The Fairfax County School Board has adopted the Fairfax County Public Schools 2012-13 school year (FY 2013) Approved Budget of $2.4 billion that includes:
The Approved Budget is an 8.2 percent increase over the FY 2012 Approved Budget.
The compensation package approved for employees includes a 2 percent salary increase to offset a 2 percent increase eligible employees will contribute to the Virginia Retirement System (VRS) beginning July 1; a 1 percentage point reduction in the amount employees contribute to the Educational Employees’ Supplementary Retirement System (ERFC), which provides a supplemental retirement plan for eligible FCPS personnel, and a 1.25 percent market scale adjustment for all employees.
“I’m pleased that we are once again able to give our employees a well-deserved raise,” said School Board Chairman Jane Strauss. “The overall budget does reflect the funding priorities set by the Board earlier this year including our continued commitment to quality academic programs and standards, resources for students not meeting academic expectations, closing the achievement gap, and competitive salaries and benefits for our employees to ensure that we continue to attract the best employees to support student success.”
The budget includes an increase in state aid and sales tax and incorporates mandates made by the General Assembly to the VRS. Beginning July 1, all new FCPS personnel will be required to pay the state-mandated 5 percent employee contribution to VRS. For existing employees, the mandate allows school systems to phase in the shift over five years and the School Board adopted a plan to shift 2 percent to existing employees beginning in FY 2013 with the remaining amounts to be determined in future budgets.
The Approved Budget contains $48 million to address a projected increase of nearly 4,000 students for the 2012-13 school year, bringing expected total membership to 181,536 students. Since 2008, FCPS’ enrollment has grown by more than 15,000 students with the greatest increases in the number of students with additional needs. Since FY 2008, the number of students enrolled in English for speakers of other languages (ESOL) has risen nearly 45 percent and the number of students eligible for free or reduced price meals is up more than 38 percent. In addition, two new schools will open in September—Mason Crest Elementary School and South County Middle School.
FCPS receives nearly 70 percent of its funding from Fairfax County and this year the county transfer increased by 4.5 percent to $1.68 billion. The majority of the budget—approximately 88 percent—is for employee compensation. Within the School Operating Fund, 93 percent of positions are school-based and 7 percent are non-school based.
For more information on the Approved FY 2013 budget, go to http://commweb.fcps.edu/newsreleases/newsrelease.cfm?newsid=2010.
The Fairfax County School Board has voted to change the last day of the current 2011-12 school year to Friday, June 15, which will be a full day. The School Board decided to release students from school on June 18 and 19 because Fairfax County Public Schools has only used one of three scheduled makeup days this year.
In the event that emergency closings are required before the end of the 2011-12 school year, all schools or individual schools may require additional makeup days.
As part of the revised calendar, Monday, June 18, and Tuesday, June 19, will be designated as teacher workdays instead of regular school days. These two additional workdays will give teachers an opportunity to complete end-of-year assignments, school improvement planning, teacher planning, and collaborative team planning, and any other workload relief that can be accomplished in the schools.
Note: School Age Child Care (SACC), a program run by the Fairfax County Government (NOT FCPS), will be open 7:15 a.m. to 6:15 p.m. June 18 through 22.
FCPS' online resource, FCPS 24-7 Learning (also known as Blackboard), will be offline June 20-28 so that the system can be upgraded. Parents, students, and employees will not be able to access the system during this time. Also, on June 29, courses for the current school year will be unavailable to students, which means that parents and students will not be able to see courses when they log in to FCPS 24-7 Learning. This will not impact organizations on the Community tab or online campus courses on the Courses tab in FCPS 24-7 Learning.
Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) will hold an informational meeting for the public to discuss the application by the Fairfax Leadership Academy (FLA) to establish a charter school in Fairfax County at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, June 12, in the cafeteria at Gatehouse Administration Center in Falls Church.
An informal presentation will be made by FLA representatives and members of the audience will be able to ask questions.
FLA filed a formal application with FCPS on May 30, requesting School Board authorization of a charter school. FCPS policy specifies that charter school proposals be reviewed by a committee of FCPS staff members, who will make a recommendation to the School Board. The group will review the proposal and other material submitted by FLA over the summer.
The Superintendent is tentatively scheduled to present the staff recommendation to the School Board on Thursday, September 20. The School Board will conduct a public hearing on the charter proposal on Tuesday, October 9 and hold a work session to review staff recommendations on Monday, October 15. The School Board is tentatively scheduled to act on the proposal during its regular business meeting on Thursday, October 25.
