Your Voice Matters - Upcoming Opportunities to Share Input

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

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

ይህንን ዜና መፅሄት በሌሎች ቋንቋዎች ለማንበብ፤ እባክዎን ድረ ገፃችንን ይጎብኙ

이 소식지를 다른 언어로 읽으려면, 우리 웹사이트를 방문하시기 바랍니다.

.يرجى زيارة موقعنا الألكتروني لقراءة هذه النشرة الإخبارية بلغات أخرى

Dear Community Members, 

There are some critical opportunities for you to elevate your voice this month, and I hope you’ll seize them! While the days are so, so busy, making time to express opinions through civic engagement and dialogues is what will really help our students and our community. Below you’ll find information about upcoming conversations with Superintendent Michelle Reid, and I hope to see you at the upcoming one at Madison HS on Tuesday, October 24, from 6:30-7:30pm. More information is below.

Also, it’s time to vote in Virginia’s annual General Election! No need to wait until Election Day (November 7). Early in-person voting is available, including in Hunter Mill at the North County Government Center in Reston. Make your voting plan to select over a dozen candidates on the ballot seeking to represent you on local and state matters! The School Bond is also on the ballot. More information is below.

Community Conversations with Dr. Reid

Superintendent Reid speaking with parents

Join Superintendent Dr. Michelle Reid for Our Schools, Our Future: A Community Conversation. Share your thoughts about FCPS and bring your questions to Madison High School on Tuesday, October 24, 6:30-7:30pm (registration link coming soon). I look forward to being there!

Pre-registration isn’t required, but helps staff prepare. Childcare and interpretation services are provided based on staff availability. 

A Community Conversation is also being scheduled for Wednesday, October 25, 6:30-7:30pm. Stay tuned for location.

Events are open to all. Find out about other opportunities to connect with Dr. Reid. Your voice matters!

Employee Conversations with Dr. Reid

Dr. Reid is also hosting a series of Employee Conversations across the school division this fall. Events are planned for:

These events are an opportunity for employees to share thoughts and ask questions. Keep in mind that Dr. Reid would like to hear from you at any time of the year. Visit the superintendent’s webpage to submit a question or email Your voice matters!

Academic Matters

Equitable Access to Literacy Plan 

I was pleased to hear an update from Dr. Reid recently on FCPS' division wide target to have students reading by third grade. The Equitable Access to Literacy (EAL) plan is something that has been a top priority for me in holding the Superintendent accountable for the school division's work, and in my advocacy to state elected officials who make policy and funding decisions that could bolster this effort. Strong literacy is critical for students’ overall academic success, economic well-being, health outcomes, social participation, and civic engagement.  

FCPS has continued to improve and refine our approach to reading over the last several years through the EAL plan. Reading by third grade is also one of the measures of Goal 3 (Academic Growth and Excellence) in FCPS' 2023-30 strategic plan

By focusing on foundational skill instruction for our young readers and literacy intervention for upper grades, FCPS has made significant progress toward narrowing the achievement gaps in reading and writing. 

Phonics Data

Slide 5, Equitable Access to Literacy Presentation Slides


FCPS Students Outperform State/Global Averages on SAT

FCPS students continue to outperform state and global averages on the SAT. The average SAT score for FCPS students in the class of 2023 was 1181. That is higher than the state average (1113) and the global average (1028). The scores for Fairfax County Evidence-Based Reading and Writing (596) and Mathematics (585) subtests are also higher than the averages for students in the state and worldwide.

While the SAT remains an important metric for post-secondary study, our students can never be distilled to one test score as a measure of their potential. Read more about the class of 2023 Fairfax County SAT data.

Committee Updates

Career and Technical Education Committee Annual Report

CTEAC Annual Report

The Career and Technical Education Advisory Committee (CTEAC) of the School Board presented its report on September 26. I have a strong connection with this committee, having served as Board Liaison for the past two years. The Committee members shared recommendations that can bear results for students and employers. Several suggestions are budget neutral, like providing consistent and equitable access to information, which Committee Members see vary across schools currently.

Check out the presentation slides, which capture the essence of the recommendations and the reach of current programs (click "CTEAC Report to the School Board").

