March Community Update

Hello Community Members!

Recent Work 

Collective Bargaining

I was pleased to finally vote in support of a Collective Bargaining Resolution at the March 9 School Board Meeting. I know that FCPS employees have been asking for this to be able to best support themselves and the students that we serve.

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

Responding to Proposed Standards of Learning 

The School Board and Superintendent recently submitted a letter to the President of the Virginia Board of Education and Virginia Secretary of Education regarding the proposed 2023 History and Social Science Standards of Learning. 

As I shared with you in my last newsletterI 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.

Curriculum Information for Core Content

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.

Register for a Virtual Strategic Planning Community Forum

Strategic Plan

Employees, parents/caregivers, students, and community members are invited to join a virtual community forum to discuss the first draft of proposed goals for the new Strategic Plan. Forums are scheduled for:

Click on the date to register for the event. Your participation is important to this work and will help ensure a thriving future for each and every FCPS student. Visit the Strategic Planning webpage.

Upcoming School Board Meetings 

  • March 30 at 7pm: Regular Meeting
    • FY23 Third Quarter Budget Review
  • April 11 at 11am: Forum
    • SROs
    • School Food and Nutrition Policy 
  • April 11 at 12:30pm: Work Session
    • Special Education Enhancement Plan 
  • April 13 at 7pm: Regular Meeting
    • Special Education Annual Plan 

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

March has been quite the month for showcasing student work! Most recently, I attended an "expo" for FCPS' Portrait of a Graduate (POG) framework, to share what is happening to meaningfully integrate the five POG attributes into students’ learning. The goal is that by 2025, schools have all five attributes integrated into learning.

For instance, a few weeks ago I visited Crossfield Elementary, where students presented how they displayed the attribute of a Collaborator. Students being able to talk about their skills, how they are improving (using that “growth mindset”) and the proof of growth help them to become stronger, empowered learners - who can then more successfully approach content knowledge (like math, science, language arts, civics, and more). Yet the POG attributes don’t replace content knowledge, it’s both the conduit for learning and the process of learning skills to be life-long learners and achieve in whatever career they seek.

Forest Edge Elementary hosted a Show What You Know showcase - there were so many interesting and thoughtful presentations by students! Students could share a table-top presentation of any subject of interest. I toured the presentations that filled the cafeteria, gym, and library to learn about several countries (Ethiopia, Sudan, and Japan); the history and evolution of cameras; well-known detective characters in fiction; hockey (with a live demonstration!); skiing; movie making; art; Ramadan; philosophy; and how hand sanitizer works. When kids are excited about learning, they are empowered and engaged.

Collage of Hunter Mill events

I was also thrilled to attend the Crosstown Hoops game between students at Thoreau and Kilmer Middle Schools - everyone was excited to cheer on their classmates! Later that same evening I headed over to the South Lakes pyramid art show opening reception at the Reston Community Center Hunters Woods. Double fun for me as I took my daughter to see art on display by her and her Langston Hughes Middle School peers.

Crosstown Hoops Basketball Game with Mascots

Upcoming Hunter Mill Budget Town Hall - March 28

Hunter Mill Budget Town Hall

On March 28 at 7pm, at Madison High School, I will be joining Hunter Mill District Supervisor Walter Alcorn for a Budget Town Hall. We also held a virtual Budget Town Hall on March 20. 

See the County Executive's Proposed Budget for Fiscal Year 2024 here

Madison HS Robotics Shines

Madison Robotics Team

Madison High School's Robotics Team is off to an excellent start this season, building upon last year's success at the 2022 International FIRST Robotics Championship.  A member of the Chesapeake District, the Warbots challenged dozens of teams from the DMV at two robotics tournaments this month.  Most recently, Madison emerged victorious as a semi-finalist, ranking sixth overall!  The team appears well-positioned to qualify for the 20-23 FIRST Chesapeake District Championship, which will take place at George Mason University in early April.

Fourth Consecutive State Title for Madison Girls Basketball

Madison Girls Basketball Team

The Madison Warhawks girls basketball team defeated the Manchester Lancers (49-46), making this their fourth consecutive state title. This was Madison’s ninth state final appearance, which is the most in the history of Class 6 and the former Group AAA. Learn more about the team and their winning season.

Madison Student Receives 2023 Peace Award

Matthew Sullivan of Madison High School was honored at the 2023 Student Peace Awards of Fairfax County. After his grandfather suffered a debilitating stroke, he began volunteering at the Stroke Comeback Center in Vienna. Matthew also organized a Fun Run and online fundraiser which raised $10,000! As part of his Eagle Scout project, Matthew built a "Little Library" in the Stroke Center to make books readily available for the patients.

Matthew Sullivan

Vienna Student Makes Broadway Debut

Sophia Manicone on Broadway

Sophia Manicone, a senior at the Fairfax Academy for Communications and the Arts (with Madison HS as her base school), has made her Broadway debut in the revival of "Parade"! 

