Fairfax Villa Thursday Message 12/15/2022

Important Upcoming Dates

* See information below.

12/19 - 1/2: Winter Break - No School

1/3: School Resumes After Winter Break

1/16: Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Birthday (Holiday for Students and Staff)

1/20: Spirit Day: Pajama Day

1/25: Two Hour Early Release for Students; End of Quarter Two 

1/26 and 1/27: Teacher Workdays (Student Holidays)

*1/26: Rising 7th Grade Virtual Orientation

*2/9: Frost Family Festival


  1. NEW: Happy Holidays Message

  2. NEW: Upcoming Events for 6th Grade Families

  3. Fairfax Villa/FCPS Inclement Weather Plan

  4. Laptops and iPads Coming Home Over Winter Break

  5. Congratulations to Our Outstanding Staff Members

  6. UPDATED: Celebrations of Lexia

  7. Mental Health, Coping, and Addiction 

  8. Portrait of a Graduate (POG) at Fairfax Villa

  9. The Science of Reading

  10. Tutor.com Free Resources

  11. UPDATED: Score Reporting To Families

  12. Monday and Friday Fairfax Villa Clothing

  13. Fairfax Villa Contacts

  14. Be Informed; Stay Involved!

  15. Attend Today, Achieve Tomorrow!

1.FVES Happy Holidays Message

Greetings Fairfax Villa Families,

December is upon us and with it comes all the excitement that the season brings.  We would like to take this opportunity to thank our students, staff, and  families for their continued support. Our school is truly a small school with a big heart and it is at this time of year when the closeness of friendship shines in everyone's faces.

Similar to last school year, we are so proud of all of our students and staff members for their resilience and their ability to adapt to difficult circumstances. We are happy each day to see our students and staff in our school building.

School is important but so is your health. Please remember to take care of yourself and each other during your winter break. We  wish you all peace, joy, hope, and happiness during this holiday season and throughout the New Year.

Our warmest wishes,

Dave Gerstner, Principal

Shelia Sobeski, Assistant Principal

Barbara Schmidt, School Based Technology Specialist

2.Upcoming Events for 6th Grade Families

Frost Middle School is  eager to begin the upcoming transition activities with their future Frost Falcons!  Please mark your calendars for the  Rising 7th Grade Orientation on January 26th and the Frost Family Festival on February 9th. 

The Rising 7th Grade Orientation is for current 6th grade students who will be attending Frost in the 23-24 school year -  and their parents.  This will take place virtually on January 26th at 6:30 PM. During this event, students and families will hear from administration and school counselors who will provide an overview of Frost Middle School, course selection opportunities, and the selection process.  The link for this event will be sent in January.  A recording of the event will be available for those who cannot attend on the Frost Student Services website here.

Please submit questions you may have about transitioning to 7th Grade at Frost Middle School.   They will do their best to incorporate as many answers to your questions during the orientation. Please use this link to submit questions.

FMS will also be having the Frost Family Festival (in-person) on February 9th beginning at 5:30 PM.  This is a great opportunity to get a school tour and visit elective classes to help confirm desired course selections.  More information to come!

3.Fairfax Villa/FCPS Inclement Weather Plan

As you have read from the FCPS announcements, the inclement weather procedures for FCPS will remain the same as last year. The first five inclement weather days will be traditional “snow days” with no school activities. After those five days, we will have unscheduled virtual learning days, whenever possible, to maintain the continuity of learning. Virtual learning on these days will be synchronous/live instruction.

On those days, teachers will have students access a Zoom link from their class Schoology site. We will be starting the day at 10:30 and ending at 2:45 to give a “Family Recess” at the end of the day. There will also be a 45 minute lunch built in from 12:15 - 1:00. All students will have had a practice with their teachers so that all students know how to access the Zoom and what behaviors are expected as to attendance and working.

Please consider bookmarking FCPS' Weather Cancellation Procedures to stay informed in case of winter weather or other emergency situations.

4.Laptops and iPads Coming Home Over Winter Break

In order for students to be able to access Lexia over the Winter Break if they choose to continue learning AND to plan ahead  in case of a repeat of last year’s multi-day snow event, ALL students in grades kindergarten through 6th grade will be bringing their laptops or iPads (for kindergartners) home on Friday, December 16. If you know that your student will NOT be in school on December 16, please be sure to let their teacher know ahead of time. Please make sure that the devices, bags, and any chargers given to students at that time are returned on the first day back to school after the break. 

If you are traveling out of the country, please do not take the FCPS devices with you. 

