Welcome to the 2023-24 School Year!

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

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

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Dear Fairfax County Students, Staff and Families,

Welcome to the 2023-2024 school year! It seems as though summer has flown by but I hope you all had a chance to relax and recharge. For our families who are receiving this newsletter for the first time, welcome!  I share updates about School Board work, FCPS and community news and resources, and more. I hope you will find this information helpful, and I look forward to your feedback. You should already be receiving FCPS This Week, which has important information about Fairfax County Public Schools. Be sure to subscribe to your child’s school newsletter, as well. If you are not receiving those, make sure you go to the News You Choose site where you can manage all of your subscription preferences, including this one.

The Back to School energy is contagious and I am excited about the new school year. I’m really looking forward to fall plays, musicals, fall sports, AND cooler days ahead! I’m excited this year we will have our new strategic plan to guide our work for the next few years. Visit the Strategic Plan webpage to learn more. The School Board has already been busy creating a policy governance structure to ensure strong oversight over the implementation of the strategic plan. More on that soon as we finalize this work…

Another exciting development is that there will be salad bars at every FCPS school this year - starting on the first day of school! I’m so excited at this additional healthy and fresh food option for our students and can’t wait to hear how the salad bars are received. 

I know our staff will appreciate hearing that we have streamlined and reduced the  annual trainings. I hope you have found the changes, including pre-test options and shorter lengths, to be an improvement, and as a good start to addressing teacher and staff concerns. 

I can’t wait to get back into schools and see our wonderful staff and students in action. I look forward to seeing our families at Back to School Nights and other community events. If you don’t know when your school’s Back to School Night is, you can find all the events listed by region: Region 1, Region 2, Region 3, Region 4, Region 5, Region 6 and TJHSST. Don’t know your school’s region? Search for your school in the Schools and Centers Directory, then click on your school’s name. And please watch my Back to School Message below.

Back to School Message

2023 Back to School Message

As always, feel free to reach out to share your thoughts, concerns and questions with me. I am happy to listen and help.

Warmest regards,


Below you will find:

Upcoming School Board Meetings

School Board
  • August 29 at p.m. at 10:30 a.m. - Work Session: Policy Governance
  • August 31 at 7:30 p.m. - Regular Meeting: FY23 Year End Budget Vote

Please note that times and topics are subject to change.

The work sessions and regular meetings are broadcast live on Channel 99 (Verizon channel 11) and the FCPS website. Both are recorded for future viewing and posted to the FCPS School Board YouTube channel.

For Spanish speakers, to watch recorded School Board meetings, or live during regular meetings, visit the FCPS en Espanol YouTube channel.

Visit the community participation webpage to sign up to speak at a regular meeting. Visit BoardDocs for more meeting logistics, agendas, and handouts.


School Year Calendar

Be sure to bookmark the FCPS school year calendar to keep track of school holidays, breaks, and observances.

  • Days marked with blue Hs are student holidays. 
  • Days marked with orange Os are religious and cultural observance days (or evenings if only half marked). 
  • Days marked in pink are holidays for students, but working days for teachers and staff.

The Islamic calendar is a lunar calendar, and the start of each month coincides with the birth of a new moon. The date of Eid a-Fitr is regionally decided, which can lead to unexpected date changes. Eid al-Fitr is currently slated to begin at sunset on Tuesday, April 9, 2024, and last through sundown Wednesday, April 10, 2024. Tuesday is designated a half-O day, and Wednesday is a holiday, with all schools and offices being closed. If the day for Eid changes after the school year begins, the calendar may be adjusted. 

School Meals

School Lunch

Parents/caregivers need to provide their students with money to purchase meals at school, send them with a packed lunch, or apply (and be approved) for free and reduced-price meals benefits. School breakfast for students costs $1.75. Lunch is $3.25 for elementary students and $3.50 for middle, secondary, and high school students.

Free and Reduced-Price Meals

The application for free and reduced-priced meals is now available for the 2023-24 school year. Students who were approved for free and reduced-price lunch last year are eligible for the first 30 days of school this year (or until a new application is processed). Families should re-apply as soon as possible for the 2023-24 school year, so eligible students continue to receive meals at no cost. 

Paying With MySchoolBucks

The best way to purchase meals (and keep food lines moving!) is to use MySchoolBucks. Set up your student’s MySchoolBucks account today. School front office staff can help with any questions. 

MySchoolBucks accounts can be set up to add money to the account automatically, as needed. Families with multiple children can use the same MySchoolBucks account. Visit FCPS’ Food and Nutrition webpage for more information. 

Chromebooks for Secondary and High School Students

FCPS is changing its high school and secondary student devices to Chromebooks. This device will continue to enable students to use web-based tools like Schoology, Google, and online textbooks. Students will receive a device within the first weeks of school.

If you would prefer that your student bring their own device (BYOD), they need to make sure it meets FCPS’ minimum requirements. Students who use their own device will not receive an FCPS device. Our school tech team will make sure that students have access to an FCPS device for important tests, such as SOLs. FCPS strives to be financially and environmentally responsible. Students who do not use their FCPS device regularly will be asked to return it.

Updates to High School Transcripts

In order to increase transparency on high school transcripts, FCPS has made updates to high school course titles for courses that receive an additional 0.5 or 1.0 weighting. 

For all enrolled high school students in the 2023-24 school year and beyond, high school course titles will now reflect:

  • An HN (Honors) for any course that has a 0.5 additional weighting. 
  • An AV (Advanced), AP (Advanced Placement), DE (Dual Enrollment), or IB (International Baccalaureate) for any course that has a 1.0 additional weighting

The new AV label was created to address several college-level courses that previously had a 1.0 additional weighting without a designation. 

