Town Hall, School Board Updates, FCPS and Community News, Student Opportunities and More

Dear Fairfax County Students, Staff and Families,

It’s been an extremely busy month of challenging School Board work, with voting on the CIP and calendar, and more to come as we continue our work on the Proposed Fiscal Year 2024 budget. We plan to vote on the Proposed Fiscal Year 2024 budget at our February 23 Regular Meeting. You can see budget documents here.

I recently had the pleasure of taking Dr. Reid to visit the Davis Career Center and Marshall Academy. It was wonderful to see these students at work and meet some of their excellent teachers and administrators. I enjoyed hearing about the Davis Center’s excellent postgraduate programs for some students with disabilities and seeing the amazing work and life skills they are developing. I was impressed with the Marshall Academy where our students are working on IT certificates and competitions and building robots! Not to mention cooking amazing food, becoming awesome stylists, and learning career skills. One already had a job at Northrop Grumman and another student was working on becoming the “GOAT” of IT certifications. He had nine and was aiming for the record of 16 certifications. There are some amazing things going on in FCPS. It was a “sweet” ending where the culinary students shared delicious chocolate cakes they had made.

School Visits

I also was able to attend the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors legislative reception in Richmond and speak with many of our Fairfax County General Assembly delegation. Our state partners are supportive of public education and understand our needs and challenges. I appreciate their time and work and their support for our schools.

As you know, FCPS has been holding a series of strategic planning community forums where participants are able to review data and share their thoughts on goals for our division. I attended the Braddock District in-person session and hosted a virtual community forum. I am so appreciative of those who joined and gave their time, energy and best thinking to help us plan for the future. In addition to attending in-person and virtual forums, individuals can contribute to the conversation by answering a few questions and providing comments using the Strategic Plan Feedback Form. All feedback provided will remain anonymous.

I also had the privilege of viewing and judging artwork that is part of the Scholastic Art Awards regional competition. Our students are amazingly talented! I felt like I was at a gallery opening for professional artists! You can visit the exhibit through March 23 at Northern Virginia Community College’s Ernst Community Cultural Center in Annandale. 

Lastly, I will be holding a virtual town hall with Sully District School Board representative, Stella Pekarsky at 7pm on Wednesday, March 1. Please register for the town hall. If you need language interpretation services, please register as soon as possible. We will do our best to secure language interpreters for those who need them but cannot guarantee them. I hope you can join!

Town Hall

Warmest regards,


Below you will find:

School Board Updates

dais photo

School Year 2023-2024 Calendar

The School Board approved calendars for the 2023-24, 2024-25, and 2025-26 school years. Read more and view the approved calendars. This was a long process that involved many stages of input from the community. I heard from many community members who told me they just wanted to know what the calendar is so they can plan their time. So I am very excited that we passed a three year calendar! I hope this will help our families and staff plan childcare, work, and family time. 

For those who were following along, we adopted a modified version of the blue calendar for SY 2023-2024, SY 2024-2025, and SY 2025-2026. While I was disappointed that the final calendars were developed the same day as the vote and not seen in advance by the community, some of the changes made were in response to concerns shared after the last draft was posted. Some of the changes included moving some teacher work days to align with spring break and ending the school year slightly earlier, as many requested, in addition to maintaining a start date that is two weeks before Labor Day, a two week winter break, 180 days of instruction to maximize permitted instructional time, spring break that is aligned with our surrounding jurisdictions, and recognition of key community cultural and religious holidays. 

While we worked hard to find a good calendar balancing many competing interests, I know that no calendar will please everyone. I appreciate that the approval of three years of calendars means our families and staff have the ability to plan and that we will not have to spend so much time on calendar development each year and can instead focus on other important work. I truly appreciate the involvement of our community in this calendar process.

Fiscal Year 2024-28 Capital Improvement Program

The School Board approved an annual update to the capital improvement program (CIP) that includes continuing work on upgrading school facilities across the County, the building of three new elementary schools, and acquiring land to be used for a new high school during the February 9 School Board meeting. Every year, we review student membership analysis and facilities data to identify capacity, facility and capital needs. If you haven’t had the chance to check out the CIP, please do! It has a ton of information that includes program capacity and potential solutions to address overcrowding, and a five year student population projection. Check out the link above for the CIP and many related documents, as well as previous years’ CIPs.