Need tech help over the Winter Break or anytime? Use the information here

5.Congratulations to Our Outstanding Staff Members

We are excited to announce that the following staff members were chosen as being outstanding in their categories in the FCPS Awards Program:

Outstanding New Teacher: Morgan Crain

Outstanding Teacher: Heather Atkinson

Outstanding Professional: Therese Payne

Outstanding Operational Employee: Rodrigo Jackson

Outstanding Leader: Shelia Sobeski

As we work to move them forward in the Woodson Pyramid and then to Region 5, we will be working on nomination packets. If you have any comments or specific examples about these nominations, please send them to our Awards Liaison, Barbara Schmidt, at bdschmidt@fcps.edu.


Ms. Case and this amazing News Team have started broadcasting our daily news show with brand new high-tech equipment. Great job!


6.Celebrations of Lexia!

59 = The number of  Lexia Certificates given this past week!

1017= The number of  Lexia Certificates given this year!

62% = The number of students working at or above grade level!

Parents - ask your child to show you their Lexia Superstar Certificates for the completion of each level!

Congratulations to all of our students who are working hard on their Lexia lessons and making so much progress. At the beginning of the school year, 32% of our students in grades K-6 were working on grade level material in Lexia. We now have 62% of our students working on grade level.  For the other 38% of students, we are also proud of them for working toward their end of the year goal. 

It is VERY important that families do NOT help students with the Lexia lessons. We need for students to do their own learning so that we get a true picture of what they have learned and what teachers need to support them with here at school. Each week, teachers get a report of the areas of growth and lessons that each student needs and, if families assist with Lexia, this will change the learning results. We need students to do the Lexia work themselves so that they will be most successful in their learning. 

Look for a weekly update on our continued Lexia successes!

If your child wants to practice their reading skills with Lexia at home, they can go to https://clever.com/in/fairfax/student/portal

to log into Clever using their FCPS google accounts. They then click on the Lexia icon to get started. It is strongly recommended that our K-6 graders spend 15-30 minutes each night learning with this Lexia program.  Please be aware that they will also be using this program during the school day in one of their language arts blocks.

Another way to get to Lexia is through their Schoology account. After they go to https://lms.fcps.edu/ and log into Schoology, they click on the waffle in the upper right corner, click on Clever, and then they will see their Lexia.

If your child does not have a school issued laptop to use at home, he/she may access Schoology via the FCPS website. Schoology is the first option available in the dark blue toolbar. 

7.Mental Health, Coping, and Addiction

One in four Americans suffer from a mental illness. Almost 3 in 5 people with mental illness will receive no treatment or medication. In 2019, an estimated 47.6 million adults (19% of the country) had a mental illness, but only 43% received any kind of mental health care (Johns Hopkins). There are many reasons why a person may turn to drugs or alcohol initially, including using these mind-altering substances as a coping mechanism for stress, difficult emotions, physical ailments, and other issues. Drugs and alcohol can provide a temporary respite from reality and everyday life. They can enhance pleasure and decrease inhibitions and anxiety.  Drug use can be an unhealthy coping mechanism. Coping mechanisms are habits formed over time that serve to help a person manage situations or stress levels. Not all coping mechanisms are maladaptive or destructive; however, addiction is both.

Before using drugs as a coping strategy here are some recommendations for a healthier mindset. The goal is to identify the “void” or issue and work towards healing. In the meantime, experts recommend diet and exercise as great places to start. See your Primary Care Physician and a therapist if needed. Quality sleep is also a major factor in a healthy mind. Surround yourself with good people and don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it.

For general questions about the FCPS Substance Abuse Prevention Program, please contact the Office of Student Safety & Wellness at: (571) 423-4270.


Substance Use Disorder info

FCPS Social Work

For further Information & support:

De’Ja Ruffin (McNeil)

Substance Abuse Prevention Specialist


8.Portrait of a Graduate (POG) at Fairfax Villa

This year Fairfax Villa will be focusing on what it looks like and sounds like to be a good communicator.  One of our School Innovation and Improvement goals states, “By the end of SY 2022-23, 100% of students will demonstrate growth in the POG skill and attribute of a Communicator.” The growth of our students will be measured through POG self-reflections given at the beginning and end of the year scored using the FCPS teacher rubric.

What is POG? In 2014, the FCPS School Board developed and adopted the Portrait of a Graduate (POG). This adoption of POG acknowledges that in our rapidly changing world, education needs to evolve to fulfill our mission of supporting student success in school and in life. POG prioritizes the development of skills that will empower students to be productive citizens of a global community and successful in the workforce of the future. 

A goal of FCPS is to provide opportunities for students to demonstrate learning in more authentic ways. Teachers in FCPS are enhancing learning opportunities to include the attributes of Communicator, Collaborator, Ethical and Global Citizen, Creative and Critical Thinker, and Goal-Directed and Resilient Individual.

To learn more about the Communicator skill, please watch this video: https://youtu.be/AS7jWbDpdt0

How can parents support POG at home?

Communicator Pic


Ms. Atkinson and her students are having a great time learning about the weather!