Additional information can be found online at http://www.fcps.edu/news/charter.shtml.
Starting this fall, FCPS will begin using a new elementary progress report that is based on curriculum standards. It provides more detailed information about what a student is learning and can demonstrate in each content area.
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 2011-12, ten elementary schools moved exclusively to the new progress report. In addition, FCPS held a systemwide series of information sessions during the past year to help parents learn more about the new progress report.
For more information, including a list of frequently asked questions, go to http://www.fcps.edu/is/elemprogreport/index.shtml.
Video: New Elementary School Report CardsWatch this video to learn how the new standards-based report cards allow teachers at Sunrise Valley Elementary, a school that was part of a two-year pilot program, to better communicate student performance to parents.
Fairfax County Public Schools has released the bell schedule for the 2012-13 school year. The schedule for all schools is posted at http://www.fcps.edu/news/bellschedule.shtml.
FCPS made changes to the bell schedule at many schools to accommodate the anticipated addition of approximately 4,000 students to the school system, as well as the opening of two new schools and the move of Graham Road Elementary School students to a new building. These changes, which are designed to increase bus route efficiencies, will not increase FCPS’ transportation costs.
FCPS realizes that changing bell schedules impacts students, parents, and staff. The 2012-13 bell schedule is being released now so parents and staff members have ample time to make changes to before- and after-school plans.
Fairfax County Public Schools has released the results of its 2012 Working Conditions Survey, completed by more than 12,000 educators, who answered questions about overall conditions, time leadership, decision making, facilities and resources, professional development, student conduct, and community support. This is the third Working Conditions Survey distributed by FCPS; it received an 80 percent response rate from school-based employees.
Of the respondents, 85 percent agree that overall, their school is a good place to work and learn. More than 90 percent of respondents agree that teachers are encouraged to try new things to improve instruction, that teachers work in collaborative teams to develop and align instructional practices, and that teachers are encouraged to participate in school leadership roles.
More than 87 percent of those responding agree that teacher performance is assessed objectively, and more than 84 percent agree that teachers are trusted to make sound professional decisions about instruction. A total of 78.6 percent of respondents agree that, overall, school leadership in their school is effective. This is an increase from 63.3 percent in the 2010 survey. Additionally, 71.7 percent of respondents said that teachers feel comfortable raising issues and concerns that are important to them, an increase from 66 percent in the 2010 survey. (view the press release)
To see complete information about the 2012 Working Conditions Survey, including tables that compare FCPS respondents to those in other local and national jurisdictions, visit http://fcpswcs.org/reports/.
Familygram will periodically feature, through video, some of FCPS' incredible students, from star athletes to aspiring musicians. This issue, we introduce you to Alyssa Huffman, a senior at Hayfield Secondary School, who balances schoolwork with her responsibilities as the Battalion Commander of the Hayfield JROTC.
More interviews with some outstanding students can be found on the FCPS YouTube Channel.
The Fairfax County Public Schools website (http://www.fcps.edu) has received a Sunny Award and an A+ transparency grade from the editors of Sunshine Review, a nonprofit organization that measures state and local government transparency. FCPS was one of five school districts in Virginia to receive the highest possible rating from the group.
FCPS received exemplary marks for providing information on its elected officials, public records, academics, meetings, administrative officials, and budget, among other topics.
For the 2012 awards, editors at Sunshine Review analyzed more than 6,000 government websites and graded each on a 10-point transparency checklist. Editors looked at content available on government websites against what should be provided. They sought information on items such as budgets, meetings, lobbying, financial audits, contracts, academic performance, public records, and taxes. The winners of the Sunny Award all received a grade of A during the extensive grading process.
Sunshine Review collaborates with individuals and organizations throughout America to further the cause of an informed citizenry and a transparent government. Since its inception in 2008, Sunshine Review has analyzed the websites of all 50 states and more than 6,000 state and local entities. Visit http://sunshinereview.org/core/home for additional information.
Last summer, FCPS developed a framework for embracing and managing the use of personally owned computing devices within FCPS. This framework quickly became known as BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) and parents are encouraged to allow their students to register and bring in their personally owned laptops, netbooks, tablets, and smartphones to school for authorized instructional use.