Starring Tony winner Ben Platt and “The Cher Show” breakout Micaela Diamond, the musical explores racism and antisemitism as a dramatization of the real-life 1913 trial of Jewish American factory manager Leo Frank, a case that stoked the resurgence of the Ku Klux Klan and led to the creation of the Anti-Defamation League. Sophia plays Iola Stover, a factory worker who testifies against Frank.

Brava, Sophia!

South Lakes DECA & FBLA Students Compete at State Level

South Lakes HS DECA Team

The South Lakes DECA marketing club took 15 students to compete in the State Leadership Conference in Virginia Beach in early March.  Three students qualified to attend the International Career Development Conference in Orlando next month and other students earned medals and accolades at states! The three students will be competing in Hospitality and Tourism Operations Research.

South Lakes Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) club had over 30 students compete at the Regional Leadership conference in early March. Ten students qualified to compete at states in various events including Digital Video Production, Supply Chain Management, Accounting, Broadcast Journalism, Agribusiness, and Impromptu Speaking. They are currently preparing for competitions at the State Leadership conference happening next week in Reston.

South Lakes Students Make All State Band

South Lakes HS All State Band

Congratulations to Nikhil, Keenan, Raahi, and Alex, from South Lakes High School, for making the 2023 All State Band!

Nikhil, Raahi and Alex will be performing with Symphonic Band; Keenan will be performing with Concert Band at the All State event.

They will be performing at the All Virginia Band Event in Richmond on April 29 proudly representing South Lakes! Details can be found here. 

Terraset Tiger Chorus Performs at School Board Meeting

Terraset Tigers represented Hunter Mill at the March 9 Regular School Board Meeting! Under the direction of Jonathan Andert, the Tigers opened the meeting with a wonderful performance of the National Anthem.

Terraset Tiger singers

2023 Regional Scholastic Writing Awards

Many Hunter Mill student writers were recognized in the 2023 Regional Scholastic Writing Awards competition. 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.

Thoreau Teacher Receives Fulbright Global Classrooms Award

Fulbright Teachers for Global Classrooms Program

Shannon Evans, a French teacher at Thoreau Middle School, and Sulekha Subhash, emotional disabilities teacher at Luther Jackson, recently received the Fulbright Teachers for Global Classrooms Program awards. The award recognizes elementary and secondary educators bringing global knowledge to their schools. Subhash is traveling to Colombia in July, while Evans has already left for Morocco. What an amazing experience to share with students!

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 teachers from schools serving Hunter Mill students that either certified or renewed their certification for an additional term:

  • Gretchen Snyder (Westfield High School)
  • Daniel Noll (South Lakes HS)
  • Nancy Walker (Herndon High School)
  • Angela Rizzo (Marshall High School)
National Board Certified Teachers


Reston Library Kids Book Sale

Kids Book Sale Poster

March Is...

Music in Our Schools Month 

We spotlight the essential role that music has in students’ education, and lives! I advocated for more parity in pay for our middle and high school performing arts educators, who receive a stipend to cover their out-of-school time responsibilities such as at student concerts, summer camps, trips, and more. Hear my advocacy to the Superintendent and Board at the February 23 School Board meeting, to better compensate teachers for their commitment:

Music in Our Schools Month


National School Social Work Month

The School Board Recognized March as National Social Work Month. This year's theme is "Social Work Breaks Barriers". Social workers in FCPS help to prevent social, emotional, and behavioral factors from affecting a student's ability to perform at their best. Social workers are assigned to every school and center in the school system. Most social workers serve one to two sites. Thank you, school social workers! Learn more about the role of social workers in FCPS.


Ramadan FCPS image

Ramadan Mubarak to those in our community who observe! 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. 

Other Information of Interest

School-Aged Child Care Registration Now Open

Registration for Fairfax County’s School Aged Child Care (SACC) program—which offers before- and after-school care for children attending kindergarten through grade 6 is now open! Enrollment dates are set alphabetically by the elementary school your student will attend. Visit the SACC website for more information.

SACC Registration begins March 9


New Virtual Mental Health Services Available

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.

College Partnership Program

College Partnership Program logo

Did you know FCPS has a College Partnership Program to assist high school students who are traditionally underrepresented in higher education? This program provides students with monthly sessions and workshops.

Learn more here.

Parental Notifications & Policy 3290: 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. 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.

Coming soon: First Annual Acton Children's Business Fair

Children's Business Fair logo

Children can launch their own startup businesses: develop a brand, create a product or service, build a marketing strategy, and then open for customers at this one-day marketplace. There will be 50 booths available for children to showcase their businesses, learn about entrepreneurship, and gain valuable experience.

Learn more and apply here.

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).

Job Opportunities

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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