March 2023 Newsletter

Mason District Community,

It has been a busy few weeks as you will find below. The School Board has completed its work to approve the Resolution allowing Collective Bargaining for FCPS employees. As a former teacher and administrator who participated in the Collective Bargaining process, the approval of the resolution presents an opportunity for staff to truly partner with FCPS leadership and the School Board to address concerns and identify solutions collectively.  

To dispel circulating myths, Collective Bargaining is not anti-students, nor is it license for teachers to ignore the curriculum. Rather, Collective Bargaining offers the chance to foster an environment in which staff can provide their best to our students as they will be explicitly informed of the issues and will lend their voice in the solutions to those challenges - which in turn, will benefit our students. 

Last week, I attended the Justice High School addition community meeting. Significant feedback was received from those in attendance and are highlighted below. The most important takeaway for staff is that the presented solution isn’t sufficient to meet the needs of the community and additional work is needed.

I am very excited that an issue which I have championed for several months has been completed. Parents and caregivers will be able to view the pacing guides of the academic subjects in order to help their students navigate school work and be adequately prepared to ask teachers specific questions to support their students.

Lastly, in two previous newsletters, I have presented information regarding the history standards, of which Governor Youngkin has initiated a hasty revision, devoid of the academic rigor and scholarly input typical of such initiatives. There is an opportunity for the community to provide their feedback at a public hearing on March 14th at 7:00 p.m. at Mt. Vernon (3200 Mount Vernon Memorial Highway, Mount Vernon, VA). Alternatively, a feedback form is available online through March 21st. The School Board will also be sharing its concerns associated with the revised standards. 

I value the input I receive from the Mason District Community and am happy to address questions or concerns via email or phone. You can reach me by email at If you are interested in scheduling a phone call, please reach out to my assistant, Cristy Coffey, at to arrange a time.


In this newsletter, you will find information about the following:

Bren Mar Park Renovation 2022-2023 SEPTA Excellence Awards
Justice High School Addition Update New! Virtual Mental Health Services
Recent School Board Action Review Strategic Plan Draft Goals
Mason District Roundtable Apply to be a Tutor
New! Curriculum Pacing Guides Girls Who Code Summer Program
History Standards FBI Agents in Training Program
School-Zone Speed Camera Pilot Food For Neighbors
Opioid Awareness Meeting Mason District Recognitions
Kindergarten Registration Mason District Events
Registration for SACC Audit Buzz
Spring Break/Teacher Work Day Camps Upcoming School Board Meetings


Bren Mar Park Renovation


Rendering of Proposed Bren Mar Park Library

Planning and design for the renovation of Bren Mar Park is underway and your feedback is needed. Please join the community meeting scheduled for tomorrow, Tuesday, March 14 to review the renovation design and provide feedback. The feedback form will remain open through March 28, 2023.

The March 14 community meeting will be a hybrid event, allowing participants to choose to attend in-person at the Bren Mar Park cafeteria or virtually via Zoom (no pre-registration is needed). The meeting is scheduled for 6:00 - 7:00 p.m. Language interpretation will be provided as requested. Join the meeting on Zoom.

Learn more about the Bren Mar Park Elementary School project.

Save the Date: A follow-up meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, April 12, 6:00 - 7:00 p.m. to share the community’s feedback and the response from FCPS staff.

Justice High School Addition Update


On March 7, FCPS staff presented an update to the community explaining what to expect during the construction phase of the project. This hybrid event was attended by approximately 100 parents/staff/community members.

During the meeting, Facilities staff explained that a temporary arrangement has been made with the Church of Christ for their parking lot to be used for staff and students during school construction, Monday - Thursday. There are serious concerns about this proposed parking solution. The church lot is approximately ¼ mile from the school and it seems unreasonable for teachers and students to be required to walk this distance each day. Additionally, there is not a plan to address the parking demands on Fridays when the church lot is unavailable for our students and staff. There are also outstanding questions regarding the safety and security of the proposed route.  

Other concerns raised during the meeting include the Kiss and Ride plan which, as per the presentation, will result in the convergence of pedestrian traffic, school bus traffic and vehicular traffic at the corner entrance to the school on Peace Valley Lane. Parents voiced questions about the lack of a crossing guard or other traffic calming measures.

