Weekly Update from Irving MS

Upcoming Important Dates

September 1 & September 4

No School - Labor Day Weekend

September 11

First Day of the After School Program & Late Buses - Academic Week and Cross Country Practice

*No After-School and Late Buses on Wednesday, September 13*

September 12

Back to School Night! UPDATED

  • 6:00-6:30 pm - Optional Programs:
    • Family Life Education Review (168)
    • ESOL (Room 145)
    • SPED (Room Barker Hall)
    • Advanced Academic Programs Questions - Library
  • 6:30-6:35 pm - Transition time into 1st period
    • 6:35-7:10 - Admin Presentation & 1st period
    • 7:15-7:25 - 3rd period
    • 7:30-7:40 - 5th period
    • 7:45-7:55 - 7th period
    • 8:00-8:10 - 2nd period
    • 8:15-8:25 - 4th period
    • 8:30-8:40 - 6th period

8:40-8:50 - 8th period



The tallest spaghetti, tape, and marshmallow tower 

in Mr. DeChagas’ 2nd period class!

Greetings, Irving Families!

From getting to know you activities, building towers to learn about collaboration, taking walks to get to know our campus, and diving into curriculum the first 2 weeks of school have flown by. We will all be taking the long weekend and Irving Middle School will be closed from September 1-September 4. We look forward to seeing students again bright and early on Tuesday, September 5. 

Today, Mr. Spear and I finished up the Students Rights & Responsibilities (SR&R) presentations. Now all students have received the division and school SR&R presentations. Next week, they will take the SR&R quiz. We stressed the importance of our ROCK (Respect Ownership Communication Kindness) and the importance of thinking before we post anything on social media, speak, and write because the way we treat each other matters. 

As a part of our SR&R presentations, we also talked about how we represent our Irving Middle School in the community. We understand that many parents/guardians give permission for their child to go to the “Plaza” (the Wholefoods shopping plaza) after school. If you are giving permission for your child to go to the Plaza, please speak with them about the importance of being a respectful customer and citizen of the West Springfield Community. I made an announcement about behaving appropriately at the plaza just before dismissal today and will continue to do so at the end of each week. We receive many complaints from patrons and business owners about the behavior displayed at the Plaza and we need your help in stressing the importance of being kind and following business’ rules while in stores and restaurants. We appreciate your collaboration and support!

Lastly, again this newsletter is lengthy because we have a number of items that are coming up and we want to make sure you are aware. Please be sure to read through the entire newsletter and let us know if you have any questions. 

I hope you have a wonderful long weekend!

Take Care!

Cindy Conley



Friday, September 8th, 2023 at West Springfield HS

We are excited to kick off the West Springfield High School football season with our first home game on September 8th  as the Spartans take on the South County Stallions @ 7pm.

The theme for this game is a WHITE OUT.

If you don’t have Spartan spirit wear, don’t worry -- the Booster Club will have plenty for sale!

The cost of all Varsity Football games is $5.00 for students and adults. We are expecting a very large crowd so please plan on arriving early.

To avoid long lines, we strongly encourage you to purchase your tickets before the game, through our etix website.  

All elementary and middle school students need to be accompanied & supervised by an adult while at the game. High school students who get dropped off must plan to have their rides waiting for them at the conclusion of the game. 

If you or your student plans to come, please take the time to discuss the relevant information below:

    • No backpacks or other bags will be allowed in the stadium. 

    • No outside food or drinks are allowed. The concession stand will be open.

    • The purpose for students who attend our varsity football games is to watch the game, cheerleaders, band, and dance team.

    • We cheer for our team and not against our opponent. All cheers should be 

    • positive.

    • The gates to the stadium will open at 6:15pm.

    • All students need to leave immediately following the game.

  • Elementary & middle school students must always be supervised by an adult.

  • If you leave the game, you will not be able to re-enter the stadium.
  • Whistles, air horns and similar noisemakers are prohibited.

Our goal is to create a positive community event.  Any behaviors that take away from this goal may result in removal from the game.


Thomas Jefferson High School for Science & Technology 

Interested Irving students and families please join us on Wednesday September 20th from 6-7PM at Irving – Barker Hall Auditorium for a TJHSST information session brought to you by a Thomas Jefferson Representative. Learn about the programs, classes, student life and the admission application. The application will become available online on Monday, October 23 at 4:00 pm via the TJ website.

What is TJHSST?

A FCPS regional Governor’s high school (9-12th grades) for students interested in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math). You can now find the new TJ Admissions Video for 2023 as well as the presentation schedule that is available to the public on their website, www.fcps.edu/tjadmissions. We strongly encourage you to view their YouTube admissions video prior to attending this meeting.

