May Updates and Engagement Opportunities

To read this newsletter in other languages, please visit our website.

Para leer este boletín en otros idiomas, visite nuestro sitio web.

ይህንን ዜና መፅሄት በሌሎች ቋንቋዎች ለማንበብ፤ እባክዎን ድረ ገፃችንን ይጎብኙ

이 소식지를 다른 언어로 읽으려면, 우리 웹사이트를 방문하시기 바랍니다.

.يرجى زيارة موقعنا الألكتروني لقراءة هذه النشرة الإخبارية بلغات أخرى

Hello Community Members!

Safety and Security Updates

FCPS Safety and Security Community Conversation

On Monday, May 8, I joined Superintendent Reid at the Safety and Security Community Conversation she hosted at South Lakes High School. This built upon the April 27 update to the School Board. Dr. Reid, FCPS' Director of Safety and Security, and FCPS' Director of Cybersecurity were on hand to answer attendee's questions. 


In July, the School Board expects to receive the result of an independent audit we commissioned to examine the safety and security policies and practices of the school division and all its buildings.

This work is in addition to all the School Board has done around gun violence prevention over the past three and half years, including:

  • Closing the gun-ban loophole by extending the ban on guns in our schools to include a ban on firearms at all school division property, including non-instructional facilities like Gatehouse. In 2021, the Virginia General Assembly gave School Boards the power to take this step.
  • Notifying parents annually about ways to prevent gun violence and their legal obligation to store their firearms securely. We know most people do not secure their guns, and most school shooters use guns from their homes. You can learn about ways to prevent gun violence here.
  • Directing the Superintendent to conduct a review of all gun violence and suicide prevention instruction, professional development, and school safety and security protocols to make sure they adhere to modern best practices.
  • Changing our legislative program (the issues we lobby lawmakers on in Richmond and Washington) to include our clear support for gun violence prevention measures that keep our students, families, and staff safe.

Relatedly, my effort to bring more secure entrances to our schools is moving forward. The School Board advertised as New Business on May 11, that at the May 25 Regular Meeting the Board will vote to approve contracts to begin that installation work. This approves Package 1 and Package 2. Due to the nature of the work, the list of schools receiving these upgrades is not available.

Regarding transportation safety upgrades in Hunter Mill, I spoke in a previous newsletter about the developing Reston Comprehensive Plan and recommendations I submitted for consideration. A staff report on the Plan is tentatively expected sometime this month.

Student Rights and Responsibilities Updates (SR&R)

The Student Rights and Responsibilities (SR&R) regulation is the framework stating expected student conduct and levels of disciplinary action when needed. The Board reviews the Superintendent’s proposed changes annually for adoption in the next school year. Families receive this information annually, and sign a form stating that they’ve reviewed the regulation themselves, and with their students.

Updates to the proposed changes to the SR&R document were presented at the May 11 public Regular Meeting of the School Board. Note that among the proposed updates, the Superintendent is proposing updates to the dress code. The Board will hold a Work Session to further discuss the proposed changes on May 23 from 5:00-8:30pm (the SR&R portion of the Work Session begins at 6pm). Materials will be posted on Board Docs prior to that meeting. The Board is scheduled to approve the 2023-24 SR&R on Monday, June 26View more information on BoardDocs.

Updates about Middle & High School Athletics 

Student athletes in circle

Middle School Athletics Coming This Fall!

I expect that when the Board votes on May 25 to approve the next year’s annual budget, for the 2023-24 school year, designated funding is included for middle school athletics! This will support middle school students’ well-being – and at no cost to students! This will be the first time FCPS has offered middle school students an opportunity to participate in extracurricular sports programs!

Any middle school students who would like to participate in athletics will need to have a Virginia High School League (VHSL) pre-participation examination (PPE). The physical exam form must be completed and signed by a physician, nurse practitioner, or physician’s assistant. Fairfax County public high schools will offer PPEs at a cost of $50 per student through Saturday, June 17. Students who receive free and reduced-priced meals are eligible to receive an exam at no cost.

