Mustang Weekly, January 5, 2024

Principal's Message

Hello Mustangs,

I hope this message finds you well and that you had a wonderful winter break filled with joy, relaxation, and quality time with loved ones. As we enter the new calendar year, I am excited and optimistic about the upcoming opportunities for our school community. We have had a quiet and joyful week while reacclimating ourselves to school routines. Thank you for your continued trust and support, and as always, we are here for you. Please let us know if you have any questions, feedback, or concerns, and I hope you have a fantastic weekend.  

Justin Simmons | Principal | South County Middle School



January 15 - No School, MLK Holiday

January 23 - Curriculum Night for Rising 7th & 8th Graders

January 25 - 2 Hour Early Release, End of 2nd Quarter, 

January 26 - No School, Teacher Workday

Curriculum Night

January 23 - 6:00 pm - 7:30pm

Families will have the opportunity to learn about course options for the 2024-2025 school year and meet with our core and elective teachers, counselors, and administrators. There will also be an informational session offered to learn about the math options in middle school and course offerings for general education, honors, AAP, ESOL and SPED at South County MS.

South County High School

Academic Advising Dates

Rising 9th Grade Families

January 24, 2024 — Curriculum Night 6:00-7:30pm

Content area teachers will be available at the Curriculum Fair in the cafeteria to discuss core class and elective course offerings. Also, there will be an informational session for rising 9th grade families in the auditorium from 6:00-6:45. 

Grade Level Curriculum Orientation—

High School counselors will meet with students in large groups to present information about course offerings, sequencing, prerequisites for specific courses, and graduation requirements at South County Middle School on January 30th, 2024.

Middle School Counselors will meet with students February 5th-9th through Science classes to complete academic advising.

Students with an FCPS login can access our electives information here.

South County High School Student Services


Opioid Awareness and Resources

Conversation to Raise Awareness of Fentanyl and Other Drugs In this video, Superintendent Dr. Michelle Reid interviews the Fosters, a family who tragically lost their son Cayden to a half pill of fentanyl mistaken for Percocet. This heart-wrenching yet eye-opening video of their experience is essential to raise awareness among parents/caregivers and students about the dangers of fake painkillers.

Please join Dr. Reid on Wednesday, January 10, at 6:30 p.m., at Edison High School for a community conversation about opioid awareness. You may register to attend. However, registration is not required; it is simply for space considerations. 

The evening’s program is appropriate for parents/caregivers and students in grades 6-12. All attendees will receive free REVIVE! Narcan training during the event and learn about support services currently available within FCPS and Fairfax County.   

FCPS’ website also has resources to help you to start the conversation and additional support for families struggling with substance misuse. 

Safety Information

Safe Students, Safe Schools

Fairfax County Public Schools believes that academic success is built on the foundation of a safe learning environment. This includes physical safety, and mental health and wellness. 

FCPS has a comprehensive approach to safety that involves physical security measures, online monitoring by security staff, and crisis intervention support. The division has created the Safe Students, Safe Schools Brochure (PDF) to enhance your awareness of potential hazards and to equip you with practical tips for how you can help. Visit the FCPS website for more information.

A New Year to Reset & Restart 

In December, many people will begin to reflect on the year that has passed and begin planning differences for the upcoming year. The fresh feeling of a new year to make changes that may improve our lives can be exciting, scary, and necessary. When thinking of your goals consider making them SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time bound), this method breaks goals down and makes it easier to track progress. It is helpful to share your goals with your child to show them examples of healthy adult actions. Demonstrating how to look within and figure out how to make things better teaches children how to manage stress in a healthy manner. What regular coping skills can be implemented into your daily/weekly routine? Common categories are physical, career, spiritual, financial, or emotional. Think about creating normal times to have important conversations such as during a family dinner. Set time dedicated to bonding, sharing, and securing connection is often missing in the busyness of life.

Research has shown that family therapy is the best treatment option for young people who misuse drugs and alcohol (SAMHSA). Many people use drugs to manage life’s hardships when they feel disconnected from themselves or others. The opposite of addiction is connection, and young people benefit from connection within their families. Families with a mission based on openness, growth, and collective health instead of secrecy and silence thrive. Families teach young people how to navigate challenges when members are open, honest, and approachable. Learning how to manage stress early in life may be a major factor in whether or not a young person decides to use drugs.

For general questions about the FCPS Substance Abuse Prevention Program, please contact the Office of Student Safety & Wellness at: (571) 423-4270.

Sources & Resources

Why Small Conversations Make a Big Difference

SMART Goals Quick Overview

Knowing the Signs: Substance Abuse & Today’s Youth

For further information & support:

Catric W. Marshall, MS., LPC., CCC

Substance Abuse Prevention Specialist