My biggest advocacy here is that CTE and academy students cease sacrificing precious school day time to travel from their base school to another school where the instruction they desire is offered. I know many Hunter Mill students who travel to an academy, giving up an elective to do so. I also know that no Hunter Mill students travel to some programs on the other side of the county, like home building (an incredible program that covers real estate, construction, electrical, and more), because it’s simply too far to travel. FCPS must figure out how to expand offerings and meet students’ interests.

Also, you can view the summary I shared last year on this topic in my newsletter, here.

Improving Fairfax County Parks

PROSA Parks Graphic

This school year I’m the School Board’s liaison to the Fairfax County Park Authority Board! I want to share with you this interesting work happening by the Park Authority, called the Parks, Recreation, Open Space, and Access (PROSA) Strategy Report.

The beginning of the report shares an exciting vision for our parks, with helpful graphics that convey four focus areas for work.

I'm eager to help connect parks with our schools, and expand access to nature for critical health and wellness experiences.

Upcoming School Board Meetings

  • Tuesday, October 10, 10:30am: Work Session
    • Strategic Governance
    • Community Schools
  • Thursday, October 12, 7:30pm: Regular Meeting
    • Virginia Department of Education Comprehensive Plan
    • Global Operational Expectations (EE-1) Report 

Accessing Board Meetings

View this link for a comprehensive list of upcoming meetings and associated information.

Click here for meeting logistics, agendas and handouts (to view the slides and materials, scroll down to the bottom of the page).

Regular Meetings and Work Sessions are live-streamed on the FCPS website and televised on FCPS Cable Channel 99. Meeting recordings can be found on FCPS YouTube. For more information about signing up to speak at a regular meeting, click here.

QR code for School Board meetings in Spanish  

For Spanish speakers -- to watch recorded School Board meetings or live Regular Meetings on YouTube, you can visit the FCPS en Espanol YouTube channel or scan the QR code.

School Board dais photo

Hunter Mill Happenings

I recently led the new FCPS Chief of Facilities Services and Capital Programs on a tour around Hunter Mill schools. We visited principals at five schools, and drove by another ten just for a look! Our visit included Louise Archer ES, Madison HS, Flint Hill ES, Aldrin ES (soon to receive a roof replacement), Armstrong ES, Lake Anne ES, Terraset ES, Langston Hughes MS, South Lakes HS, Hunters Woods ES, Cedar Lane School, Thoreau MS, Cunningham Park ES, Vienna ES, and Wolftrap ES!

I wanted her to see the highlights and needs of different facilities - interior and exterior. I believe this will be critical to future facilities work that hosts our students' learning and our staff's work environments. It was a worthwhile day for all!

At back to schools nights, for Thoreau Middle School and South Lakes High School, I engaged with FCPS' new Chief of Schools, Dr. Geovanny Ponce. The Chief of Schools provides leadership, oversight, and direction for operational and academic management of schools in accordance with School Board policy and strategic initiatives. 

I look forward to continuing to work alongside these leaders as they get to know the FCPS community!

Collage of school visit pictures


Hunter Mill Homecomings

Traditions were held these past few weeks in celebrating Homecoming. In addition to the central football game, schools held parades and dances, and honored athletes and alumni.

Homecoming collage

Photo credits: South Lakes HS PTSA, Town of Vienna Mayor Linda Seeman Colbert, Madison HS Student Government Association


South Lakes Athletes Soar

South Lakes Students Honored by Board of Supervisors

The South Lakes High School Girls Track and Field Team were recognized by the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors during their recent September 26 meeting. During the 2023 indoor and outdoor track season these incredible athletes saw success at the state and national level. 

South Lakes golfers are the Fall 2023 Concorde District Champions!

Felicity C. was named the Concorde District Individual Champion and Alexander M. placed 3rd!

Way to go, Seahawks!

South Lakes golf


2023 Environmental Excellence Award Winners

Congratulations to Hunter Mill constituent, Mei Torrey, a senior at Langley HS and environmental advocate for winning the Individual County Resident Category in the 2023 Environmental Excellence Awards!

