Raise for All Employees Approved by School Board, Open Enrollment Ends Friday

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Teacher Emily Mextorf uses sand to help students learn letter sounds at Bren Mar Park Elementary School.

Two Percent Raise Effective for All Employees January 1, 2024

The Fairfax County School Board adopted the Fiscal Year 2024 Revised Budget on October 26, which included a 2% compensation increase for all FCPS employees effective January 1, 2024

Monthly paid employees will see the additional pay on their January 31, 2024 paycheck. Biweekly paid employees will see the additional pay on their January 26, 2024 paycheck.

This action is the result of the Virginia General Assembly’s final budget adopted on September 14. 

🩺 Open Enrollment Ends Friday

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Friday, November 3
, is the deadline for reviewing your current medical, dental, and flexible spending account (FSA) elections and making any changes for the upcoming calendar year. Visit the UConnect Quick Start Guide for step-by-step instructions on using UConnect during Open Enrollment. 

Current FSA participants are not automatically re-enrolled. You must enroll in an FSA during open enrollment if you wish to participate in 2024. 

Please visit the Open Enrollment webpage for additional information.

Required MyPDE Quarterly Trainings

Specific MyPDE trainings are required on a quarterly basis for several reasons: 

  • Some topics are more relevant at different times of the year. 
  • Assigning training at the end of every quarter allows employees to focus on a few topics at a time, helping them feel less overwhelmed and potentially increasing information retention.
  • Feedback on training throughout the year allows the development team to make improvements that impact the next cycle of assignments. For instance, you may have noticed shortened assignments and the addition of pre-tests to demonstrate understanding. These are a direct result of employee feedback!

First-quarter assignments are available today, Tuesday, October 31. Employees have 60 days to complete training assignments. Be sure to check your email or the Assigned Training page in MyPDE to see your customized list.

📈 FCPS Pass Rates and Accreditation Outcomes

During the Academic Matters segment of the October 26 School Board meeting, Dr. Reid discussed FCPS’ annual pass rates and accreditation outcomes. She stated that we’re seeing a return to baseline levels in pass rates at FCPS. Post-pandemic assessment growth has leveled off. 

Reading, mathematics, and science pass rates for FCPS are up by an average of almost 9% since the 2021-22 school year. FCPS’ annual pass rates on state assessments continue to be higher than the state average by an average of 5%. 

The Virginia Board of Education’s accreditation ratings are based on six to nine school quality indicators. These include state assessment results and achievement gaps, graduation and dropout rates, and participation in college/career readiness programs. 

For the 2023 accreditation ratings, 99.5% of Fairfax County public schools are accredited (compared to the state average of 89%). The remaining 0.5% are accredited with conditions.

Successfully Completing Algebra 1 by Eighth Grade

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One of the measures of Strategic Plan Goal 3: Academic Growth and Excellence is successfully completing Algebra 1 by eighth grade. Our Algebra Access Network Improvement Community (AANIC) is working to increase the diverse representation of students who participate and are successful in the rigorous mathematics opportunities available in FCPS. AANIC’s work is collaborative and data-backed, as they learn how we can best implement their findings divisionwide. Learn more about the AANIC cohorts at Kilmer and Key middle schools and hear students explain why algebra matters to them.

Successfully completing Algebra 1 paves the way for an advanced academic trajectory — including Dual Enrollment courses, Advanced Placement (AP), and International Baccalaureate (IB) courses — that supports postsecondary success. A recent study from the Northwest Evaluation Association (NWEA) found that completing Algebra 1 by eighth grade led to 30% more ninth graders and 16% more 11th graders taking advanced courses. 

🖥️ Tell Us What You Think About FCPS’ Websites

FCPS will be updating our central and school websites to improve user experience. Please take our survey in EnglishSpanish, or Vietnamese to let us know your thoughts about our websites and how they can be improved.

The survey is anonymous, should take less than 10 minutes to complete, and will close on Wednesday, November 1. If you have any questions about the survey, please email our vendor at zgrimshaw@forumone.com.

Provide More In-Depth Feedback

Consider providing more in-depth feedback on the current FCPS website by participating in a usability study. This research is being conducted by our website partner, Forum One. If you are interested, please send an email to stetreault@forumone.com as soon as possible. Please note in your email what your role is at FCPS.

