Summer Update #1 from School Board Member Melanie Meren

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

Dear Community Members, 

Here we all are, in summer! It was a momentous end of the school year for me, filled with graduations, year-end celebrations, and recognition of staff.

I love watching students accept their diplomas - hard-earned over more than a decade. And I get a glimpse into the bittersweet experience of the educators, who show up even on this last day to see their students onward. Of course, watching and hearing families’ joy is delightful. It was a privilege for me to attend the commencement traditions of the following schools: Cedar Lane School, the Davis Career Center, Madison High School, South Lakes High School, and Westfield High School.  

I was also delighted to attend the FCPS Honors ceremony (more on that below), which highlights the incredible work of our staff. It was particularly special for me to see some of my own children’s educators recognized! I spoke with one staff member, an Instructional Assistant who taught my then second-grader, and shared that I still recall so clearly how her face on the computer screen was a beacon of support during the longest days of the pandemic in 2020.

Achievements of students in athletics, performing arts, STEAM, and more were also ever-present in these past weeks. Though I aim to showcase student and staff achievement as much as possible, it’s a challenge to keep up with all that is achieved!

The School Board is on official recess from mid-July through mid-August. If you contact my office during this time, please note that a response may take longer than usual. This down time allows the Superintendent, staff, and the Board to refresh and prepare for the new school year ahead. With the strategic plan in place and our Superintendent now marking a full year at the helm of FCPS, I’m very excited about the school year ahead. In the meantime, I plan to enjoy some summer days – and summer reads – with my own children and prepare for the fall. I wish summer enjoyment to you, too.

Graduation photo collage


Calling All FCPS Alumni!

FCPS is thrilled to invite all graduates to join the alumni network. Whether you are in the Class of 2023, the Class of 1972, or even earlier, your participation is crucial as the division lays the groundwork for an inclusive network that will serve as a valuable resource for all alumni. You are an essential part of our effort to build a strong and interconnected community. By filling out this form with your contact details, you will help create a directory of graduates, facilitating connections and providing opportunities for collaboration and engagement with FCPS.

Recent Work 

Strategic Plan Approved by School Board 

Strategic Plan FCPS

I cast my vote to approve FCPS’ new strategic plan, at the Board’s June 15 public Regular Meeting. The process and product of the work to create this plan is worthy of celebration. I appreciate that Superintendent Michelle Reid began her tenure in FCPS – one year ago, on July 1, 2022 – with a focus on setting this north star for the school division.

The strategic plan will ensure that FCPS stays laser-focused on students’ academic achievement, and sets students on their trajectory of lifelong success. Furthermore, this plan is validated by a process that was based on unprecedented engagement with community, staff, and students. 

I am excited for the Board and Superintendent to work together this coming fiscal year, to intertwine this strategic plan with the annual budget development process to achieve the most cost effective budget that produces excellence and success for students. 

Visit the FCPS website to learn more about the Strategic Plan

FCPS Fiscal Year 2024 Budget Approved

The Fairfax County School Board unanimously voted to adopt the Fiscal Year (FY) 2024 Approved Budget at the May 25 School Board meeting.

The budget focuses on closing the achievement gap for all students, and maintaining a world-class public school division by recruiting and retaining outstanding educators.

The FY 2024 Approved Budget totals $3.5 billion—a net increase of $221.7 million or 6.7% over the FY 2023 Approved Budget. Nearly 86% of the Approved Budget is targeted at instruction, including: 

  • $15.0 million to support the implementation of the Equitable Access to Literacy Plan,with evidence-based language arts basal resources for students. 
  • $2.0 million to increase access to Pre-K programs by providing resources to accommodate 10 additional Pre-K classrooms.
  • $1.6 million for implementation of the final implementation of recommendations from the advanced academic external review to support students in Advanced Academic Programs.
  • $65.2 million and 679.2 positions to address changing student needs, including increased numbers of students requiring English as a Second Language Services and special education services, and enrollment growth.
  • Increase in student and family supports including additional family liaisons and access to middle school athletic opportunities that support student well-being.

In light of the ongoing national teacher shortage, the FY 2024 Approved Budget seeks to position FCPS as the preferred place to work by offering competitive financial packages to attract and retain excellent teachers and staff. The budget includes:

  • $80.9 million to provide a market scale adjustment of 3.0% for all employees. 
  • $58.2 million to provide a step increase for all eligible employees.
  • $4.3 million to provide a step extension for all scales.

