January Community Update

Dear Community Members, 

The first month of 2023 is packed with huge work by the School Board and staff to plan for investments and work for the next school year and years after. 

This month, the School Board works on:

  • Superintendent's proposed budget - what gets funded gets done!
  • Capital Improvement Program guiding all renovations and school boundaries
  • Future school year calendars
  • Tracking legislation and advocating to the Virginia General Assembly now in session

Below is information for you to learn and share your input about these critical pieces of work.

Strategic Plan 

Our commitment to building communities is a key a component of our strategic planning process. I am excited to share that all of the dates and locations for our community conversations are posted on the FCPS website. Please invite your neighbors and friends to attend. All voices matter! Our recent strategic planning student surveys have elicited responses from over 100,000 of our students!!  We’ve also finished principal-led focus groups with students. We have 4,500 responses from students about what matters most to them in their school experience, and the one promise they would like adults in their life to commit to regarding their education. This feedback, plus the responses to the Strategic Plan student survey, is currently being analyzed as we look forward to reviewing and reflecting in the coming year.  These critical insights will help us develop a strategic plan that guides us to ensuring a mountaintop educational experience for each and every one of our students.

I am hosting one such community forum on Thursday, February 16, from 6:30-8pm, at Hunters Woods ES. Register using the QR code below or visit the website, here. 

Strategic Plan Community Forum Slide


Capital Improvement Program 

The School Board held a Work Session to discuss the Capital Improvement Program on January 10. I shared comments and concerns that I've spoken with many Hunter Mill families and staff about.

Thank you to the community members who spoke at the Public Hearing on January 12. The School Board is scheduled to vote on the CIP at the February 9 Regular Meeting.

FCPS CIP Draft Presentation

School Improvements Supported by County Bonds

Capital projects reflect a $205 million investment approved by Fairfax County voters in the November 2021 bond referendum. 

Funding allocations to FCPS from bond sales have increased in recent years due to positive collaboration and partnerships between the Joint CIP Committee of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors and the School Board. 

Voters will have the opportunity to approve additional bond funding for school projects included in the CIP in November 2023, which will support the division’s ability to continue to work through construction and renovation needs.

FY23 Midyear Budget Review and FY24 Proposed Budget

FCPS Proposed Budget Presentation Slide

The School Board approved revenue and expenditure changes reflected in the FY 2023 Midyear Budget Review. In addition, the Superintendent presented the Fiscal Year (FY) 2024 Proposed Budget. Watch the full meeting on the FCPS YouTube channel.

Review the FY24 proposed budget and all budget documents here. 

Budget Public Hearing- January 23, 6pm

You and/or your student may sign up to speak for 2 minutes either in-person at Luther Jackson Middle School or live virtually. The sign up list is open and you can access it here.

Draft School Year Calendars Now Available

FCPS Calendar Development

Development of a school calendar requires the careful balance of many factors, prioritizing instruction. Draft calendars have been created for the 2023-24, 2024-25, and 2025-26 school years. Four frameworks were developed.

I am gathering input from Hunter Mill constituents to help inform my decision on these proposed calendars. I shared in the School Board's Work Session on January 17 that priorities I want to see are:

  • As many 5-day weeks of instruction as possible
  • Alignment with area jurisdictions because many FCPS staff live outside of Fairfax and have childcare obligations of their own
  • A multi-year calendar, not just one year

The School Board is scheduled to vote on the school year calendar on February 9. 

Upcoming School Board Meetings

  • January 23 at 6:00 p.m. - Public Hearing: Budget
  • January 24 at 11:00 a.m. - Work Session: FY2024 Budget 
  • January 26 at 7:00 p.m. - Regular Meeting: Goal Reports
  • January 31 at 1:00 p.m. - Work Session: SY2023-24 Calendar

Please note, that times and topics are subject to change.

Accessing Board Meetings

View this link for a comprehensive list of upcoming meetings and associated information.

Click here for meeting logistics, agendas and handouts (to view the slides and materials, scroll down to the bottom of the page).

Regular Meetings and Work Sessions are live-streamed on the FCPS website and televised on FCPS Cable Channel 99. Meeting recordings can be found on FCPS YouTube. For more information about signing up to speak at a regular meeting, click here.

School Board Members sitting at dais

QR code for School Board meetings in Spanish  

For Spanish speakers -- to watch recorded School Board meetings or live Regular Meetings on YouTube, you can visit the FCPS en Espanol YouTube channel or scan the QR code.

Hunter Mill Happenings

Floris Lego Team Competes at First Lego League Challenge

Floris ES Lego Team

Congratulations to Abhinav, Ishaan, Zach, Ayush, Riya, and Isha from the Floris First Lego League team for competing against 200+ teams in the Virginia+DC Regional Lego League Championship and taking the top spot! The theme for the competition was Super Powered (energy generation), where teams were required to design a robot, execute robot missions, and create an innovation project. Floris’ First Lego League team moves on to the national competition. These students embody the First Lego League Challenge experience by fully embracing the core values while achieving excellence and innovation in Robot Design, Robot Performance and Innovation Project. Soar, Eagles!

New Futsal Court at Cedar Lane School

Cedar Lane futsal court

Thank you to Vienna Youth Soccer for being a generous partner with Fairfax County Public Schools! The installation of a futsal court at Cedar Lane School makes a difference in our community and for our kids!