Equitable Access to Literacy

Dr. Reid focused on the Equitable Access to Literacy Plan at the January 26 Regular Meeting. Watch her presentation. The Equitable Access to Literacy Plan ensures that FCPS’ reading programs and efforts align with the science of reading. Excellent early literacy skills are key for a student to succeed and thrive in FCPS and beyond. Read more about FCPS Equitable Access to Literacy Plan here

Job Opportunity - Clerk to the School Board

The Fairfax County School Board is looking for a highly qualified candidate to serve as Clerk to the School Board. Please view the job posting and share it with others who may be interested.

Application for the 2023 Student Representative to the School Board

Each year FCPS students have the opportunity to apply for the position of the student representative to the School Board. The student representative is not a member of the School Board but serves in a nonvoting, advisory capacity, representing the interests of the students of Fairfax County Public Schools. Students who are currently in grades 9, 10 and 11 are eligible to apply, and they do not need to be current members of the Superintendent’s Advisory Council. Click here for more information about the application process.

I have truly enjoyed serving alongside our student representatives who bring a critical perspective and student voice to inform the work of the board. I encourage eligible students to apply!

Upcoming School Board Meetings

  • February 21 at 1:30 pm Work Session: Governance
  • February 23 at 7:00 pm - Regular Meeting: Fiscal Year (FY) 2024 Advertised Budget
  • February 28 at 11:00 am - Work Session: Collective Bargaining
  • March 7 at 1:00 pm - Work Session: Policy Governance
  • March 9 at 7:00 pm - Regular Meeting: Collective Bargaining
  • March 28 at 11:00 am - Work Session: Strategic Plan and Governance
  • March 30 at 7:00 pm - FY23 Third Quarter Budget Review

Please note that times and topics are subject to change.

The work sessions and regular meetings are broadcast live on Channel 99 (Verizon channel 11) and the FCPS website. Both are recorded for future viewing and posted to the FCPS School Board YouTube channel.

For Spanish speakers, to watch recorded School Board meetings, or live during regular meetings, visit the FCPS en Espanol YouTube channel.

Visit the community participation webpage to sign up to speak at a regular meeting. Visit BoardDocs for more meeting logistics, agendas, and handouts.

Interested in School Board action items? Sign up to get an update on School Board votes the morning after the School Board meeting.


Federal Grant Will Support School-Based Mental Health Staff

mental health

The U.S. Department of Education has awarded the first year of a five-year grant to Fairfax County Public Schools for $13.5 million, to support a School-Based Mental Health Services Grant project. The goal of the grant program is to increase the number of credentialed mental health service providers delivering school-based mental health services to students with demonstrated need. With the funding, FCPS will focus on enhancing the division’s recruitment and retention practices for mental health professionals, including school counselors, school psychologists, and school social workers. Watch Dr. Reid’s Academic Matters segment from the February 9 School Board Regular Meeting discussing this grant.

This grant comes at a critical time when we are seeing significant mental health needs for our students and critical shortages of mental health providers. This grant will help us address bringing more mental health services to students and I am grateful to the staff who helped secure the grant.

Filling Your Child’s Emotional Bank Account

Read the latest Healthy Minds blog to understand why relationships are like savings accounts, and how you can help build trust and security with your children.

Special Education Enhancement Plan: Feedback Opportunity

Fairfax County Public Schools is developing a Special Education Enhancement Plan to help ensure an excellent educational experience for all students with disabilities. As part of this effort, FCPS is seeking feedback from employees, families, and community members on Part 1 of the Draft Special Education Enhancement Plan. Please complete this form by Friday, February 17, to provide input on FCPS’ priorities regarding special education including vision, mission, core values, goals, and objectives. 

Thank you in advance for lending your voice to this important work. Visit the Special Education Enhancement Plan webpage for more information.

Targeted and High Impact In-Person Tutoring

FCPS' Department of School Improvement and Support (DSIS) is working with principals across the region to best identify where there is the most need for in-person tutoring to benefit students. The district is recruiting qualified tutors who will be matched to schools based on need.

Are You Interested in Tutoring?

FCPS is now actively recruiting qualified tutors to provide academic support in-person to small groups of students. These new FCPS tutors will be paid an hourly rate of $47.17. The position is flexible, and the number of hours worked and location will be based on the tutor’s availability and qualifications, as well as the needs presented throughout FCPS. Apply now! Contact for more information. 

