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Open Enrollment Ends Friday, November 8
Shout out to Liberty MS staff who participated in the school's inaugural Bow Tie Tuesday. "Knot" bad, gentlemen! (Photo: Liberty MS)
Open Enrollment is your annual opportunity to enroll and/or make changes to your medical, dental, and/or flexible spending account (FSA) benefits for the upcoming year. Would you like assistance with making your elections? If so, there will be extended hours at Gatehouse Administration Center on Thursday, November 7. Remember, Open Enrollment ends on Friday, November 8. Visit the Open Enrollment webpage.
Superintendent Brabrand Featured on "Connect with County Leaders" Podcast
The "Connect with County Leaders" podcast shares the latest news and information on Fairfax County programs and services. On this edition of Connect with County Leaders, host Jim Person connects with Fairfax County Executive Bryan Hill and Superintendent Brabrand. They discuss the budgets and strategic plans of each organization, the One Fairfax initiative, as well as winter weather and the difficult decisions related to keeping schools and county government open. Listen to the podcast.
Employee Engagement Survey Closes This Friday
If you haven't taken the Employee Engagement Survey yet, please participate by Friday, November 8! Your feedback will help ensure that FCPS is a great place for all employees to work and grow professionally. The survey will take about 10 minutes to complete. All responses are strictly confidential. No one at FCPS will know whether you participated or how you responded. Check your FCPS email account for the survey invitation from K12 Insight, our survey administrator. Get additional information on the Employee Engagement Survey page on the intranet.
Photos of the Week
MyPDE Assigned Training
Every year, we are amazed by the ingenious Halloween and Storybook Character Day costumes created by FCPS staff. The roller coaster riders from Lemon Road ES (above) are an excellent example! Check out our Facebook album which features more than 70 fun photos of FCPS employees. We also created an additional post showcasing students and staff. Enjoy!
Before MyPDE was launched, all professional development (PD) for instructional and operational staff required by FCPS and/or federal, state, or local government was reviewed by the MyPDE team. Approved topics are now being added to employees’ MyPDE profiles as “assigned training,” as appropriate.
In some cases, topics that previously applied only to certain groups, special education teachers for example, are now required of all instructional staff regardless of level or content. Instructional and operational employees who receive a notification of a newly assigned training should consider it an accurate reflection of the requirement. View the current list of required training for select instructional groups on the intranet.
All required PD is based on requirements necessary to meet federal, state, local, or Division mandates. For example, Anaphylaxis Basics is required per Virginia code for all employees, not just school-based staff. Employees who have not had an expectation to complete the Anaphylaxis Awareness - for all FCPS Staff course in the past should work with their supervisor to access and complete the online module.
Keep in mind that additional requirements will be assigned as the MyPDE team continues to align the requirements with the intended audience. Employees will receive a notification directly from MyPDE if and when a training has been assigned. Please direct questions to your supervisor.
Space Is Still Available for Financial Wellness Workshop
Employee Wellness, in conjunction with our Employee Assistance Program Guidance Resources, is offering a financial wellness workshop, Managing Personal Finances. If you are looking for guidance on how to better manage your personal finances, we encourage you to attend. This workshop will help you demystify the numbers and get you living beyond paycheck to paycheck. Workshops will be held:
- November 13, 4:30 p.m., Hayfield SS, High School Lecture Hall.
- November 19, 4:30 p.m., Gatehouse Administration Center Café.
- December 3, 4:30 p.m., Chantilly HS, Lecture Hall.
Objectives include identifying financial warning signs, creating a budget, and identifying good credit behaviors and practical savings tips.
Please register through MyPDE, course code HR-808039.
#OurFCPS Faces: Dorothy Bonica
Dorothy Bonica says, "I hope to someday be as cool as my mom!” Dorothy is a full-time art educator at Fort Belvoir Primary. Her mother is an art teacher, too, and “always has awesome ideas!” Dorothy teaches students how to plan, engineer, problem solve, collaborate, build, refine, reflect, communicate, and express themselves though art. She explains, “We don’t just make pretty stuff in the art room, we make connections to our community, our cultures, our world, and each other. We also make messes, but we always get it cleaned up by the end of class!”
