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Fairfax County School Board Adopts FY 2012 Approved Budget

The Fairfax County School Board has adopted the Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) FY 2012 Approved Budget of $2.2 billion, which includes a one percent market scale adjustment for all employees and step increases for all eligible employees, funding to expand full-day kindergarten to all elementary schools, and an athletic fee cap of two fees per student per school year.

The expansion of full-day kindergarten completes an earlier School Board commitment to expand the program to the remaining 36 FCPS elementary schools. That plan was placed on hold several years ago during the economic recession. A total of 152.2 positions—including teachers, instructional assistants, assistant principals, clerical staff members, and custodial staff members—will be required to implement the full-day kindergarten expansion.

“Over the past year, the Board committed to employee compensation as a priority,” said School Board Chairman Kathy Smith. “After asking employees to endure a salary freeze for two consecutive years, we felt it was important to include a salary increase this year. 

“The Board also recognized the importance of setting a limit on the number of athletic fees a student would have to pay,” added Smith. “And we were pleased to be able to complete the rollout of full-day kindergarten, which is so important in preparing our children to achieve their potential.”

The School Board also voted to keep a reserve balance of $60.6 million to address future obligations to the Virginia Retirement System, and designated $0.5 million for discipline support recommendations. A total of $4.3 million was approved to help implement mandated online testing for Virginia Standards of Learning (SOL) tests. The Board also voted to eliminate fees for Advanced Placement (AP) and International Baccalaureate (IB) tests.

The FY 2012 budget includes $28.4 million to accommodate a projected increase of 2,333 students from the FY 2011 approved budget. FCPS projects a total enrollment of 177,629 students for the 2011-12 school year, including a 16.5 percent increase in students enrolled in English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) and an increase in the most intensive special education services. In FY 2012, FCPS projects that one of every four students will be eligible for free or reduced price meals.

For more information on the FY 2012 budget, visit http://www.fcps.edu/news/fy2012.htm.

Budget 2012FCPS Budget 2012

Watch this Insight interview with superintendent Jack Dale to learn about the final FY 2012 budget. (watch video)

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Fairfax County School Board Approves Changes to FCPS Disciplinary Process

The Fairfax County School Board has approved revisions to the Fairfax County Public Schools Student Rights and Responsibilities (SR&R) handbook. Ten recommendations to improve the process were submitted to the Board by Superintendent Jack D. Dale in March
(see http://commweb.fcps.edu/newsreleases/newsrelease.cfm?newsid=1669).

In addition to Dale's recommended changes to the SR&R, the Board approved several other changes, including:

“These revisions to the Student Rights and Responsibilities handbook address many of the issues brought to our attention by parents and members of the community,” said School Board chairman Kathy Smith. “We have tried to balance the rights of students with our responsibility to keep Fairfax County public schools safe places for all students. Our plan is to collect data related to a range of disciplinary consequences, including transfers, and to study their relationship to student attendance, academic performance, and participation in extracurricular activities.”

For additional information, visit http://www.fcps.edu/news/discipline.htm.

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All Fairfax County High Schools Make Washington Post's List of Top High Schools in U.S.

All eligible Fairfax County high schools* have been designated among the most demanding public schools in the country and are featured in the 2011 Washington Post list of more than 1,900 top U.S. high schools, found at http://apps.washingtonpost.com/highschoolchallenge/schools/2011/list/national/. These schools represent the top seven percent of high schools nationwide. 

McLean High School had the highest ranking of FCPS high schools on the list of schools, which is based on a formula devised by Washington Post education reporter Jay Mathews. McLean was ranked 105th on the 2011 list.

Rankings for other Fairfax County Public Schools are: Woodson High School, 108; Langley High School, 116; Lake Braddock Secondary School, 118; Centreville High School, 131; Madison High School, 132; Oakton High School, 153; Herndon High School, 160; West Springfield High School, 201; Fairfax High School, 205; South Lakes High School, 213; Robinson Secondary School, 220; Chantilly High School, 247; West Potomac High School, 311; Marshall High School, 347; Westfield High School, 363; Falls Church High School, 366; South County Secondary School, 473; Stuart High School, 522, Hayfield Secondary School, 730; Lee High School, 926; Annandale High School, 1031; Edison High School, 1119; Mt. Vernon High School, 1529.

The Challenge Index measures public high schools’ ability to challenge their students. A school’s ranking is determined by dividing the number of Advanced Placement (AP), International Baccalaureate (IB), or Cambridge tests given by a school to all its students by the number of seniors who graduated in May or JuneThe index is designed to identify schools that challenge average students.

* Note: Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology, which serves students across the region, was not included in the list because of its selective admissions process. It is recognized in a separate group titled “Public Elites.”

