Challenges, Awards, Theatre, Events, and More!

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.يرجى زيارة موقعنا الألكتروني لقراءة هذه النشرة الإخبارية بلغات أخرى

اس نیوزلیٹر کو دوسری زبانوں میں پڑھنے کیلئے ، براہ مہربانی ہماری ویب سائیٹ ملاحظہ کیجیئے۔

Mason District Community,

Last week, the Justice and Falls Church High School pyramids joined the Superintendent to engage in the Region 2 Community Conversation. During the October 3 discussion at Glasgow Middle School, parents, staff and families raised many important issues of the region. Concerns included:

  • Structured literacy for secondary students
  • Overcrowding at schools - particularly at Glasgow MS
  • Grade 6 in the middle schools in the Mason District
  • Honors for all at Holmes MS
  • Drug intervention programs - include DARE 
  • School safety matters
  • Teacher attrition and retention incentives
  • Vacancies/Long-term substitutes - especially in special education classes
  • Middle school start times
  • Traffic issues around schools 
  • Justice High School accreditation
  • Consistency across the division 
  • Renovation at Luther Jackson Middle School 

We appreciate that many families and parents carved out time to engage with the Superintendent and the Region Team during this period. Important and substantive issues were raised and we look forward to the Superintendent's follow-up to those inquiries in the near future.


In This Issue:

National Principals Month College Fair
Leave Without Pay Eileen Garnett Civic Space Opening
VDOE Exemplar Awards Free National Park Pass for 4th Graders
Solar Eclipse Information 2024 Graduation Dates
Student "Shark Tank" Tech Challenge Upcoming Theatre
Kids Heart Challenge Upcoming Football Games
AHS vs. JHS - Red Bag Contest Audit Buzz
Justice HS IB Information Upcoming School Board Meetings
Recycling Event  


National Principals Month

Happy National Principals Month! Please join me in celebrating the incredible work of our Mason District school leaders!! We are grateful for their vision, dedication, and focus in promoting the success of our students!


Leave Without Pay

There have been many questions from teachers in the Mason District community regarding the calculation of Leave Without Pay (LWOP). The concerns were largely regarding how LWOP inconsistently impacts an employee’s paycheck depending on the time of the year LWOP is taken.

Below, please find information that explains payroll calculation. Staff has also shared that payroll is managed similarly in surrounding divisions including Loudoun and Arlington.

Monthly Pay

Monthly-paid employees are compensated "current month" for regular duties and pay day is the last business day of the month. The last business day of the month may not be the same as the last school day in the month. The only exception to this schedule is December when the payday is the last school day prior to the winter holiday.

Below is an example of how monthly pay is calculated:

For a 195-day teacher who is working 7.5 hours daily with an annual salary of $54,913, paid a monthly gross amount of $4,992.09 for eleven months (from August to June).

To pay the desired leveled monthly gross amount each month, $4,992 is divided by the workdays in that pay period and divided by the daily scheduled hours. This results in a fluctuating hourly rate each month.

Any adjustment to pay is calculated using the same method. The question remains regarding how staff can review payroll processes to ensure a consistent gross monthly pay while reducing the variability of LWOP impact dependent on the month during which LWOP had been taken.


VBOE Exemplar Awards


The Virginia Board of Education’s annual Exemplar Awards recently recognized 25 FCPS schools for their performance. The Highest Achievement Award is for schools that exceed state benchmarks for assessment pass rates. According to the VBOE rules for these awards, they include high pass rights for all students — there cannot be a large pass rate discrepancy between the lowest and highest performing student groups. Four FCPS schools received this award, including one from the Mason District:

  • Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology

The Exemplar Award for Continuous Improvement is for schools which have demonstrated continuous improvement for academic and school quality indicators. We appreciate and are honored by the efforts of students and staff within each of these schools. Congratulations to the Mason District schools receiving this award: 

  • Annandale High School
  • Annandale Terrace Elementary School
  • Belvedere Elementary School
  • Falls Church High School

View the full list of awardees.

Solar Eclipse Information


Learn more about the upcoming solar eclipses (October 14, 2023 and April 8, 2024), including safe viewing practices. FCPS has compiled resources to create the FCPS Solar Eclipses webpage. Visit this page to access resources that are applicable to families and students of all ages. We hope everyone takes the opportunity to learn more about this extraordinary natural phenomenon! 

Student "Shark Tank" Technology Challenge

The 8th Annual Student "Shark Tank" Technology Challenge has commenced, and details about this year's competition are now available online. This event is open to all high school students in Fairfax County, and participants will be tasked with developing an innovative device or app that could positively impact the lives of older adults and adults with disabilities. The initial project proposal must be submitted by December 15, 2023, while the final submissions will be due April 3, 2024. Cash prizes will be awarded by the sponsor, INTEGRITYOne Partners, and winners will be recognized by the Board of Supervisors in May 2024. Learn more.

Kids Heart Challenge

The Kids Heart Challenge is a fun, interactive, and Virginia SOL-aligned event where elementary school students learn about helping community members, improving their personal health habits, and engaging their own families in learning hands-only CPR and recognizing stroke warning signs. FCPS has set a goal to implement Kids Heart Challenge in 75 elementary schools this year, with the goal of all elementary schools participating in this program by the 25-26 school year. Fundraising is not required. Knowing how to perform CPR in the case of an emergency is a skill that we want to ensure all of our students and families possess.

An American Heart Association representative will support each school from leading a heart-healthy pep rally to providing resources, ideas, and communication to families. This program can be personalized to fit the needs and goals of each school. 