Dorothy adds, “One thing that I say in my classroom again and again is, 'How can you solve that problem?' There are so many solutions to art problems, and young minds are so creative! It’s always amazing to see how students can use the provided tools and their imagination to find solutions. I’m excited to see what the world will look like in the future when it is led by our students.”
Alicia Ogrodny, Fort Belvoir Primary's school-based technology specialist, submitted an FCPS Cares on Dorothy's behalf. She mentions, “Ms. Bonica is an amazing art teacher that truly cares about the students, school, and military community." Principal Margo Pareja adds, "Ms. Bonica has an amazing ability to build relationships with students and staff and has created a learning environment in which all students are engaged and feel successful. She worked this summer to paint kid-friendly soldiers outside to emphasize our pride in serving a military-connected community and worked collaboratively with our new art teacher, Symone Simmons, to paint a mural at school welcoming military kids."
Dorothy is grateful to her mentors and co-workers, saying, “Shout out to all of my mentor and partner teachers who have worked with me to help me to get where I am!”
When Dorothy isn't teaching, she enjoys making her own artwork and spending time with her mother.
We appreciate the many ways in which you inspire creativity in young minds, Dorothy!
Equity and Cultural Responsiveness Professional Learning Toolkit
The Equity and Cultural Responsiveness Team has expanded the Equity and Cultural Responsiveness Professional Learning Toolkit for the 2019-20 school year. This site is designed to support FCPS staff with professional learning resources to foster welcoming and culturally responsive environments, and provide access to additional systemwide initiatives that promote equitable outcomes.
Be sure to check out the video library and courageous conversations tools as well as links to other school district initiatives, such as FCPSOn and Culturally Responsive Teaching, that work to close gaps in achievement, access, and opportunity. You must be logged into your FCPS Google account to access materials.
Fostering Resilience at Hutchison ES
Hutchison ES staff went above and beyond the call of duty as a community school by serving as an evacuation site when 16 homes in the community had to be cleared for a natural gas leak. Hutchison staff welcomed community members warmly, while continuing the uninterrupted school day for more than 1,100 students. The Hutchison team worked closely with FCPS' Office of Safety and Security, Fairfax County Emergency Medical Service, Fire and Rescue, and the Red Cross to provide supports for the families who had been evacuated.
Support went well into the evening and included providing shelter, food, and necessities. All families were either united with family or friends, or were placed in hotels overnight. Despite the situation, 18 of the 26 Hutchison students who were displaced reported to school on time the next day. The remaining eight students made it to school by noon, due to the committed actions of the parent liaisons, social worker, office staff, and the administrators at Hutchison ES. It was truly a team effort and an excellent representation of Caring Culture.
Quit Mondays: Free Tobacco Cessation Program and Resources
FCPS Employee Wellness, in partnership with the Virginia Department of Health Tobacco Control Program, is participating in a tobacco cessation campaign called Quit & Stay Quit Monday. There are many resources available to help FCPS employees be tobacco free. Use Monday to get back on track by taking advantage of one of the resources listed below. Some links may require FCPS intranet access:
If you have questions about the campaign or would like Quit & Stay Quit Monday materials to share and post at your site, please email HRWellness@fcps.edu.
Veterans Day Observances in Schools
Veterans Day is Monday, November 11. FCPS Policy 3380.2 provides an expectation for the observance of Veterans Day in our schools: “Although a federal holiday, Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) does not include Veterans Day as a school holiday. School personnel shall follow the Calendar of Religious and Cultural Observances regarding Veterans Day, and shall provide students with instructional activities that honor veterans and recognize the role of the military in American democracy.”
Schools have the flexibility to honor Veterans Day with learning experiences that they deem appropriate. However, a general announcement about Veterans Day does not satisfy the intent of the FCPS policy. A list of suggested learning experiences and resources is posted on the Instructional Services Department intranet page.
Note: Intranet access is required to open some of the links in this email. If you're using a mobile device or working remotely, you can connect to the intranet via the Pulse Secure VPN (Virtual Private Network). Email RequestIT@fcps.edu with questions.
Employee News is sent to all FCPS employees every Tuesday. Please email EmployeeNews@fcps.edu with potential submissions or questions. Submissions are due by 4:30 p.m. on Thursdays. Thank you!
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