Learn more about middle school athletics.

High School Athletics Updates

On a related note, I’ve been following up on constituents’ advocacy to bring boys volleyball to FCPS! I’ve enjoyed seeing students advocate at Board Meetings and speak to the benefits they’ve gained as a result of this popular team sport. While funds are not in the upcoming budget for the sport at this time, I am expectant that expansion of athletic opportunities in the next budget will continue on into the future.  

Finally, the Board approved the award of contract for the Oakton High School main gym floor to be replaced.

Recommended Adjustments to the Fiscal Year 2024 Budget

The Fiscal Year (FY) 2024 Approved Budget reflects a projected decrease of $18.6 million in state revenue, as compared to FCPS’ FY 2024 Advertised Budget projection. The projected decrease is based on the impact of the General Assembly’s substitute budget adopted on February 25, 2023, also known as the skinny budget. The substitute budget addresses the impact of K-12 technical adjustments related to average daily membership (ADM) changes, sales tax revenue forecast changes, and program participation rate updates. Changes to the state budget adopted after the FY 2024 Approved Budget will be recognized as part of a future quarterly budget review.

Superintendent Reid presented a list of recommended adjustments to balance the FY 2024 Approved Budget during the May 11 School Board Meeting. 

ESSER Budget Approved 

The School Board approved the budget for using federal Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER III) funding to help address the impacts of COVID-19 on students by addressing their academic, social, emotional, and mental health needs. ESSER III funds are now allocated for FY22, FY23, and FY24.  

Final Feedback Opportunity on Draft Strategic Plan 

Strategic Planning - Engage Together

The School Board heard an update on the developing Strategic Plan during the May 11 meeting. 

If you haven’t already, please participate in the final opportunity to provide feedback on the draft Strategic Plan goals, measures, and pillars. Take the survey today! Feedback was reviewed by the Board at the May 9 Retreat. It will also be discussed at the May 25 Board meeting. The survey will close Wednesday, May 17. Visit FCPS’ website to learn about the strategic planning process.

Upcoming School Board Meetings

  • Tuesday, May 16, 6pm: Public Hearing
    • Fiscal Year 2024 Budget
  • Thursday, May 1810am: Work Session
    • Office of the Auditor General Risk Assessment and Audit Plan
    • Fiscal Year 2024 Budget
    • Strategic Plan 
  • Tuesday, May 23, 5pm: Work Session
    • PreK and Early Head Start Parent Policy Committee
    • Student Rights and Responsibilities
  • Thursday, May 25, 7pm: Regular Meeting
    • Strategic Plan
    • Office of the Auditor General Risk Assessment and Audit Plan
    • Fiscal Year 2024 Approved Budget 

Please note, 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 

Hunter Mill Students Receive Post-Secondary Scholarships

For another year, I was delighted to support and attend the annual Hispanic Leadership Alliance (HLA) Scholarship Awards Banquet. I was especially happy to see students from schools I represent be recognized for their incredible achievements and receive a $1,000 scholarship each. The ambitions and plans that students shared are wide reaching and impressive - these students are taking hold of their lives to reach their dreams! 

The HLA scholarship is for first-generation Latinx students in FCPS. The 2024 application window will open early next year.

Melanie with Anthony Aviles-Tapia


The following recipients from schools with Hunter Mill students were honored at the banquet:

  • Nathan Arnez Velasco, Westfield High School  
    • STEAM Scholarship
  • Anthony Aviles-Tapia, South Lakes High School
    • STEAM Scholarship
  • Valentina da Cruz, Marshall High School
    • Humberto Moore Cruz Memorial Scholarship
  • José González, Marshall High School
    • Engineering Scholarship
  • Jackeline Guevara Argueta, Marshall High School
    • Latinos Unidos Scholarship
  • Rafaela Herrera, Marshall High School
    • Robert F. Jortberg Memorial Scholarship
  • Kimberley Motta-Sánchez, Herndon High School
    • Scholarship for Leadership
  • Isabella Sasso, Westfield High School
    • STEAM Scholarship

Madison HS Girls Basketball Honored by Board of Supervisors

Madison HS Girls Basketball Team Honored by Board of Supervisors

The Madison High School Girls Basketball Team was recently honored by the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors for winning their fourth consecutive Virginia 6A State Championship title!


