Belvedere News and Announcements - March 17, 2023

From the Administration

Dear Belvedere Family:

We have had an exciting week of learning at Belvedere!   In the PYP, action is considered to be both an application of learning and an opportunity for students to engage in a form of contribution or service. It gives students an chance to exercise voice and choice in their learning.  Three outstanding examples of action happened this week in kindergarten, in third grade, and in the fifth grade chorus concert.

Kindergarten engaged in participatory action, exploring math in their Messy Math Fair. Students had a chance to explore natural materials around the school and use them to make representations of mathematical content. This included counting, symmetry, and shapes. Students were so excited gathering materials and working collaboratively.

Third graders engaged in action focused on participation, advocacy, and social entrepreneurship through the Seed Sale this week.  Ms. Auerbach, environmental teacher, worked with the third-grade team of teachers and students to prepare for this event. Student collected the seeds, made and designed seed packets, made signage and advertisements for the sale, and took on various roles during the seed sale. These included greeters, customer service representatives, and cashiers.  This project spanned multiple inquiry units from fall until now.  Thank you to all who came to support our students. It was a huge success!

The fifth grade chorus concert brought our school together in participatory collective action as a caring audience. Students across grade levels came to see the performance.  Students respectfully attended the performance and embodied the learner profile attributes of caring, principled, and communicators. The fifth graders did a wonderful job, and we hope you can join us on Monday night at 6:30 for the chorus performance.

Cecilia Vanderhye, Principal, & Kelly Cabezas, Assistant Principal

collage of students

Kindergarten Orientation - April 27

Kindergarten Orientation for the 2023-2024 school year will be held on Thursday April 27th at 6 – 7:30pm in the Belvedere Cafeteria.  Registration is now open and we encourage parents to bring their paperwork in as soon as possible.  No appointment is necessary.

Registration forms can be found at or you can stop by the office and we can give you a packet.  Please contact our registrar, Mandy Belcher at 703-916-6804 or by email at,  if you have any questions. 

We look forward to welcoming you to Belvedere ES!

kinder orientaiton

Your Views and Opinions Are Important to Us!

On Monday, March 13, Belvedere parents/guardians will be contacted through email with a link to the FCPS Principal Evaluation Parent/Guardian Feedback Form Online. This questionnaire is part of the Performance Evaluation Program and offers parents/guardians an opportunity to provide anonymous input about various topics related to our school. These topics include instructional leadership, school climate, management (human resources and organizational), communication and community relations, culturally responsive and equitable leadership, and professionalism.

The questionnaire will be collected online between March 13 and March 24. When you receive an email from FCPS Surveys, please take a few minutes to complete the questionnaire. Your opinions matter!

Chorus Concert - Monday, March 20

We hope you can join us for our chorus concert on Monday, March 20 at 6:30 pm in the gym.  Our music teachers and 5th grade chorus students have been working hard to prepare an excellent program. See you there!

Belvedere Outdoor Club

Join Outdoor Club trip on Saturday, March 18, 2023 at Bull Run Regional Park. Outdoor Club meets on Saturday mornings several times per year to explore local parks with students and their families. Bus transportation is available from Belvedere and Barcroft View apartments. More information and permission slips were sent home in Friday folders (also available here). Space is limited and participation is first come, first served, as forms are received. 

Outdoor Club trips are scheduled for 4/29 and 5/20. Please contact our Environmental Educator, Andrea Auerbach ( with questions.

Family STEM Author Visit

Thank you to all of the families who came to our STEM Author Visit on Thursday! Erin Teagan joined us and gave us a peek into how she uses research and science to write works of fiction.


Student Intention Forms for Next Year

All students received an intention form for next year in their Friday folders last week!  This form lets us know who is returning or leaving Belvedere next school year.  Please complete the top section of the form and return it to your child's teacher or the main office as soon us possible. Many thanks!