Staff is aware that this plan is not feasible as presented and will work on developing alternatives to address outstanding issues. 

Please also be informed that plans are underway to convene the Work Group asked to address the long-term parking concerns at Justice High School as per the proffer from the Board of Supervisors last July. More detailed information will be shared in the coming weeks.

Learn more about the Justice High School project and provide your feedback. The feedback form will remain open through March 21, 2023. 

Recent School Board Action

Collective Bargaining

The School Board voted to approve the FCPS Collective Bargaining Resolution at the March 9th Regular Meeting.

The Virginia Assembly approved legislation that became effective May 1, 2021, allowing locally elected organizations to enact a resolution to create collective bargaining agreements with employee groups. Subsequently, meetings were scheduled with representatives of the 17 FCPS Certified Employee Associations during the spring of 2021 to determine common issues and their interests in participating in the process.

The School Board held a work session and public hearing on the draft resolution before the vote on March 9, 2023. 

More information is available online

Calendar Update

As mentioned in my February newsletter, action on proposed follow-on motions regarding the School Year Calendar was rescheduled for the February 23 Regular Meeting. I was pleased to second a motion for the development of a calendar policy to be established prior to any future calendar discussions. The motion was unanimously approved.

CIP Update

In my February newsletter, I announced my intention to propose a motion to address significant traffic and safety concerns at Belvedere Elementary School’s kiss and ride. As many schools in FCPS suffer similar challenges, my motion was incorporated into a more comprehensive decision which requires staff to develop an annual School Traffic and Pedestrian Safety Assessment Program to address school traffic and pedestrian safety concerns resulting from severely congested kiss and ride lines, bus traffic, and other issues. 

This annual review, similar to the Capital Improvement Program’s (CIP), will result in a menu of potential mitigation strategies applied to an equitable selected queue of schools with the most pressing needs.

In addition, I helped present a motion directing staff to develop a plan updating the Educational Specifications for renovations and new construction projects to include food preparation facilities that are most capable of delivering fresh and diverse food options.

Parental Notifications and Policy 3290: Instructional Materials with Sexually Explicit Content

A Virginia law passed in spring 2022 requires schools to create a policy for parental notification of sexually explicit content/materials. In December 2022, the School Board adopted FCPS Policy 3290: Parental Notification Regarding Instructional Materials with Sexually Explicit Content

While FCPS has had policies in place for many years regarding the review of instructional materials, communication with parents, and options for alternative instructional materials, an expectation of this new policy is the 30-day parental notification requirement of sexually explicit content in instructional materials assigned or selected by teachers. After reviewing the notification letter, parents or caregivers who prefer to choose alternative instructional materials for their child must submit this form to the appropriate teacher within the 30-day notification window. View Policy 3290 for more information.

Mason District Roundtable

Join me later this month for a virtual roundtable discussion to hear from two guest presenters:

  • Joash Chung, Manager of Tutoring Services, will provide an introduction to, highlighting the many online tutoring services available to students.
  • Leigh Burden, Assistant Superintendent of Financial Services, will provide an overview of the FY 2024 Advertised Budget.

Wednesday, March 29, 2023
6:30 – 8:00 p.m.
Register to Attend (Zoom)
Spanish interpretation will be available. Please indicate if another language is needed.

Learn more about

Learn more about the FCPS Budget

NEW - Curriculum Information for Core Content on FCPS Website

The curriculum overviews and unit standards from the planning and pacing guides that reflect the scope and sequence of core content areas across K-12 were recently posted on the FCPS public website.

The goal is to provide families with a comprehensive overview of what students are learning and when they are learning it.

An introductory paragraph on each grade level or course page includes the following statements: 

  • The objectives and outcomes for each unit are common across FCPS and based on the Virginia Standards of Learning.
  •  The pacing by quarter and by week provides an example of how the curriculum can be organized throughout the year. Teacher teams may adjust the pacing or order of units to best meet the needs of students.

Information will be updated at the start of each school year to reflect curriculum updates. To access the grade level and/or course web pages directly, first search for the level within the Academics page, select grade level or content, and click on "Year at a Glance." 

