Community Update: Welcome to March!

Dear Community Members, 

What a time of year this is! Many students, families, and teachers are awaiting the status of future plans for high school seniors! I’ve heard of a mix of opportunities our future graduates are seeking, including 4-year college degrees, programs to earn work-credentials on a fast-track, gap years, and enlisting with the military. In my own family, we are having a major coming-of-age event happening this month, that has me looking back at old photos and being amazed how children become students, make and change friends, and obtain new skills and passions. I’m grateful to be a parent as I do the job to represent students, families, and residents because I can relate to this roller coaster of a ride!

On another note, I’d like to inform you about a topic that has been in Virginia and Fairfax news lately, regarding the Governor’s decision to single out an Advanced Placement (AP) course - African-American Studies - for review. State officials are spending resources reviewing this newly-offered course by the College Board, created by over 300 educators, to determine whether it violates the Governor’s Executive Order 1, to “end the use of inherently divisive concepts…”. This course is slated to be offered in select FCPS schools, including where Hunter Mill students attend.

I have communicated to the Governor and state Secretary of Education, Aimee Guidera, via letter that this action coupled with last year’s cancellation of Virginia’s Black History Month Historical Markers contest for students, and the Youngkin administration’s upcoming changes to Virginia’s History and Social Studies Standards of Learning (SOL) establish an alarming pattern of disregard for the academic needs of the Commonwealth's students.

I agree with my Board colleagues, Ricardy Anderson and Karen Keys-Gamarra, who stated, “The potential elimination of such courses segregates information for the benefit of a worldview that excludes the accomplishments of African Americans. Additionally … prohibiting or diminishing such a course harms all students, not just those of African American descent. Moreover, restricting access to this history places Virginia students at a distinct competitive disadvantage as their lack of knowledge could impede their ability to excel at the college level and beyond.”

I will continue advocating for students’ access to opportunities to achieve academic merit and excellence, such as via Advanced Placement courses, and to experience content that is vital to learning about America.

Finally, it’s been many years since I felt drawn into March Madness basketball. That’s changed in 2023! While traditionally about college basketball teams, we have some March Madness happening in Hunter Mill! From varsity post-season play off games, to middle school match ups, to elementary school community events – the game is ON when it comes to basketball around here! I hope to see you at these events, and others, this month.

Recent Work

Fiscal Year 24 Advertised Budget Approved 

Fiscal Year 24 Budget

I voted to support the Superintendent's Fiscal Year 2024 Advertised Budget during the February 23 School Board meeting. 

I was very pleased to hear Dr. Reid's update that the division is looking at a phased plan to right-size stipends for our fine and performing arts educators - more details on that to come soon. 

During my remarks, I spoke about the need for active collaboration and support at the state level. School divisions across Virginia are currently facing a shortfall of funding due to a Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) calculation error with an online tool that determines school financial aid. School divisions rely on this VDOE calculation tool, which serves as a baseline for building their local budgets. 

The statewide impact is projected to result in a shortfall of $58.1 million in Fiscal Year 2023 and $143.1 million in Fiscal Year 2024. Based on VDOE's formula, FCPS will face a shortfall of $5.1 million in FY23, and will have to revise the Superintendent's Introduced Budget in FY24 downward by $12.7 million. 

Overall, the FY 2024 Advertised Budget totals $3.5 billion—a net increase of $249.6 million or 7.6% over the FY 2023 Approved Budget. To support the investments included in this budget, the Superintendent is requesting an additional $159.6 million, or a 7.0%  increase, from the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors. Nearly 86% of the Advertised Budget is targeted at instruction. 

The budget includes innovative investments that aim to close the achievement gap for all students. Read more about those investments.

Capital Improvement Program Follow On Motions

The Board approved my motion at its February 23 Regular Meeting, to develop a plan to update the Ed Specs for renovations and new construction projects to include food preparation facilities that are most capable of delivering fresh and diverse food options. You can read more about the background of this work further down below.

The School Board also approved two additional follow on motions directing the Superintendent to:

  • Develop an annual School Traffic and Pedestrian Safety Assessment Program.
  • Bring forth a plan for the creation of a performing arts warehouse to be used to catalog and share sets, props, costumes, and other equipment. 
Construction hat graphic

School Year 2023-24 Calendar Follow On Motions

The School Board approved two follow on motions for school year calendar 2023-24 directing the Superintendent to:

  • Develop a plan for the promotion of enrichment and/or recreational activities that may be available for students to participate when schools are closed for professional work days and extended periods of time. 
  • Work with the Governance Committee on improving the school year calendar development process. Specifically, looking at which factors are considered in the process, how they are prioritized, and the timeline by which this work happens.