Special Education Teacher Extended Day contracts currently funded in FY 2023 with Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER III) funds will continue to be funded with ESSER III in FY 2024.

Read the FY 2024 Budget news release.

 Coming to your November 2023 General Election Ballot:

Bond Referendum for School Renovation Projects

The School Board approved a resolution requesting that the Board of Supervisors (BOS) approve a School Bond Referendum, supporting the division and county’s commitment to providing safe and welcoming learning environments for all students at the May 25 School Board meeting

On June 8, the Board of Supervisors unanimously adopted a resolution favoring the School Bond Referendum. The School Bond Referendum will be on the November 2023 general election ballot in the principal amount of $435 million.

The funding provided by voter-approved bonds will provide construction funds for seven elementary schools; planning and design funds for eight elementary school renovations and one middle school renovation; and funds for three modular relocations, security vestibules, and inflation adjustments for prior bond projects. These projects are identified in the FY 2024-28 Capital Improvement Program which was approved by the School Board in February. 

The building and renovation of our schools is not funded through FCPS' operating budget. Voter-approved bonds allow payment for these projects over time.

I was thrilled to attend recent celebrations for completed school renovation projects serving Hunter Mill students, at Fox Mill Elementary School, Madison High School, and Oakton High School. They are prime examples of just how vital the voter-approved bonds are to FCPS' operations.

Read more about the 2023 Bond Referendum.

Collage of FCPS school renovation project completion events


School Board to Vote on Equity Policy June 26

The School Board is reviewing the draft Equity Policy brought by the Superintendent and staff. The Board is scheduled to vote to adopt this policy at its public Regular Meeting on June 26. I am eager to cast my vote to codify this foundational framework for providing public education in Fairfax County.

The June 21 public Work Session about this policy opened with this powerful, 3-minute video developed by FCPS. Please take a watch and consider what equity means to you and to every child in our public schools. 

Here is the link to the June 21 meeting materials, including the draft policy.

I welcome constituent input ahead of the June 26 vote, which can be submitted to me here.

Student Rights and Responsibilities (SR&R) Updates

Students sitting together on steps

An update on the proposed changes to the Student Rights and Responsibilities (SR&R) document was presented at the May 25 School Board meeting.

Watch the presentation or view the presentation slides.

The School Board is to vote on the Students Rights and Responsibilities at the Regular Meeting on June 26.

Student Representative Elected to the School Board 

Student Representative Rida Karim

Rida Karim, a sophomore at Woodson High School, has been elected by the Superintendent’s Student Advisory Council to serve a one-year term as student representative to the Fairfax County School Board, beginning July 1.

Rida has three main focuses as student representative: ensuring equity in education, empowering students to recognize their self-worth, and making learning enjoyable for students so they can understand the significance of their education. Read more about Rida.

Update Regarding TJHSST Admissions Decision

During late May the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit ruled in favor of the Fairfax County School Board in a legal case challenging the 2020 changes to the admissions policy for Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology. The Court found that the “central aim” of the “race-neutral” and “fully race-blind” policy “is to equalize opportunity for those students hoping to attend one of the nation’s best public schools, and to foster diversity among TJ’s student body.”

Academic Matters

Student Successes Across the Content Areas

Celebrating Student Successes presentation slide

The June 15 School Board meeting featured a presentation from Superintendent Reid highlighting student success and achievement across a vast variety of content areas. 

FCPS students are clearly exceptional and talented individuals!

State Student Assessment Summary Reports

Superintendent Reid presented information about a new Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) report called Virginia’s Visualization and Analytics Solution (VVAAS) Student Assessment Summary Report at the May 25 School Board meeting. 

Virginia school divisions will be distributing the report to parents showing their student’s past Standards of Learning (SOL) testing data. Reports will be provided, through SIS ParentVUE or by mail, for any student who has an SOL testing history in Virginia as of Spring 2022. 

In addition to showing a student’s performance on SOL tests over time, it also shows how that performance compares to other Virginia students who took the same test. This report–along with a companion letter–will be available mid-June. 

FCPS uses various data sources to determine student growth and success. The VVAAS Student Assessment Summary Report is just one piece of information in the larger picture of student assessment in FCPS.