This work in progress is expected to be completed by the third week of March.

History Standards

As previously mentioned in the December and February newsletters, the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) recently proposed major changes to the History and Social Studies learning standards. 

The most recent draft, proposed 2023 History and Social Science Standards of Learning, is available for public comment through March 21, 2023 via public hearings or the online public comment form. For information about the review process and public hearing details, refer to the VDOE History and Social Science Standards of Learning Revision website.

The School Board will offer comments regarding the revisions on March 14th at Mount Vernon’s public hearing.  

The most current draft poses significant challenges upon implementation and fails to align with effective pedagogical practices. The new documents limit the inclusive representation and diverse perspectives of many Americans. The guiding principles document is explicitly ideological rather than focused on developing the disciplinary skills of history and social sciences and fostering critical thinking skills. 

The African American History Education Commission’s recommendations of technical edits for enriched standards are not accounted for in the new document. There are several examples of developmentally inappropriate sequencing of content for our youngest learners (i.e. the “Code of Hammurabi” is listed as required content for First Grade (SOL 1.1c).

The new documents de-emphasize the concept and inquiry-based approaches that were proposed by the revision committees and return to an emphasis on rote memorization, and have changed the course sequence currently in use in FCPS. Furthermore, they would require the abandonment of the 5th grade FCPS curriculum on world civilizations.  


School-Zone Speed Camera Pilot Program Launched

Fairfax County has launched a speed camera pilot program targeting several school zones where speeding is common. Speed cameras have been installed in the following locations:

  • Chesterbrook Elementary School
  • Irving Middle School
  • Key Middle School
  • London Towne Elementary School
  • Sleepy Hollow Elementary School
  • South County Middle School
  • Terraset Elementary School
  • West Springfield High School

Thank you to Fairfax County for helping to ensure we are all more safe as we travel to and from school! 

Opioid Awareness Meeting: The Dangers of Fentanyl in Our Community

Opioid video

Substance abuse and related behavioral health problems can have a major impact on students, families, and communities. These impacts have become even more serious due to the increasing prevalence of fentanyl in drugs and other substances. Fentanyl is an incredibly powerful and dangerous opioid. Small amounts of fentanyl can easily lead to life-threatening overdoses. In 2021, fentanyls were identified in 77.14% of adolescent overdose deaths.

Please join Superintendent Reid for a community meeting on Opioid awareness, tonight, Monday, March 13, 6:30 - 8 p.m. at Fairfax High School. During this event, you will hear from individuals and family members affected by the opioid epidemic, medical experts, and law enforcement representatives. You will also have an opportunity to hear directly from Fairfax County Public Schools and the Fairfax County Police Department about local initiatives to address this issue.

Registration is closed for tonight’s event, but walk-ins are welcome.


It’s Kindergarten Registration Time!

There’s an easy five-step process for parents wanting to register their child for kindergarten.

After the appointment at the school (the student and one caregiver must be present), the student will be ready for orientation, Bridge to Kindergarten, or any other introductory events each school may host. Read more about the registration process.

Registration for SACC

Fairfax County’s School Aged Child Care (SACC) program offers before-and after-school care for children attending kindergarten through sixth grade in most Fairfax County public elementary schools and Fairfax County community centers. Children with special needs are fully included in all SACC centers. In addition, SACC programs at Key and Kilmer centers serve youth, ages 5-21, with multiple types of disabilities.

Registration for the 2023-2024 school year began March 9, and is scheduled alphabetically by the name of the elementary school your child(ren) will attend. Visit the SACC website for more information.

Spring Break and Teacher Work Day Camps

Fairfax County Park Authority (FCPA) is offering camps during spring break (April 3-7) and FCPS teacher workdays (April 14 and April 21)! FCPA camps are held in recreation centers, parks, schools, and virtually. Categories include: Sports, performing arts, STEM, music, and others. Kids can explore a special interest or learn something new while making new friends. Register today.

Check out the Camps website for a complete list of options or browse the FCPA Spring and Summer Camp 2023 Guide (PDF). 


2022-2023 SEPTA Excellence Awards

Nominate FCPS staff, students, and community members for a SEPTA Award of Excellence now through March 17, 2023.