This is one of FCPS' "Ignite Partnerships" - learn more about those here

McLean HS Student Selected for US Senate Youth Program

Saehee Perez

Congratulations to McLean HS student, Saehee Perez, on your selection for the United States Senate Youth Program. Only two students from each state are selected to participate in this annual program.

Youth Substance Use Presentation - South Lakes March 7

Preparing Families for Difficult Conversations about Alcohol and Drugs flyer

FCPS' Office of Student Safety and Wellness, in partnership with the FCPD and the Fairfax-Falls Church Community Services Board will be providing pyramid level Youth Substance Use presentations to parents and community members in each high school pyramid.

The South Lakes pyramid presentation will be held on March 7 from 6-8pm.

Spanish interpretation will be provided at as many of the dates as possible. There will also be a division-wide virtual presentation in partnership with the Parent Resource Center on March 21 (register for this event). Attendees will walk away with an understanding of:

  • Alcohol, nicotine, cannabis, and opioid.
  • List what you can do as a caregiver.
  • How to identify and connect with community resources.

Read here to learn more about this and for the complete schedule.

January Is...

Martin Luther King Jr. Day

Melanie Meren speaking at the Reston Community Center

I was honored to share remarks at the Reston Community Center's annual Birthday Celebration to honor the work of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and remind ourselves to ask, "are we keeping the promise?" I hope you'll take a listen to my thoughts on supporting public schools in the movement toward justice.

Learn more about Martin Luther King Jr.

Lunar New Year

The 2023 Lunar New Year is on Sunday, January 22, starting a year of the rabbit. 

The Reston Regional Library will be holding a celebration on January 21 from 11am-1pm. There will be crafts, read alouds, and more!

2023 Lunar New Year

Mentor Month

FCPS student playing chess with a mentor

All it takes is one person to serve as a trusted adult to help change a young person’s path. Mentors provide attention, support, and enrichment, and help connect their mentees to resources that may help them on their journey in life. 

FCPS’ MentorWorks program matches mentors with students in schools near where they live or work. They meet for at least 30 minutes a week. Learn more about how to become a mentor for an FCPS student. Please contact Martha Macdonald, mentoring specialist, for additional information at mmacdonald@fcps.edu

Other Information of Interest

Dual Language Immersion Program Registration

Registration for the countywide lottery for Dual Language Immersion (DLI) programs will open on Monday, January 23. Programs are available in French, German, Japanese, Korean, and Spanish. Get more information on DLI programs and registration.

Attend a High School Academy Open House

Nursing student practicing

FCPS high school academies will hold open houses for interested students beginning in mid-January. 

A high school academy is a center within a high school that offers advanced technical and specialized courses that can prepare students for postsecondary education and/or career fields. Students enrolling in Academy elective courses will have opportunities to participate in a variety of career experiences including shadowing, mentoring, and/or internships with local businesses.

Learn more and find the calendar of Academy Open Houses.

Hispanic Leadership Alliance Scholarship Program

The Hispanic Leadership Alliance (HLA) scholarship is for first-generation Latinx senior students from FCPS. The student must be the first one in his or her family to attend a post-secondary educational institution. HLA is a non-profit organization of Fairfax County Public Schools employees, retirees, former students, and residents. 

Apply by February 27. 

Science Fair Judges Needed

FCPS Science Fair graphic

The 68th annual Fairfax County Regional Science and Engineering Fair is fast approaching, and the FCPS science team is looking for category judges. Each year over 250 category judges are required to evaluate over 400 extraordinary science fair projects in a wide variety of categories ranging from plant sciences to robotics. It is desirable that those volunteering to serve as category judges hold an advanced degree or possess extensive academic and/or professional experience in their selected STEM category. Each Category Judge is only responsible for judging 10–15 projects. Chairpersons for each category and Grand Prize judges are also needed.

Category judging will take place in-person on Saturday, March 18th. If you are interested in serving as a Category Judge, please register online as a Category Judge here. You will receive confirmation once you have completed your online registration and in early March, you will receive additional instructions.

Young American Creative Patriotic Arts Scholarship 

The Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Auxiliary is sponsoring its annual Young American Creative Patriotic Art Contest. Students in grades 9-12 have the opportunity to participate in two competitions: a 2-dimensional competition and a 3-dimensional competition. More information may be found on the VFW Auxiliary website. The deadline to submit artwork is March 31, 2023.

Anyone interested in participating should contact the VFW organizers at bettinalawton@gmail.com or pattybortz@gmail.com no later than March 1, 2023.

How to Partner or Volunteer with Schools

FCPS Business and Community Partnerships is happy to work with local businesses and organizations to help support our schools and students. Through its Ignite Partnerships, the team establishes valuable long-term relationships in the community. Please contact Jay Garant at 571-423-1225 or Kathy Ryan for information. Learn more about Business and Community Partnerships by subscribing to their monthly newsletter.

Parent Resource Center Webinars

Parent Resource Center Webinar Schedule

Job Opportunities

Interested in joining FCPS? Explore opportunities for:

Visit Current Job Openings for all posted positions.

Contacting Me

I prioritize responses to Hunter Mill constituents, so please be sure to identify yourself as such if you contact me. If you are unsure of your county magisterial district, you can look that information up here.

To contact me, it is most helpful to please use the official School Board contact form. This form prioritizes emails to me from constituents, and helps me track communication so I can be sure you receive a response. Thank you for your cooperation.


Please take good care,

Melanie Meren


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The views contained within this newsletter reflect the views of the individual school board member who is the publisher of this newsletter and may not reflect the views of the Fairfax County School Board.

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