October Newsletter

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.يرجى زيارة موقعنا الألكتروني لقراءة هذه النشرة الإخبارية بلغات أخرى

Dear Fairfax Students, Staff and Families,

The chill of fall is upon us and with it comes the new season of FCPS theater productions (see below) - I am excited! I hope you and your families are taking part in the variety of school activities and events, including sports, fall festivals and more. I’ve enjoyed hanging out at football games and looking forward to fall productions!

I’ve enjoyed my school visits and seeing the joy and excitement in learning! I have to confess, I loved the reading center at Canterbury Woods so much that I wanted to stay and read all day. It was set up like a bookstore, displaying titles in a way that drew you in and made you want to read every book. The varied, age-appropriate literacy materials made the science of reading interesting for our older students as well as the little ones. 

As I attend events and have the chance to speak to our students, staff and families, I have been hearing a lot of buzz about some new initiatives. One is middle school cross-country. FCPS designated funding in the 2023-24 school year budget for middle school athletics to support student wellbeing at no cost to students. Cross country is being offered this fall at all middle schools, and track will follow in spring 2024. Read about the first cross-country meets. The other exciting change involves our food options. All schools have a salad bar as of this school year and new, from-scratch options are coming soon.  

I also want to highlight a great FCPS event I recently had the honor of attending - the FCPS Excellence Awards. These awards recognize multiple pathways in which our fantastic employees support the mission and vision of FCPS. The award categories include growth, impact on others, innovation and student achievement. Congratulations to all the winners!  

The Board’s Strategic Governance: Executive Expectations. Some have remarked that they are puzzled that some of our last few work sessions have been devoted to the Board’s strategic governance, a structure that will allow for regular and transparent oversight over the Superintendent, so I am providing this explanation. As many of you recall and were involved in, last year, the FCPS team and community came together to pass our new Strategic Plan that will guide our work to 2030. 

Now starts the challenging work of consistent implementation of the plan. A Strategic Plan means nothing if it is not implemented with fidelity. While implementing the plan falls under the Superintendent’s operational purview, the School Board takes seriously our oversight role over the implementation of the plan. That is where our strategic governance process comes into play. 

At the September 14 Regular Meeting, the School Board approved Executive Expectations that align expectations of the Superintendent with the goals and measures that were put together by the community and expressed in the Strategic Plan. The Board's governance manual already had operational expectations - the Board’s expectations of how we expected our superintendent to manage the system - and these new Executive Expectations are an update of the prior operational expectations. These expectations lay out a road map of clear expectations for our Superintendent and can provide the basis for a reporting structure to the Board. The Superintendent will present to the Board and the public a report on progress on each of the Strategic Plan’s five goals as well as how she has met each Executive Expectation. 

The Board has also debated an approval structure where, after the Superintendent reports to the Board and the public on work to meet each Executive Expectation, there is a mechanism for approval of that expectation or for follow-up if the report does not meet the Board’s expectations. If the Board determines she has not met an expectation, the Superintendent can provide a corrective action plan to bring her work up to meet the expectation laid out in the governing documents. 

This structure provides the Superintendent, her team, the Board, and the public with clear expectations, and ensures transparency and accountability. It also helps the Superintendent keep all work aligned with the Strategic Plan and, in accordance with human resources best practices, helps her know whether she is meeting the Board’s expectations. These reports inform the yearly evaluation of the Superintendent, making it clear for her, the Board, and the public what she is being evaluated on. Of course, since the Virginia Department of Education has requirements for the Superintendent’s evaluation, all of our work will be mapped to that Superintendent Evaluation criteria. 

I am very supportive of establishing this transparent structure that aligns our work and provides regular reporting to the Board and the public regarding our progress in implementing the Strategic Plan and corresponding Executive Expectations. The Board continues to discuss the Executive Expectations governance structure. My hope is to have this in place before the next Board as having a clear governance structure will be helpful with at least eight new Board members. I believe it will be helpful for them to have reports from the fall to review along with a consistent reporting structure in the spring when they begin their terms.

