staff were in person earlier this month at National Harbor, MD to accept their much deserved acknowledgement.  


I value the input I receive from the Mason Community and am happy to address questions or concerns via email or phone. You can reach me by email at If you are interested in scheduling a phone call, please reach out to my assistant, Cristy Coffey, at to arrange a time.

As we head into the winter break, I wish Mason District families a safe and happy holiday and a Happy New Year!



In this newsletter, you will find information about the following:

•Strategic Planning & Community Forums Speed Cameras in School Zones
History Standards Cappies Review: AHS's Argonautika
Outdoor Learning Spaces •Calendar Reminder: Winter Break
Preparing for Winter Weather COVID Diagnostic Testing in January
Multicultural and Language Resources Adult Panel Discussion
•Virtual Math Week - Jan 9-13 •
•Hiring: Bus Drivers, Food & Nutrition Upcoming School Board Meetings


Strategic Planning

At the December 13th work session, the School Board was presented with an update of activities surrounding the Strategic Planning development.

The consultants and staff reviewed the work of the planning teams, particularly the Family Team, the Core Planning Team, and the Faith Community/Houses of Worship Team, which include numerous community members.

Please review the work session documents for additional information.

It is my request to the superintendent and the consultants that expectations be clearly articulated to clarify how community input will inform and shape the final plan.

I believe it to be of utmost importance to manage expectations and to be precise regarding the manner in which the input of the community will be streamlined, revised or shifted to ensure the time investment of community members in this process is valued. 

Strategic Planning Community Forums

Beginning in late January 2023, FCPS will host a series of community forums in each of the magisterial districts as part of the Strategic Plan development. The meeting in the Mason District is scheduled for Thursday, February 2, 2023 from 6:30 - 8:00 p.m. at the Mason Crest Elementary School cafeteria.

Interested parties may attend any or all of the forums. The full schedule, including several virtual options, is available on FCPS' Strategic Planning webpage.

History Standards

Recently, the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) proposed major changes to History and Social Studies learning standards. FCPS staff has reviewed the documents and concluded that the normal process to develop and update standards transparently with the support of a wide group of educators, parents and historians has not been employed with this update.

FCPS leadership and staff believe the newly proposed standards would present an array of unexpected challenges upon implementation and have outlined the following concerns:

  • The new documents limit the inclusive representation and diverse perspectives of many Americans.
  • The guiding principles document is explicitly ideological rather than focused on developing the disciplinary skills of history and social sciences. They do not foster the dispositions for empathetic or informed contributing citizenship.
  • The African American History Education Commission’s recommendations of technical edits for enriched standards are not accounted for in the new document. 
  • There are several examples of developmentally inappropriate sequencing of content for our youngest learners (i.e. the “Code of Hammurabi” is listed as required content for First Grade (SOL 1.1c).
  • The new documents de-emphasize the concept and inquiry-based approaches that were proposed by the revision committees and return to an emphasis on identifying/describing/explaining information.
  • Content improvements are limited and, in some cases, are a regression from the current standards which included multiple voices (i.e. no representation of Asian/Pacific Islanders; Martin Luther King, Jr. was entirely moved from the elementary standards). 
  • The new documents change the course sequence currently in use in FCPS and would require the abandonment of the 5th grade FCPS curriculum on world civilizations.  

After significant public feedback, the VDOE has removed the documents from their website and it appears approval has been delayed until more work can be done. 

Outdoor Learning Spaces Coming Soon!

FCPS received $6.05 million from a Virginia state construction grant which is earmarked for outdoor learning spaces. Outdoor classrooms will be constructed at all middle and high schools not currently slated for renovation. Outdoor learning spaces will be included for schools undergoing renovations. A limited number of elementary schools across the division will also receive outdoor learning spaces. 

The FCPS Get2Green team will provide professional development and connect with community partners to support schools in designing, planting, and using these spaces. Construction will begin in summer 2023 and be completed within two years.