Schools have until October 30 to express interest. Only two Mason District schools have registered to date: Glasgow MS (repeat participant) and Glen Forest ES


Annandale vs. Justice -

Red Bag Contest

During last week’s football game between Annandale HS and Justice HS, a friendly Red Bag food battle began - 443 items were collected to help students in need!. The competition continues through November 1st. The goal is to inspire the most community members to sign up to donate food and toiletries through the Red Bag Program.


Justice High School

IB Information


Information Session

Justice High School parents/guardians from all grade levels are encouraged to attend an IB Parent Information Night on Wednesday, October 25 in the library from 6:00 to 7:00 p.m.

Senior IB Diploma Candidate Deadline - Reminder!

All IB senior Diploma candidates have a rough draft of Extended Essay due on Friday, October 13, 2023. IB Diploma candidates not taking the SAT on October 11, 2023 are requested to attend the IB Extended Essay workshop in the library that day.

IB Exams and Internal Assessments

IB exams are set by the International Baccalaureate Organization (IBO) and are not flexible. There are no makeup exams for IB tests. The fees for the first six IB exams taken for courses in which students are enrolled for high school credit will be paid for by FCPS. Parents will be billed a non-refundable exam fee in December for exams that exceed the six FCPS funded exams.

Students and parents who choose to opt-out of any IB exams for May 2024 must complete an opt-out request by the October 22, 2023 deadline

IB Internal Assessment (IA) are assessments that are externally moderated by the IBO. These assessments must be scored internally and then uploaded to the IB system for outside moderation. 

Please check with the school for the IB exam and Internal Assessment calendars.

Free Recycling Event - Electronics, Documents, and Bicycles!


College Fair


Don’t miss out on one of the largest annual College Fairs in the region, plus our virtual Postsecondary events! Reps from 200 colleges and the U.S. Service Academies are waiting to meet you. Find out more and register for the October 15 college fair.

Family-Friendly Event in Annandale



Free National Park Passes for 4th Graders

All 4th-grade students can get a free year-long national park pass through the Every Kid Outdoors initiative. The pass provides free access for the whole family to hundreds of parks, lands, and waters for an entire year! Learn more and get your free national park pass.

2024 Graduation Dates

Mark your calendars for graduation!




Annandale HS

June 3, 2024, 9:30 a.m.

Eagle Bank Arena

Edison HS

June 5, 2024, 7:30 p.m.

Eagle Bank Arena

Falls Church HS

June 7, 2024, 2:00 p.m.

Eagle Bank Arena

Thomas Jefferson HSST

June 8, 2024, 7:30 p.m.

Eagle Bank Arena

Justice HS

June 6, 2024, 7:30 p.m.

Eagle Bank Arena

Woodson HS

June 6, 2024, 2:00 p.m.

Eagle Bank Arena


Upcoming Theatre


Woodson High School’s WTW Drama presents
The Trials
Remaining dates: Oct 12 & 13, 2023
Tickets on sale now!

The Wolfpack Theatre at Justice High School presents
Disney’s Beauty and the Beast
November 9-11, 2023
Tickets on sale soon.

Poe Middle School presents
67 Cinderellas
November 9-11, 2023

Falls Church HS Spotlight Theatre Company presents
November 16-19, 2023
Tickets on sale now!

Jackson Middle School presents
Gravestone Manor
November 16-18, 2023

Glasgow Middle School presents
The Legend of Sleepy Hollow
November 17-18, 2023

Edison Theatre Company presents
The Diary of Anne Frank
November 29 - Dec 2, 2023
Tickets on sale soon.

Holmes Middle School presents
Matilda, Jr.
December 1-2, 2023

Upcoming Football Games

Remaining home football games for the Mason District:

Home Team

Visiting Team


Annandale HS Edison HS October 13
Thomas Jefferson HSST Park View HS October 13
Annandale HS Mount Vernon HS October 20
Edison HS Justice HS October 20
Falls Church HS Lewis HS October 20
Thomas Jefferson HSST Manassas Park HS October 20
Woodson HS South County HS October 20
Edison HS Falls Church HS October 27
Justice HS Hayfield HS October 27 
Falls Church HS Justice HS November 3
Thomas Jefferson HSST Virginia Academy November 3
Woodson HS West Springfield HS November 3



Audit Buzz

The latest issue of Audit Buzz:

  • Summarizes the key take-aways from the October 4 Audit Committee meeting;
  • Provides ways to use professional skepticism in the K-12 environment;
  • Recognizes the Audit Committee citizen members;
  • Shares OAG’s recent events; and
  • Offers a training opportunity to Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) employees. 

Prior editions of Audit Buzz are archived on the Office of Auditor General’s website.

Upcoming School Board Meetings

Regular School Board Meetings (Luther Jackson Middle School)

  • October 12, 2023 at 7:30 p.m.
  • October 26, 2023 at 7:30 p.m.

Public Hearing (Luther Jackson Middle School)

  • October 12, 2023 at 6:15 p.m. (VDOE Comprehensive Plan)

Work Sessions (Gatehouse Administration Center)

  • October 24, 2023 at 10:30 a.m.
  • November 14, 2023 at 10:30 a.m.

All meetings will be broadcast live on Channel 99 (Verizon channel 11) and on the FCPS website. The meetings are recorded for future viewing and posted to the FCPS School Board YouTube channel.

Visit the community participation webpage to sign up to speak at a regular meeting or public hearing.


Reuniones de la Junta Escolar de FCPS en Español

Para ver las reuniones de la Junta Escolar grabadas o para ver en vivo durante las reuniones regulares en YouTube, por favor vaya al canal de YouTube de FCPS en Español o escanee el código QR.

We are cognizant of the significant language needs of the Mason District and I will continue to advocate for their availability and inclusion.







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.

© Fairfax County Public Schools, Fairfax County, Virginia