Dr. Reid presented a report on Executive Expectation 2 - Emergency Superintendent Succession at the September 28 Regular Meeting. While this report was on a simple matter, there will be future reports on other Executive Expectations (including Relationships with Families and Community Stakeholders, Human Resources, Financial Planning, Financial Administration, Asset Protection, Relationship with the Board, Instructional Program, Learning Environment and Relationships with Students, Facilities and Transportation, Technology, Safety and Security). Dr. Reid presented a report on Executive Expectation 1 - Global at the October 12 Regular Meeting.

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

Woodson Renaming

W.T. Woodson High School, which opened in 1962, was named for FCPS’ second longest-serving superintendent who led the district from 1929-1961. W.T. Woodson’s views on segregation have been revealed in historical documents, thus initiating requests from community members to rename the school. 

On September 12, seven school board members sponsored a Forum Request to initiate a name change and the consideration of Dr. Carter G. Woodson as a new name. As one of the seven board members sponsoring the forum topic request to start the process, I voted in favor of this renaming. As we stated in the forum topic request, in honor of the One Fairfax Policy, Strategic Plan Goal 2: Safe, Supported, Included, and Empowered, FCPS remains committed to creating an inclusive community where all feel welcomed, respected, and supported. This commitment extends to the names placed on our school buildings.” As a result, the Fairfax County School Board is initiating the renaming process in accordance with Policy 8170.7- Naming School Facilities and Regulation 8170.8. Students, staff, and community members have the opportunity to engage in the process.

The School Board voted to proceed with the renaming process for W.T. Woodson High School at our October 12 meeting. This kicks off a second round of public engagement focused on determining a new name for the school. Learn more about the renaming process and the opportunities to share your input.

Literacy Updates

During the Academic Matters and Strategic Plan update segments of the September 28 School Board meeting, Superintendent Dr. Michelle Reid presented on the divisionwide target to have students reading by third grade. Dr. Reid presented information about the 5 year Equitable Access to Literacy Plan in her Academic Matters segment including positive news on improvements in phonics performance. View her slides. Dr. Reid also provided an update on one measure of Goal 3 of the Strategic Plan - students reading on grade level by the end of third grade. She shared that every elementary school has a third grade reading goal in their School Innovation & Improvement Plan that is based on accountability and leading indicator metrics; all elementary teachers had a literacy training before school started; and Equitable Access to Literacy is in the third year of the implementation action plan. View the slides. Dr. Reid also shared a video of literacy instruction at Woodlawn Elementary School. It was wonderful to see this instruction in action!

Upcoming School Board Meetings

  • Tuesday, October 24, 12:30 pm - Work Session: Legislative Program and Proposed Proclamation Changes
  • Tuesday, October 24, 5:30 pm - Woodson Renaming Public Hearing #2
  • Thursday, October 26, 7:30 pm - Regular Meeting
  • Thursday, November 9, 7:30 pm - Regular Meeting
  • Tuesday, November 14, 10:30 am - Work Session: Goal 3 Baseline Report and Fiscal Forecast/Budget Priorities

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.


Our Schools, Our Future: Community Conversations Kick Off  

Join Superintendent Dr. Michelle Reid for Our Schools, Our Future: A Community Conversation. Share your thoughts about FCPS and bring your questions to:

Pre-registration for a Community Conversation is not required but will help us plan. Childcare and interpretation services will be provided for all events based on staff availability. 

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

High Impact Tutoring

Fairfax County Public Schools has developed systems and structures for implementing high-impact tutoring. As of October 17, FCPS has 161 tutors hired for this school year, working in approximately 60 schools. High-impact tutoring connects small groups of students (up to five) with a tutor who meets with them consistently. They meet regularly and routinely assess student growth to ensure the students are meeting or exceeding their goals. 

Additional tutors are continually being added to our roster. Current tutors include former teachers, school administrators, medical doctors, lawyers, NASA scientists, professors, and small business owners. We are also partnering with community groups and nonprofits to ensure our entire community is invested in helping students succeed. Read more about FCPS’ High Impact Tutoring efforts.

