FCPS This Week - December 15, 2021

By Communication and Community Relations
December 15, 2021

Have a Great Winter Break!

As a reminder, winter break will be held December 20-31. Classes resume on Monday, January 3, 2022. See the complete 2021-22 school year calendar

We hope you have a happy, healthy, and safe holiday season with time to relax and recharge! Look for the next issue of FCPS This Week on January 5, 2022. 


Stay Healthy This Season

It’s time for winter break, holiday gatherings, and travel. Northern Virginia has entered a high level of community transmission, so check out these tips for staying safe along with COVID-19 testing and travel guidance to help us all have a happier and healthier season.


VaxUP FCPS!

Vaccination continues to be the best way to protect yourself from the risk of severe illness. We encourage everyone who is eligible to get vaccinated or boosted. Find out how to schedule a vaccination or where to find a walk-in clinic.

December 9, we learned that teens ages 16-17 years-old are now eligible to get a booster. You can make an appointment for your teen to get their booster shot at one of the health department's clinics, or visit your healthcare provider. 


COVID-19 Testing

Testing helps reduce the spread of COVID-19. FCPS’ diagnostic and optional screening testing sites will not be available from December 18-January 2. Testing will resume on January 3, 2022. If needed, other local providers are available for testing and vaccinations during that time.


Be Part of the Superintendent Search 

On December 13, the School Board held a work session to discuss the Superintendent search process, timeline, and engagement opportunities. Watch the work session on the FCPS YouTube Channel.

There are many ways you can share your voice during this process. Below is a snapshot of upcoming activities:

  • Survey: GR Consulting, the search firm handling the superintendent search, will be administering a survey. The survey will be available in multiple languages and will be a great opportunity for the FCPS community to weigh in on the most important qualities our next superintendent should possess. Look for the survey in your email inbox next week.
  • Parent, Student, Community Focus Groups: The search firm will hold in-person focus groups with previously identified parents, students, and community members. These focus groups are planned for January 10-12

Please visit our Superintendent Search webpage for additional information.


Assessing Where Our Students Are at the Start of the School Year

This week, you may see stories in the media about the impact of the pandemic on students across the nation. This is because the national iReady assessment data used by school districts to identify students who need additional supports has been shared nationally.

While FCPS did see some impacts of the pandemic on students, our impacts were generally less substantial than were seen nationwide pre- and post-pandemic. Remember that data included in this report reflects student assessment results from the first few weeks after students returned to school for the 2021-22 school year. This does not measure Quarter 1 progress. 

FCPS is directing significant ESSER funding to support our students in reading and math to ensure gaps are addressed. This may include after-school tutoring, individualized tutoring during the school day, and English Language Development time.

You can find the data and read about the next steps on our website.


Get Your Child’s Online Activity Report 

FCPS has new tools to help parents and guardians know more about their child’s activity on any FCPS device. These tools are provided by Lightspeed, our internet content filtering service, at no cost to families

You may sign up for a weekly Parent Report, which will provide a list of the top sites your child visited. If you want more detailed information, sign up for the Internet Use Parent portal and log-in anytime to see more detail about your child’s browsing and “pause” access to the internet during non-school hours.

Find out more and sign up for these services on our website.


The Importance of Submitting Free and Reduced-Price Meal Applications 

School meals provide nourishment that allows students to excel in the classroom and to grow and thrive. This year, FCPS continues to offer no-cost meals to all students, thanks to a waiver granted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. 

While the meals are no cost for all, it is still important for families to submit the Free and Reduced-Price Meals (FRM) application because it impacts much more than meals.

FRM applications help link families to other benefits, such as waiving fees for SAT, ACT, and AP exams as well as other school fee-based programs. Qualifying students may also have access to scholarships, classes, or services provided by agencies and organizations outside FCPS. FRM applications also help determine additional education funding for your child’s school.

Winter break is a great time to complete the FRM application. Find out more on our website.


FCPS Student Appears on Food Network’s Kids Baking Championship

Finley Sheers, a fourth-grade student at Churchill Road Elementary School  who started baking boxed cake mixes in her kitchen as a way to fill in time when schools went virtual in spring 2020, is one of 12 kids from around the country selected to compete on the Food Network’s Kids Baking Championship television series. Follow her success starting December 27

Learn more about Finley and her path to appearing on the Food Network.