Academic Matters 

STEAM and Early Childhood Education

STEAM Video Preview

Superintendent Reid shared a video on Early Childhood Education, and STEAM and computer science learning during the Academic Matters segment of the February 23 meeting. 

100% of FCPS students in PreK and Early Childhood Special Education classes are engaging in STEAM!

Conversation with Dr. Reid on the COVID-19 Compensatory Education Plan

In December, FCPS shared that the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) in the U.S. Department of Education published a Resolution Agreement with Fairfax County Public Schools regarding the provision of special education services during the global COVID-19 pandemic. FCPS developed a plan to support the needs of students with disabilities whose learning was impacted during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Teachers and staff are actively working to implement the COVID-19 Compensatory Education Plan and ensure that all students are receiving the support they need to succeed. 

Dr. Reid invites all special education staff (e.g., teachers and related service providers), 504 case managers, and others who are invested in this work to join her for a conversation Monday, March 6, at 4:30 p.m. This will be a hybrid event, participants may join in person at Willow Oaks room 1000 A/B (pre-registration is required) or virtually via Zoom (pre-registration is requested). An American Sign Language interpreter will be at the event and visible on Zoom.

During the event Dr. Reid will share more about the work to implement the plan. You will have an opportunity to share your thoughts and concerns directly with the Superintendent. 

Please complete this form to indicate your preference for joining the meeting. In-person attendance is capped at 250 participants. Those requesting to attend in person will receive a confirmation email by 4 p.m. on Friday, March 3.

Join the meeting on Zoom, Monday, March 6, at 4:30 p.m. Please be sure to sign in to your FCPS Zoom account using your network credentials before clicking on the event link.

Upcoming School Board Meetings 

  • March 7 at 1:00 pm: Work Session
  • March 9 at 7:00 pm: Regular Meeting
    • Collective Bargaining
    • Fiscal Year 23 Third Quarter Budget Review
  • March 28 at 11:00 am: Work Session
    • Strategic Plan
    • Governance

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.

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.

School Board dais photo

Hunter Mill Happenings 

Marshall Road Elementary School students had a fantastic time at a “Science Share”, an event that was the brainchild of school staff. It was an optional offering, and many students from grades K-6 welcomed it! Staff said it was a way to continue growing students curiosity and joy for learning – in true, “kid creative” ways!

Students also got to dream even bigger, when the Madison HS Robotics Team (The Warbots) presented their robot, Susan, for the gathered crowd. This team of students continues its award-winning work from last year. Club members articulated how much they enjoyed the work and the comradery – which happens afterschool for a total of about 20 hours a week! I asked students if they’d like to do more of that work during the day, and they are interested in that! A cadre of parents and family members support this work, and one such volunteer (actually a dear friend of mine), said that in some places, this robotics club is an actual school-day class. This is certainly something to consider.

Another connection blooming among Madison pyramid schools is gardening opportunities! Marshall Road’s outdoor educator explained to me, while holding worms from the worm composter, that Madison students are working to help students with disabilities hone skills for planting and gardening.

Finally, the school's PTA uses some funding to run a composting program, which requires an outside vendor to pick up the collected food waste given the volume. Unfortunately, the majority of food being disposed is bought in the cafeteria. Fortunately, the Board approved my motion at its February 23 Regular Meeting, to develop a plan to update the Ed Specs for renovations and new construction projects to include food preparation facilities that are most capable of delivering fresh and diverse food options. This expands on the work from my February 2022 motion, directing the Superintendent to conduct an assessment and report back to the Board regarding FCPS facilities’ capabilities to support meeting best practices for school nutrition services.

FCPS is currently looking to hire new leadership for the Food and Nutrition Services Department, as well as continuing to utilize the eight central kitchens across the division. The central kitchen located in Falls Church is undergoing a remodel and staff alongside with community partners are looking into equipment that would allow for made from scratch cooking to be produced and delivered out to other neighboring schools!

Compost Crew, Science Share Night


Armstrong ES Renovation Community Meeting - March 16

Planning and design for the renovation of Armstrong Elementary School is underway! Join me for a community meeting on March 16 to learn more about the project and design process to date and share your views on the project and design process. Public feedback will be shared with the Fairfax County Planning Commission, Board of Supervisors, School Board, and FCPS staff on the community’s view of the project and design process to date. Please be aware, at this stage in the design and construction process, no major changes may be made but small adjustments may be considered. 

The March 16 community meeting will be in the school cafeteria, 6:30 - 7:30 p.m. Language interpretation will be provided based on the availability of interpretation staff.  

Learn more about the Armstrong Elementary School Renovation project.

March Madness - Hunter Mill Athletes Shine

It's hard to re-cap all the amazing accomplishments happening with the basketball teams at Madison and South Lakes! Both the Madison Girls team and South Lakes Boys team prevailed as Region Champions! Congratulations, also, to the many students who made the All-Region teams, and to Jordan Scott (South Lakes) for being named Player of the Year.

