September News, Updates and Resources

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.يرجى زيارة موقعنا الألكتروني لقراءة هذه النشرة الإخبارية بلغات أخرى

Dear Fairfax County Students, Staff and Families,

I hope that the first quarter is going well for all of you and that everyone is becoming familiar with the new routines and environments of a new school year. I’ve been enjoying this beautiful weather at back to school nights, fall sports, marching band, and dance team performances. I am eagerly looking forward to the fall plays and musicals  -  Dr. Reid shared that 40 schools are already underway in these efforts! The talent of our students never ceases to amaze me.

I know that our students and educators are deep into the hard work of learning. I’ve enjoyed hearing from families at back to school nights. The School Board has resumed the full meeting schedule and you can read some of the updates below, along with news from FCPS and the community.

Some of the work I want to highlight is passing our year end budget and our work on executive expectations. You can read below for more information. We passed funding for compensatory services, replenishment to the staffing reserve, funding for strategies to close the achievement gap, major maintenance, enhanced summer school, a recruitment incentive for substitute teachers, a safety and security screening pilot program, mental health teletherapy and more. We also finalized our work on Executive Expectations, a revised framework through which the School Board will continuously monitor the implementation of the strategic plan. Reports will be made at our Regular Meetings throughout the year, so stay tuned! Read below for more details. 

I’m excited to see the state has finally passed its budget and also happy to hear of additional funding for K-12 education. Staffing shortages remain a challenge but we are working hard to recruit and fill positions. If you know someone interested in working for FCPS, please send them here 

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:

School Board Updates

School board desk and gavel

FY 2023 Year End Review

At the August 31 Regular Meeting, we reviewed the prior fiscal year’s final quarter, in a “year-end review” agenda item and financial action. This is an opportunity for the School Board to fund adjusted or additional needs identified by the School Board and Superintendent since the prior budget was adopted. The Board approved funding for compensatory services, replenishment to the staffing reserve, funding for strategies to close the achievement gap, major maintenance, enhanced summer school, one-time funding to support the replacement of the human capital management system, a recruitment incentive for substitute teachers, a safety and security screening pilot program, increased electricity costs, fuel inflation, turf fields, administrator and schedule C scale enhancement, fine arts stipends, one-time funding for PreK expansion, certified athletic trainers, a shortfall in the Adult and Community Education Fund, mental health teletherapy support, and funding set-aside for the FY 2025 beginning balance.

One adjustment that I am particularly excited about is the fine arts stipends that provide some recognition of the significant additional hours worked by our fine arts educators at performances, camps, rehearsals, competitions and more.

Executive Expectations

Following the adoption of the 2023-2030 FCPS Strategic Plan, the School Board held retreats on August 15 and August 29 and a work session on September 12 to review and revise the current Operational Expectations. The updated Operational Expectations were revised to Executive Expectations and to align with the Strategic Plan and the Board’s expectations of the work of the Superintendent.

The Superintendent will provide an annual monitoring report to the Board on each of these Executive Expectations during a public meeting. At the time of the presentation, the Board will vote to approve the individual Executive Expectations monitoring report or request a corrective action plan, if needed.

I am very supportive of this change because I believe it will allow the Board to operate in a more efficient and transparent manner. The regular monitoring reports will be presented at the Regular Meetings and therefore be available to the public. 

See the approved Executive Expectations.

Academic Matters - Compensatory Education Update

At the September 14 Regular Meeting, Dr. Reid presented an update on the COVID 19 Compensatory Education Plan. She shared that FCPS has held more than 30,000 IEP and Section 504 meetings to consider whether students require compensatory services and/or reimbursement for out-of-pocket expenses and has provided more than 27,000 compensatory services hours to students and is processing payment of more than $5.5 million in reimbursement to families for private services. I know that many families and staff have had challenges and frustrations with the compensatory review. I want to thank our families for their patience and our staff for their hard work during this difficult process. See the presentation materials and the recording of the presentation.

Upcoming School Board Meetings

  • Tuesday, September 26, 10:30 am - Work Session
  • Thursday, September 28, 7:30 pm - Regular Meeting 
  • Tuesday, October 10, 10:30 am - Work Session
  • Thursday, October 12, 7:30 pm - Regular Meeting
  • Tuesday, October 24, 10:30 am - Work Session
  • Thursday, October 26, 7:30 pm - Regular Meeting

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.