Preparing for Winter Weather


Winter weather will be here before you know it! Watch this video to see how weather-related closing decisions are made

The inclement weather procedures for FPCS will remain the same as last year. The first five inclement weather days are traditional “snow days” with no school activities. After the first  five days, FCPS will access the flexibility provided by the Virginia General Assembly to provide unscheduled virtual learning days, whenever possible, to maintain the continuity of learning. Virtual learning on these days will be synchronous/live instruction, following the inclement weather virtual learning day schedule (includes a two-hour delay).

The FCPS website is generally the first mode of communication during emergency weather closings. Other communication channels will be used as quickly as possible including email, text, social media, and news stations. Learn more about how schedule changes are communicated

Be sure to plan ahead for the winter season. Make sure your contact information is up-to-date in weCare@school, bookmark the FCPS website, plan for childcare, if appropriate, and know what items your child may need to take home before a weather event.

Staying Warm Outdoors

Your child’s school principal will monitor the weather for low temperatures, wind chill advisories and warnings, and weather advisories which may prevent students from being outside. Make sure your students are dressed appropriately with a warm coat and other cold-weather clothing, to comfortably enjoy their time outdoors. Please see the National Weather Service's tips on staying safe during cold weather.

If you need assistance supplying your child with cold-weather clothing, please call Fairfax County's Coordinated Services Planning (CSP) at 703-222-0880. The multilingual staff can assist with any challenges you are facing, including food, shelter, employment, financial assistance, and healthcare. School family liaisons are also able to connect families with available resources.

Multicultural and Language Resources for Families

November was National Family Engagement Month. The Office of Family and School Partnerships would like to remind families of some resources available to them:

  • Bilingual community liaisons support student registrars by providing families with information about school and community services offered in Fairfax County. Liaisons are available to help families speaking Spanish, Korean, and Arabic. Once registered at a school, families can contact their family liaison for assistance. 
  • Early literacy programs are available to Fairfax County residents for parents of children up to 5 years old. These programs help prepare children for school and build confidence in parents as their child’s first teacher. They also help parents become active partners in their child’s education. Programs are available in African-Heritage, Arabic, Spanish, and Korean. 
  • Parent Information Phone Lines are available in eight languages for parents who speak languages other than English. 
  • A Multilingual Family Podcast is produced by the offices of English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL), Family and School Partnerships, and Professional Learning and Equity. It covers important information for parents in English, Spanish, Arabic, and Korean.
  • ESOL services are available in Fairfax County for students as well as adults. Information on spring classes will be posted in March 2023.

Additional resources are available on the Family Engagement webpage.

Virtual Math Week - January 9-13


Come together as a community for students in K-8 for 5 nights the week of January 9, 2023, with delightful math games and stories - all on your own time and from the comfort of your own home. All content will be available for free directly to all families in English and Spanish. 

Through rich story-based mathematics experiences, math week offers families an opportunity to experience math, literacy, history, and geography in a positive way. The games and stories feature several countries including Lesotho, Madagascar, Ghana, and China. 

All content will be available completely free on the Math Week website starting January 9, 2023. To access the games, families will be able to simply click on the day of the week and find their child's grade and language. For families that want to reduce screen time, there will be physical print options for access to the content and games as well.

Hiring: Bus Drivers and Food & Nutrition Services

Upcoming School Bus Driver Job Fairs

Join one of the upcoming FCPS school bus driver job fairs and learn how to become part of the FCPS team! The job fairs will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on: 

In addition to a $3,000 signing bonus for all new drivers, FCPS also offers competitive pay, excellent retirement plans, health and dental plans, paid training, and other benefits.

Learn more about upcoming school bus driver job fairs. If you have questions, please call 571-423-3000 or email

Food and Nutrition Services

From Food Services van drivers to managers-in-training, FCPS has many job opportunities related to food and nutrition. Benefits include paid training and school holidays off, and some positions offer full-time benefits for part-time work. See Food and Nutrition Services job opportunities to apply. Call 703-813-4800 with any questions. 


Speed Cameras Target School Zone Safety

On December 6, the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors voted to launch a pilot program that will have 10 speed monitoring devices (speed cameras) installed throughout the county. These cameras will be in nine school zones and one construction zone. 

Studies show that speed camera enforcement is effective in improving safety by reducing speeding, accidents, and injuries. Thanks to our county partners for helping to improve the safety of our students and staff. Read more about the school zone speed camera pilot program.

