FCPS This Week: Dr. Reid on Multilingual Podcast, Fentanyl Conversation Continues, SR&R Updates

teacher resident with student

Saed Mohamed is a teacher resident in a first grade classroom at Silverbrook Elementary School, fulfilling classroom duties while on a fast-tracked educational route to licensure. Interested in becoming a teacher or learning about our teacher residency program? Visit fcps.edu/teacher.

Multilingual Podcast: Dr. Reid Reflects on Her First Year

dr reid with students

On the latest issue of the Multilingual Family Podcast, Superintendent Dr. Michelle Reid reflects on what she has learned in the last year as superintendent and how thankful she is for the students, staff, and families. Dr. Reid discusses the importance of family contributions to education and her vision for the future. The podcast is available in English, Spanish, Arabic, and Korean.

FCPS Stance on Proposed History and Social Science Standards

The Virginia Board of Education (VBOE) is required to review the Standards of Learning (SOL) in all subjects at least once every seven years. The History and Social Science SOL—which seeks to build students’ understanding and skills in history, geography, civics, and economics—is currently up for review. 

Multiple history and social science experts prepared a comprehensive analysis of the January 6 draft standards outlining significant concerns about the proposed standards. The Fairfax County School Board and Dr. Reid submitted a letter to VBOE’s president and the Virginia Department of Education’s acting superintendent of public instruction. The letter raises numerous issues with the proposed standards and their inability to provide students with history and social science instruction that prioritizes thinking, historical accuracy, diverse perspectives, and developmental appropriateness. Read their letters on our website.

🚀 Full Orbit: From Science Fair to Mars Mission

girl working on computer

Twenty five years ago, Swati Mohan presented a science fair project on what it would be like to grow plants on Mars. Little did she know she would eventually be working as an aerospace engineer with NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab. She was the Guidance and Controls Operations lead on the Mars 2020 mission working on the Perseverance Rover. 

Mohan, who graduated from Hayfield Secondary School in 2000, initially thought she wanted to be a doctor. Then she took physics in high school and was inspired by her teacher. He was an engineer by training, and the way he presented science was easy for Mohan to understand. Learn more about Mohan’s path to space exploration and how FCPS prepared and inspired her.

🏆 Regional Science and Engineering Fair: 10 Grand Prize Projects

students with dr reid

The 68th annual Fairfax County Regional Science and Engineering Fair showcased more than 300 high school science projects. Over 400 students presented their research projects in a wide variety of science and engineering fields. Projects were judged by more than 150 professionals and 40 professional organizations and businesses. 

The Grand Prize Winners are eligible to compete in the Regeneron International Science and Engineering Fair in May, and many others are eligible to compete in the Virginia State Science and Engineering Fair to be held in April. See the list of winners on our webpage. 

🏆 Six Teams, 40 Individuals Honored as Winter Sports Winners

Congratulations to all the FCPS student-athletes who participated in the 2022-23 winter sports season. This year, six teams and 40 individuals won the Virginia High School League (VHSL) Class 6 championship in their respective sports, and three teams and 38 individuals were the state runners-up. Four teams were repeat champions. See them listed on our webpage.

🏆 Students Earn 33 National Scholastic Art and Writing Awards

FCPS students received 33 national awards through the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards. The students were recognized for original art and writing with one American Visions Medal, 10 Gold Medals, one Silver Medal with Distinction, and 21 Silver Medals. Read about the winners on our webpage.

Community Meeting on the Dangers of Fentanyl

dangers of fentanyl

Last month, the division hosted 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, 6:30 to 8 p.m., at Woodson High School. Transportation will be available from select schools throughout the county. View the registration page for details

Visit our Opioid Awareness webpage for more information. 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.

Proposed Updates to Student Rights and Responsibilities 

The Department of Special Services will host a virtual meeting for the FCPS community regarding proposed updates to the Student Rights and Responsibilities (SR&R) regulation on Monday, April 10, from 6 to 7 p.m. 

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. Please register online.

COVID Relief Funds Help Students Make Big Gains In Small Groups

Teacher high fives student

Justin, a third-grader, struggled to identify most letters and their sounds in fall 2021 when students returned for the first year of fully in-person instruction since the pandemic began. After a year of reading intervention services—supported by ESSER COVID relief funding—testing data maintained by his school show he’s made more than two years of progress in his reading skills in one academic year! Read more about how schools are overcoming pandemic-related challenges.

Online Registration Pilot Begins at 30+ Schools

Online registration will be available at more than 30 pilot Fairfax County schools beginning Friday, March 31. All FCPS schools will offer online registration beginning in June.

The new system reduces manual data entry of basic student registration information, allows online registration using the portal at any hour of any day, and enables secure electronic upload of student registration documents. 

Families will be able to register their students electronically via SIS ParentVUE. Parents/Guardians will continue to have the option of downloading the registration form bundle or complete paper registration forms as needed. Visit our website for more information on registering your child for school.

Website Updates: Easier Access to Translations

website update

FCPS continues to make updates to the district and school websites to improve accessibility and user experience, and further reflect our commitment to inclusivity. Recent changes include adding a new “header,” the information at the top of the page (shown above). This allows the translation buttons at the top right of the page to “travel” with the user as they scroll down our pages. When using a mobile device, access to other languages are available in the header as an icon (shown below).

website translation image

The next step in the website update process will involve removing the orange “translation blocks” that appear before text blocks on many of our webpages. With our new translation options in the moving header, which also align with best practices, the orange translation blocks will be phased out in April. Read more about our website updates.