I'm looking forward to the Quarterfinals on March 3:

  • Madison Boys vs Hayfield (at South County)
  • Madison Girls vs West Potomac (at South Lakes)
  • South Lakes Boys vs Edison (at Westfield)
Madison and South Lakes HS Basketball Images

Students Focused on Sustainability in Vienna 

Vienna Girl Scouts

Vienna-based Girl Scout Troop 2579 took to the streets to remove a large amount of trash nearby to Southside Park in Vienna, near the new underpass of Nutley Rd. I was happy to join them and remove debris – and then nosh on the famous cookies afterwards. 😉 Just a few days prior, I had met with students of Madison High School’s MAD Climate Club, who asked to have more instruction about climate change in their science classes. I agree! This, combined with instruction on local government and its connection with climate change solutions, is something I’ve advocated for to the Superintendent, the School Board, and the State Board of Education – and will continue to do.

Floris ES Mathletes Soar

Congratulations to the Floris ES 6th grade Mathletes (Kevin S., Ishaan G., Aayush M., Jasmine W., Abhinav P., Abhijit C., Aaron H., and Rasem Y.) for their performance at the annual PTA Sponsored MathCounts competition! Special recognition was awarded to Kevin S. and Ishaan G., who placed in the top 25% of all participating students.       

Floris ES school logo

Madison HS Teacher Recognized as Outstanding Secondary Teacher

Shani Moser with Melanie Meren

I was very excited to help present Madison HS World Languages teacher, Shani Moser, as the Outstanding Secondary Teacher for Region 1! Ms. Moser is a dedicated educator and the Warhawk community is lucky to have her.

2023 Regional Scholastic Writing Awards

Congratulations to the Hunter Mill students who were recognized in the 2023 Regional Scholastic Writing Awards. In all, 213 Gold Key, Silver Key, and Honorable Mentions were earned by FCPS students!

The Scholastic Art and Writing Awards, presented by the Alliance for Young Artists and Writers, is the largest, longest-running recognition program of its kind in the United States. Writing categories include critical essay, dramatic script, flash fiction, humor, journalism, novel writing, personal essay and memoir, poetry, science fiction and fantasy, short story, and writing portfolio. Visit this website for a complete list of FCPS winners.

Northern Virginia Leadership Awards Presented in Reston

The 2023 Northern Virginia Leadership Awards (NVLAs) were celebrated in late February at Reston Community Center.

The NVLAs are bestowed annually to talented community leaders and organizations that have made a significant impact on Northern Virginia through volunteerism, philanthropy, and community leadership in the following categories: Regional Leadership; Non-Profit Leadership; Corporate Leadership and Educational Leadership.

FCPS' own Dr. Nardos King and Shannon Matheny were both recognized.

Dr. King was honored for Non-Profit Leadership. She serves as the President of the Donna M. Saunders Foundation, the DC Metro HBCU Alliance and the National Alliance of Black School Educators.

Shannon, who serves as the West Springfield HS Assistant Principal, was honored for Educational Leadership. Matheny has created a school within the school, with a student-centered environment that helps students find their own path and achieve more than they knew they were capable of achieving.

Opportunities for Reston Residents to Vote, Give Input 

Colorful hands reaching up graphic

If you live in Reston and pay Reston Association dues, then you are eligible to vote in the Reston Association’s elections, which run from March 1-March 31! This Board manages policies that determine the services, environmental sustainability, and growth in much of Reston. Click here for more information.

Also, efforts are underway to gain consensus around an economic vision in what’s emerging as a Lake Anne Community Revitalization Area. The goal is to gain an understanding of the perspectives of residents, business owners, and visitors of Lake Anne and what they see as challenges and opportunities for the area. The survey will be open until March 10. For more information and to take the online survey, click here.

March Is...

Read Across America Day

Read Across America Day is celebrated annually on March 2, the birthday of children's book author Dr. Seuss.

I was glad to visit with the Cunningham Park ES community where we enjoyed arts and crafts, stories read aloud by guests and teachers, a PTA sponsored raffle, and the launch of their annual readathon!

Read Across America Cunningham Park celebration


Did you know that every child under the age of five in Reston and Herndon can receive a free book each month? A big thank you to the RoSigle Foundation and the Rotary Club of Herndon who help to make this possible!

To learn more about this program and register your child, visit Dolly Parton's Imagination Library website

Let's celebrate reading!

Dolly Parton Imagination Library

National Athletic Training Month 

National Athletic Training Month Video

The School Board recognized March 2023 as National Athletic Training Month during the February 23 Regular Meeting. 

This year’s theme, “There’s an AT for That”, reflects the multifaceted role FCPS Athletic Trainers play in promoting the health and safety of our student-athletes before, during and after practices and competitions.

