FCPS This Week - April 7, 2021

By Communication and Community Relations
April 07, 2021

FCPS Widens Opportunities for In-Person Instruction Throughout April

Fairfax County Public Schools is announcing that it will be expanding opportunities to return additional students for four days of in-person learning for identified PreK-12 students as early as this week.

These expanded opportunities will be based on the updated Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance from March 12, which allows schools the opportunity to transition from 6 feet to 3 feet social distancing in some circumstances, and within certain community transmission rates as well as each school’s available space and staffing capacity. 

Families and caregivers will be contacted by their school regarding specifics and details pertaining to these opportunities. Each school will look different depending on capacity and staffing. You do not need to reach out to the school. Staff will contact you!

Read Superintendent Brabrand's letter to the community

Superintendent’s Town Hall Set for April 7 at 7 p.m.

Superintendent Scott S. Brabrand will discuss recent updates from the Governor of Virginia and the Centers for Disease Control at a virtual Town Hall meeting tonight, April 7, from 7-8 p.m. View the meeting on FCPS Cable TV Channel 99 (Verizon Channel 11) or on the FCPS website. Submit your questions in advance by email to returntoschool@fcps.edu or call 1-800-231-6359 during the Town Hall.

Update on Graduation Ceremonies, End-of-Year Events, and Sports

Good news! Governor Northam’s amendment of Executive Order #72 provides an opportunity for FCPS to hold in-person graduations for the Class of 2021. FCPS is actively planning, with substantial principal input, to celebrate the Class of 2021.

Graduations will look slightly different than in previous years (pre-COVID).

The Executive Order now sets higher limits for entertainment and recreation venues. It also classifies high school athletics as recreational sports. A maximum of 500 spectators will now be allowed outdoors and 100 people indoors. 

Additionally, all public and private in-person gatherings must not exceed more than 50 individuals indoors and 100 individuals outdoors. The new guidance went into effect on April 1.

Video: April Is Month of the Military Child; Purple Up Day Is April 21

Military-connected youth face unique circumstances living the military lifestyle. By understanding the lifestyle of military-connected youth we can better meet their needs as they transition with their family members who serve our nation. Currently over 14,000 military-connected youth call FCPS home. Each year our nation designates April as the Month of the Military Child to recognize and thank children from military families for the sacrifices they make living the military lifestyle. During the month, one day is selected as the day to “Purple Up! For Military Kids” and all are encouraged to wear purple in recognition of the strength and sacrifices of military connected youth. 

Why purple? Purple is the color that symbolizes all branches of the military, as it is the combination of Army green, Coast Guard blue, Air Force blue, Marine red, and Navy blue. This year, Purple Up day will be celebrated on April 21. Watch this video to learn more about Purple Up day

FCPS Statement on the Derek Chauvin Trial

FCPS has issued a statement on the Derek Chauvin trial, which began on March 29. The former Minneapolis police officer is charged with murder in the death of George Floyd. We will continue to listen and learn in order to ensure that equity is at the center of all we do. View the statement.

Celebrating our Military Career Switchers

Matt Shipley came to FCPS after walking into his child’s school to get his laptop fixed during the middle of the pandemic. He had worked in the federal government for 26 years and serving 20 years in the Navy when he found himself in the principal’s office at Franklin Middle School. Now he is a business and information technology teacher at Franklin who does his best to adhere to three fundamental principles: integrity, respect, accountability. 

As a Navy officer, Matt says he was fortunate to spend a lot of time with young men and women, mentoring them and helping them advance their careers. “It was one of the most satisfying aspects of the job,” he says, adding, “I saw a natural connection between that and teaching young students in the classroom. Thus far, it has truly been an incredibly fulfilling experience and I have enjoyed every moment.” 

Matt currently teaches students a variety of computer skills including Computer Solutions, website coding, and one class of computer game development, using JavaScript at an online educational portal. He hopes these skills will serve students well while at FCPS and beyond.

FCPS Students Win Grand Prize Awards at 2021 Regional Science and Engineering Fair

The 66th annual Fairfax County Regional Science and Engineering Fair virtually showcased over 200 high school science projects via recorded videos. Over 290 students presented their research projects in a wide variety of science and engineering fields. Projects were judged by over 300 professionals and 50 professional organizations and businesses. 

