Irving MS Weekly Newsletter


Greetings, Irving Families!

A great week ending with an absolutely gorgeous Friday! Thank you for the phenomenal turn out to our first (in-person) Back to School Night since 2019. It was so much fun seeing families in our classrooms again. We also want to thank Dr. Ponce, FCPS Chief of Schools, for joining us on Tuesday as well. 

Coming up on Monday, is the first practice for our newly created Cross Country team. If you have a student who is interested and has not signed up, please be sure to read the information in the Schoology Cross Country Folder and ensure your child has all the forms turned in, so they can participate. We just received information about where our first meet will be and that information has been added to the Cross Country folder in the Schoology All Parents Course and the Schoology All Students Course as well. 

Lastly, a reminder that we need to have students bring in fully charged laptops everyday, along with their wired headphones. Students read, watch, listen, research, create, and complete work on their laptops throughout the school day. So that students can participate completely - we ask that you remind your child to charge their laptop and make sure their charged laptop and headphones are packed in their backpack each day. Thank you for your support!

Take Care!

Cindy Conley


New Information from Irving MS

Food for Neighbors

We had a great turn out for volunteers and donations for our Red Bag Collection on September 9! 

Food for Neighbors is an organization committed to helping local teens struggling with hunger. The food donated goes straight to students and families in Springfield and neighboring communities.

With your support, we can reach even more students in need. Participation is as simple as filling a Food For Neighbors Red Bag once every other month and putting it on your porch on our pick up days. We provide the bags, a desired food list, and pick-up date reminder texts. Our next collection day is November 11th. If you would like to donate food, please register as a Red Bag Donor here. If you would like to volunteer as a driver to pick up food or to help sort the food once it is delivered to Irving on our collection days, please sign up here.

If your student needs extra food for the weekend (soup/pasta, crackers, granola bars, oatmeal, fruit snack or milk/juice), please email Meg Gollinger at

Irving Stays After

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. 

Art Club - starts Monday, September 18, 1st block

Readers Unite (bka Book Club) - starts Monday, September 18, 1st block

Soccer Club - starts Monday, September 18, 1st block

Chess Club - starts Tuesday, September 19, 1st block

Washington Irving Theater Society (WITS) - starts Tuesday, September 19, 1st block

Dungeons & Dragons - starts Thursday, September 21, 1st block

Gardening Club - starts Thursday, September 21, 1st block

Irving Authors - starts Thursday, September 21, Both blocks

T.R.I.B.E. (Trustworthy, Relentless, Intelligent, Brave and Enthusiastic) - starts Thursday, September 21, 1st block

Smash Bros Club - starts Thursday, September 21, 2nd block

Irving MS Library News


Irving Says…

A new interactive display in the library this school year is that of a weekly poll.  Last week’s question revealed that 76% of students would rather “never eat their favorite food again,” than “only eat their favorite food always.”  560 students voted for the first option, while 173 cast a vote for sticking to eating only their favorite food.

This was a busy week in the library, as all of the English 8 classes came in for book talks and shared readings, as an introduction to the books that they will choose from for their first quarter novel study.    

Ask your student if they can remember what books they heard about, and what they hope to read.

Encourage your enthusiastic readers to join “Readers Unite,” an after-school book club sponsored by Ms. Monk on Mondays during the first block.  The first meeting of the new year is Monday, September 18th.  Students may also participate in a new activity to Irving this year:  Battle of the Books, which will take place during third-block advisory and a few after-school meetings.

—--Mary Ann Monk & Chad Brizek, Irving MS Librarians

News from the PTA

Well, HELLO! It was fun to see so many of you at Back to School Night, and to welcome new families to the PTA. We are so glad that Back to School Night was actually, Back AT School!  If you didn’t get the chance to join the PTA on Tuesday night, here is the link: It’s only $10. Reminder: PTA LINKS ARE NOT LIVE, SO YOU MUST COPY AND PASTE. Thank you! 

You will also see the remaining pieces of SPIRIT WEAR in that section of the PTA website. Grab it while it’s there. We will do another bulk order in October. 

On Wednesday we had our first PTA meeting, passed the budget, and had an overview from Principal Conley. Our next general membership meeting is in November, and we are hoping to do it in person, combined with the “Hidden in Plain Sight” presentation from our local Fairfax County Police in West Springfield. This presentation provides insight into a range of teen behavior, from risky to illegal, that the local police are currently dealing with. This real-time insight is valuable, and this presentation was well-attended last year.  It is for adults only – children do not attend. More about this in October. 

Note that our FIRST SPIRIT NIGHT will be at Papa John's on September 28th!!...and then every Thursday after that!! Get pizza - Support the PTA. What’s a spirit night you ask? A local restaurant provides the PTA with a percentage of the sales from a given night. Our local Papa John’s has offered to do it EVERY THURSDAY! It’s a total WIN-WIN-WIN: your kids eat, you don’t cook, and Irving makes money. Oh – AND – you’re supporting a local business or franchise! You can’t afford NOT to do it!

Feel free to reach out to learn more about the PTA, or with any questions you might have.

Irving MS Continuing Important Info

Military & Family Life Counselor (MFLC)

We are excited to welcome Alejandra Stephens, our new Military and Family Life Counselor (MFLC). She is a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) in the state of Virginia and is very excited to be a part of the Irving School and to serve the school’s military students and families!

As an MFLC, she provides free, nonmedical counseling to individuals, groups, and families in person during the school week to enhance social, academic, and emotional skills to support the wellbeing of military students and their families. She is trained to address issues related to:

° Self-esteem

° Communication and relationships at home or school ° Life skills

° Adjustment and transition

° Behavioral concerns

° Changes at home (including deployment, reunion, and divorce)

° Fear, grief, and loss

All services are confidential except in cases of duty to warn situations such as safety issues and illegal activities. If you would like support in any of these areas, for resources or to introduce yourself, please contact her at

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. 

Interested 8th grade STUDENTS ONLY can also sign up for a TJHSST after school session on Tuesday September 19th from 2:30-3:30pm. Please review eligibility criteria below to ensure that you would qualify to apply!

***The TJ application will become available 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, 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 core 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:      

World Language Credit Exam

Can your child read and write proficiently in another language? If the answer is YES than you may want to register them for the World Language Credit Exam

What is the World Language Credit Exam?

A free, optional test offered by FCPS to provide students the opportunity to EARN HIGH SCHOOL CREDIT for their ability to read and write in another language. This is a rigorous test that assesses language experience (example, student can read entire newspaper in another language and write an essay using complete sentences).

Why take the World Language Credit Exam?

If students pass the exam, they can earn up to three (3) high school credits towards the advanced diploma language graduation requirements.

When is the World Language Credit Exam?

The 2023 World Languages Credit Exam will be administered on November 8, 9, and 13, 2023. You will only be registered for one date. Registration opens on September 5 and closes on October 5, at 4 p.m. Late registrations will not be accepted.

If you are interested in registering your child for this test, please email your child’s assigned school counselor:

8th Grade: Mrs. Pareja –, Mr. Frenck –

7th Grade: Ms. Nelson –, Ms. Kiefaber –

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

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 (;  
  • Spring Standards of Learning (SOL) standardized tests in reading, mathematics, and science. More information is available on the SOL assessments webpage (; 
  • 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 (  


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 ( 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 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: (

Math Inventory and Reading Inventory

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


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