FCPS This Week e-newsletter - December 13, 2019

By Communications and Community Relations Staff
For Parents
December 13, 2019

Photos of the Week

In this week’s photos students are participating in hour of code, exhibiting talent in art and music, celebrating Inclusive Schools Week, competing in a science Olympiad, and donating toys and games.    

TJHSST Japanese Teacher Named 2019 Teacher of the Year by American Association of Teachers of Japanese

Koji Otani, who teaches Japanese at Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology (TJHSST), has been named the 2019 K-12 Teacher of the Year by the American Association of Teachers of Japanese. Otani, who has worked for Fairfax County Public Schools since 1998, was recognized for quality and innovative teaching, service to the profession and to the community, participation in professional development activities, and advocacy for the program and Japanese language education. 

Learn more about Koji Otani

Together, FCPS and Fairfax County Government Move Closer to Expanding Solar Power Opportunities

Fairfax County Public Schools and Fairfax County Government have awarded vendor contracts as part of an ongoing partnership that will potentially expand the use of solar energy to 87 Fairfax County public schools and facilities. This is the largest power purchase agreement in the state for a municipality to date.

“We’re excited to be partnering with the County in a movement that’s good for our students, families, and our environment,” said Fairfax County Public Schools Superintendent Scott S. Brabrand. “Lower energy costs through solar power purchase agreements will enable FCPS to save millions of dollars while freeing up additional funds for classroom investments.”

More information about the solar power agreement is available online.

Special Event on December 17 for FCPS Graduates and Students Who Want to Teach in FCPS

Do you know an FCPS graduate or student who is interested in teaching in FCPS? FCPS graduates and current FCPS juniors or seniors are invited to join us on Tuesday, December 17, 5 to 8 p.m. at the Gatehouse Administration Center, 8115 Gatehouse Road, Falls Church, VA 22042 for the second annual Back2Fairfax Teacher Seminar. Learn more about how to navigate the hiring process, employee resources, and tips on being a successful educator.

Join us for an evening filled with networking opportunities, breakout sessions, and FCPS employment information. We invite current students and FCPS graduates to Say Yes to FCPS!

Registration for this event is available online.    

Calendar Reminder: Winter Break Is December 23 to January 3, 2020

As a reminder, this year winter break starts on December 23 and ends on January 3, 2020. Classes will resume on Monday, January 6, 2020. See the complete 2019-20 school year calendar.

Save the Date: FCPS Special Education Conference Set for April 18, 2020

FCPS will hold its 15th Annual Special Education Conference on Saturday, April 18, 2020, at Hayfield Secondary School. Registration will begin in February. A student strand will be held for youth ages 14-22. FCPS educators, administrators, and pre-service teachers will earn five recertification points for attending the entire conference. 

Visit the Special Education Conference webpage for more information.

Video: How Does FCPS Make Winter Weather Closing Decisions?

Ever wonder how FCPS administrators make the decision to close or delay schools due to inclement weather? Watch this video for answers to some common questions.

FCPS YouTube Channel

Want to see other great videos featuring FCPS students and staff members? Check out the FCPS Channel on YouTube.

Your Donation to the Foundation for FCPS Will Help Students Thrive

As 2019 comes to a close, please consider a year-end gift to the Foundation for FCPS, the independent 501(c)(3) charitable organization associated with the school system. The Foundation works alongside teachers, principals, administrators, and leadership to keep our diverse school system robust and innovative. 

We need your help to make sure all students have the resources they need to succeed. The Foundation works in partnership with FCPS and the community to create pathways to long-term success for students. Your end-of-year gift will help the Foundation fund programs such as: 

  • Gap needs for disadvantaged students. Examples include backpacks, supplies, and gift cards.
  • Work-based learning opportunities for students via teacher grants.
  • Retention and recognition of stellar educators. 

More information about these programs can be found on the Foundation website.

Make your tax-deductible contribution through a secure online donation portal. With your help, we can keep our kids smiling well after the holidays!

Arts Alive: Cappies Review of Justice High School’s Production of Anything Goes 

The Critics and Awards Program for High School Theatre, otherwise known as the Cappies, is a program through which high school theater and journalism students are trained as critics, attend shows at other schools, write reviews, and publish those reviews in local newspapers. There are fifteen Cappies chapters across the United States and Canada, and many FCPS high schools participate in the Washington, D.C. chapter. 

Student critic Colleen McGuire of Oakton High School gives her review of Justice High School’s production of Anything Goes.

Subscribe to the 2019-20 FCPS Theater Calendar

Do you love watching high school theater? If so, check out the Fine and Performing Arts calendar on the FCPS website. Individual listings for many middle and high school theater events are listed through June 2020. Users can subscribe to the calendar to be notified of upcoming performances, and each event can be added to a calendar or shared on social media. See the Fine and Performing Arts calendar. 

Cool Schools: Kale-Producing Garden at Stratford Landing Elementary School Is Integral to Learning

Students at Stratford Landing Elementary School found themselves with bunches of ready-to-harvest kale this fall, which was served to their classmates in the school cafeteria over several days. Students at Stratford Landing are an integral part of the garden: all students plant, harvest, weed, and care for the garden. 

Members of the school’s Green Club help with composting and recycling. This past summer, Stratford Landing partnered with the Arcadia Center for Sustainable Food and Agriculture to provide weekly fresh vegetables and herbs to families in need in the Gum Springs community. The school’s Outdoor Learning and Garden are an integral part of Stratford Landing’s learning program. The garden includes garden beds for over 25 vegetables, herbs, and flowers.

Get more information about the garden at Stratford Landing Elementary School.

Tips for Elementary School Parents: Do You Monitor Your Child's Screen Time?

There are positives and negatives to screen media for children. But one thing's for sure, today's children spend an increasing amount of time watching screens. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that parents develop a screen use plan for their child. Your plan should take your child's development into account and provide consistent rules about media use. It should also ensure that your child's screen time is balanced with plenty of time for sleep, exercise, and non-screen recreation.

Take time today to evaluate digital media use in your home. Is your child spending too much time watching TV and videos, playing electronic games, surfing the web or texting? Is it affecting success in school? If so, it's time to set some limits. To plan appropriate media use:

  • Pay close attention to how your family uses digital media. Where are the TVs and computers located? How many hours does your child spend in front of a screen?
  • Learn more. New apps and video games come out all the time. Find out what your child is playing. Ask other parents what they recommend.
  • Make a plan. Keep TVs and computers out of your child's bedroom. Put both where you can see them and be aware of what your child is watching. Figure out how much recreational screen time you will allow your child. Then establish a screen-time schedule for your family and stick to it. Establish screen-free times and zones in your home—during homework time and mealtimes, for example. In addition, set an electronic device curfew one hour before bedtime. To use the AAP's media plan calculator, go to www.healthychildren.org/English/media.  
  • Share recreational screen time. When your child does watch TV or videos, or plays with video games or apps, join in. Interact with your child. Talk about what you are seeing and doing.
  • Offer choices. Suggest productive activities for your child when electronic devices are turned off, such as reading, doing puzzles, playing an active game and talking with family.

Copyright 2019, the Parent Institute. Get more tips for parents and other family engagement tools