Miss Torrey promotes and actively seeks opportunities to increase awareness of, and take action on, local sustainability issues. She is the club-elected President of Saxons Go Green, a school-affiliated environmental club at Langley High School. She has also organized fundraisers and collaborated with Clean Fairfax to design reusable bags and distribute them to local grocery stores, retailers, and low-income areas throughout the county to reduce plastic waste.

Read about all the winners here.

Hunter Mill Schools Honored with Exemplar Awards

Congratulations to our students and staff whose tremendous work has earned them an Exemplar Performance School Award from the Virginia Board of Education! In FCPS, 25 schools have been recognized for exceeding state Board-established requirements or showing continuous improvement on academic and school quality indicators.

I was delighted to share the FCPS School Board’s congratulations in recognizing this work, including for the following schools where significant numbers of Hunter Mill students attend:

  • Cunningham Park Elementary School, Allison Hoak, Principal
  • Louise Archer Elementary School, Michelle Makrigiorgos, Principal
  • Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology – Ann Bonitatibus, Principal
  • Westbriar Elementary School - Mary Tam, Principal

Additionally, a special shout out to Westbriar ES and Jefferson HS, who earned the Board of Education Highest Achievement Award!

Thank you principals, educators, staff, and families for your commitment to students’ success!

View the full list of awardees and criteria for the awards.

Hunter Mill Exemplar Award Schools

October Is...

National School Principals Month

Principal Elizabeth Watson

October is National School Principals Month. Thank you to all of our outstanding principals — like Elizabeth Watson, principal of McNair Primary Elementary School (pictured left) — for the essential role you play in making our schools great!

Cybersecurity Month & Digital Citizenship Week

October is Cybersecurity Month and Digital Citizenship Week is October 16 - 20. This year, schools are asked to make students' digital well-being a priority, help students in grades 6-12 up their game on cybersecurity, and connect families to digital inclusion & digital literacy learning opportunities.

Digital Citizenship Week

Indigenous Peoples' Day

Indigenous Peoples Day

Indigenous Peoples' Day honors the histories, cultures, and contributions of Native peoples, past and present. This year, Monday, October 9, is a student holiday and staff development day. Learn more about Indigenous Peoples’ Day from the National Museum of the American Indian

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 and see upcoming events here.

Hispanic Heritage Month

LGBTQIA+ History Month

LGBTQIA+ History Month

LGBTQIA+ History Month is recognized in October nationwide. We acknowledge and celebrate that LGBTQIA+ students, staff, and families are an integral component of our nation. Learn about LGBTQIA+ student resources and supports and the heritage months, celebrations, and traditions celebrated in FCPS.

Additional Information of Interest

FCPS Employees to Receive Sick/Annual Leave Up Front 

All FCPS employees who are eligible for sick and/or annual leave will now receive their annual entitlement at the beginning of each fiscal year. In this year of implementation, monthly paid employees will see this impact in their September 29 check, biweekly paid employees will see this impact in their October 6 check. Going forward, the allotment will occur on July 1 annually. Please look here for more information.

Annual Leave written on sticky note

Bus Delay Information

School bus loading children

I've heard about the impact that delayed busses and related communication issues are having on families. Due to continued bus driver shortages, many of the bus routes in our area have a second run bus. 

If a bus is delayed or more information is needed, parents and guardians can access the FCPS Bus Delay Website. If you continue to have questions or feedback, please inform the Area Transportation Office, but understand that phones or emails may not be answered immediately because as many staff as possible are being deployed to drive routes. 

Parents and guardians are encouraged to sign up to receive Here Comes the Bus notifications.

Parents and guardians can be notified by text, phone call and/or email when a bus is delayed 30 minutes or more by indicting these options through their SIS ParentVUE account.

Special Education Parent Involvement Survey

Colorful people graphic

All parents of school-aged children and youth with disabilities who received special education services in Virginia during the 2022-2023 school year are requested to complete the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) annual Parent Involvement Survey. The survey is available in English and Spanish.

This survey will remain open through December 15, 2023. Please complete one survey for each of your children who received special education services during the 2022-2023 school year. If you have any questions regarding this survey, please contact Chiquita Seaborne, Family Engagement Specialist/Special Projects Coordinator via email at or call (804) 225-3898.