Parent Coffee with Ms. Vanderhye and Ms. Cabezas

Our next Parent Coffee will be on Friday March 24th from 10 a.m. until 11 a.m.  Our conversation will center around the curriculum overviews and unit standards from the planning and pacing guides that were posted on the FCPS public web. We will explore how this is woven into the K-5 units of inquiry at Belvedere. We look forward to seeing you there.

parent coffee info


This year, the first day of Ramadan is Wednesday, March 22. Ramadan is the most sacred month of the year, a time for spiritual discipline for Muslims, who believe it was during this month that God revealed the first verses of the Quran to Mohammed. Read more about Ramadan in National Geographic Kids. Ramadan begins with a half “O Day” on March 22, followed by an O Day on March 23. The school calendar recognizes many religious and cultural observances (O days) during the school year. There is school on these days, however, the School Board has directed that tests, quizzes, field trips, graduation, homecoming, or FCPS-scheduled athletic events will not be held on these observance days. Half-O days are full school days, but important events will not be held after school on those days. See the complete 2022-23 school year calendar.

Parent Internet Activity Reports

FCPS parents who are interested in knowing more about their child’s Internet browsing activity on an FCPS device can sign up to receive a weekly Parent Report from Lightspeed, our internet content filtering service. The report provides a list of the top sites the child visited that week. 

Additionally, if parents wish to get more detailed information, the weekly Parent Report offers parents the ability to self-sign-up to the free Internet Use Parent Portal. Parents who sign up for the Internet Use Parent Portal can log-in any time to see a little more detail about their child’s internet browsing. The portal also offers the parent added ability to “pause” access to the internet during non-school hours on the FCPS device.  

Interested parents can submit a request directly from the Technology Support for Families page for weekly Parent Reports. FCPS will validate the enrolling parent’s email in SIS, and once processed, the parent will receive a weekly report over each weekend from our internet content filtering service, Lightspeed. Feel free to include this information in any newsletters or informational outreach to FCPS parents.

Costume Jewelry Donations Needed

The Belvedere PTA will be hosting its annual “Jewelry Shop” in early May. Every Belvedere student will be able to earn a ticket to “shop” for one free piece of costume jewelry for their mother, stepmother, grandmother, or other special person in their life.

We’re collecting donations of gently used:
• necklaces
• bracelets
• pins
• pierced or clip earrings

If you have any costume jewelry you no longer wear, we’d be grateful to have it. The jewelry doesn’t have to be fancy – just something in good condition that might make a student and his or her chosen recipient smile.

We need about 1,000 pieces of jewelry to give the students a wide selection to choose from. We’re also accepting monetary donations to help pay for supplies – tissue paper, gift bags and card tags. Checks can be made payable to “Belvedere PTA” with “jewelry shop” in the memo line.

There’s a donation box in the Belvedere front office or you can contact Ann Sisson at 703-945-0228 or to arrange a pick up.

Please submit all donations by May 1st!


PTA Volunteer Opportunities 

Want to help?  We have many ways

Silent Auction this April!

Please join us in making this year's silent auction the best yet!  We are looking for people to help us get donations, set up the website, and even help organize an in person portion.  If you can help with anything, even have some suggestions for some auction items- LET US KNOW!  Join us in bringing in some funds to help our incredible school and hopefully have some fun too.  I am hoping to have a "party" during the last hours of the auction for all volunteers so we can enjoy our hard work together.  If interested in joining Maddie and Theresa please email at or  

Family Center Needs

The Family Center is running low on boys and girls pants, especially big sizes (8, 10 , 12) . We would appreciate any new or gently used donations.

Early Childhood and PreK Registration

Fairfax County Public Schools offers programs for the youngest learners through several programs. 

  • PreK is for students 3-4 years old whose parents meet income requirements. Space is limited, and priority is given to 4 year olds to help them prepare for kindergarten. 
  • Early Head Start is for infants, toddlers, and expectant mothers who meet income requirements. 
  • Early Literacy Programs and Home Instruction for Parents of Preschool Youngsters (HIPPY) work with parents to help prepare their children for school. 

Community liaisons are available to assist families with the registration process and answer any questions. For more information, visit the Early Childhood Registration webpage.

Kindergarten Registration

Kindergarten Registration: It’s as Easy as 1-2-3…There’s an easy five-step process outlined for parents looking to register their child for kindergarten:

  1. Determine eligibility. 
  2. Identify your local school. 
  3. Gather documents. 
  4. Fill out forms. 
  5. Schedule an appointment.

