A Message From Principal Yacubovich

Winter Pics

Topics in the Message

- A message from Principal Yacubovich (survey included)

- Testing at Pine Spring

- Updated Attendance Guidance 

In December, in addition to the solid instructional opportunities that our children experience each day, Pine Spring students had the opportunity to enjoy several special events. Our Bobcats celebrated our inclusive practices, 6th graders took a trip to Luther Jackson, and our K-2 families enjoyed a special Literacy Night. Families enjoyed the Winter Music Concert, our K students had a visit from Cooper Middle School students, and the entire school went on a hunt for the Gingerbread Boy.

As we enter 2023 together, we would love for our Pine Spring families to have additional ways to participate in the fun and learning happening throughout our school. Some upcoming opportunities that you can look out for in upcoming New You Choose messages are:

-        PTA meetings in the Pine Spring library on the first Thursday of each month from 7PM- 8PM.

-        Virtual Principal Coffees: These are an opportunity to learn about a specific advertised topic, such as AAP, math strategies, online resources, or how to support your child’s social-emotional wellness at home.  

-        Hands-on learning events to include a Literacy Night, Math Night, and Science Night. These nights are an opportunity for parents to see learning in action with your child by our very own Pine Spring teachers. 

-        PTA events such as a community clean-up, Fun Run and Bingo. 

Do you have an idea of ways you want to get involved or things you would like to see at Pine Spring? Please let us know your idea or suggest here.  

Testing at Pine Spring

iReady Winter Testing

All students in grades 1-6 will participate in the iReady winter testing window between Jan 3, 2023-Feb 3, 2023

FCPS uses iReady as the division's universal academic screening tool to identify students with potential gaps in foundational mathematics and/or literacy skills, including potential indicators of dyslexia, and to monitor student progress. Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) has approved FCPS to use the iReady Reading test together with the iReady PRF measure to fulfill Early Intervention Reading Initiative (EIRI) requirements in grades 1-3. FCPS also uses the DSA to measure knowledge of sound/symbol relationships and orthography, as potential indicators of dyslexia.

Additional information can be found at the iReady Universal Screener webpage (https://www.fcps.edu/us). If you have further questions about these assessments, please contact Jennifer Ganci at jlganci@fcps.edu.


Federal legislation requires that all students identified as English learners (ELs) are assessed annually to monitor their progress and proficiency in English. In Virginia, all divisions use the WIDA ACCESS for ELLs for this purpose. The testing window will take place between January 17-March 17, 2023. Notification letters have been sent to the parents of students who will be assessed during this window.

The WIDA ACCESS for ELLs is aligned with the WIDA English Language Development standards and assesses English in the four language domains of listening, speaking, reading, and writing. 

The assessment will: 

  • Determine students’ English language proficiency level and eligibility for EL services and testing accommodations.
  • Help students and families understand students’ current level of English language proficiency along a developmental continuum. 
  • Provide teachers with information they can use to plan for and support student learning. Determine whether ELs have met English language proficiency criteria and will be designated former ELs. 

All ELs, including those who have opted out of EL services, participate annually in the ELP assessment until they reach English language proficiency criteria (ELP level 6). Alternate assessment formats are available for certain students with disabilities. If you have questions about the annual ELP assessment, please contact Stephanie Sutton at slsutton@fcps.edu

for more information.

VGA Fall and Winter Score Reports

FCPS aims to communicate VGA results to families in a way that is understandable and meaningful. Due to the delay in VDOE’s release of interpretation guidance for 2022-23, Fall VGA scores could not be formally reported to families prior to the start of the Winter VGA testing window. With Winter VGA testing underway, VGA family score reports are being held until both Fall and Winter results can be reported together. 

Combined Fall and Winter VGA score reports will be delivered to families via U.S. Mail as soon as possible after all Winter VGA tests are completed. The anticipated delivery timeline is late February or early March 2023. The intention of combining this VGA reporting is to make it easier for families to view growth in the VSS from fall to winter and to compare the student’s VSS results to the end-of-year proficiency target. 

Updated Attendance Guidance


I hope your 2023 is off to a healthy start. As your child starts 2023, this might be a time for you to help them reset their school attendance. While we still encourage you to have your child stay home if they are sick, your child needs to be in school when possible. 