FCPS Graduation Rate Second Highest Among Large School Districts

FCPS has the second highest graduation rate (85.1 percent for the Class of 2008, the latest data available, behind only Montgomery County, Md., at 85.7 percent) among the 50 largest school systems in the United States according to a new report by Education Week. Get more information at http://www.edweek.org/media/v30-34analysistable-c5.pdf.

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ACE Summer Enrichment Programs Meet Many Interests

Enrich your child in kindergarten through sixth grade with a week-long language camp, pave the way to success for your sixth- through twelfth-grade child with a test preparation class, or make sure your rising ninth- through twelfth-grade teen reaches his or her destination safely in a driver education program.

These and dozens of other classes, courses, and camps are being offered through the Adult and Community (ACE) Summer Enrichment program for kids K-12. For more information about how your child can strengthen his or her academic skills and pursue an interest in the arts, languages, math, and technology, visit  www.fcps.edu/DIS/OACE/KidsandTeens.htm.

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Summer Tech Adventure Camp Registration

Tech Adventure CampImagine your child designing a website or video game, engineering structures and their own creations with computer aided design tools, or learning how technology intersects with everyday life events. It’s been happening for children in grades 5-7 every summer during the popular Tech Adventure Camp. Every season features new projects to challenge and entertain new or returning campers.

Tech Adventure Camp will be held at Lake Braddock Secondary School. Registration will continue to be accepted on a first-come, first-served basis until June 17.

For more information, visit http://www.fcps.edu/DIS/OCTE/events/TechCamp.htm or call 571-423-4502. 

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Registration Continues for Fairfax County Park Authority Rec-PAC Summer Camp

Still looking for a fun and exciting camp program for your children at an affordable cost? Look no further than the Fairfax County Park Authority Rec-PAC Summer Camp Program.

Rec-PAC (Pretty Awesome Children), is a six-week structured theme-based recreation program with emphasis on leisure skills designed for elementary school children. Rec-PAC will be held in 50 Fairfax County public schools this summer.

Participants will have an opportunity to enjoy a wide variety of activities such as fun and fitness, indoor and outdoor games, team sports, nature, crafts, storytelling, sports festivals, talent shows and supervised play sessions. Each location has a ratio of 1 staff person to 18 participants.

To learn more about Rec-PAC or to download registration forms, go to http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/parks/recpac/, or call 703-222-4664 to register.

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Important Immunization Requirement: Do You Have a Student Entering Sixth Grade Next Year?

If yes, he or she may need a booster dose of Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria, acellular pertussis). Sixth grade students cannot begin school in the fall without documentation of having had either the Tdap booster OR documentation of having had a tetanus-containing vaccine within the last five years. Parents and guardians of current fifth graders should check their child’s immunization records.  

Documentation that your student has received this immunization should be brought to the school registrar. Fairfax County Public Schools tracks compliance with this state requirement, and students who do not meet the requirement by the first day of school will be excluded from school.  

Students can receive immunizations required for school at no charge at any Fairfax County Health Department walk-in immunization clinic. The school public health nurse may be contacted for more information about the health department clinic hours. More information about immunization requirements and exemptions can be found in the current version of FCPS Regulation 2101.

For more information, contact Elizabeth Donaldson, health specialist, Office of Student Safety and Wellness, at 571-423-4402 or elizabeth.donaldson@fcps.edu.

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Suggested Summer Reading Lists

Summer Reading ListsIn order to encourage and support reading achievement, every student who will be entering grades 6 through 12 in the fall must read at least one book over the summer.

The follow-up in the fall will be determined by each school. The summer reading lists contain suggestions for reading; although students may read any other book that is approved by their parents, except where individual schools have issued their own summer reading requirements. Any school-based requirements take precedence over the county requirement.

Some schools and courses, particularly at the high school level, have additional summer assignments. Parents and students should inquire at the time of registration. Most of these assignments are posted at the individual school web sites.

Click on the links below to obtain information about specific grade levels.

Note: A rising student is one who will be starting that grade in the new school year. For example, a rising tenth grader is one who completed the ninth grade in school year 2010-11 and will be a tenth grader in the 2011-12 school year.

Good Books at Fairfax County Public Libraries

The Fairfax County public libraries have lists of many good books for readers of all ages. To access this information, go to http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/library/goodreading.htm.

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2011 FCPS Employee Award Winners

FCPS HonorsExcellence in leading schools, in teaching students in our schools, and in supporting our schools is what Fairfax County Public Schools is all about. The Department of Human Resources sponsors recognition of our outstanding performers as they seek to create and demonstrate best instructional and support practices.

The winners of this year's awards are:

Thank you to the FCPS parents, students, community members, and staff members who nominated an employee for one of this year's awards. For more information on FCPS' employee recognition program, go to http://www.fcps.edu/DHR/employees/awards/index.htm.