Watch the presentation or view the presentation slides.

Learn more about what to expect regarding assessment reporting practices and timelines.

Upcoming School Board Meetings 

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 

Madison High School Student Named US Presidential Scholar

Mayra Rios of Madison High School was recently named as a 2023 US Presidential Scholar! Rios is one of 161 students from around the country selected for the honor. 

The White House Commission on Presidential Scholars selects scholars annually based on their academic success, artistic and technical excellence, essays, school evaluations and transcripts, as well as evidence of community service, leadership and demonstrated commitment to high ideals.

Hunter Mill Students Named National Merit Winners

Congratulations to the following Hunter Mill students that were named winners of the 2023 Merit Scholarship awards by the National Merit Scholarship Corporation:

  • Danica Dougan, Westfield HS
    • Bioinformatics, Carleton College
  • Jennifer Munyan, Madison HS
    • Computer Science, University of Tulsa
  • Valentina Hong, Thomas Jefferson HS for Science and Technology
    • Computer Science, University of Maryland
  • Nayan Jaysankar Iyer, Madison HS
    • Computer Science, University of Maryland
  • Zachris Matthews, Thomas Jefferson HS for Science and Technology
    • Software Engineering, University of Texas at Dallas

See the full list of students.

Marshall HS Student Selected for STEM Excellence Award

Celina Zaccack

Celina Zaccack, a junior at Marshall High School, has been selected as the 2023 recipient of the STEM Excellence Award given annually by the McLean Area Branch of AAUW. The STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) Excellence Award is presented to a female student or team from a high school in the McLean area with an outstanding project in the field of Engineering entered in the Fairfax County Regional Science and Engineering Fair. 

This year, the students participated at an in-person science fair and also prepared a six-minute video for the judges to review in advance. Phyllis Yoshida and Judy Page served as judges for the branch. They were impressed by the work done by Zaccack on the project, “Winged Noise Barriers: The Future of Efficient Highway Sound Suppression,” as it represented an innovative solution to a highway noise problem that she encountered while at school. In addition to receiving the STEM Excellence Award, Zaccack was selected as a second-place category winner in Engineering Technology: Statics and Dynamics and received 1st Place for Excellence in Mobility Engineering from SAE International (Washington D.C. Chapter). She received additional awards from the American Industrial Hygiene Association, the Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association (Northern VA Chapter), and The Aerospace Corporation.

Student Learning Exhibitions

My office was present at students’ year-end presentations of learning. I loved hearing students at Dogwood ES during the Primary Years Program (PYP) exhibition.

Dogwood provides a pathway for the International Baccalaureate (IB) program, via the PYP of IB. This can lead all the way through graduation from South Lakes HS with the IB Diploma. 

In the final year of PYP, 6th grade students complete a culminating project known as "exhibition".  The students researched topics of their selection from a list of areas identified by the United Nations as critical for communities to thrive. Then, students described their local action-taking based on their learning.


My Staff Aide, Emma Heisey, put her own French knowledge to the test, when attending Thoreau MS' 8th grade Portrait of a Graduate Presentation of Learning (POGPOL). The students made Google Sites to showcase their improvements in communication and global citizen skills. The POGPAL allows students to reflect on their growth and present a cumulative summary of their learning.

French teacher, Ms. Evans, welcomed the audience and spoke to the achievements and growth of the class. The Google Sites highlighted FCPS Portrait of a Graduate characteristics and the ways in which they have worked to become a...

  • Communicator
    • Starting with the memorization of introductory words and phrases, students are now able to write and speak full sentences.
  • Collaborator
    • Students sought and used feedback from peers to improve and share their learning.
  • Ethical and Global Citizen
    • Understanding diverse perspectives and cultures.
  • Creative and Critical Thinker
    • Using information in creative ways to strengthen comprehension and deepen awareness.
  • Goal-Directed and Resilient Individual 
    • Persisting to accomplish difficult tasks and overcoming personal barriers to create and meet self-identified goals.

Bon travail les élèves!

2023 Caring for Our Watersheds Winners

Several FCPS student teams were winners of this year’s Caring for Our Watersheds contest with their ideas to improve the Chesapeake Bay watershed. The teams were awarded prize money to help turn their ideas into actions. Congratulations to the Rachel Carson Middle School and Herndon Elementary School teams! Explore the students’ winning ideas to improve our watershed.