Note: Current FCPS staff can only apply to tutor outside of their contracted hours. Is Still Available and Free for All FCPS Students

Online tutoring through is available to all FCPS students as a resource for support and enrichment. As of January 2023, approximately 8,000 students have participated in approximately 34,000 tutoring sessions. remains available to all FCPS students at no cost. Find out more about

Scholastic Art Awards Program Names 337 Regional FCPS Winners

The 2023 Regional Scholastic Art Awards program has awarded 533 awards to 337 Fairfax County Public Schools students for outstanding artwork. This includes 174 Gold Key awards, 171 Silver Key awards, and 188 Honorable Mention awards. Four works by FCPS students were nominated for the best-in-show American Visions Award. Artworks were submitted and judged in categories including drawing, painting, printmaking, photography, ceramics, sculpture, digital art, design, architecture, jewelry, fashion, film and animation, mixed media, and art portfolios.

The Gold Key and Silver Key artworks will be displayed at Northern Virginia Community College’s Ernst Community Cultural Center in Annandale from Friday, February 9, to Thursday, March 23, with an award ceremony on Wednesday, March 1. See the full list of winners.

Judges Needed for Regional Science and Engineering Fair

The Fairfax County Regional Science and Engineering Fair is a competition for students attending high schools in Fairfax County. The event will be held March 17-19. Students may earn honorable entry to the regional competition through a science fair at their local public or private school.

Each year 250 judges are required to evaluate science fair projects in a wide variety of categories, ranging from plant sciences to robotics. It is preferred that volunteers serving as category judges hold an advanced degree or have extensive academic and/or professional experience in their selected science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) category.

Learn more about the science fair and how to become a judge.

Summer Learning Opportunities

FCPS’ Career and Technical Education (CTE) camps and Institute for the Arts (IFTA/E-IFTA) camps are now open for registration. Visit the websites below for more information on schedules and fees. Tuition is waived for students eligible for free and reduced-price meals. 

Career and Technical Education

Tech Adventure Camp (TAC) is a week-long exploratory camp designed to give current K-6 students an opportunity to explore STEAM, culinary, health, trades, and business and marketing areas. Visit the TAC webpage to register. 

CTE Summer Academy (CSA) is a week-long enrichment program that allows students in grades 7-11 to dive deeper into CTE program areas, develop skills, and begin career exploration. Visit the CSA webpage to register.

Institute for the Arts Camps

Institute for the Arts (IFTA) is a two- or four-week summer enrichment program for students currently in grades 6-11. Students select from nearly 90 classes in art, dance, health and physical education 9, music, self-directed economics and personal finance, and theater. Visit the IFTA webpage to register. 

E-IFTA is a weekly arts camp for students in grades 2-5 who love to sing, dance, act, perform, make, and create. Students take part in four classes every day related to dance, music, theater, and visual art. They work with FCPS fine arts teachers who create classes that are fun and engaging. Visit the E-IFTA webpage to register. 

FCPS Named Executive Member of Certification Nation 

To celebrate the 30th Anniversary of ENERGY STAR, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) offered special, one-time recognition to any organization that earns EPA’s ENERGY STAR certification for five or more buildings in 2022. FCPS earned ENERGY STAR certification for 61 buildings, making it an Executive Member of Certification Nation. 

Since 2014, FCPS, partnering with the ENERGY STAR program, has saved 3 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity, more than $70 million in energy costs, and achieved more than 230,000 metric tons of greenhouse gas reductions.

FCPS Resources

Text-to-Speech Available on FCPS Websites

FCPS is introducing an innovative way to address the diverse needs of the community. A new text-to-speech feature, available on the FCPS website and each school website, will read the words aloud from webpages.  

The feature will help those with accessibility needs, such as visual impairments, dyslexia, or other difficulty reading large amounts of online text. The text-to-speech feature is available in English, Spanish, and Korean. Learn more and try out the new feature. 

Parent Resource Center Webinars

parent resource center

The FCPS Parent Resource Center offers free webinars, confidential consultations, a lending library, and resources to help adults support the success of all students, including those with learning challenges, special needs, and disabilities. Read more about their services

Here are their upcoming webinars:

  • Supporting Mental Health Through Play -  February 17 and February 24
  • IEP Updates - March 6 and March 7
  • Neurodiversity at Middle School - March 10
  • Unlocking the Mysteries of Sleep and the Developing Brain, March 14 and March 28
  • Preparing Families for Difficult Conversations about Alcohol & Drugs, March 21
  • Suicide Prevention: A School and Family Partnership, March 24

Learn more and register. You can also see recordings of their previous workshops and webinars. 

Office of the Ombuds: At Your Service!


Do you have questions or concerns about Fairfax County Public Schools? If so, reach out to the Office of the Ombuds, an independent, impartial, informal, and confidential resource for employees, parents/caregivers, students, and the community. Ombuds staff members are eager to listen and assist with navigating the school division. They will also offer options and resources to help resolve challenges.