FCPS News 

2023-24 Health and Safety Guidance for Schools

Although the COVID-19 hospital transmission level (previously the COVID-19 Community Transmission level) for Fairfax County is currently low, COVID-19 cases have risen in Virginia during the last few weeks, and flu season will soon be upon us. Be sure to review FCPS Health and Safety Guidance for the best ways to prevent the spread of disease and to find out when students should stay home from school. 

SEL Screener Parent Notification and Updates

FCPS is committed to supporting the mental wellness of all students. The Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) Screener helps our students share their perspectives on how their schools and communities support them and help them develop the skills they need to succeed.

The screener is offered to all students in grades 3 through 12 in the fall and spring. It addresses skills like 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. Screener data is used to plan programming for the division, schools, and individual students. 

Key updates to the screener this year include:

  • Different versions for students in grades 3-5 and 6-12. 
  • Fewer topics with more questions to provide schools and families with more data to support planning. 
  • Additional questions aligned with FCPS’ commitment to educational equity.

Results are mailed home to families after each screening. Families who wish to opt their child out may do so by completing the opt-out form in the Annual Notice packet or SIS ParentVue. 

For more information, please visit the Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) Screener webpage. 

Please note that the SEL Screener differs from the anonymous Fairfax County Youth Survey. For more information about the Youth Survey, see the Fairfax County Youth Survey site.

Global Exchange Program

Through a new FCPS initiative with Participate Learning, FCPS has welcomed 31 Global Exchange teachers to FCPS schools. The 31 ambassador teachers working in FCPS this year come from eight different countries. In order to participate in the program, ambassador teachers must have a minimum of a bachelor’s degree in teaching or education, two years of teaching experience, a driver’s license, be fluent in English, and commit to teaching here for five years. Read more about our ambassador teachers.

FCPS Resources

Free Teletherapy for High School Students

All FCPS high school students can access virtual therapy sessions with licensed counselors from Hazel Health at no cost.

Hazel’s therapists — who specialize in working with teens — can help students address mood/behavior changes, motivation, grief/loss, anxiety, peer and family relationships, and academic stress.

For high schoolers to participate in teletherapy services, caregivers must:

Students must be referred to therapy by a caregiver or designated school staff member.

Visit the FCPS Teletherapy webpage for more information.

How to Access Free Resources from

All FCPS students continue to have unlimited access to live, 24/7, one-on-one online tutoring services through at no cost to families. Student participation is optional and parents/caregivers can opt their student(s) out of accessing the services. Get more information on the Online Tutoring Services webpage.

Students can access via a link in Schoology. Additional information about how to log in and access a tutor is provided to families via the following: Elementary - How It Works and Middle & High - How It Works. Questions not answered in the posted resources may be sent to

College Fair and Postsecondary Virtual Events

High school students and their families are invited to attend the annual FCPS College Fair and the Postsecondary Virtual events. The College Fair will feature admissions representatives from more than 250 colleges and universities from across the United States and abroad. The fair will be held at George Mason University’s Eagle Bank Arena on Sunday, October 15, 4-7 p.m. 

The Postsecondary Virtual Event will be held on Monday, October 16, and Tuesday, October 17, 5-8 p.m. The virtual event will feature workshops related to the college admissions process, financial aid, and other postsecondary educational opportunities. 

Students are highly encouraged to register in advance for these events. 

Student Opportunities

Election Page

Are you at least 16 years old, live in Virginia, and actively enrolled in high school? Would you like to learn more about the electoral process and earn service-learning hours that can be applied towards the Seal of Excellence in Civics Education? The Office of Elections is offering you the opportunity to serve inside a Fairfax County polling place as an election page for the upcoming November election. They also encourage students fluent in a second language to apply. Learn more and apply

Congressional App Challenge

The Congressional App Challenge serves as an opportunity for high school students to be more engaged in coding in their district. Every year, Members of Congress challenge students in their districts to create and submit their original apps for a chance to win the Congressional App Challenge (CAC). Each challenge is district specific. U.S. Representatives publicly recognize their winning teams, and each winning app may be put on display in the U.S. Capitol Building for one year.

Winning apps are eligible to be displayed in the US Capitol Building and featured on the House of Representatives’ website.

  1. Winning students are invited to #HouseofCode Capitol Hill Reception in Washington D.C.
  2. Additional sponsor prizes TBA!