Substitutes to Receive High-Volume Pay on High-Volume Days

The School Board has approved a list of 18 days for substitutes to receive high-volume pay. All teacher substitutes will receive their hourly pay plus an additional $80 for each high-volume day they work. See the list of high-volume days and more information. 

A bonus program for substitutes who accept more than the 10 required days has also been approved. Substitutes working 50 days within a school year, will earn a $200 bonus. Substitutes working 100 days within a school year, will earn a $300 bonus. Substitutes working 150 days within a school year, will earn a $400 bonus. Get more information on this sub bonus program

Make a SUBstantial Difference! 

FCPS is always looking for kind and caring substitute teachers. Weekly virtual substitute teacher information sessions are held each Wednesday from 2 to 3 p.m. Register for an upcoming session.

25 FCPS Schools Earn VBOE Exemplar Awards

Congratulations to the 25 FCPS schools that earned 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.The School Board honored the winners on September 28.  Congratulations to the principals, educators, staff and families! Read more.

17 FCPS Schools Named to Advanced Placement School Honor Roll

The College Board announced that 17 FCPS high schools have been named to the Advanced Placement (AP) School Honor Roll. Four levels of distinction are offered: Bronze, Silver, Gold, and Platinum. 

Schools can earn this recognition annually based on criteria that reflect a commitment to increasing college-going culture, providing opportunities for students to earn college credit, and maximizing college readiness. See the list of schools.

School Bonds - How School Building Projects are Selected 

Each year, the Fairfax County School Board and FCPS staff members work with the community to develop an updated five-year Capital Improvement Program (CIP) for school building and renovation projects. To develop the CIP, the school system assesses changes in expected enrollments, academic programs, and facility conditions to determine priorities for new construction, renovations, and other capital facility projects. The School Board then evaluates the affordability of these school needs against other countywide requirements to determine the bond proposal. 

The School Board is committed to protecting the community’s investment in schools and other buildings, which have a combined present value approaching $6.5 billion. Not only do these facilities wear out over time, but they also become outdated, both technologically and instructionally. FCPS renovates its schools to ensure that students countywide have effective and efficient learning environments.

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

Dyslexia Open House

FCPS will host a Dyslexia Open House on Thursday, October 26, 4-6 p.m., at 8270 Willow Oaks Corporate Drive, Fairfax, Virginia. This event is open to families and staff members who would like to learn more about dyslexia and how FCPS supports students with dyslexia.

For the first hour, participants will have the opportunity to visit tables set up with information from a variety of FCPS offices including the Office of the Ombuds, Office of School Psychology, and the Office of Special Education Instruction. During the second hour, speakers will address the importance of dyslexia awareness and how you can support your student with dyslexia. Please register in advance.

Applications Open October 23 for Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology

Middle school students who have an aptitude and passion for STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) are encouraged to apply for admission to the Class of 2028 at Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology (TJHSST). 

The application will be available on the TJHSST Admissions Office webpage starting Monday, October 23, at 4 p.m. Applications must be started by 4 p.m. Wednesday, November 15, with a deadline to submit the application by Friday, November 17, at 4 p.m. Visit TJHSST’s webpage for more information.

Newsletter for Military-Connected Families

Did you know that the Office of Family and School Partnerships publishes a monthly newsletter for military-connected families? Subscribe today.

November Events Hosted by the Family Resource Center

The Family Resource Center (FRC) offers 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. The FRC is hosting the following events in November:

Click the links above to register for the events. For more information, visit the Family Resource Center webpage.

Good News: Student and Staff Successes

FCPS Students Continue to Outperform State and Global Averages on SATs

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. Read more about the class of 2023 Fairfax County SAT data. Dr. Reid also addressed SAT performance in her October 12 School Board Meeting Academic Matters segment.

Annandale HS Student wins National STEM Competition


Heman Bekele, a ninth grader at Woodson HS, was named “America’s Top Young Scientist” by winning 3M’s annual Young Scientist Challenge. He also won $25,000. Bekele’s research involved engineering a soap that he hopes can one day be used to help treat skin cancer. Read more about Heman Bekele’s research.