The Grand Prize and first place winners are eligible to compete in the Virginia State Science and Engineering Fair to be held virtually in April. See who received awards

FCPS Students Earn National Recognition in 2021 Scholastic Art and Writing Awards

Original works of art and writing by students from Fairfax County Public Schools earned 27 national medals in the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards program, presented by the Alliance for Young Artists and Writers.

In addition to Gold Medals and Silver Medals, Lyat Melese of Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology (TJHSST) received the American Voices Medal in writing, Arin Kang of McLean High School received the Best in Grade Award for grade 10, Alison Wan of TJHSST received the Best in Grade Award for Grade 11, and Ellen Pan of McLean High School was recognized with the One Earth Award. See the complete list of award winners

Return to School Technology Updates

As more students are back in schools, the ability of school staff to provide students and parents with technology support is going to be increasingly limited. If you need technology support at home, please consult the FCPS Technology Support for Families page for troubleshooting assistance. If you need additional support, please contact the Parent Technology Help Desk at 833-921-3277 (833-921-FCPS). This will be answered by staff members between 7 a.m. and 11 p.m., seven days a week.

Fairfax County Public Schools Is Moving to Zoom on July 1

Effective July 1, FCPS will be transitioning from Blackboard Collaborate Ultra (BBCU) to the Zoom video conferencing platform, which will give staff, students, and the community the opportunity to participate virtually in meetings and events. Zoom will provide users the ability to:  

  • View an entire classroom of students on one screen.
  • Integrate with other learning platforms (Schoology, MyPDE) and live streaming platforms for large broadcasts.
  • Modify and blur backgrounds for added privacy while participating in virtual events.
  • Overlay multi-language live interpretation for virtual town halls and display captioning options.

Training for all staff will be completed prior to the start of next school year. Stay tuned for more information to come. 

Photos of the Week

Check out this week’s photo gallery to see images of students settling back into their routines at school—at lunch, on the playground, and in class. 

High School Students Invited to Virtual Career Exploration Fair

Fairfax County Public Schools high school students are invited to participate in the 2021 Virtual Career Exploration Fair, scheduled to take place from Monday, April 19, through Friday, April 30. This completely virtual event will include synchronous (live) and asynchronous (recorded) sessions and workshops.

Students will be able to learn about work-based learning opportunities; attend industry panel discussions; take part in mock interviews; attend resumé workshops; and learn about postsecondary education, training, and apprenticeship opportunities.

Get more information on the Virtual Career Exploration Fair.

February FCPS CARES of the Month Winners

FCPS Cares is an opportunity for parents, staff, and community members to recognize FCPS employees for going above and beyond to help others and show they care. All FCPS Cares submissions were reviewed, and six winners were selected for the month of February—one for each region and the central office—to receive extra recognition for their work. They are:

  • Central Office: Nishi Langhorne (Willow Oaks) and Lindsey Fisher (Langley High School).
  • Region 1: Deana Dueno–Terraset Elementary School.
  • Region 2: Stephanie Duffield–Haycock Elementary School.
  • Region 3: Juliane Wines–Springfield Estates Elementary School.
  • Region 4: Claudia Dieguez–Lake Braddock Secondary School.
  • Region 5: Isaac Bumgardner, Tina Tagliavia, and Terri Towle–Westfield High School.

Get more information about the winners and how you can acknowledge an FCPS employee who has gone above and beyond.

Video: Student Voice—Payton's Tips on How to Deal with Stress

FCPS student Payton shares her advice with other students about how she is managing stress and the return to in-person instruction. 

Fairfax County Step Up 4 Kids Campaign

Step Up 4 Kids brings county partners together to meet the needs of children who witness domestic violence. Children who experience domestic violence are more likely to use drugs and alcohol, run away, act out in school, or come into contact with law enforcement. These behaviors are often a cry for help. Caring adults can help interrupt this cycle. The more caring adults who are involved in a child’s life, the more likely the child is to be successful at school and in relationships with others. To learn more about how you can support a child, visit the Step Up 4 Kids webpage.   

If you want to know how to help a child experiencing domestic violence, please call the Fairfax County Domestic and Sexual Violence 24-Hour Hotline at 703-360-7273