Nominees should be an outstanding supporter of special education and a champion of inclusion! Anyone can submit a nomination. You do not need to be a SEPTA member to nominate someone or to be nominated! More information and nomination forms are available online.

New! Virtual Mental Health Services

FCPS has partnered with Hazel Health to offer virtual mental health services to all FCPS high school students. Hazel Health provides therapy via video sessions from a student’s home on any computer or smart device. 

Starting April 10, FCPS will be offering short-term, evidence-based, culturally-response mental health teletherapy for students via any device, Monday - Friday from 7 a.m. - 7 p.m. 

The first step is to provide information through an opt-in form available in ParentVUE. Learn more about this service.

Review Draft Goals for FCPS’ New Strategic Plan

Strategic planning video

Please take a moment to share your perspective on the draft work-to-date related to the development of FCPS’ new Strategic Plan. Your input is important to this work and will help ensure a thriving future for each and every FCPS student.

FCPS emailed the survey link to all parents and caregivers on Monday, March 6th. If you are a community member who does not have a student enrolled in FCPS, please use this link to participate. The survey closes March 20, 2023.

The survey is available in English, Spanish, Arabic, Korean, Chinese, Urdu, and Vietnamese. All responses are anonymous and confidential. Information from the survey will be shared with and analyzed by Performance Fact, Inc. (PFI), the company FCPS hired to help create our Strategic Plan. Visit our Strategic Planning webpage for more details.

Tutor on computer with student

Apply Now! Tutors Needed

FCPS is actively recruiting qualified tutors to provide in-person academic support 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. 

Tutors hired through this program will be strategically placed across the region where there is the most need for in-person tutoring to benefit students. 

Note: Current FCPS staff can only apply to tutor outside of their contracted hours.

Girls Who Code - Free Summer Virtual Programs

This summer, Girls Who Code is offering free virtual programs for high school girls and non-binary students to learn computer science skills. More than learning to code, participants will meet inspiring professionals across diverse industries and tap into lifelong college and career support to help them succeed in their first interviews and jobs. All high school girls and non-binary students are welcome to apply, including past participants!

2-week Summer Immersion Program for current 9th-11th graders:  participants will join live, supportive classrooms hosted by industry-leading companies like MetLife, Bank of America, and Accenture. Learn the fundamentals of game design, UX, and the iterative design process. By the end of the program, participants will build a suite of short games using p5.js, a JavaScript library for creative coding. Eligible students can apply for laptop or hotspot access and $300 grants for financial support.

6-week Self-Paced Program for current 9th-12th graders:  participants will learn to code through independent study and real-world projects. Students can choose from three learning tracks and earn beginner-level certificates of completion in HTML, CSS, or JavaScript for web development or intermediate-level certificates of completion in Python for cybersecurity or data science.

Students should apply by the March 24th general application deadline. More information is available through Girls Who Code webinars

FBI Future Agents in Training - Accepting Applications


The FBI Washington Field Office is currently accepting applications for its 2023 Future Agents in Training program. The program will welcome high school students between the ages of 16 and 18 years old on July 17-21, 2023, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. (applicants must be 16 by 7/17/23 to apply) 

This program offers students an inside view of the FBI; a chance to meet special agents from SWAT, Evidence Response, and HAZMAT; and tours at Quantico and FBI Headquarters. 

View and download 2023 FAIT program application.

Food For Neighbors


Justice High School’s PTSA has recently partnered with Food For Neighbors to help feed local students who deal with food insecurity outside of school hours. One in four kids in our area are struggling with hunger. 

To learn more about how you can help, visit the Food For Neighbors’ website.

Mason District Recognitions

National Board-Certified Teachers

Congratulations to the 36 FCPS teachers who recently achieved or renewed their certification from the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS).

Initial certification and renewal of National Board Certification is a multi-year process requiring teachers to compile and submit a portfolio documenting their high quality instruction, ability to differentiate, and demonstrating how their practices continue to align with the Five Core Propositions of Accomplished Teaching in their certificate area. 

