Beech Tree ES Family Message-December 1, 2023

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A Message From Principal Clarke


Dear Beech Tree Families,

December is packed with many events that remind us why Beech Tree Elementary School is such a great community. Whether it’s our students performing in the band/strings/chorus concert, International Night or the student-council sponsored Spirit Week, there are many opportunities for our community to come together. What a pleasure it is to learn from each other and enjoy each other’s company. We look forward to seeing you next week. Have a wonderful weekend!

Thank you for your partnership in education.

With appreciation,

Principal Clarke

Important Dates:

  • December 4 - December 8: Inclusive Schools Week
  • Tuesday, December 5-Beech Tree Winter Concert 6:30pm
  • Thursday, December 7- PTA Meeting and International Night 6:30pm
  • December 11 - December 15: Schoolwide Spirit Week
  • Monday, December 18 through Monday, January 1, 2024
    Winter Break- No School

Holiday Food Drive



Our annual Holiday Food Drive will take place from November 29 - December 14. We are accepting non-perishable canned goods and boxes—no frozen foods, refrigerated items, or bread.  Food will be delivered to Food For Others, the same food bank that supplies our students with their weekend bags, on Thursday December 14. There is a box located in the lobby of the school.


Winter Testing Window

Below are the dates for the winter testing window. Thank you for ensuring your students are in attendance. 

Date Assessment Grade
December 5 Reading VGA 5th Grade
December 6 Reading VGA 4th Grade
December 7 Reading VGA 3rd Grade
December 12  Math VGA  5th Grade
December 13 Math VGA  4th Grade
December 14 Math VGA  3rd Grade
Week of January 8 Reading iReady Grades 1-5
Week of January 15 Math iReady Grades 1-5


Reminder:  Window for Full-time AAP Referrals Closes on December 15, 2023

Parents/guardians of students in Grades 2-5 who would like their student to be considered for full-time advanced academic programs may submit the AAP Full-Time (Level IV) Referral Form to Nadya Abu-Rish or email it to her at no later than December 15, 2023, at 4:00pm.


❄️ Preparing for Winter Weather

weather video

Winter weather will be here before you know it! Watch this video to see how weather-related closing decisions are made.

FCPS’ website is generally the first place where we will announce an emergency weather closing. Other communication channels will be used as quickly as possible including email, text, social media, and news stations. Learn more about how schedule changes are communicated

Be sure to plan for the winter season. Update your contact information in SIS ParentVUE, bookmark the FCPS website, and plan for childcare if needed.

⛄ Staying Warm During Outdoor Activities

students playing on playground

The colder weather has come upon us. We will monitor conditions to be aware of weather advisories that may prevent children from being outside. However, outside recess is a regular school day occurrence. Please ensure that your child is dressed appropriately with a warm coat and other cold-weather clothing, so they can comfortably enjoy their time outdoors. See the National Weather Service’s tips on staying safe during cold weather.

If you need assistance getting cold weather clothing for your family, please call the school at 703-531-2600. Our Family Liaison, Mariangeles Quinto, is available to assist you. Additionally, Fairfax County Coordinated Services Planning (CSP) at 703-222-0880 has a multilingual staff that may assist with challenges regarding food, shelter, employment, financial assistance, and healthcare.


🧼 Staying Healthy This Cold/Flu Season

Cases of RSV, the flu, and other viruses often rise this time of year. It is important for students to wash their hands regularly and cover their coughs and sneezes. Please monitor your child’s health daily and keep them at home if they are sick. Visit FCPS' Health and Safety Guidance webpage for more tips.


🙋 Student Attendance and Engagement

During the Academic Matters segment of the November 9 School Board meeting, Superintendent Dr. Michelle Reid discussed student attendance and engagement. Attendance and absenteeism rates are one measure for Goal 2 of our 2023-30 Strategic Plan

Chronic absenteeism — which is defined as a student missing 10% or more of school for any reason — is a concern across Virginia school districts. Although FCPS continues to outperform the state average in attendance rates, we are tracking chronic absenteeism closely.