At the elementary school level, data says that starting in Kindergarten, missing 10 percent (just a day or two days every few weeks) can make it harder to learn to read. By 6th grade, absenteeism is one of the three signs that a student may drop out of high school. Please help us give your child the best possible chance to meet their full potential. 

We know that health guidance has changed rapidly over the last few years, and it can seem confusing when to send your child to school. Below is the most recent guidance from FCPS on when to send your child and when to keep them home.


Symptoms and Illnesses

Should I Keep My Child Home?

Chronic Illnesses

(Asthma, Diabetes, Sickle Cell, Epilepsy etc.)

Chronic illness is a long-lasting condition that can be controlled but not cured.

NO – As long as your child’s symptoms are controlled, your child should attend school. School personnel are trained to assist children with chronic illnesses and related health care requirements.

Child Doesn’t Want to go to School

Frequent crying, fear, anger, not wanting to socialize, behavior change, stomach ache, nausea

(These can be signs of depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress, or fear)

NO – You should keep your child in school, but try to determine what is causing the changes. Talk to school personnel and consult a health care provider. Your child may be experiencing bullying or trauma, may be behind in schoolwork or not getting along with others. Persistent Indicators of distress may require support from school personnel or health care professionals. Please contact an administrator or our mental health team so we can support you.

Cold Symptoms

Stuffy nose/runny nose, sneezing, mild cough, earache

NO - If your child is able to participate in school activities school should be attended.

Head Lice

Intense itching of the head; may feel like something is moving

NO – Your child can be in school if an initial treatment of shampooing of hair with a product for lice has been completed.

Menstrual Issues

NO – In most cases, menstrual issues (periods) can be managed at school. If severe pain is interfering with your child attending school, consult with a health care provider.

Strains, Sprains and Pains

NO – If there is no known injury and your child is able to function (walk, talk, eat), school should be attended. If pain is severe or doesn’t stop, consult a health care provider.

Parent is Sick, Stressed, Hospitalized

NO - If you are sick, your child still needs to attend school. Your illness does not excuse your child from attending. Plan ahead for these days. Ask a neighbor, relative or spouse to take your child to and from school.

Conjunctivitis (Pink Eye)

The white of the eye is pink and there is a thick yellow/green discharge.

YES – If there is discharge from the eye, your child must be evaluated by a healthcare provider before returning to school. If diagnosed with bacterial conjunctivitis, the child should remain home while symptomatic or until 24 hours of antibiotic treatment has been completed.


Severe, uncontrolled, rapid coughing, wheezing, or difficulty breathing

YES – Keep your child home and contact a health care provider. If symptoms are due to asthma, provide treatment according to your child’s Asthma Action Plan. When symptoms are controlled, send your child to school.


Frequent, loose or watery stool may mean illness but can also be caused by food and medication

YES – If, in addition to diarrhea, your child acts ill, has a fever or is vomiting, please keep your child at home. If stool is bloody, if the child has abdominal pain, fever or vomiting, consult with a health care provider.


Fever usually means illness, especially if your child has a fever of 100.4 or higher as well as other symptoms like behavior change, rash, sore throat, vomiting etc.

YES – If your child has a fever of 100.4 or higher, keep them at home until his or her fever is below 100.4 for 24 hours without the use of fever reducing medication. If the fever does not go away after 2-3 days or is 102.0 or higher, consult with a health care provider.

Rash With Fever

YES – Keep your child home if they have a rash with a fever. If a rash spreads quickly, is not healing, or has open weeping wounds, you should keep your child at home and have your child seen by a health care provider.

Strep Throat

Sore throat, fever, stomach ache, and red, swollen tonsils

YES – Keep your child at home for the first 24 hours after an antibiotic is begun. Your child may return to school when they have completed at least 24 hours of the antibiotics fever free and symptoms are improving


Child has vomited 2 or more times in a 24 hour period

YES – Keep your child at home until the vomiting has stopped for 24 hours. If vomiting continues, contact a health care provider.

Communicable Diseases

COVID-19 – fever, chills, cough, shortness of breath, loss of taste/smell, sore throat, fatigue, muscle aches, runny nose/congestion, diarrhea, nausea/ vomiting, headaches

YES – Keep your child at home until completion of at least five days of isolation.  Additional guidance can be found on our Health and Safety Guidance Document.

Communicable Diseases

Chicken Pox

Measles & Rubella (German Measles)


Pertussis (Whooping Cough)

YES – Keep your child at home until a health care provider has determined that your child is not contagious.