Contact the Office of the Ombuds at 571-423-4014,, or via the “Submit a Question” button on their webpage. The team looks forward to serving you!

Community News 

Historical Marker Update

In 2022, area students submitted historical marker proposals to highlight the contributions of Black Americans in our communities. Six markers were chosen to be installed over the next year, and a committee is currently working on refining the language for the markers. 

The six markers to be installed will recognize:

  • Louise Archer, an educator, who supported numerous students over her time.
  • Lillian Blackwell, who sued successfully to ban segregation of public accommodations.
  • Annie Harper, who challenged the constitutionality of Virginia’s poll tax.
  • Gunnell’s Chapel, which was built on land donated by once enslaved Robert Gunnell. The chapel was also used as a school house.
  • Colin Powell, a long-time county resident, four-star General, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, founder of organization America’s Promise, and the first African American Secretary of State. There is an elementary school named after him in Centreville.
  • The West Springfield 16, who were enslaved persons who labored and lived where West Springfield High School is located today.

See the list of students and sponsors of the 14 finalist proposed historical markers.

The historical marker project was a joint effort between the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors, Fairfax County Public Schools, Fairfax County History Commission, and Fairfax County Neighborhood and Community Services.

Teens and Substance Abuse: Panel with Local Schools

A virtual panel on teen substance abuse will be hosted on Wednesday, February 22, at 7 p.m., by Formed Families Forward and the Northern Virginia Family Network. The panel will feature representatives from Alexandria City, Arlington, Fairfax County, Falls Church, Loudoun County, and Prince William County schools. Stefan Mascoll, coordinator of Student Safety and Wellness, will represent FCPS.  

Caregivers and community members can join to learn more about current challenges, how they are being addressed in schools, and how families can help. Please register in advance

Speed Camera Pilot Program Update

On December 6, the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors voted to launch a pilot program that will have ten speed monitoring devices (speed cameras) installed throughout the county. These cameras were launched on February 10 in school and construction zones. Thanks to our county partners for helping to improve the safety of our students and staff.

Studies show that speed camera enforcement is effective in improving safety by reducing speeding, accidents, and injuries. Read more about the school zone speed camera pilot program.

Five things to know about the pilot program.

  1. Studies indicate that speed camera enforcement reduces traffic-related injuries and accidents and ultimately saves lives.
  2. Speed cameras will help protect pedestrians, especially in congested and vulnerable locations.
  3. The pilot program has one overarching goal: to improve the safety of roads for all residents.
  4. For the first 30 days, motorists will receive a warning if the speed camera captures them speeding.
  5. There are no points or insurance impacts resulting from a citation. An escalating fine structure, starting at 10 mph over the limit, maxes out at $100.

Justice HS Scholarship Fund

Justice Scholarship Fund

The Justice High School Scholarship Fund (JHSSF) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization with the mission of providing need-based scholarships for Justice High School graduates pursuing post-secondary education. The Justice HS Scholarship Fund supports students who demonstrate a commitment to learning and being contributing members of their communities. The JHSSF has awarded, along with its partners, over $2,700,000 to help 877 Justice HS graduates take the important first step toward a college degree. Learn more.

Low-Cost Internet for Free and Reduced-Price Eligible Students

The Affordable Connectivity Program is a new Federal Communications Commission program to lower internet costs for families with children who have been eligible for free or reduced-price meals within the last 12 months. A qualifying household will receive $30 per month toward internet services and a one-time discount of up to $100 for a laptop, desktop computer, or tablet. Families can check their eligibility and register at or by calling 877-384-2575.

Visit the  Free and Reduced-Price Meals webpage for more information.

Student Opportunities

Fairfax County Public Health Youth Ambassador Program

NPR recently profiled the Fairfax County Health Department's "Public Health Youth Ambassador Program" which brings African, African American, and Hispanic high school students into the healthcare field through an extensive introductory program. Read the article and learn more about the program.

U.S. Department of Education Nationwide Call for Student Performing Artists

The U.S. Department of Education is seeking student performing artists (such as bands/marching bands, choirs, color guards, dancers, drumlines, poets/spoken word artists, soloists, theatrical performers) currently enrolled in institutions of elementary, secondary, or post-secondary education or accredited trade schools, who exemplify resilience, diversity, and excellence and are interested in showcasing their talent, virtually or in-person, at internal and external Department-hosted events, as well as awards and recognition ceremonies, and professional development trainings that support the Department’s programs, priorities, and initiatives and social media campaigns. No formal training or experience is necessary. Learn more

Smithsonian's Morning at the Museum

The Smithsonian's Morning at the Museum is a sensory-friendly program open to families of children and young adults with disabilities who are neurodiverse, autistic, or have other sensory processing disorders or cognitive disabilities. Registered families will have access to the entire museum, including the new Entertainment National exhibition, Spark!Lab which offers children hands-on inventive fun, and Wegman's Wonderplace, an area for Young Historians.