The introduction of BYOD allows for much creativity and innovation in our classrooms. One primary motivation for BYOD is to allow students to bring in personally owned computing devices to support increased student access to online digital instructional resources. Many students also use their devices to take notes, to complete assignments, to create study tools, and to collaborate with other students and teachers.
During this first year of BYOD in FCPS, 79 schools have registered more than 1,900 personally owned devices. These numbers are sure to increase as both students and teachers become more comfortable with the concept of leveraging personally owned devices for teaching and learning.
To register a device for BYOD, parents and students are first required to complete a device use agreement permission form. Once completed, students can register their devices at their school where they will be approved for use on the FCPS secured wireless network. This ensures Internet content is filtered for each student connected to the network while on school property.
To get more information about the BYOD program at your school, contact your local school administrator.
To learn more about the Bring Your Own Device program, check out this short online video.
The School Board recently voted unanimously to name the new school located at the Lacey site (Annandale) Mason Crest Elementary School. Mason Crest is under construction and will open in September.
In addition, the Fairfax County School Board voted to name the new middle school at the south county site South County Middle School. The school, which is adjacent to the current South County Secondary School, is also under construction and will open in September. South County Secondary will become South County High School.
For more information about Mason Crest Elementary, go to http://www.fcps.edu/masoncrestes/.
For more information on South County Middle, go to http://www.fcps.edu/southcountyms/.
In 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 during 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 2011-12 and will be a tenth grader in the 2012-13 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/reading/.
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 past five years. Parents and guardians of current fifth graders should check their child’s immunization records.
Documentation, such as a signed and dated immunization record from the physician, stating that your student has received this immunization must be provided to the school registrar as soon as possible. You may start sending in your documentation now to your school’s registrar while your student is still in fifth grade to ensure that your student meets this requirement before the first day of school in the fall.
Fairfax County Public Schools tracks compliance with this state requirement and students who do not meet the requirement before September 4, 2012, will not be able to start school.
Students can receive immunizations required for school at no charge at any Fairfax County Health Department immunization clinic. Information about health department clinic locations and hours can be found at http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/hd/hdclinicsite.htm.
For questions, contact Sheila Moore-Neff, health services specialist, Student Registration, at 571-423-4402 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Excellence 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/hr/programs/recognition/.
The Fairfax County Public Schools Facilities Planning Advisory Council (FPAC) is hosting an interactive blog and invites all Fairfax County residents to join this online discussion about long-term goals for FCPS facilities. The blog, which can be found at http://fcpsfpac.wordpress.com, will be available for citizens to post comments until the end of June.
FPAC, a citizens committee appointed by the Fairfax County School Board, created a draft of a strategic facilities plan that includes 25 proposed goals addressing capacity and space use, operations and maintenance, communication, and capital improvement funding and projects. The draft plan addresses the challenges facing FCPS as school enrollment swells, demand for space and services intensifies, and funding sources to meet maintenance, renovation, and construction needs are drained.
The new strategic plan will provide a decision framework for facilities issues related to capital investments, program assignments, and boundary management, and will enable FCPS to more effectively anticipate, respond to, and manage change. FPAC will present the final plan to the School Board in the fall.
For more information, go to at http://www.fcps.edu/fts/planning/fpac/index.shtml.
Video: To learn more about the Facilities Planning Advisory Council (FPAC) and the FPAC blog, go to http://dl.ebmcdn.net/fcps/mp4/schoolscene/2012/ss15_fpac.mp4.
Registration is under way for summer 2012 classes offered by Adult and Community Education (ACE). Course offerings may be viewed at www.fcps.edu/is/ace, and classes may be registered for online. The course catalog, ACE Classes, has been mailed to residents and is also available at Fairfax County public libraries and at the Plum Center.
Teacher workdays are scheduled for November 5 and 6, 2012; January 28, 2013; and April 15, 2013. January 29, 2013, is a staff development day. Winter break is scheduled for December 24, 2012, through January 1, 2013, and spring break will be held March 25-29, 2013.
The 2012-13 school year calendar is available online at
Media include beneficial and powerful tools such as TV, print, the Internet, and video. Media can also expose children to risks. A media-wise parent monitors and guides children’s use of these valuable tools.
Here are some tips to help make your child’s use of media a positive one:
Source: Family and School Partnerships, Department of Communications and Community Outreach, 703-204-4300 or http://www.fcps.edu/cco/fam/resources/publications/ParentHandoutsandTipCards.shtml.