Gun Safety and Safe Gun Storage

FCPS Safety Tipline

Providing students and staff with a safe educational environment remains our top priority. Sadly, gun violence continues to impact schools and communities across our nation. As you may be aware, lessons on gun safety are already built into our curriculum. However, parents and guardians, it is critical that you talk to your children about the importance of gun safety and safe gun storage in your home, and in any home that your children may visit.

Our website has gun safety resources as well as detailed information about FCPS safety and security practices in our buildings.

FCPS Safety Tipline

  • Tipline phone number is 571-423-2020.
  • Text your concerns to 888-777; keyword TIP FCPS
  • Online: Quick Tip Electronic Form (through SchoolMessenger)

Learn more on the FCPS Safety Tipline website.

Fairfax County Red Flag Law

Remember, you can also aid in preventing acts of violence. ESRO, commonly referred to as the “red flag law,” went into effect in July 2020 and is one of the ways we can all help prevent acts of violence. The law prevents individuals who show signs of being a threat to themselves or others from purchasing, possessing, or transporting any kind of firearm. 

Cell Phone Use

Person texting on cell phone

The Office of Equity & Student Conduct conducted four listening sessions with students and staff to get feedback on proposed changes to the SR&R in the last school year. Overall, the results identified consensus that the new cell phone expectations are valuable. However, some recommendations were provided to enhance clarity of expectations and consistency in response to violations. Visit BoardDocs for a summary of the recommendations provided by the stakeholders, which were incorporated into the 2023-2024 SR&R. 

  • Information regarding cell phones and accommodation requests for use of personally owned devices directs case managers to request an IEP or 504 meeting for any student on their caseload that they believe may need an accommodation for a personally owned device.
  • Staff other than case managers are “persons knowledgeable of the student” and may also request a meeting to consider the need for an accommodation for a personally owned device for a student(s).

Free Resources for Families

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.

Calling All Alumni!

FCPS Alumni & Friends

All FCPS graduates (of any year) are invited to join the FCPS Alumni Network. You are an essential part of FCPS’ effort to build a strong and interconnected community. By filling out this form, you will help FCPS create a directory of graduates, facilitating connections and providing opportunities for collaboration and engagement with FCPS. 

The FCPS Department of School Improvement and Support (DSIS) has identified schools with the most need for targeted in-person tutoring for students. The district is recruiting qualified tutors who will be matched to schools based on this need.

Early Voting Underway for November 7 General Election

What is a Bond?

Early voting began on Friday, September 22 for the November 7 General Election.

The 2023 Bond Referendum will be on the ballot in November. Vote on Tuesday, November 7. Learn about registering to vote.

The funding provided by voter-approved bonds is currently expected to provide construction funds for seven elementary schools; planning and design funds for eight elementary school renovations and one middle school renovation; and funds for three modular relocations, security vestibules, and inflation adjustments for prior bond projects. These projects are identified in the FY 2024-28 Capital Improvement Program which was approved by the School Board in February. 

Local and State officials included on the ballot:

  • Board of Supervisors (Chairman and all districts)
  • School Board (At-Large and all districts)
  • Commonwealth's Attorney
  • Sheriff
  • Virginia House of Delegates and Senate (all districts)
  • Clerk of the Court
  • Towns of Clifton and Vienna (Mayor and Town Council)
  • Northern Virginia Soil and Water Conservation District

For a list of voting locations, voting hours, voting requirements, and more visit Early Voting Begins Sept. 22 for the Nov. 7 General Election | News Center (

Parent Information Phone Lines Available in Eight Languages

Parents/caregivers who speak Amharic, Arabic, Chinese, Farsi, Korean, Spanish, Urdu, or Vietnamese may call a telephone information line for general information about FCPS. View the list of phone numbers.

FCPS Reaches Settlement in Juul Litigation

FCPS has settled a class-action lawsuit against vaping company Juul Labs, Inc. The money will be allocated to supporting student wellness programs across the division. Read more about the settlement.