Cappies Review: Students Take a Timeless Journey at Annandale High School


Many FCPS high schools participate in the Washington, D.C. chapter of the Critics and Awards Program for High School Theatre, also known as the Cappies. In this program, high school theater and journalism students are trained as critics, attend shows at other schools, write reviews, and publish those reviews in local newspapers. 

Ella Greene, a student from Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology, wrote this review of Annandale High School’s Argonautika: The Voyage of Jason and the Argonauts.

Calendar Reminder

Calendar Reminder: Winter Break

As a reminder, winter break will take place from December 19 to January 2. To ensure a restful break, FCPS has asked that no homework be assigned during this time. Teachers may assign long-range assignments in the weeks ahead of the break, allowing students to practice time management skills, but no assignments will be due immediately following the break. We look forward to welcoming students back in the new year. 

Classes will resume on Tuesday, January 3, 2023. See the complete 2022-23 School Year Calendar.


COVID Diagnostic Testing in January

COVID diagnostic testing will be available for FCPS teachers, staff, and students at five locations across the county January 3-5, 2023 from 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm. This testing is for those who are either experiencing COVID symptoms or have been exposed to someone diagnosed with COVID. Appointments are not required, but registration must be completed before testing. Visit the COVID Testing webpage for more information.

Adult Panel Discussion - Preparing Families for Difficult Conversations about Alcohol & Drugs

The FCPS Student Safety and Wellness Office, along with each pyramid’s Substance Abuse Prevention Specialist (SAPS), will be presenting an in-person, adult-only panel discussion designed for parents/caregivers of students in 5th grade through high school. Receive basic information about alcohol, nicotine, cannabis, and opioids; learn what caregivers can do; and identify and connect with community resources. 

  • Annandale Pyramid - March 6, 2023, 6:00 - 8:00 p.m.
  • Edison Pyramid - March 14, 2023, 6:00 - 8:00 p.m.
  • Falls Church Pyramid - January 24, 2023, 6:00 - 8:00 p.m.
  • Justice Pyramid - March 6, 2023, 6:00 - 8:00 p.m.
  • Woodson Pyramid - January 17, 2023, 6:00 - 8:00 p.m.

Get free homework help with (small)

Free, On-Demand, Online Tutoring. FCPS students who’ve used have provided positive feedback:

  • “This tutor was very helpful! She didn't tell me the answers. When needed, she helped me solve them! She was very kind and she really helped me!” –Elementary Math Student
  • “This was an awesome tutor! She explained why I needed to do specific steps, and she gave me practice problems! Best tutor I have had!” –IB Chemistry Student

Unless they’ve been opted out, students can access through Schoology. Every session is personalized to meet students’ needs from remedial to advanced levels. Sessions focus on conceptual learning and critical thinking—not quick answers.

Learn more on FCPS’ webpage.

Upcoming School Board Meetings

Regular School Board Meetings (Luther Jackson Middle School)

  • December 15, 2022 at 7:30 p.m.
  • January 12, 2023 at 7 p.m.
  • January 26, 2023 at 7 p.m.

Work Sessions (Gatehouse Administration Center)

  • January 3, 2023 at 12:30 p.m.
  • January 10, 2023 at 12:30 p.m.
  • January 17, 2023 @ 11 a.m.

Public Hearings (Luther Jackson Middle School)

  • December 15, 2022 at 5:30 p.m. (Collective Bargaining)
  • January 12, 2023 at 6 p.m. (CIP)
  • January 23, 2023 at 6 p.m. (Budget)

All meetings will be broadcast live on Channel 99 (Verizon channel 11) and on the FCPS website. The meetings are recorded for future viewing and posted to the FCPS School Board YouTube channel.

Visit the community participation webpage to sign up to speak at a regular meeting or public hearing.



Reuniones de la Junta Escolar de FCPS en Español

Para ver las reuniones de la Junta Escolar grabadas o para ver en vivo durante las reuniones regulares en YouTube, por favor vaya al canal de YouTube de FCPS en Español o escanee el código QR.

We are cognizant of the significant language needs of the Mason District and I will continue to advocate for their availability and inclusion.

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