Interested in learning more about the Caring for Our Watersheds Competition as an opportunity for young people to get enviro-funding, mentorship, and support from Earth Force? Attend the virtual Educator training coming up this summer, August 1-3, 2023. Register for the Caring for Our Watersheds educator workshop by June 30.

Cappies Award Winners

Our FCPS students earned many awards at the annual Cappies Gala held at the Kennedy Center! This high-energy event is like the Tony awards for high school theater arts in the DC metro area.  I was thrilled to be at this three-hour show, and to present an award!

It was incredible to see Hunter Mill constituents, individually and as teams, be recognized for their achievements in front of and behind the show curtain. I loved watching students from South Lakes HS, Madison HS, Herndon HS, Oakton HS, and others perform that evening, and be recognized for their accomplishments! A special shoutout to South Lakes HS for winning "Best Musical"! I’m overjoyed that students are finding their passions and working to achieve their goals. This is what powers authentic learning and ultimate success!

Read about the awards brought home by FCPS students.

Collage of Cappies photos


Hunter Mill Students Honored by School Board

I was ecstatic to honor many Hunter Mill students on June 15, prior to the start of the School Board meeting. Students and families gathered for recognition of Virginia High School League (VHSL) and Academic Team champions for the 2022-2023 school year. Among those recognized were:

  • Madison High School Girls Basketball
  • Madison High School Baseball
  • Madison High School Boys Lacrosse
  • Oakton High School Girls Lacrosse
  • Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology Scholastic Bowl Team
  • Thomas Jefferson Debate Team

In addition to the Madison Boys Lacrosse team winning the championship title, junior student and midfielder Ollie Hau was named Class 6 Player of the Year!

Westfield Students Connect with Elementary School Immersion Students

Westfield and London Towne Pen Pals

Westfield High School students in the Spanish Honor Society engaged with London Towne Elementary Spanish Immersion students throughout the school year as pen pals. This culminated in a meeting of the buddies where the high school students worked together to plan activities and group tours of Westfield. This wonderful program helps all the students to practice their Spanish skills while relationship building. 

Thoreau Student Designs Courtyard Mural

Congratulations to Victoria, an 8th grade student at Thoreau Middle School, who won a contest to design a new mural for the main courtyard as part of Thoreau's Culture Club. The finished product is amazing!

Thoreau Courtyard Mural


The Fantastic Four of South Lakes Track

Congratulations to Catalina Simon, Bella Harsanyi, Aya Ryan, and Caroline Elliot of South Lakes High School who competed at the Nike Outdoor Nationals at the University of Oregon and left DMR (Distance Medley Relay) national champions! Not only were they successful at the meet, they set new school records!

South Lakes High School NIKE Outdoor students

FCPS Honors Recognizes This Year's Outstanding Employees

Excellence in teaching students, leading schools, and providing support is what Fairfax County Public Schools is all about. The Department of Human Resources sponsors the recognition of outstanding employees as they seek to create and demonstrate the best instructional and support practices.

I was thrilled to recently attend the FCPS Honors reception and ceremony at George Mason University, where I saw several Hunter Mill school staff - some of whom are also constituents! Pictured below are the following:

  • Mary Helen Tucker, Instructional Assistant, Wolftrap ES
    • Finalist for Outstanding School-Based Operational Employee
  • Lisa O'Donovan, Assistant Principal, Wolftrap ES
    • Finalist for Outstanding School-Based Leader
  • Shani Moser, Spanish Language Teacher, Madison HS
    • Finalist for Outstanding Secondary School Teacher 
  • Aisha Iqbal, Instructional Assistant, Marshall Road ES
    • Outstanding School-Based Operational Employee School Recipient

Congratulations to all of this year's winners, finalists, pyramid, and school recipients. Review the complete list of award winners

Collage of FCPS Honors


Marshall Road Elementary Names New Principal

Matthew Chapman

Matthew Chapman, the current Assistant Principal at  Marshall Road Elementary School, has been named the new principal beginning August 1, 2023. As an accomplished instructional leader, Mr. Chapman brings a wealth of experience from a variety of schools, and a commitment to service-oriented support to the Marshall Road Elementary School community.  