SEPTA Annual Awards Ceremony  

Jennifer Auzenne

Fairfax County Special Education PTA (SEPTA) was pleased to host its sixth annual Awards Ceremony on May 6.

The night was filled with laughter and tears as the friends, family, and colleagues of the nominees cheered, and the awardees were overcome with emotion. An especially poignant moment occurred when SEPTA presented the Mark Stewart Memorial Award for the first time. Mark Stewart was a Special Education teacher at Hunters Woods Elementary School, and he passed away on the first day of school this year. His family accepted a plaque in his honor and received a standing ovation from the crowd. SEPTA has renamed its Outstanding Special Education Teacher – Elementary category as the Mark Stewart Memorial Award: Outstanding Special Education Teacher – Elementary.

Read the full press release, which has the list of award winners - including several individuals who live, work, or volunteer for our students in Hunter Mill!

Retirees Recognized at Annual Ceremony

FCPS Retiree being honored

FCPS' annual Retirement Ceremony, We Honor You, was held on Wednesday, May 3, at Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology. Retirees, with family and friends, FCPS' Leadership Team, and members of the School Board attended the catered event. Each of the 160 retirees had a profile read by a member of the Leadership Team, received a retirement gift, and posed for a professional photo. Congratulations, and thank you, to the many Hunter Mill employees that are a part of this spectacular group.

View the ceremony program, photos, and video. Share your retirement photos and celebrations on social media and tag #HR_FCPS.

Upcoming Events in Hunter Mill 

Kids Helping Kids Fun Ride Bike-A-Thon: May 20

Bika-A-Thon poster

Other Information of Interest

Share Questions/Concerns with Cigna Representatives

Are you an FCPS employee with questions about your Cigna benefits and coverage? FCPS' Benefit Services wants to ensure that you have access to the information and resources you need to understand your health plan benefits. That's why they are excited to offer virtual appointments with Cigna representatives this spring. 

During these appointments, you can discuss your questions and concerns, as well as get more information about your health plan and benefits. Appointments will take place on Tuesdays, noon to 4 p.m., and Thursdays, 8 a.m. to noon. To schedule a virtual appointment, please use the Pick-A-Time Online Scheduler.

Don’t want to wait? You can call Cigna’s FCPS-dedicated Service Team, 24/7, at  877-501-7992.

Calling All FCPS Student Artists and Designers

FCPS is looking for student-designed graphics or artwork to represent the observances that are recognized on the FCPS School Year Calendar for 2023-24 (PDF)

Middle and high school students are encouraged to tap into their creativity to design visuals that accurately and positively represent the many religious observances recognized in the FCPS community. Visit the Design Challenge webpage for more information on eligibility. The submission form closes on June 11 at 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time.

FCPS Observance Design Challenge for Students


Advisory Committee for Students with Disabilities Announces First Class Award Winners

The Fairfax County Public Schools Advisory Committee for Students with Disabilities (ACSD) presented their First Class Awards at the 18th Annual Special Education Conference. The awards recognize educators, administrators, and students who support, implement, or design programs and activities that include students with disabilities and improve outcomes for all students. Read about this year’s winners.

Free Student Bus Passes 

Student Bus Pass

All Fairfax County middle and high school students can get a Student Bus Pass SmarTrip card to ride the Fairfax Connector and Fairfax CUE buses for free! Fares are free from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m., seven days a week, all year, with the pass. Learn more about the Student Pass online. Complete the application and return it to your school office. 

Students at Justice, Annandale, Falls Church, and Marshall High Schools, and Davis Center can ride Metrobus for free, in addition to Fairfax Connector and City of Fairfax CUE. Visit the website to learn more about the passes and approved Metrobus routes. Complete the application and return it to your school office. 