A special recognition goes out to the seven teachers from Mason District Schools:

Newly Certified: Rayna Rossini at Camelot ES

Renewed Certification: Catherine Giacomo at Bailey’s ES, Gloretta Durrant at Bailey’s Upper, Jenifer Hitchcock at TJHSST, Kathleen Mathis at Annandale HS, Michelle McKenna at Columbia ES, and Sydney Riffe at Westlawn ES.

Regional Scholastic Writing Awards

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. 

Congratulations to the following Mason District students:

Justice High School: Nourelhoda Alashlem and Safinabonu Juraeva

Woodson High School: Srivaishnavi Kommireddy

View the full list of FCPS winners.

Peace Awards

Student Peace Awards

The Student Peace Awards of Fairfax County began in 2006, encouraging students to think about peace as both a means and an end, and to recognize young people who work as peacemakers. Twenty-seven schools chose a recipient for the 2022-2023 award. The student projects are impressive and inspiring. Take a moment to read about the important work being done by the award recipients from the Mason District:

Annandale HS: Filimon Meaza

Falls Church HS: Lucia Patino Iporre

Justice HS: Girl Up Club

TJHSST: Social Change Club

Recipients will be honored at a reception on March 19th, 2023. A complete list of student profiles is available on the Student Peace Awards webpage.

Walentas Scholarship Recipient

The Walentas Scholarship was established to cultivate outstanding undergraduate students at the University of Virginia, providing them with financial support to pursue their passions and develop their talents for the good of the University and beyond. The Walentas Scholarship is intended to cover the entire cost of attendance for four years at the University of Virginia, plus coverage of supplemental enrichment experiences. The selection process is based on demonstrated excellence and exceptional potential in the areas of leadership, scholarship, and citizenship. Walentas Scholarships are awarded to individuals who have undergone a rigorous selection process and who possess an exceptional record of accomplishment both inside and outside the classroom. 

Congratulations to Jenna Saykhamphone from Annandale High School! This is the second year in a row that an Annandale graduating senior has earned this prestigious award. 

Review of Justice High School's Pippin

Many FCPS high schools participate in the Washington, D.C., chapter of the Critics and Awards Program for High School Theatre, also known as the Cappies. Through this program, high school theater and journalism students are trained as critics, attend shows at other schools, write reviews, and publish those reviews in local newspapers. 

Read the review of Justice High School's production of Pippin, written by Andrew Landrum of Herndon High School.

Mason District Events

18th Annual Falls Church High School Jaguar 5k and 1 Mile Kids Fun Run

This year’s Jaguar 5k and fun run will be held on Saturday April 22rd, 2023. The 1 Mile Fun Run begins at 8am and the Jaguar5k begins at 8:30am. Register today!

Jaguar 5k Volunteers Needed. We are looking for volunteers to help with the 2023 Jaguar 5k. If you can help, please sign up here. The Jaguar 5k will be on Saturday, April 22nd.  Contact Belinda Kim with questions at 

Middle School Theatre

Holmes Middle School Theatre Dept presents:
Footloose the Musical, Youth Edition
March 24 - 25, 2023

Tickets available now!



Audit Buzz

The latest issue of Audit Buzz summarizes the status of current engagements, discusses myths about auditors, and celebrates internal audit awareness. Prior editions of Audit Buzz are archived on the Office of Auditor General’s website.

Upcoming School Board Meetings

Regular School Board Meetings (Luther Jackson Middle School)

  • March 30, 2023 at 7 p.m.
  • April 13, 2023 at 7 p.m.

Work Sessions (Gatehouse Administration Center)

  • March 28, 2023 at 11 a.m. (Strategic Plan Retreat)
  • April 11, 2023 at 12:30 p.m.

All meetings will be broadcast live on Channel 99 (Verizon channel 11) and on the FCPS website. The meetings are recorded for future viewing and posted to the FCPS School Board YouTube channel.

Visit the community participation webpage to sign up to speak at a regular meeting or public hearing.


Reuniones de la Junta Escolar de FCPS en Español

Para ver las reuniones de la Junta Escolar grabadas o para ver en vivo durante las reuniones regulares en YouTube, por favor vaya al canal de YouTube de FCPS en Español o escanee el código QR.

We are cognizant of the significant language needs of the Mason District and I will continue to advocate for their availability and inclusion.

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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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