Eligibility to Apply (8th grade):

(1)   Residency requirement-FCPS is included

(2)  Completed a full-year course of Algebra 1, OR be currently enrolled in a full-year course of HONORS-level Algebra 1 or higher math

(3)  Be enrolled in HONORS science

(4)  Be enrolled in HONORS social studies OR English OR be identified as a “Young Scholar”

(5)  Have a 3.5 or higher GPA in all cores academic courses (Math, Science, Social studies, English, and if taken for high school credit, World Language) at the time of application.

TJHSST Admissions: Contact Information

Admissions Office (general inquiries): Monday - Friday, 8 a.m. - 4 p.m.

Phone:571-423-3770         Email: tjadmissions@fcps.edu               Website: www.tjadmissions.org

Social and Emotional Learning Screener

FCPS is committed to supporting all students’ mental wellness and social and emotional learning. FCPS approved a Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) Screener that students use to share their perspectives on how well their school and community help them develop skills they need to succeed. These skills include achieving goals, understanding and managing emotions, establishing and maintaining relationships with adults and peers, and making responsible decisions. Students also share how successful their school and community are at making them feel valued, included, and supported. These factors are critical to positive academic, social, and emotional success.  All students in grades 3-12 have the opportunity to participate in the screener twice a year, in the fall and spring. 

The SEL Screener elevates the voices of our students by making sure their perspectives are considered in decision-making. Screener data is used to plan programming for the division, schools, and individual students. Division and school level results, which do not include individual student information, may be used by staff to improve SEL and mental wellness practices and to inform strategic plans. Division and school level results may also be shared with the community to describe the needs of our student body and provide opportunities for partnership.

Individual students’ Screener data will only be accessible to teachers, administrators, and staff with legitimate educational interests. Results will be maintained in secure files and databases accessible only to these individuals. In partnership with families, staff review this data alongside other information to plan interventions for students with identified needs. Parents and guardians will receive an individualized report regarding their student’s screener results following each assessment window. School staff are available to discuss results with families.

You can opt out your child from participating in the SEL Screener by completing the form on Page 18 of the Annual Notice of Survey, Records, Curriculum, Privacy, and Related Rights and Opt-Out Forms booklet or directly through your SIS ParentVue account online. The opt out applies to the current school year and must be completed annually.

For more information about the SEL Screener and access to its contents visit https://www.fcps.edu/student-tests-and-assessments/student-assessment-details/social-emotional-screener.

State Assessments Grades 3-8

State assessments measure the extent to which students have learned the content and skills reflected in state standards and may also be used to measure growth in learning state standards. The format and timing of state assessments vary by grade level and content area, as noted in the table below. These include:

  • Fall and winter Virginia Growth Assessments (VGA) standardized tests in reading and mathematics. More information is available on the VGA webpage (https://www.fcps.edu/node/43932);  
  • Spring Standards of Learning (SOL) standardized tests in reading, mathematics, and science. More information is available on the SOL assessments webpage (https://www.fcps.edu/node/35021); 
  • Ongoing local alternative assessments (LAAs) including performance-based assessments (PBAs) completed as part of classroom instruction in science, writing, and social studies; More information is available on the LAA and PBA webpage (https://www.fcps.edu/node/45043).  


VGA Content Areas Tested

(Fall and Winter)

SOL Content Areas Tested


LAA Content Areas Tested



Reading, Mathematics

Reading, Mathematics

Science, Social Studies


Reading, Mathematics

Reading, Mathematics

Social Studies


Reading, Mathematics

Science, Reading, Mathematics



Reading, Mathematics*

Reading, Mathematics

Social Studies


Reading, Mathematics*

Reading, Mathematics

Social Studies


Reading, Mathematics*

Science, Reading, Mathematics

Social Studies, Writing

* VGA tests are not available for students enrolled in a high school credit-bearing math course, such as Algebra 1 or Geometry.

The Grade Level Tests webpage (https://www.fcps.edu/student-assessment/grade-level-tests) provides information by grade level about the general assessment schedule and reporting method for each required assessment type in Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS). At Irving Middle School, we will continue to update and remind you about upcoming dates students are scheduled to take the standardized VGA and SOL assessments. Our tentatively planned dates are below, but these are still subject to change. If you have questions about state assessments, contact your student’s teacher or our school test coordinator, Leigh Arscott at lbarscott@fcps.edu or 703-912-4645.

Tentative state assessment dates for Irving MS students:

  • September 20 – Fall Reading VGA
  • September 27 – Fall Math VGA
  • December 6 – Winter Reading VGA
  • December 12 – Winter Math VGA
  • April 29-May 24 - Spring SOL exams, exact dates yet to be determined

You may select a preferred language for viewing a pdf version of this FCPS State Assessment notification letter here: (https://www.fcps.edu/node/42716

Math Inventory and Reading Inventory

Dear Parents and Guardians:

Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) uses the Math Inventory and Reading Inventory with secondary students in grades 7-12 to determine students’ strengths and needs in mathematics and literacy. All students in middle school and selected students in high school participate in these assessments.