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


Summer Learning Opportunities

Tech Adventure Camps Summer 2023

This weekly summer program gives students the opportunity to explore exciting paths in Career and Technical Education, including STEAM, culinary, health, trades, and computer science.

Open to students in grades K-6 during the 2022-23 school year. Students currently in grades 7-11 may participate in CTE Summer Academy. Space is limited and registration is on a first-come basis until seats are filled.

  • Host School: Lake Braddock Secondary
  • Tuition: $275 per week
    • Students eligible for free and reduced lunch: No tuition.*

*To be eligible, students must apply on Free and Reduced Meals website. You must allow your benefits to be shared or submit the Consent to Share Information Form.

Elementary Institute for the Arts (E-IFTA): Camps and Institutes

A summer exploration of the arts for elementary school students currently in grades 2-5.

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

Registrations open February 1st 

  • Program Cost: $265 a week (week one is a reduced week $159).
    • Students eligible for free and reduced lunch: No tuition.*
  • Program Dates: July 5-28, 2023
  • Program Times: 8:30 a.m.-2 p.m.
  • Host School: Lake Braddock Secondary

*To be eligible, students must apply on Free and Reduced Meals website. You must allow your benefits to be shared or submit the Consent to Share Information Form.

For more information contact:

Dads @ Belvedere

Dads at Belvedere (formerly Watch D.O.G.S.) is a program to help our school be positively impacted by the committed involvement of fathers and father-figures in their student’s life.  Our goal is to have you spend at least one day this year at the school to be a positive male role-model. Dads this is your chance to get involved in a fun atmosphere at school!

Dads will volunteer at the school for one full day. School will provide the schedule to include activities such as: recess, lunch, specials, classroom time, etc.

Our kids love seeing the grown-ups in their life at school! Additionally, Dads are demonstrating through their presence that education is important.

Sign up for a day on our calendar using the Signup Genius below:

Attend Today, Achieve Tomorrow!

This year, spring break is April 3-7. We will be eager to welcome your children back in school on Monday, April 10. Their attendance is very important. Every day, our teachers will be teaching, and students will be learning. Studies have shown that just two absences per month can cause students to fall behind. Let’s finish this school year strong. Visit FCPS’ website for attendance resources.

Virtual Strategic Planning Community Forums Coming Soon

FCPS is hosting a virtual community forum to discuss the first draft of proposed goals for the new Strategic Plan. Forums are scheduled for:

  • Monday, April 10, at noon.
  • Tuesday, April 11, from 6 to 7:30 p.m. (in Spanish).
  • Monday, April 17, from 6 to 7:30 p.m. 

FCPS Strategic Planning Survey Closes March 20

If you haven’t already, please take a moment to share your perspectives on the current draft 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.

Parents and caregivers of current FCPS students, please check your email for a message from FCPS dated Tuesday, March 14. For community members who do not currently have a student enrolled in FCPS, please use this link to participate. 

All responses are anonymous. Visit our Strategic Planning webpage for more details.

Proposed Updates to the SR&R 

The Department of Special Services will be hosting two virtual meetings for the FCPS community regarding proposed updates to the Student Rights and Responsibilities (SR&R) Regulation. Please join one of the meetings below via Zoom (click the date to register):

Participants will have an opportunity to learn about the suggested updates and ask questions via Zoom Chat. Language interpretation will be available in Spanish. A certified deaf interpreter will be available as well. 

Beginning Monday, March 20, families and staff will also be able to provide feedback on proposed updates to the SR&R via a short survey. Please stay tuned for details. Visit FCPS’ website for more information.

No-Cost Mental Health Teletherapy for Students Starting April 10 

FCPS has partnered with Hazel Health to begin offering virtual mental health services to high school students via live video sessions. Starting Monday, April 10, parents/caregivers who have been struggling to find a therapist for their child or who notice changes in their child’s behavior will be able to connect them virtually with a licensed therapist. 