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New Elementary Mathematics Standards to Begin in
2011-12 School Year

In February 2011, FCPS teachers were introduced to the new Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) Mathematics Standards of Learning (SOL). The PreK-12 Mathematics Office designed an Elementary Mathematics Instructional Sequence (EMIS) that is aligned with the new standards. The new instructional sequence—which will begin in the 2011-12 school year—provides teachers with the tools needed to offer students the opportunity to access an advanced mathematics curriculum as they develop the mathematical reasoning skills to be successful, in either an advanced mathematics classroom or a general education classroom through differentiation.

Advanced mathematics extensions (information and resources) will be available to teachers to help students who are working above grade level as early as kindergarten and will build a strong foundation in mathematics. In addition, compacted mathematics (where students who are ready learn content at a faster pace) will be renamed advanced mathematics to be more representative of the rigor in the program. The advanced mathematics curriculum will be available in all elementary schools, regardless of school size, including Advanced Academic Center schools.

For more information, go to http://www.fcps.edu/DIS/OEIAS/math/math.htm, or contact the
K-12 mathematics curriculum office at 571-423-4725.

New Math StandardsVideo: Watch this Insight interview with superintendent Jack Dale and Gloria Allen, coordinator of mathematics in the Instructional Services Department, to learn more about the new elementary math sequence. (watch video)

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The Elementary School Progress Report: Communicating Achievement to Parents

Parents will be introduced this year to a new elementary progress report that FCPS will roll out systemwide in fall 2012.

“Every parent wants to know, ‘how is my child doing,’ and the new progress report will give parents more complete information about how a student is progressing,” said Peter Noonan, assistant superintendent of Instructional Services.

Parents familiar with the Program of Studies (POS)—the FCPS approved content taught for each subject and grade level—will recognize that the new progress report is aligned to the POS instructional standards. Instead of seeing that a fourth grade student has a “B” in math, parents will learn, for example, that their child “represents numbers accurately and demonstrates an understanding of number relationships” or “analyzes characteristics and properties of geometric figures and demonstrates an understanding of spatial relationships.”

In addition to providing more detailed information about how their child is progressing in all areas of instruction, the new progress report will include a section on life, work, and citizenship skills that are aligned to the School Board goals and the effort a child demonstrates in each instructional area.

Many school systems in the area and across the nation are moving toward standards-based reporting. FCPS researched the shift from simply reporting grades to more fully communicating achievement and conducted a pilot and field tests for two years in a number of schools. In September 2011, ten elementary schools will move totally to the new progress report. Also, beginning next year, FCPS will launch a systemwide series of information sessions for all parents to learn more about the new progress report.

“No doubt, some people will be nostalgic for ABCs. But when it comes to your own child, every parent wants to know what he or she is learning. The new progress report communicates their achievement,” said Noonan.

For a preview of the new progress report and more information, go to http://www.fcps.edu/DIS/elemProgReport/index.html.

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Northern Virginia Housing Opportunities Expo 2011 to Be Held June 25

On Saturday, June 25, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at T.C. Williams High School in Alexandria, the Northern Virginia Affordable Housing Alliance will host the first ever region-wide Northern Virginia Housing Opportunities Expo 2011. The event will be supported by the counties of Fairfax, Arlington, and Loudoun; the Town of Herndon and the cities of Alexandria and Falls Church; George Mason Mortgage; and Cardinal Bank.

Expo 2011 will offer households in Northern Virginia the opportunity to explore both homeownership and rental housing options in one place, at one time with access to the experts in the fields of real estate, lending, housing counseling and legal services. Along with experts being available to present and discuss local housing options and for attendees to search out moderate affordable housing opportunities within Northern Virginia, a series of workshops will be offered to cover the following topics.

Admission will be free and there will be exciting door prizes. To learn more about the event and the workshops, go to www.nvaha.org/EXPO2011.

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Graduation Requirements for Rising Freshmen Delayed by Virginia General Assembly

New graduation requirements, that were approved by the Virginia Board of Education in 2009 and will affect rising high school freshmen in Fairfax County Public Schools, have been delayed by the Virginia General Assembly.

The standard technical and advanced technical diplomas have been delayed and are not options for students entering ninth grade for the first time in the 2011-12 school year.

Beginning with students entering ninth grade in the 2012-13 school year, students will have the options of standard technical and advanced technical diplomas. Also, middle school students will be required to have academic career plans.

Professional development and resources will be provided to school counselors and other staff members during the 2011-12 school year to ensure they can provide accurate information to students and parents.

Additional information regarding the delay can be obtained from the Virginia Department of Education at http://www.doe.virginia.gov/administrators/superintendents_memos/2011/112-11.shtml.

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