Mr. Chapman has a Bachelor of Science degree in Public Administration from George Mason University and a master’s degree in Special Education K-12 with an endorsement in Emotional and Learning Disabilities.  Mr. Chapman also earned a post-graduate professional license and endorsement in Administration/Supervision K-12 through the University of Virginia and LEAD Fairfax Accelerated Certification Cohort.

Cunningham Park Elementary Names New Principal

Allison Hoak

Allison Hoak, the current assistant principal at Dranesville Elementary School, has been named the new incoming principal of Cunningham Park Elementary School beginning July 1, 2023. 

Ms. Hoak has been nominated as an FCPS Outstanding Leader at both Dranesville Elementary and Flint Hill Elementary Schools. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in Social Sciences at the University of Northern Colorado and a Master of Arts in Education Leadership from George Mason University.

Cedar Lane Celebrates Outgoing Principal

Principal Tom Lundy

Cedar Lane's End of Year celebration was bittersweet as they honored principal Tom Lundy for his retirement. Thank you, principal Lundy, for your many years of hard work and dedication - you have changed the lives of many students and staff and I wish you the best in this next chapter of your life!


Crossfield ES Educator Honored by Special Education PTA

Marco Talotta of Crossfield Elementary School was recently honored by the Fairfax County Special Education PTA for winning the Instructional Assistant/Public Health Training Assistant category. I know that everyone at Crossfield is so proud of Mr. Talotta and it's clear that he is a valued member of their family. Congratulations!

Click here for a brief clip of him receiving his award.  

Marco Talotta


Trees and Plants on Our School Grounds

Tree clipart

I appreciate the advocacy constituents have raised for retaining old growth trees on school grounds. Particularly to retain the maple trees at the front of Louise Archer ES during the current renovation and on the playground at Wolftrap ES ahead of the installation of new equipment. Please know I agree with you that we must do all that’s possible to protect and preserve these trees for a multitude of reasons – learning environments, local habitat, enjoyment, and community history.

In my advocacy to the Superintendent that her staff be as conservative as possible when it comes to tree removal, I’ve learned that FCPS relies on a professional tree evaluator on the design team to assess whether trees can be retained during school improvement projects.   

Regarding the trees at Louise Archer ES, the evaluator unfortunately relayed that, “these trees have a great deal of decay and much evidence of branch failure. These trees are unsafe, a hazard to the students and a legal liability.” Furthermore, the evaluator recorded that the trees have “no chance of surviving construction; indicates decay; Danger! Large pieces of wood could fall at any time”. It’s clear that they had to be removed.

I’ve been assured that FCPS’ goal remains to save as many trees as possible, and of course plant new when current trees must be removed. 

Crossfield Renovation

In another example of how staff and families care for our school grounds, Crossfield ES school community members have established an effort to retain beloved iris flowers for after the renovation! Thank you to parent volunteer, Aleesa, and Crossfield teacher, Ms. Cleary, for their work in taking good care of the Crossfield flora!

Apply Today for a School Board Advisory Committee

I am seeking applicants for the following School Board Advisory Committees:

  • Minority Student Achievement Oversight Committee (MSAOC)
  • School Health Advisory Committee (SHAC)
  • Human Resources Advisory Committee (HRAC)
  • Advanced Academics Programs Advisory Committee (AAPAC)
  • Career and Technical Education Advisory Committee (CTEAC)

The above Advisory Committees are a 1 year term length. All applicants must be residents of the Hunter Mill District. For more information about the Advisory Committees, click here.

Apply now!

Colorful Hands reaching graphic

June Is...

LGBTQIA + Pride Month 

Pride Month FCPS

FCPS recognizes the resilience and determination of the many individuals who are fighting to live freely and authentically. We stand with those facing an ongoing struggle against discrimination and injustice. This Pride Month, we affirm our commitment to uphold the dignity of all people. Each individual in our school community should feel valued for who they are. See more about how FCPS provides a safe and respectful environment for all.   

Learn more about the heritage months, celebrations, and traditions celebrated in FCPS.

National Gun Violence Awareness Day 

National Gun Violence Awareness Day

June 2, is National Gun Violence Awareness Day, also known as Wear Orange Day. The School Board recognized Gun Violence Awareness during the June 15 meeting. I spoke to the dire need for the federal and state governments to address this epidemic with legislation. As community members we must play our part in continuing this conversation within, and beyond, our homes.