The course title changes will apply to all weighted courses across all high schools. 

Seniors who have already started to enter their senior year course lists through any college applications, should review their course list to ensure they included appropriate course titles.

Read more about transcript updates.

What is a Bond?

Fairfax County Public Schools will have a bond referendum on the ballot this election day, Tuesday, November 7

To finance large-scale construction and renovation work, the county sells bonds, which allows the county to pay for these projects over time — like a home mortgage. By maintaining its triple-A bond rating, Fairfax County bonds are purchased by institutional investors at very low rates, saving the county considerable amounts of money that might otherwise be paid in interest. The county estimates that the triple-A rating has saved Fairfax County taxpayers at least $1 billion in financing costs! 

Read more about the FCPS 2023 Bond Referendum. Learn more about registering to vote.

Central Tutoring: Meeting Student Needs and Watching Students Grow


Last spring, FCPS started advertising for a new kind of tutoring position. As part of a response to pandemic-related learning loss, the Office of School Support and Tutoring Services analyzed the needs of students across the division and pinpointed the schools where there were the largest gaps between what students were achieving and the goals they should be reaching. Starting with the schools with the greatest needs, they began to match tutors to small groups of students. 

Cheryl Temple, an adjunct instructor at George Mason University and a retired teacher, liked that Central Tutoring enabled her to help local students, and that it was flexible to work with her schedule. She had worked as an intervention teacher, and was interested in a similar position. 

Read more about why Cheryl became a tutor and why she recommends the job to others!

Are You Interested in Tutoring?

FCPS needs qualified tutors to provide in-person academic support to small groups of students. These tutors will be paid hourly at a rate of $48.58. The position is flexible, and the amount you work and where you work will be based on your availability, qualifications, and the needs presented throughout FCPS. However, tutors must work at least three days a week for a total of 12 hours a week on a consistent basis. Email tutor@fcps.edu for more information. 

Family Resource Center

Family Resource Center

Did you know that caregivers can access free webinars, confidential consultations, a lending library, and resources to help adults support the success of all students, including those with learning challenges, special needs, and disabilities? Learn more about FCPS’ Family Resource Center (FRC).

Upcoming Workshops for Families

The Family Resource Center is already scheduling a helpful series of webinars for the 2023-24 school year. Save the date for the following discussions in September. See the full list of workshops. Click on the title to register for each event: 

Student Opportunities

EPA Invites Youth to Serve on Agency’s First-Ever National Environmental Youth Advisory Council

In June, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the establishment of the agency’s first-ever National Environmental Youth Advisory Council (NEYAC). The NEYAC will provide independent advice and recommendations to Administrator Michael Regan on how to increase EPA’s efforts to address a range of environmental issues as they relate to youth communities. Applications for the 16 vacancies are due August 22.

NVSWCD Poster Contest

Calling all student artists! The Northern Virginia Soil and Water Conservation District is seeking students to design posters to submit to the 2023 Youth Poster Contest. The theme for this year is ‘One Water.’ This contest is open to all K-12 students in Fairfax County, and scouts are eligible to earn a poster contest patch. Additionally, this year will feature a new digital poster contest open to students in grades 7-12. Learn more about both poster contests and download your entry form on the Conservation Poster Contest website. Entries are due by September 30, 2023.

Youth Well-Being Prize

Are you a young person between the ages of 10 and 29 with an idea of how digital tools can be used to help improve other young people’s well-being? Do you have ideas about how we could creatively use technology to increase young people’s knowledge around issues that impact them? The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) is looking for creative innovators with solutions to pressing issues around well-being. Is this you? If so, apply today for the Youth Well-Being Prize Competition! Applications are open now and close on September 29, 2023

Library of Congress Video Game Challenge for Civic Engagement

The Library is calling on video game developers to create fun and lightweight video games related to civics that incorporate Library resources. This challenge is part of an effort to improve public knowledge of the rights and responsibilities of American citizens. Winning video game entries, to be announced early next year, will receive $35,000 in cash prizes. The deadline for all entries is November 27. Learn more here.

NOAA’s Student Opportunities Database

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Education launched a new student opportunities database! NOAA has opportunities for students of any level — from kindergarten through high school, undergraduate and graduate, and even recent graduates. The new searchable database contains more than 60 scholarships, fellowships, internships, youth programs, and more across NOAA and its partners.

Girls in Aviation Programs

Save the date for Women in Aviation International’s 9th Annual Girls in Aviation Day on Saturday, September 23, 2023

Learn about their youth programs,  including Aviation for Girls app, AFG Engage E-Learning, AFG Connect News, Aviation for Girls magazine, and Girls in Aviation Day. Each program is designed to reach youth through technology and peer engagement. There are age-appropriate individual tracks, fun activities, hands-on demonstrations, peer group work, and role models to encourage and inspire our participants.

Fairfax Food Council Youth Representative

The Fairfax Food Council is seeking two youth representatives to serve on the Fairfax Food Council Steering Committee. The Steering Committee is charged with overseeing the work of the Council, setting priorities, and raising resources, among other duties. The time commitment is approximately 6 hours of service each month. Applicants should both live and attend school in Fairfax County, Fairfax City, or Falls Church, and be a rising high school junior for the 2023-2024 school year. Representatives will serve a one-year term, with the ability to extend to a two-year term. Applications are due by September 15, 2023. Contact fairfaxfoodcouncil@fairfaxcounty.gov or visit the Fairfax Food Council website for more information.

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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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