Teletherapy services for students are short-term, evidence-based, and culturally-responsive. Teletherapy is available on any device, Monday through Friday from 7 a.m.-7 p.m. Therapists will be locally-licensed clinicians; 50% of whom identify as Black, Indigenous, or people of color (BIPOC); and 40% of whom are bilingual. More than 15 languages are available.

Hazel Health’s licensed therapists can help students who are experiencing:

  • Mood/behavior changes, lack of motivation, grief/loss.
  • Anxiety, worry, fears.
  • Bullying, sexual identity challenges, challenging peer and family relationships.
  • Academic stress.

The first step for parents is to provide information through an opt-in form. Visit FCPS’ Teletherapy webpage for details.

Community Meeting on the Dangers of Fentanyl

Monday, March 13, Superintendent Dr. Michelle Reid and Fairfax County Police Chief Kevin Davis hosted nearly 400 families, staff, and community members for a conversation on the dangers of fentanyl. During this impactful event, audience members heard testimonials from individuals affected by the opioid epidemic and learned facts from medical experts and law enforcement representatives.  The conversation will continue on Monday, April 24, with our next community meeting on the critical topic of fentanyl danger and opioid awareness. More information is coming soon. Visit our Opioid Awareness webpage for updates as they become available. Visit the Fairfax County Government webpage on opioids for information on how you can take action and how to get help for yourself or loved ones.

National Drug & Alcohol Facts Week is March 20-26, 2023

Opioids are the number one cause of unnatural death in Fairfax County. Young adults aged 25-34 are the most common demographic seen in the emergency room for fatal opioid overdoses.

Nationwide there were over 100,00 overdose deaths from April 2020- April 2021.

Using opioids after a period of abstinence, mixing drugs, IV use, and serious medical problems all contribute to an increased risk of opioid overdose.

90% of substance users began using prior to 21-years-old.

Alcohol, marijuana, and nicotine are usually the most common substances used by adolescents.

Fairfax County police stations, pharmacies, and medical facilities provide permanent drug disposal drop boxes for residents to safely dispose of their unused/expired medication. DO NOT flush your medications.

Reframing Our Thinking:

Changing our state of consciousness is part of the human experience (kids spinning in circles to induce dizziness, meditation, runner’s high, and more) but using substances has more negative than positive side effects. Alcohol, marijuana, and nicotine use prevention strategies are also opioid overdose
prevention strategies since opioid users likely used one of these three substances first. Every opioid overdose does not lead to death, but it increases the chances of an eventual overdose fatality. Although most opioid users began with alcohol, marijuana, and nicotine, these three drugs are not “gateway drugs”. The term “gateway drug” implies all alcohol, marijuana, and nicotine users will eventually use other drugs, but that is not the case for most, so the time to act is now. Treat your medication as a loaded gun; lock it up and properly dispose of any medications you are no longer using.

For general questions about the FCPS Substance Abuse Prevention Program, please contact the Office of Student Safety & Wellness at: (571) 423-4270.

Buses and Delays

If a student’s bus is delayed, parents may access the Bus Delay Notification System or use the Here Comes the Bus mobile app to receive the delayed bus report.  Use code 28982 when registering for Here Comes the Bus. 

PTA News

Join the PTA!

To purchase a membership or make a direct donation, please go to and choose your membership type (Staff $5 or Parent $10) and/or select Direct Donation to make a one-time or recurring donation. Thank you again for supporting the Belvedere PTA!  

Questions or concerns? Email

Support the Belvedere PTA

Our PTA supports Belvedere in myriad ways: organizing school events, enrichment and outreach activities; providing funding for field trips, library books, and technology in the classroom; and building a school community outside the classroom.  

There are several ways to support the PTA:

Upcoming Dates

  • Monday-Friday, April 3-7: Spring Break
  • Thursday, April 13- Early Release
  • Friday, April 14 - Student Holiday (Teacher Workday)
  • Friday, April 21 - No School (Eid al Fitr)

Keep in Touch

Daily Health Screening Questionnaire

Health and Safety Guidance Webpage

Visit the Belvedere website

Report student absences

Bus Delay Website

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FCPS Calendar: 2022-2023