For more information and to register, please visit:

Fairfax County Teen Advocates Program

The Fairfax County Teen Advocates Program is for youth ages 12-19 who want to serve as community leaders against dating violence. Teen Advocates participate in campaigns to raise awareness about dating and sexual violence in addition to other issues impacting today’s youth. Advocates also work with their peers and Fairfax County agencies to design fun events, such as the annual Art Contest and Talent Showcase, which engage community members in conversations about tough topics like abuse. After submitting an application and a follow-up conversation, teens chosen as Teen Advocates commit to this program for one year and meet regularly with their regional team and the entire teen program. Applications are due Friday, September 29, 2023.  

Digital Tools for Youth Well-Being Prize Competition

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 about 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. To apply, please complete and submit the application form.

Caring for Our Watersheds Info Sessions

Caring for Our Watersheds is an environmental action challenge that provides an opportunity for students to develop STEM knowledge, environmental literacy, and civic action skills as they create solution-oriented projects to improve their watershed. Groups of ten students (or more!) investigate their community and develop civic action projects to answer the question, "What can you do to improve your watershed?" Students receive $250 for their classroom for participating, they can apply for $1,000 in implementation funds throughout the year, and they can win up to another $1,000 for their action story in May. Interested in learning more? Register for upcoming Caring for Our Watersheds info sessions on October 16 at 8:30, 10:30, 12:30, and 2:30 and on October 18 at 4.

Youth Conservation Leadership Institute

The Youth Conservation Leadership Institute (YCLI) is a program for 9th-12th grade students offered by Virginia’s Soil & Water Conservation Districts. YCLI focuses on volunteer service, environmental stewardship, leadership, and connecting students with environmental issues in their local communities. YCLI students complete a 20-hour project of their choosing throughout the school year, meet with their cohort, and receive the guidance of mentors. Learn more about YCLI and apply by Monday, October 2.

Your Place in Space Challenge

The U.S. Department of Education has announced the launch of the Your Place in Space Challenge. This is the first challenge in the CTE Momentum series, an annual challenge series to prepare high school students for rewarding careers and increase access to career and technical education (CTE). The Your Place in Space Challenge invites high schools to submit designs for a product or service that will contribute to space missions and exploration.

Teams may pursue designs of their choice or find inspiration from one of four suggested areas of exploration — covering topics such as space debris, the International Space Station, space travel, and the environment. Submissions are due by 6 p.m. on October 30, 2023. An independent judging panel will review submissions based on the challenge selection criteria and recommend up to 10 winners, who will each receive at least $5,000. 

LearnServe Fellows Program 

LearnServe International brings together high school students from Washington, D.C., Maryland, and Virginia to come up with ideas and launch businesses that make an impact on issues like climate change, social justice, and equity. They also connect students with peers in Zambia, Paraguay, and South Africa to tackle worldwide challenges. Learn more about the LearnServe Fellows Program and apply.

Community News and Events

School Bonds Benefit Students

school bond

A bond referendum to benefit Fairfax County Public Schools will be on the ballot this election season. The building and renovation of schools are not financed through the school system’s operating funds, but through bonds. 

Similar to an individual or a family obtaining a mortgage on a residence to spread the cost of home buying over several years, bonds spread the cost of major capital improvements over a number of years. This ensures that current and future residents and users share in the payment. The county’s bonded debt is not likely to be a contributing factor to any increase in local taxes. 

Hear from teachers how FCPS prioritizes safety with bond funding

Read more about the FCPS 2023 Bond Referendum. Learn about registering to vote. Vote on Tuesday, November 7

STEAMOLOGY STEM Fest Offers Hands-On Activities for Students


Students are invited to participate in STEM FEST on Saturday, October 14, from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. at South County High School. Students in kindergarten through eighth grade can participate in robotics demonstrations, coding experiments, and more. High school students are invited to volunteer. Visit the STEAMOLOGY website for more information

Fairfax Fiesta

fairfax fiesta

Fairfax County's inaugural Hispanic Heritage Celebration, the Fairfax Fiesta, is taking place on Saturday, Sept. 23, from noon to 5 p.m., at the PARC at Tysons (8508 Leesburg Pike). The free event, presented by the Fairfax County Government and Celebrate Fairfax!, aims to provide an extraordinary experience for all ages and backgrounds. Learn more about Fairfax Fiesta.

September is …

National Hispanic Heritage Month

National Hispanic Heritage Month

From September 15 to October 15, FCPS recognizes and celebrates the histories and cultures of the members of our community who trace their heritage to Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central and South America. Learn more about National Hispanic Heritage Month

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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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