9.The Science of Reading

What is the Science of Reading?  Maybe you’ve heard the term or about Equitable Access to Literacy.  What does this mean for your child’s instruction?  These slides below from FCPS can help support your understanding about our transformation in reading and writing instruction and access to effective literacy practices that are aligned with what we now know about how the brain learns.  When we know better,we do better!  As always, please reach out to your child’s teacher if you have questions about this shift in our instruction.

To access the slides, please log into your parent Schoology account and look at our Fairfax Villa parent course for the Science of Reading folder. https://lms.fcps.edu/course/6049662884/materials

If you are looking for ways to support your children at home with literacy skills, the Virginia Literacy Partnership (VLP) has a variety of free resources to support families here: https://literacy.virginia.edu/resources-families

Another great family resource from the Rollins Center for Language and Literacy and the Atlanta Speech School will help develop literacy skills. This is free but does require signing up. https://www.coxcampus.org/families/

10.Tutor.com Free Resources

Fairfax Villa students continue to have unlimited access to live, 24/7, one-on-one online tutoring services through Tutor.com at no cost to families during the 2022-23 school year. Student participation is optional and parents/guardians can opt their student(s) out of accessing the services. Detailed information and FAQs are available on the Tutor.com Online Tutoring Services website.

Students can access Tutor.com via a link in Schoology. Additional information about how to log in and access a tutor is provided to families via the following: Elementary - How It Works

11.Score Reporting To Families

For the academic screenings that students complete in the fall, score report letters will be generated by FCPS, not each individual school. Most reports can be found in ParentVUE/SIS. If you do not yet have a ParentVUE/SIS account, please contact Ms. Schmidt at bdschmidt@fcps.edu.

  • VRKP grades PreK-K will be sent via U.S. Mail before winter break
  • iReady grades 1-3 will be sent via U.S. Mail before Thanksgiving
  • iReady grades 4-6 will be posted via SIS ParentVUE before winter break 
  • Fall VGA scores will be mailed by FCPS to parents the week of December 5 
  • Fall CogAT scores were sent home in the Wednesday Folders on November 30.
  • Fall SEL Screener reports are scheduled to be mailed by FCPS in early January. 

NEW: Fall NNAT3 scores were sent home in the Wednesday Folders on December 14.


Construction has started on our new Outdoor Classroom! Stay tuned for more updates!

12.Monday & Friday Fairfax Villa Clothing

Students and staff will be wearing the same clothing to kick off and end each week during the 2022-23 school year!

  • On Mondays, we will be wearing our Positivity shirts to highlight our character strengths and virtues that we will be learning throughout the school year.  The Boosterthon team distributed these green shirts during the fun run for the past 2 years. The shirts highlight our Villa dragon and Positivity logos on the front of the shirts. 
  • On Fridays, we will be showing off our favorite Fairfax Villa spirit wear.  If your son or daughter has outgrown their Fairfax Villa spirit wear clothing, our PTA has some new ones.
Monday tshirt Pic

13.Fairfax Villa Contacts

Fairfax Villa Main Phone Line: 703-267-2800

Fairfax Villa Attendance Phone Line: 703-267-2828

Fairfax Villa Attendance Link: https://fairfaxvillaes.fcps.edu/attendance-form

Technology Support for Families/Parent Help Desk: 1-833-921-3277

Parent Information Phone Lines/Support for parents who do not speak English as their first language: Parent Information Phone Lines

Parent and Student technology support: IT Support Portal

FCPS Transportation Phone Line:703-446-2050

Candace Davis, Transportation Supervisor, 703-446-2050, CEDavis@fcps.edu

Dave Gerstner, Principal, drgerstner@fcps.edu

Shelia Sobeski, Assistant Principal, sdsobeski@fcps.edu

Karen Wells, Administrative Assistant, kewells@fcps.edu

Julie Scoville, Office Staff, jgscoville@fcps.edu

Silvia Dossmann, Student Information Assistant, smdossmann@fcps.edu

Barbara Schmidt, School Based Technology Specialist, bdschmidt@fcps.edu

14.Be Informed; Stay Involved!

mental health

15.Attend Today, Achieve Tomorrow!

Attend Today
  • Every year, absences spike in the weeks before and after winter break. It’s time to break that cycle.  Give your child the gift of attendance and help build a habit of attendance.

  • We recognize that holidays are an important time for reconnecting with families far away and exposing your children to your home and language, whether you grew up in another part of the United States or a different country. The price of plane tickets often influences when you want to travel. But keep in mind the costs to your children’s education if they miss too much school.

  • Make sure your child is in school every day, right up until vacation starts.  Our teachers will be teaching, and our students will be learning.  But it’s harder to teach and it’s harder to learn when too many students are absent.

  • This year, Winter Break is from Monday, December 19 to Monday, January 2.  We hope to see all our students in school through Friday, December 16 and returning to school on Tuesday, January 3.

absences add up

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