Starting this month, the Fairfax Connector has expanded their fare free service to include riders 12 and younger (when accompanied by a paying adult).

Register Today for FCPS Summer Camps

Student with model rocket

Registration for FCPS Career and Technical Education (CTE) camps and Institute for the Arts (IFTA/E-IFTA) camps closes on Friday, June 9. Tuition is waived for students eligible for free and reduced-price lunch.


Career and Technical Education (CTE)

Tech Adventure Camp (TAC) is a week-long exploratory camp designed to give current K-6 students an opportunity to explore science, technology, engineering, arts, and math (STEAM); culinary; health; trades; and business and marketing areas. Visit the TAC webpage to register

CTE Summer Academy (CSA) is a week-long enrichment program that allows students in grades 7-11 to dive deeper into CTE program areas, develop skills, and begin career exploration. Visit the CSA webpage to register.

Institute for the Arts Camps (IFTA)

IFTA is a two- or four-week summer enrichment program for students currently in grades 6-11. Students select from nearly 90 classes in art, dance, health and physical education 9, music, self-directed economics and personal finance, and theater. Visit the IFTA webpage to register

E-IFTA is a weekly arts camp for students in grades 2-5 who love to sing, dance, act, perform, make, and create. Students take part in four classes every day related to dance, music, theater, and visual arts. They work with FCPS fine arts teachers who create classes that are fun and engaging. Visit the E-IFTA webpage to register.

Credit Recovery Academy Registration

Registration is open for the 2023 Summer Credit Recovery Academy. The academy provides an opportunity for students to recover one high school course credit. Students may not take these courses for new course credit. In addition, the Credit Recovery Academy provides an opportunity for students to take one of several selected Standards of Learning (SOL) or WorkKeys tests.

Students will attend class in person at Hayfield Secondary School, or Marshall, Oakton, or South Lakes high school. Courses are free, and transportation is provided.

Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology Middle School Technology Institute (MSTI)

Registration has opened for the 2023 Summer Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology’s Middle School Technology Institute (MSTI). The program will take place at TJHSST and is open to all FCPS middle school students. Participation in MSTI does not mean a student is accepted into TJHSST.

Get to Know FCPS and the Resources Available to Families

Being connected to your school community helps you stay informed and support your child’s success. Take some time to get familiar with the many resources and tools available to FCPS families, including:

  • School Age Child Care (SACC) — This Fairfax County Government program provides a safe and fun environment before and after school for elementary school-age children.
  • FCPS Communications for Families — FCPS shares news and information to support student learning and promote family involvement.
  • Family Engagement Resources — FCPS works to connect, strengthen, and support our families, schools, and communities. 
  • Family Liaisons — Family liaisons serve as a link between families and schools. Find out how family liaisons can support you and your family.

There’s an easy to follow five-step process outlined for parents registering their children for kindergarten. Be sure to register your child ASAP!

Road Safety Art Contest: Due June 10

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration's (FMCSA) 2023 Road Safety Art Contest is open!. This annual competition encourages students to use their creativity and talent to raise awareness of how to stay safe on our roads around large trucks and buses. The contest is open to four groups spanning grades K-12, with multiple creative submission categories. Submissions must be received by June 10. To learn more and submit your piece, click here

Art contest flyer

Job Opportunities

FCPS is searching for individuals who have a passion for making a difference. A career fair will be held on Wednesday, May 17, from 5:30 to 8 p.m., at the Gatehouse Administration Center.

We are looking for staff to work in the following areas: Payroll and accounting, human resources, transportation (school bus drivers), HVAC, plumbing, electrical, custodial services, procurement and finance, food services, and (hourly) multilingual interpreters.

The fair will provide opportunities to network and the possibility of interviewing representatives from various FCPS offices. Register for the career fair.

Explore 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


Was this email not addressed to you? Sign up for my newsletters here!

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.

© Fairfax County Public Schools, Fairfax County, Virginia