Students Can Start Their College Courses Early at NOVA

The Early Online College program at Northern Virginia Community College (NOVA) allows FCPS juniors or seniors the opportunity to take up to two tuition-free college courses this spring. Textbook and other course materials purchases may be required. Early Online College courses begin on February 1, 2022, and end on April 25, 2022.

Minimum qualifications apply. The deadline to submit a completed application is January 14, 2022More information is available online.


2022 FCPS Summer Learning Information

Winter Break is a great time to plan your child’s summer learning. Many students participate in summer learning opportunities to advance academically, to sharpen their skills, to learn something new, or to participate in fun fine arts and Career and Technical Education camps, institutes, and academies. 

Fairfax County Public Schools summer learning opportunities include a Credit Recovery Academy that offers credit recovery courses, intervention classes, and test remediation classes; programs and institutes at Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology that provide credit accrual and enrichment opportunities; and Online Campus courses and classes. Career and Technical Education will offer Self-Directed Economics and Personal Finance. Elementary and secondary Fine Arts and Career and Technical Education enrichment camps, institutes and academies will also be offered.

Details about 2022 enrichment camps and institutes, Online Campus, and Self-Directed Economics and Personal Finance are now available on the FCPS Summer Learning webpage. Information about other programs will be posted as it becomes available.


New Fairfax County Magisterial Districts For Some Schools

Last week, the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors adopted its redistricting plan. School boundaries remain the same, but some schools may change their School Board Member representation.

Read more and see a list of impacted schools on our website.


Boundary Study Report Presented to School Board

In February 2020, FCPS engaged with MGT Consulting Group to conduct an analysis of school boundary policies and additional best practices, educational research, and factors that could be considered for school boundary practices in order to refine FCPS Policy 8130: Facilities Planning, Local School Boundaries, Program Assignments, and School Closings

MGT presented their final report to the School Board at yesterday’s work session. Their report includes your feedback from September’s boundary survey. Thanks to everyone in the FCPS community who participated. 

If you missed the work session, please watch the presentation for a summary of community input and results of the boundary policy study. Visit FCPS’ Boundary Policy webpage for more information.


Special Education Review Timeline Extended

Last month, the School Board voted unanimously to approve a recommended modification of the Special Education Comprehensive Review Contract between Fairfax County Public Schools and American Institutes for Research (AIR). The modification recommended adding $87,443 to the review to broaden its scope of focus groups, classroom observations, and data analysis. The final report will now be delivered between September and November 2022. 

View the video of the November 22 Fairfax County School Board meeting or read more information on Boarddocs.


Fairfax County Parents Will Help in Partnerships Review

The Fairfax County Special Education Parent Teacher Association (SEPTA) has been invited to participate in the National PTA’s update of its National Standards for Family-School Partnerships. The update aims to find ways to provide better support for schools and their communities that lead to increased academic success.


Collective Bargaining Webpages Go Live Friday

As a result of Virginia General Assembly-approved legislation that became effective in May 2021, counties, cities, and towns in Virginia (including School Boards) can now bargain collectively with employees upon adopting an authorizing ordinance or resolution. Staff representatives are developing a proposed collective bargaining resolution to present to the Fairfax County School Board. 

The school board is expected to adopt the resolution that will determine the scope and breadth of collective bargaining for FCPS. This Friday, December 17, a collective bargaining resource webpage will go live on our website so you can learn more about the process.


Reminder: School Board Meeting on Thursday, December 16 

The School Board will hold a regular meeting on Thursday, December 16, at 7 p.m. Agenda items include:

  • A new family engagement policy.
  • A midyear budget review.
  • Information about FCPS’ Capital Improvement Program.

See the complete regular meeting agenda. The meeting can be viewed on FCPS Cable TV Channel 99 (Verizon Channel 11), the FCPS YouTube Channel and on the FCPS website.

If you need language interpretation or American Sign Language support for any School Board meeting, please contact the board clerk.

Interested in School Board action items? Sign up to get an update on any School Board votes the morning after the School Board meeting.