Here are some ways you can help keep our students and schools safe from gun violence:

  • Talking About Guns: Kids and unsecured guns are a potentially lethal combination. Fortunately, a simple conversation can help keep children safe. It doesn’t need to feel strange or awkward to bring up the issue of how guns are stored with family and friends.
  • Using the Red Flag Law: Since July 2020, Virginia has had a “red flag law” in place to prevent individuals who show signs of being a threat to themselves or others from purchasing, possessing, or transporting any kind of firearm.
  • Firearm/Ammunition Disposal: The quickest and easiest way to get rid of a firearm or ammunition is simply to call the public safety non-emergency number at 703-691-2131 and request an officer respond to your home.
  • Secure Storage: Follow Virginia law and securely store your firearms. Studies show that most school shootings involve guns obtained from the shooter’s home or a family member's home.
  • Know The Signs: Know the signs of emotional or mental health crises and provide support. If you or someone you know is experiencing a mental health emergency, call Fairfax County’s 24-hour hotline at 703-573-5679, or TTY 711.

Find gun violence prevention resources on our website.

Juneteenth: June 19

Juneteenth FCPS

Juneteenth (June 19) marks a day in 1865 when enslaved Texans learned they would be free — 2 months after the end of the Civil War and 2½ years after Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation.

After Juneteenth was declared an official holiday, the Town of Vienna created Liberty Amendments Month to foster mutual respect and understanding and to celebrate the Constitutional Amendments that give all citizens liberty and a say in how they are governed, regardless of their culture or station in life. The month commemorates the passage of the 13th, 14th, 15th and 19th Amendments, which among other things granted full rights to citizens who were previously excluded from the U.S. Constitution. Several highlights for the 2023 celebration include:

  • Liberty and Libraries: Author Talk and Unveiling of Patrick Henry Library Redesign Plans: The Role Libraries Play in Enhancing Equality and Individual Rights, Wednesday, June 28, 6:30-8 p.m. at the Vienna Community Center
  • African American Historic Sites Tour of Vienna is a self-guided tour of contributions of Vienna’s African Americans from 1867 to 2006 compiled by longtime residents Sylvia Taylor and Gloria Runyon. Click here to plan and take your tour. 
  • Vienna Multicultural Festivalis Saturday, July 15, 3 to 8:30 p.m. at the Vienna Town Green

View the complete schedule for the month of activities.

Other Information of Interest 

Food and Nutrition Services Names New Executive Director 

Shaun Sawko

The Office of Food and Nutrition Services is pleased to announce that Mr. Shaun Sawko has been selected as the new Executive Director of Food and Nutrition Services, effective July 1, 2023. Mr. Sawko comes to FCPS from Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS), where he was the Wellness Supervisor for their Division of Food and Nutrition Services. He has been a leader in public school nutrition programs across three school districts and will draw upon that experience and creativity to tackle the unique challenges of Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS).

Mr. Sawko holds a Bachelor of Science in Nutrition and Dietetics from the University of North Florida, and a Master of Food and Nutrition from Bowling Green State University.  He is a licensed dietitian and a member of both the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and the School Nutrition Association.  Mr. Sawko has presented at several professional conferences, showcasing the best practices that he helped develop during his time with MCPS. Additionally, he has guided and mentored multiple future employees through dietetic internship programs. His commitment to outreach and nutrition education both within and outside of his school community make him an exceptional leader in his field. Mr. Sawko looks forward to collaborating with students, parents, community members, and other stakeholders to better serve the nutrition needs of FCPS schools. In other school districts he has built culturally appropriate menus based on state and federal standards. He has also developed a process to ensure that students with medical dietary needs can safely participate in school meals. His dedication to serving the various and sometimes complex needs of his school communities, is exactly what FCPS represents.  We are excited to welcome Shaun into the FCPS community and look forward to the good things he will do here for our students and families.

Online Tutoring Services During the Summer summer resources

FCPS students will continue to have unlimited access to 24/7, on-demand, online tutoring support services through during the summer. Students are able to use to review and/or practice in subject areas of interest or need. Students may also choose to access other tools and services such as practice quizzes in a variety of subject areas as well as self-paced study courses for SAT/ACT preparation. 

Details about how students can access via archived courses in Schoology are provided in the Summer Access webpage.