The purpose of these assessments is to identify students who may benefit from additional support with literacy and mathematics skills. In addition, school teams will consider assessment results as they plan instruction for your student. Assessments are administered at the beginning of the school year. Depending on grade level and initial performance, students may participate in follow-up assessment in the winter and/or in the spring. 

Additional information about these assessments can be found at the following webpages:

If you have further questions about these assessments, please contact your student’s English or mathematics teacher.

You can access printable translations of this notification in multiple languages at https://www.fcps.edu/node/44059

Family Life Education Instructional Program Information

Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) provides a comprehensive, sequential Family Life Education (FLE) program for students in grades kindergarten through grade twelve.  Instruction is seen as a partnership among parents and guardians, the school, and the community in supporting the learning essential to the development of strong families, positive relationships, and a healthy community.

Parents/guardians may choose to opt their child out of all or part of the Family Life Education program.  Students who are opted out are provided with age-appropriate, nonpunitive alternative health instruction, and every effort is made to foster respect for family choices.  If you wish to opt your child out of all or part of FLE for this school year, opt out forms will be included in your child’s back-to-school/orientation packets and are available online for Elementary (K-6), Middle School (7-8), and High School (9-12).  Please fill in the opt-out form and return it to your child’s school prior to Family Life Education instruction.

Detailed grade-level program descriptions are available online at Elementary (K-6) , Middle School (7-8) , and High School (9-12). FLE grade level-specific lessons and media that FCPS has streaming rights for are available for parents online in Schoology.  Parents/guardians login to Schoology using the same username and password as their Student Information System (SIS) Parent account.  Grade level-specific lessons are also available at the City of Fairfax Regional Library (this location does not have media).  Grade level-specific lessons and media that is not streamed online are available for review at your child’s school library.  Due to copyright permissions, we are unable to stream all media online.

Program questions may be addressed at your child’s school or by contacting Instructional Services at 571-423-4550 or fle@fcps.edu. 

Student Laptop Distribution

Student laptops and power cords will be distributed August 29 and 30 through English classes. Please assist your child with reminders to fully charge their laptop each night and bring their power cord to school daily in case they need it. It is recommended that students label the power cord with their first and last name on a piece of tape. If your child still has a laptop checked out from last year, please have them bring it to school and turn in on August 29 or 30. 


TalkingPoints is a safe and easy way for Irving teachers and staff to communicate with families in their home language for free. We will be using this platform to communicate with you about your child’s education and progress. There’s also a Mobile App! Visit the TalkingPoints page on the FCPS website to learn more. 

Medication Authorization Forms

The FCPS medication authorization forms have been updated for school year 23-24 and older versions cannot be accepted.  Please use the links below for the updated forms:

For epinephrine: https://www.fcps.edu/sites/default/files/media/forms/se64.pdf

General medication form: https://www.fcps.edu/sites/default/files/media/forms/se63.pdf:

Virginia Asthma Action Plan for inhalers: https://www.vdh.virginia.gov/content/uploads/sites/58/2016/12/Asthma-Action-Plan-2019.pdf

Forms for all medications must be completed by a physician with the exception of over the counter medications (OTCs) for headaches, muscle aches, menstrual cramps or orthodontic pain. OTCs must be in original, unopened containers upon receipt.

Various language translations of the forms can be found on the FCPS website: https://www.fcps.edu/registration/forms

Please call our Public Health Nurse if you have any questions at 571-495-0011.

Irving Stays After - After School Program Registration

The After School program at Irving Middle School provides students access to high-quality activities in a safe environment for all students. The Program strives to improve academic performance, foster social, emotional, and physical well-being, all while reducing the potential for risk-taking behaviors. 


Monday, September 11 - will serve as the first day of the After School Program and Late Buses. Activities and Clubs will not meet, however, after school with their teacher, Homework Club and Hollow Lounge will be held, students are encouraged to attend and familiarize themselves with staying after. 

Wednesday, September 13 - No After School and Late Buses

Library News

The library is back in business for the new school year.  This week, twenty classes have been through to borrow a “choice reading book.”  Students select a book they are interested in and are expected to have that book in their backpack to read every third period for our school-wide “Take Time” For Reading period.  Students also may be asked to have the book on hand in English when silent-reading time is done in class.  Ask your student what book they chose to read!  We are hoping that with so much of the school day dedicated to reading, students will be breezing through many books in the course of the year.