Data shows that:

  • Missing just 10% of school — just two days a month — negatively affects a student’s academic performance. 
  • Only 17% of students who were chronically absent in both kindergarten and first grade were reading proficiently in third grade, compared to 64% of those with good attendance.
  • Students who fail to read at grade level by the end of third grade are four times more likely than students who achieve proficiency to drop out of high school.
  • By sixth grade, chronic absenteeism becomes a leading indicator that a student will drop out of high school.

Attendance is critical for academic success!


Missing School Over the Holidays

Looking ahead to the holiday season, if missing school is unavoidable, please speak with your child’s teachers in advance to create a plan for making up missed work. However, a homework packet cannot make up for the interaction and learning that happens in the classroom.

Visit FCPS’ website for more attendance resources.


Special Education Resources for Families

Fairfax County Public Schools has the following resources available to assist families of students with special needs. 

  • The Office of Special Education Procedural Support helps staff, families, and students with the implementation of and compliance with the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, as amended. 
  • Kathy Murphy, the assistant ombuds for special education, provides information and support to caregivers and students regarding special education and Section 504 services. Contact the Ombuds Office by submitting a question, calling 571-423-4014, or emailing

Additionally, the Virginia Department of Education has updated the Virginia Family's Guide to Special Education. This state guide was developed to help those involved in special education including families, teachers, school administrators, advocates, and students.


📚 Community Review of Elementary English Language Arts Basal Instructional Resources

FCPS will adopt new Elementary School Language Arts Basal Instructional Resources for the 2024-25 school year. Public review of the recommended materials is part of the process for selecting new resources. 

You may access the resources in person and online from Wednesday, November 15, until Friday, December 15, at noon. Digital materials for public review and comment will be available on the Elementary Language Arts Basal Resource Review webpage. Those reviewing instructional materials may complete an electronic comment sheet that will be available on the webpage during the review period. 

Visit FCPS' website for instructions on how to view hard copies of the instructional materials at Pimmit Hills Center. The Elementary Language Arts team will be there to answer questions Friday, December 1, 4-8 p.m., and Saturday, December 2, 9 a.m.-3 p.m. 

All community feedback will be shared with the review committee and School Board.

Winter Concert

PTA News

Dear Beech Tree Families,

We hope this message finds you well and ready to embrace the spirit of giving and celebration as the holiday season approaches. Here are some important updates and opportunities to get involved:

1. International Night - Join Us on December 7th! International Night is just around the corner, and we invite you to join us on Thursday, December 7, 2023, from 6:30 PM to 8:00 PM in the Beech Tree ES Gym. We're looking for enthusiastic performers to showcase their country and culture through singing, dancing, fashion, and more. Everyone is welcome to participate! Performances will begin at 6:30 PM.

How to Participate:

  • On Stage: Sign up to perform dances, musical acts, songs, or share fun facts about your culture. Use the sign-up link to reserve your performance slot.

Table Decoration: Reserve a table to decorate with items representing your cultural heritage, such as photos, food samples, folklore objects, or anything that makes you unique. Sign up here.

Potluck Contribution: Donate food items of your cultural heritage for our potluck buffet, opening at 7:00 PM. Drop off at 6:30 PM in the gym. Sign up to contribute.

2. Winter Clothing and Canned Food Drive: We'll be collecting winter clothing and canned food items at International Night. Your generous contributions will support those in need during the colder months.

3. Gift Card Donations: If your family is considering a donation this holiday season, our Family Liaison is collecting gift cards (e.g., $25 to grocery stores or Target, Ross, Burlington, etc.) for families in our community. Your support can make a significant difference.

Thank you for your continued support and generosity. We look forward to coming together as a community to celebrate our diverse cultures and make a positive impact on those in need.


Warm regards,

Beech Tree PTA

Warm regards,

Beech Tree Elementary PTA

Beech Tree School Information

Hours:  9:15 a.m.-4:00 p.m. (doors open at 9:05 a.m. for arrival)

Attendance Line 703-531-2626


School Registrar: Sandra Merino (703) 531-2620