During the 2021-22 school year, FCPS athletic trainers provided care to over 9,500 individual student-athletes, treating more than 19,700 injuries. Even when faced with unprecedented circumstances, FCPS athletic trainers play a vital role in our overall efforts to support athletic opportunities for all FCPS students.

Women's History Month

Women's History Month

Every year, March is designated Women’s History Month by presidential proclamation. The month is set aside to honor women’s contributions in American history.

To highlight just one woman's contribution, learn about the namesake of Louise Archer ESIn 2020, FCPS interviewed three former students of Mrs. Archer - watch that video here

"Mrs. Archer is still remembered with a great deal of affection. She has left in the minds and hearts of those who knew her an unforgettable example of dedication, commitment, and service to mankind." 

~ Sylvia B. Taylor

Learn more about the heritage months, celebrations, and traditions celebrated in FCPS. 

Other Information of Interest 

School Board Student Representative Application Open

Student Representative to the School Board video

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 FCPS students’ interests. The Superintendent’s Student Advisory Council (SAC) student delegates will vote to elect the representative to the School Board in April.

To be eligible, students should currently be in grades 9, 10, and 11; be a resident of Fairfax County or Fairfax City; and be an FCPS student. Students do not need to be current SAC members to apply. However, students are required to provide a written application by Friday, March 17, and a 30-second candidate statement via Flip video, which is due Friday, March 31

Watch the video above to hear from current Representative Michele Togbe, as she describes the demands, expectations, and rewards of the position. Learn more.

Kindergarten Registration

FCPS is excited to begin our thinking about 2023-24! Do you have a child at home who will be five by September 30, 2023? If you have any neighbors with little ones, please send this information to them as well. Please contact your local school's registrar to start the registration process. Determine your local school. Here is the registration information for Kindergarten or any new students. Many schools have scheduled their Kindergarten Orientations for the next several weeks.

Kindergarten Students

Improved Access to Language Translation on FCPS Websites

In a continued effort to prioritize access for our diverse communities, FCPS is launching a language translation feature that will be available on every division and school webpage. The feature will be added to the header at the top of the page and will scroll with the user as they navigate the page. Learn more about our new translation feature.

FCPS Website Translation

Webinars and Events for Parents/Families

FCPS’ Parent Resource Center (PRC) is dedicated to helping adults support the success of all students. The PRC will present the following webinars and in-person events in March:

  • IEP Updates: A Webinar for Families: Monday, March 6, at 6:30 p.m. and Tuesday, March 7, at 10 a.m.  The Department of Special Services will provide resources for families including an overview of the FCPS Special Education Enhancement Plan, and updated policies and procedures.
  • Neurodiversity at Middle School: Friday, March 10, at 10 a.m.  Kristen Haynor, a neurodiversity specialist, will share strategies on setting your child up for success (no matter how their brain functions), advocating for your child, and collaborating with your child’s school.

Click on the titles above to register.

Fairfax County Teen Job Fair Series

Looking for a job or volunteer opportunity? All students are invited to attend the 2023 Fairfax County Teen Job Fair Series kicking off Saturday, March 11th from 11am to 1pm at West Springfield High School. The other fairs will be held on Saturday, March 18th at South County High School from 11am to 1pm and on Saturday March 25th from 1-3pm at Chantilly High School. At each fair, students will have the opportunity to engage with employers offering part-time, full-time, seasonal, and volunteer positions. During the fairs, students will also be able to attend career-building workshops like Resume Building and Interviewing 101. Most positions at the fair are geared toward students age 16+, but some opportunities for younger students may be available with parental consent. Registration for students is free and available online or at the fairs. For more information, or to register, please visit the Teen Job Fair webpage.

Public Hearing on 2023 History and Social Science Standards of Learning

The Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) will hold public hearings on the Proposed Revised 2023 History and Social Science Standards of Learning. The Standards of Learning identify the essential content, processes, and skills for grade levels and subject courses. 

Public comment regarding the proposed revised 2023 History and Social Science Standards of Learning may be offered through public hearings or public comment on the VDOE website until Tuesday, March 21. A hearing will be held Tuesday, March 14, at 7 p.m. at George Washington’s Mount Vernon. Visit the VDOE webpage for more information.

Youth Conservation Camp for HS Students

Applications are now open for Youth Conservation Camp, held July 9-15 on the Virginia Tech campus. The program brings together 70 students for a week of learning about Virginia's natural resources from hands-on experience with conservation professionals and faculty from Virginia Tech. Students in grades 9-12 are eligible to apply and may receive a partial scholarship from NVSWCD. Applications are due Friday, April 28. Learn more about Youth Conservation Camp, including how to obtain an application and contact NVSWCD with questions.

Job Opportunities

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.

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.

Explore other 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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