Partnering with Families for Family Engagement Month

Family engagement is a shared responsibility between schools and families to actively support children’s learning and development. You can share these resources with families to encourage them to become involved with their children’s teachers and school community:

  • A family calendar with suggestions for ways to become involved with the school community for each day of November. Consider printing and sharing this calendar with parents. 
  • Quick tips for families, which are available in English and Spanish. Review these brochures before meeting with parents, in case they can help provide insight on any specific concerns or topics. 
  • Parent-teacher conference tips to share with families in advance of conferences in order to make the most of meetings. 

Access additional materials on the Hub.

From Personal Experience: Putting Students First at Parent-Teacher Conferences


In the Employee Blog, Martha Paz-Espinoza (pictured at left), a resource teacher at Willow Oaks, shares what it was like to be an English learner and have to interpret for her father at parent-teacher conferences.

She also offers tips for teachers to help put students first and better partner with parents during conference meetings.

🎖️ Purple Star Schools Support Military-Connected Families

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Eighteen Fairfax County public schools have been recognized by the Virginia Department of Education and the Virginia Council on the Interstate Compact on Educational Opportunity for Military Children as 2023 Purple Star Schools.

The Purple Star designation is awarded to military-friendly schools that have demonstrated their commitment to meeting the needs of military-connected students and their families. See the full list of schools.

🎓 Save Money With the Special Education Grow Your Own Pathway

George Mason University will host a virtual information session on Thursday, November 9, at 5:15 p.m., on the cost savings of joining the FCPS Grow Your Own Pathway cohort, as well as the courses needed to become a special education teacher. These FCPS-only cohorts are helpful for teacher trainees and newly hired special education teachers needing coursework for licensure. 

The GMU partnership offers an introduction to special education that qualifies an individual for provisional licensure, and a master’s degree and licensure program in all three areas of special education licensure.   

Special education teachers and trainees who obtained a provisional licensure after June 1 should complete this form to receive an invitation to the virtual information session. For questions or more information, please contact specialedcohorts@fcps.edu.

Grow Your Own Pathway at Northern Virginia Community College

Paraprofessionals who have between 30 and 60 college credits and want to become a special education teacher or elementary education teacher may be interested in the FCPS tuition sharing program with Northern Virginia Community College (NOVA). 

FCPS and NOVA are hosting an online information session Tuesday, November 7, at 2 p.m. Learn about the cost savings of joining the FCPS Grow Your Own Pathway cohort, as well as the courses needed to earn an associate’s degree as the first step to becoming either a special education teacher or elementary education teacher. Complete this form to receive an invitation to the session. 

😴 Why Sleep Is Essential and How to Improve Sleep Practices


We spend about a third of our lives sleeping and for a good reason. Consistent, quality sleep each night is one of the most effective things you can do to support your brain and health. Poor sleep is linked to negative health outcomes, including cognitive decline. 

Join Employee Wellness for a webinar, Sleep: An Essential Component of Health and Well-Being, on Wednesday, November 1, 4:30-5:30 p.m. The session will provide the most up-to-date research on ways to improve sleep to get the most out of each night.

Participants in the sleep webinar will be able to:

  • Understand what happens during sleep and why both quantity and quality are important.
  • Identify the impact of chronic sleep deprivation on health outcomes and everyday performance.
  • Understand typical changes in sleep as we age.
  • List risk factors for sleep disturbance in older adults.

For more information, email EmployeeWellness@fcps.edu.

✅ Election Day Is Next Week

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Remember to vote on Tuesday, November 7! It's also a teacher workday and a holiday for students. For more information on voting, visit the Virginia Department of Elections website.

Bond Referendum on Ballot

Don’t forget that the 2023 Bond Referendum will be on the ballot next week. Learn more about registering to vote.

🗓️ November Is Native American Heritage Month

Native American Heritage Month

Native American Heritage Month is a time to celebrate rich and diverse cultures, traditions, and histories; and to acknowledge the important contributions of Native Americans. It is also an opportunity to raise awareness about the unique challenges they have faced historically and in the present, and the ways in which tribal citizens have worked to conquer these challenges.

Learn more about the heritage months, celebrations, and traditions celebrated in FCPS.

Día de los Muertos and All Saints Day

Wednesday, November 1, and Thursday, November 2, are observance days this year. 

End of the First Quarter

Friday, November 3, is the last day of the first quarter and a two-hour early release for students. Schools are closed for students on Monday, November 6, for a school planning day, and Tuesday, November 7, for a teacher workday. See the Employee Calendar for details on who reports to work those days. 

⏰ Daylight Saving Time Ends

Daylight saving time will end Sunday, November 5, at 2 a.m. Don’t forget to move your clocks back one hour.

Staff Staples

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Submit an Employee News request. Submissions are due by 4:30 p.m. on Thursdays. Thank you!