Student Opportunities

Disclaimer: Opportunities offered by organizations other than Fairfax County Public Schools are neither sponsored nor endorsed by the Fairfax County School Board, the Superintendent, or a specific school. These opportunities may utilize technology tools that have not been assessed by the Fairfax County Public Schools Department of Information Technology. Students should gain permission from their parent or guardian before engaging in any non-FCPS enrichment opportunity and families should review the Terms of Service, User Agreements, and Privacy Policy for any technology platform that the enrichment opportunity may use before participating.

Student Representative Message

Rida Karim

Hi everyone,

I hope your school year is going well!

My name is Rida Karim, and I will be serving as your Student Representative for the 2023-24 school year. Last year, I had the privilege of being a part of the Student Equity Ambassador Lead program (SEALs), where I served on the Access to Technology Committee. During our involvement, we identified a critical issue - the lack of STEM opportunities for the youth. In response, we took action and established an organization called Technology Youth Empowerment, or TYE.

TYE's primary mission is to bridge the gap in STEM education for elementary schools in our county that may not have the same opportunities as others. Our dedicated team has been visiting these schools to promote STEM education, covering a wide range of topics, from computer science to physics to Engineering.

We believe that the impact of our initiative can be greatly expanded with the involvement of representatives from different high schools who share our passion for STEM education. That's why we are excited to invite you to join us in this meaningful journey.

We are currently seeking enthusiastic individuals who are willing to dedicate their time and expertise to teach STEM education at the elementary school level. Your role as a representative will be instrumental in inspiring and empowering young minds to explore the wonders of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.

If you are interested in becoming a part of TYE and making a positive impact on the education of our community's youth, please let me know by sending me a note through the “Submit a question” feature on the School Board’s website.  I can then send you further information. The application deadline is October 11, 2023. Should you have any questions or require further information, please do not hesitate to reach out to me. Your inquiries are always welcome, and I would be delighted to provide any clarification or guidance.

Warm regards,


College Fair and Post Secondary Opportunities

Don’t miss out on one of the largest annual College Fairs in the region, plus 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 online.

College Fair Flier


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. The Department anticipates announcing the winners and launching the next annual challenge in early 2024.

8th Annual Student "Shark Tank" Technology Challenge

The 8th Annual Student "Shark Tank" Technology Challenge is open and details about this year's competition are now available online here. This contest is open to all high school students in Fairfax County. 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, and the final submissions are due April 3, 2024. 

Local Library Fun: Spy School

Do you have what it takes to be a spy?

Go undercover at the Dolley Madison Library and Tysons-Pimmit Regional Library in the coming weeks. Meet your handlers, go on missions, write and receive coded messages and more!

Learn about all Spy School events online.

Spy School

USA Science & Engineering Festival: Oct. 20

Due to the overwhelming response last year, the USA Science & Engineering Festival is bringing their popular X-STEM conference back to NOVA for 6th through 12th graders and would like to invite your student to attend. X-STEM NOVA is in a NEW venue this year at the National Conference Center in Leesburg! There is NO COST to attend. Parking is free.

  • When: October 20, from 9:30am-2 pm
  • Where: The National Conference Center, Leesburg, VA
  • Who: Middle & High School Students
  • How to Attend: Advance Registration is required 

To learn more and register, visit

Student Bus Passes

Student Buss Pass Flier

Job Opportunities

Highlighted Facilities Opportunities

  • Director of Design and Construction
    • Directs a large multi-sectioned office responsible for design and construction services; plans, organizes, supervises, and evaluates all activities, program functions, personnel, and physical and fiscal resources of the assigned office; is responsible and accountable for strategic planning and outcomes.
  • Assistant Director of Design and Construction
    • Participates in the overall management of a single section of an office responsible for facilities improvement, property management, capital projects, and facilities services planning; leads in the planning, organizing, supervising, and evaluating the activities, program functions, personnel, physical, and fiscal resources of the assigned office; assists with strategic planning and goals.

Contacting Me

I prioritize responses to Hunter Mill constituents, so please be sure to identify yourself as such if you contact me. If you are unsure of your county magisterial district, you can look that information up here.

To contact me, it is most helpful to please use the official School Board contact form. This form prioritizes emails to me from constituents, and helps me track communication so I can be sure you receive a response. Thank you for your cooperation.


Please take good care,

Melanie Meren


Was this email not addressed to you? Sign up for my newsletters here!

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