Mustang Weekly, February 23, 2024

principal's message

Hello Mustangs,

As we wrap up another wonderful week, I want to extend my sincere appreciation for your ongoing support and collaboration. Seeing so many of you at our phenomenal production of Matilda Jr. over Presidents’ Day weekend was inspiring. Our students’ talent, creativity, and dedication truly shone on stage, and we owe a special thanks to our dedicated staff and students for making this performance a success. Have a safe and restful weekend, and we hope to see many of you at the Student vs. Staff basketball game tonight!

Justin Simmons | Principal | South County Middle School

Save the Date


Friday, February 23 - Student vs Staff Basketball Game, 6:30 PM

Wednesday, February 28 - PTSO Meeting, 7:00 PM

Tuesday, March 5 - Student Holiday

Monday, March 25-Friday, March 29 - Spring Break

Monday, April 1-Tuesday, April 2 - Teacher Workdays, No School for Students

SCHS International Night

West Point STEM



Family Engagement Survey to Open March 3

FCPS is partnering with independent research firm K12 Insight to administer a Family Engagement Survey, which will be open from Sunday, March 3, to Friday, March 22. Your feedback is critical in helping FCPS to better recognize, understand, respect, and address family strengths and needs throughout the district. Survey topics include:

  • Welcoming environment
  • Communication
  • Student success
  • Advocacy
  • Family and school partnerships
  • Community partnerships

The survey will be available in English, Amharic, Arabic, Chinese, Farsi, Korean, Pashto, Spanish, Urdu, and Vietnamese. 

Parents/caregivers will receive the survey link via email from K12 Insight. A public link will also be posted on FCPS’ website. Paper surveys will be available in our front office. Please stay tuned for more information.

Stress, Trauma & Coping

The experience of traumatic events shapes us, no matter if they happened during childhood or as an adult. Trauma is an event or series of circumstances that have lasting effects on mental, emotional, physical, social and spiritual well-being. Stress occurs from our minds and bodies identifying an event as physically or emotionally life-threatening. The situation triggers our survival instincts and our natural fight-flight-freeze response. But our minds and bodies cannot sustain being in survival mode for extended periods of time. Sometimes, those who experience high amounts of stress and traumatic situations are unable to process or move past what has happened and are stuck in a loop. 

Childhood trauma manifests in many ways and when carried into adulthood, it can create a cycle of adverse experiences that affect future generations. The effects of traumatic events place a heavy burden on the individual, connected families, and communities. Responses to stress and traumatic experiences are personal. There is an intersection between trauma, coping, and substance misuse. Studies show that about 61% of adults have had at least one adverse childhood experience (ACE) according to the CDC. Historical trauma is critical to understanding the progress and plight of African American mental health and wellbeing. During February the contributions into the culture and history of the United States of America from African Americans are highlighted and celebrated. 

Trauma prevention and intervention strategies are important. Creating a strategy of helpful coping skills to pull from prepares us to face difficult moments while increasing levels of resilience and feelings of wellbeing. Here are a few tips to add to your coping strategies:

  1. Seek mental health and/or substance use treatment.
  2. Identify one or more people you feel safe with who can help to hold you accountable.
  3. Develop, repair, or maintain healthy relationships for internal and external support.
  4. Learn and practice self-regulation skills. 
  5. Encourage yourself and others.
  6. Find ways to increase your self-esteem.
  7. Focus on your strengths.
  8. Model healthy behavior when dealing with difficult situations.
  9. Identify your triggers and practice ways to work through them. 



Why Historical Trauma is Critical to Understanding Black Mental Health

Addressing Childhood Trauma Starts with Family Support

Violence Prevention

ACEs and Minorities

For general questions about the FCPS Substance Abuse Prevention Program, please contact the Office of Student Safety & Wellness at: 571.423.4270.

For Further Information & Support:

Catric W. Marshall, MS., LPC., CCC 

Substance Abuse Prevention Specialist

District News/In Case You Missed It (ICYMI)

If you prefer to have an abbreviated way to share district news, consider sharing the language below in your newsletter. Please edit the list of topics to best fit the needs of your community.

FCPS NewsIn case you missed it in FCPS This Week, the school division shared updates on the following topics:

  • Upcoming Webinars and Events for Families
  • How Students Benefit from CTE Courses
  • Supreme Court Decision Regarding TJHSST

Read FCPS This Week to learn more about these topics. If you are not already receiving the weekly newsletter, please sign up today.