The program is free and all ages are welcome! Learn more about Morning at the Museum.

World of 8 Billion Student Video Contest

Through the World of 8 Billion Student video contest, middle and high school students are given a platform to think critically about global challenges related to population and to share solutions. Students explain how population growth impacts the global topics of climate change, gender equality, or waste and offer an idea for a sustainable solution. More than 80 students will be awarded cash prizes of up to $1,200. The deadline to submit is February 22, 2023.

Doodle for Google

"Do you like drawing or doodling? Would you like your drawing to be on the Google homepage and to receive a $30,000 college scholarship?  This year's Doodle for Google theme is 'I am grateful for...'  Use your imagination to create a Google Doodle based on what you are grateful for. Submit your doodle by March 7, 2023.

National Wildlife Federation Photo Contest

The National Wildlife Federation’s National Wildlife Photo Contest is accepting entries through March 26, 2023. Students between the ages of 13-17 may enter the Young Habitat Photographers category. Learn more about NWF’s National Wildlife Photo Contest and how to get a fee waiver.

Girls Who Code Artificial Intelligence Challenge

 Girls Who Code is challenging students and the community to create a project that explores how AI may be used for good. You may record a song about algorithmic bias, animate a short on automation, or code a game. The sky's the limit! Learn more about eligibility and how to enter. Submit your project by March 28, 2023

February Is …

Black History Month

Black history month graphic

Black History Month is an annual celebration of achievements by African Americans and a time for recognizing their central role in U.S. history. Learn more about the heritage months, celebrations, and traditions celebrated in FCPS. Learn more about Black History Month and see the School Board Resolution.

Career and Technical Education Month

CTE Month

Career and Technical Education month is a public awareness campaign held every February to celebrate the achievements and accomplishments of these programs. FCPS has a vast selection of these types of programs and the School Board adopted a recognition in their honor at our February 9 Regular Meeting and welcomed many students and staff who participate in these programs.


Here are just a few FCPS productions. Be sure to check out the Fine and Performing Arts Calendar on the FCPS website. Individual listings for many middle and high school theater events are featured. Users can subscribe to the calendar to be notified of upcoming performances, and each event can be added to a calendar or shared on social media.


Region 1: Madison HS, Student Directed One Acts, February 16-18,

Region 2: Marshall HS, One-Act Festival of Original Student-Written and Directed Plays, February 16-18, 


Region 3: Hayfield SS, The Play That Goes Wrong, Remaining performances February 16-18,

Region 4: Lake Braddock SS, Into the Woods, February 16-18, 


Region 5: Westfield HS, Student Directed One Act Festival, February 17-18,

Good News!

Region 1: Kudos to Rachel Carson Middle School instructor Mark Bolt  for designing an “Engineering With Empathy” unit for students in his Engineering 3 elective course. Read about how students were able to connect their learning with real life problems and an understanding of the challenges others may face. Read more.

Region 2: Congratulations to Ethan Zhou of McLean HS for being named one of 40 finalists for the Regeneron Science Talent Search. Congratulations to Ms. Quarry of McLean HS for being named a Regeneron teacher of merit! Read more.


Region 3: Congratulations to Coach Larry Choates at Lewis High School who was named by the Washington Commanders as the team’s nominee for the 2022 Don Shula NFL High School Coach of the Year Award. The league-wide award honors high school football coaches who display the integrity, achievement, and leadership qualities exemplified by the winningest coach in NFL History, Don Shula. Read more about this honor.

Region 4: Congratulations to Kyle Ryu, an 11th grader at Robinson SS, for being featured on NPR’s "From the Top" show. Read more about Kyle and listen to both parts of the podcast HERE. Watch a VIDEO of his amazing performance.

Region 4 Good News

Region 5:  Congratulations to Cadet Ryan Kim (Chantilly High School) who has received the Air Force Junior ROTC J-100 Character-in-Leadership Scholarship.  This scholarship is limited to 100 Air Force Junior ROTC cadets (there are 125,000 cadets worldwide) and includes a “full ride” to any college or university with an Air Force ROTC program and allows recipients to study any major they choose.  

Region 5 Good News

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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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