Newsmagazine Staff Earn Top Honors from NSPA

The National Scholastic Press Association announced their list of newsmagazine / newspaper Pacemaker finalists. Only three schools from Virginia made this prestigious list, and two (McLean and TJHSST) are from Fairfax County.  Since 1927, NSPA's Pacemaker competition has been considered by many to be student journalism's highest honor. Read more here.

2023 Environmental Excellence Award Winners

Congratulations to Mei Torrey, a senior at Langley HS and environmental advocate for winning this award! 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.

Annandale HS Teacher Nominated for Award

Congratulations to Orchestra Teacher Annie Ray for her nomination as a semifinalist for the 2024 Music Educator Award which celebrates the incredible work of music educators across the U.S. Finalists are announced in December. Ms. Ray was named as Region 2’s 2023 Outstanding Secondary School Teacher at the FCPS Honors Event in June 2023. Read more about Ms. Ray.

Twain MS Students Visit White House

Twain MS

In celebration of International Day of the Girl, the First Lady's office invited 33 students from Twain MS to the White House to participate in the first-ever “Girls Leading Change” celebration. First Lady Biden recognized 15 inspiring young leaders who are making a difference in their communities across the nation.

Community News

Special Education Parent Involvement Survey for SY 2022-2023

All parents of school-aged children and youth with disabilities who receive special education services in Virginia are requested to complete the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) annual Parent Involvement Survey. 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, please contact Chiquita Seaborne, Family Engagement Specialist/Special Projects Coordinator, call (804) 225-3898 or email Chiquita.Seaborne@doe.virginia.gov.

RIF Book It for Books 5K

Book It For Books, RIF of NOVA's biannual fund- and fun-raiser, will be October 28, 2023 at Bluemont Park in Arlington. Why do we host a biannual 5K/One-Mile Run/Walk? This is how they fund the majority of book purchases for the children we serve.  Additional details can be found here!

Real Assistive Technology for Everyone (RATE) Conference

The 2023 Real Assistive Technology for Everyone (RATE) Conference, sponsored by Assistive Technology Services (ATS) in the Department of Special Services, will be held on Saturday, October 28, 9 a.m.-12:45 p.m at West Springfield High School

The RATE Conference focuses on strategies for using assistive technology hardware, software, and peripherals to enhance learning for all students. Teachers, staff, and parents/caregivers, from FCPS and the broader community, are invited to attend. Check out the conference webpage to register, and to view the conference schedule and session descriptions.

National Drug Takeback Day

National Drug Takeback Day is scheduled for October 28, 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. at County police stations. To read more about Drug Takeback day and more, visit How to Dispose of Your Unused or Expired Medications.

October is …

Disability History and Awareness Month

Disability History and Awareness Month

October is Disability History and Awareness Month in Virginia. The School Board plans to recognize the history and contributions of people with disabilities at the October 26 Regular Meeting.

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. The School Board approved an LGBTQIA History Month proclamation at the October 12 Regular Meeting.

Upcoming Theater

Here are just a few FCPS productions. Be sure to check out the Fine and Performing Arts Calendar on the FCPS website. Individual listings for many middle and high school theater events are featured. Users can subscribe to the calendar to be notified of upcoming performances, and each event can be added to a calendar or shared on social media.


Falls Church HS, Annie, November 16-19, https://www.etix.com/ticket/v/15620/

Lake Braddock SS, Almost, Maine, November 16-18, https://www.etix.com/ticket/v/15623/


McLean HS, Mr. Burns: A Post Electric Play, November 16-17, 19, https://www.etix.com/ticket/v/15599/

Oakton HS, The Doctor in WonderlandNovember 9-11, https://www.etix.com/ticket/v/15612/


South Lakes HS, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, October 28, November 9-11, https://www.etix.com/ticket/v/15621/

West Potomac HS, Carrie - The Musical, October 26-28; November 2-4, https://www.etix.com/ticket/v/15473/


West Springfield HS,  Sweeney Todd School Edition, November 9-11, 16-18, https://www.etix.com/ticket/v/15472/

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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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