Register Now for Special Education Conference

special education graphic

The FCPS Special Education Conference will take place on Saturday, April 29. Registration is now open on the event website for this virtual event. Guest speakers have been added to the website along with the topics they will address. Interpretation can be requested during registration. Registrants who need language assistance can contact the Parent Information Phone Lines

Nominations are still open for First-Class Awards. These awards recognize and celebrate the inclusion efforts of educators, administrators, and students in all facets of education. Please complete this form to nominate an individual by Friday, April 14. Email SpecialEdConf@fcps.edu with questions.

January FCPS CARES: “Born to Be a Teacher”

Teacher with students

Tracy Tashima, second-grade teacher at Hunt Valley Elementary School is “an exceptional educator not just for teaching the educational standards, but for modeling empathy and collaboration everyday in the classroom” said a parent who nominated her for FCPS CARES. 

“She understands that in order for students to be successful they need to feel safe and valued in the classroom,” the parent says. “Anytime anything happens outside of school that is remotely positive, my child wants his teacher to know about it because he feels like she is his biggest fan. In speaking with her students, both current and past, every child feels this way about her. To have every child in the class feel that personal connection with the teacher is phenomenal.” 

Thank you, Tracy, and all the January FCPS CARES recipients! Also recognized that month were:

  • Steve Campbell, Instructional Programs Support Center. 
  • Josh Bickford, Carson Middle School. 
  • Crystal Campbell, Glasgow Middle School.
  • Justin Robinson, Hollin Meadows Elementary School.
  • Paul Yu, Daniels Run Elementary School.

FCPS CARES is an opportunity for parents, staff, and community members to recognize employees for going above and beyond to help others and show they care. Read more about all the recipients. Learn how you can acknowledge an FCPS employee.

Schoology: Upcoming Survey on Divisionwide Usage

The Instructional Services Department will be conducting surveys on the use of Schoology Monday, April 10, to Friday, April 21. In order to hear from all stakeholders who use Schoology, four surveys will be delivered to students in grades three and up and school-based teachers, professionals, and leadership. 

Your feedback will inform our overall use of Schoology and help us improve our processes, communication, and professional learning. Instructional Services will also be reaching out to families through focus groups. Please don't hesitate to email schoology@fcps.edu with any questions.

Magnet School Registration Closing April 12

Registration for the FCPS elementary magnet school lottery closes on Wednesday, April 12, at 4 p.m. Three FCPS elementary magnet schools provide programs that enhance learning in science, technology, and performing arts. Get more information about the magnet school lottery.

🥕 Real Food for Kids Culinary Challenge 🍎

The Real Food for Kids Culinary Challenge will be held Saturday, April 15, at Robinson Secondary School. The event includes a public tasting of student dishes and demonstrations from Chef Ryan Moore of Sababa and Chef Kevin Tien of Moon Rabbit. The student challenge at the heart of this event is to create healthy, delicious, and culturally diverse school menu items that meet United States Department of Agriculture guidelines. 

The public is invited to vote for their favorite dish. Winning dishes have been featured in FCPS and other area school districts. For more information or to register, visit the Real Food for Kids website.

View Updated Draft Goals for FCPS’ New Strategic Plan

We are excited to show you the most recent version of proposed goals for the new Strategic Plan. Join us for a virtual community forum and see how your survey feedback has helped shape the latest draft of the plan. Community forums are open to parents/caregivers, staff, students, and community members. Please register by clicking on one of the following dates:

We appreciate your continued involvement throughout every step of this important process. Together, we will help ensure a thriving future for each and every FCPS student. Visit our Strategic Planning webpage.

FCPS Named ENERGY STAR Partner of the Year

energy star

Fairfax County Public Schools has been selected as a 2023 ENERGY STAR® Partner of the Year winner for Sustained Excellence. 

Recent accomplishments that helped earn this sustained excellence award include achieving energy savings greater than 21% and $65 million since 2014, and winning the “Best Project in the Major Renovation” category of the ENERGY STAR Decarbonize Your Design Challenge for the renovation of Crossfield Elementary School.

FCPS has been an ENERGY STAR® partner since 1998.

Calendar Reminders: 🌷 Spring Break

Spring Break graphic

Schools and school offices will be closed Monday, April 3, to Friday, April 7, (12-month employees report to work). Students will return to school on Monday, April 10. See the complete 2022-23 School Year Calendar.

Note: There will be no issue of FCPS This Week next week. The next issue will be sent April 12.

April is National Arab American Heritage Month

FCPS is proud to celebrate National Arab American Heritage Month in April. This special month provides an opportunity to recognize the remarkable history and valuable contributions of Arab Americans. Arab Americans have ancestry in one of the world’s 22 Arab nations, which are located from northern Africa through western Asia. The people of these nations are ethnically, politically, and religiously diverse but share a common cultural and linguistic heritage. Learn more about the heritage months, celebrations, and traditions celebrated in FCPS.

Thank You Assistant Principals!

April 3-7 is National Assistant Principals Week. Thank you to all our administrators who help our schools run smoothly!

Quarter End: Early Release, Student Holiday, Teacher Work Day

Reminder, Thursday, April 13, is the quarter end and students will be released two hours early. There will be no classes for students on Friday, April 14, a student holiday and teacher work day. See the complete 2022-23 school year calendar.

School Board Meeting on March 30 at 7 p.m.

school board gavel

The School Board will hold its regular business meeting on Thursday, March 30, at 7 p.m. Agenda highlights include:

  • FY2023 Third Quarter Budget Review
  • Awarding of Contracts
  • Secondary World Languages Basal Instructional Resources Approval

See the complete agenda. Find out how to watch and participate in School Board meetings.

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