Mental Wellness Summer Supports

The FCPS Office of Intervention and Prevention Services will offer virtual mental wellness consultations from June 26 to August 4. Any FCPS parent or secondary student can schedule a 45-minute consultation with a school psychologist or school social worker by phone or videoconference. Consultations will be offered in two ways:

  1. Directly to parents of students in any grade level. This consultation provides an opportunity for parents to receive guidance on how to support their child’s social, emotional, and academic success. Information about community resources will also be provided.
  2. Directly to students in middle or high school. This consultation provides an opportunity for middle and high school students to receive guidance and support for concerns related to anxiety, mood, behavior, peer or family interactions, or school transitions and changes. Strategies and tools can also be provided to address academic challenges such as organization and time management.

All parents and secondary students are encouraged to take advantage of this service. Consultations can be requested online or by calling 703-503-2520 and leaving a message.

Virtual Therapy Services for High School Students

Teletherapy services will continue to be available for all FCPS high school students at no cost this summer. Sessions can be scheduled Monday through Friday, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Hazel’s highly-qualified therapists specialize in speaking “teen.” 

Caregivers must first opt in their students to access Hazel Health. Then, a caregiver or school counselor, social worker, or psychologist can refer the student to Hazel for services. Learn more on the FCPS teletherapy webpage.

Enjoy FCPS School Grounds This Summer 

Playground slide

School blacktops, playgrounds, outdoor basketball and tennis courts, and tracks are available for use by individuals (not organized groups) without being scheduled.

Please keep the following in mind when using these facilities:

  • Use is allowed from dawn to dusk, except during school hours or when being used for school activities or other scheduled programs.
  • Facilities must be shared with anyone else who wishes to use them.
  • Please leave the facilities as you found them. Remove waste or debris from the property. 

Visit the Availability, Fees, and Hours webpage for details on using school grounds and facilities. See the Community Use webpage for a list of items community users are prohibited from having in school buildings, on playgrounds, and on fields, and additional information on reserving facilities. Groups interested in formally reserving school facilities should contact or call 571-423-2340.

Coursera Career Academy Pilot Program in Fairfax County

An FCPS job certification student pilot program by the Department of Information Technology (DIT) and leading industry coursework provider Coursera will allow up to 1,000 high school students to access the full contents of the Coursera Career Academy. The academy program will allow students to:

  • Explore popular digital jobs and career paths, from marketing to data science.
  • Learn from experts at leading companies, including Google, Microsoft, and IBM.
  • Earn a valuable career micro-credential.
  • Access more than 27 professional certificates.

Interested students should complete the Coursera Student Interest Form. The pilot program has a limited number of licenses available on a first-come, first-serve basis. Once a student completes the interest form, DIT will contact a parent/caregiver for consent and enable access to the online coursework. 

Coursera courses are not Virginia Department of Education (VDOE)-recognized industry credentials and do not count toward high school graduation requirements. Please contact Scott Simmons in DIT with any questions.

Summer Fun for All: Camps and Adapted Recreation

The Family Resource Center (FRC) has recently published a list with dozens of summer camps including general camps, camps for students with a variety of needs, and camps for children of military personnel. They’ve also prepared a list of adapted resources, sorted by activity, that are inclusive for children and adults of various physical abilities. 

The FRC provides resources and support for all families and school staff. They offer a free library, confidential consultations, and informational webinars. Learn more by calling 703-204-3941, emailing, or visiting the FRC's webpage.

Free National Park Passes for 4th Graders

Heading to a national park or other federal recreation site this summer? All 4th grade students can get a free year-long national park pass through the Every Kid Outdoors initiative. Learn more about Every Kid Outdoors and get your free national park pass for 4th graders!

Job Opportunities 

Deputy Clerk of the School Board 

The School Board is looking to hire a Deputy Clerk to the School Board. This is an important position that provides highly responsible administrative management and support tasks for the chair and members of the School Board. Please see the job posting and share it with anyone who may be interested.

Visit the 2023 Summer Learning Administrative positions web page for current Summer Learning Administrative opportunities.

Visit the 2023 Summer Learning web page for current Summer Learning opportunities.

Visit the Operational Gateway for all Operational jobs. View the most recently posted operational jobs.

Visit the Administrative Gateway for all Administrative jobs. View the most recently posted administrative jobs.

Visit the Current Job Openings web page for all posted positions.

For coaching positions, visit the coaching opportunities web page. 

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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