FCPS This Week e-newsletter - November 30, 2018

By Communications and Community Relations Staff
For Parents
November 30, 2018

Photos of the Week

Check out this week’s photos to see students and alumni staying fit, building robots, celebrating cultures from other lands, and learning about dental careers.        

e-Notify Emergency Messages Will Be Communicated via New Vendor Beginning December 14

Fairfax County Public Schools will be moving to a new vendor to provide emergency and essential email, text, and phone notifications beginning December 14, 2018

Parents and guardians who have included a cell phone number (in the cell phone field) on a student’s emergency care card will receive a text message on December 14 to confirm the account is set up to receive text messages from FCPS. You do not need to do anything when you receive the text message from the new vendor, School Messenger, on December 14. If you do not receive a text message, please check the contact information listed on your child’s emergency care card in weCare. Your cell phone number must be listed in the cellphone field in order to receive text messages from FCPS. 

New this year, parents can enter their student’s cell phone number in weCare so that their student will also receive text messages for delayed openings, school closings, and late bus notifications. The student’s cell phone number will need to be entered in Section 4, under Additional Information. If the student’s cell phone is listed in weCare, they will also receive the text message on December 14.  

If you currently receive emergency and essential communications via email, text, or phone, you do not need to do anything as you will continue to receive this information.  

Emergency and essential information includes: 

  • Emergency.
  • Delayed openings/school closings.
  • Attendance.
  • Early release. 
  • Buses running late.
  • Low lunch balance.
  • Power, telephone, internet outages or facility repairs.
  • Back to school information. 
  • Important testing dates.

If you have recently changed your contact information, please be sure to update the emergency contact information in weCare.

As a reminder, in addition to email and text messages, all FCPS weather delays and openings are also posted on Twitter, Facebook, FCPS website, school websites, and local radio and television broadcasts. 

Read more about Weather Cancellation Procedures.

Calendar Reminder: Students Dismissed Three Hours Early on December 14

Students will be dismissed from school three hours early on December 14 for a school planning day. Classes will resume on Monday, December 17. See the complete 2018-19 school year calendar.  

Fairfax County Public Schools, Foundation for FCPS Recognize Business and Community Partners at State of Education Luncheon

Apple Federal Credit Union, United States Geological Survey, and Girls on the Run of NOVA were recognized by Fairfax County Public Schools and the Foundation for FCPS for their work as partners with the schools at the annual State of Education Luncheon on November 27 at the Fairview Park Marriott. The event was a fundraiser for the Foundation to support its Innovative Teacher Grant program. The awards recognize the valuable contributions being made by business and community partners throughout FCPS and increase awareness of the importance of business and civic involvement in the school system.

Learn more about this year’s award winners.

Your Donation to the Foundation Will Help Students Thrive

As 2018 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.

During its annual appeal, the Foundation is raising funds for its three focus areas: Classroom Innovation Grants to Teachers, Kids in Need, and Employee Recognition. More information about these programs can be found on the Foundation website.

Your tax-deductible contribution can be made online through a secure donation portal and may be designated to an existing initiative or to the school or center of your choice. 

In Case You Missed It: 2019-20 School Year Calendar Announced

In case you missed the announcement over the summer, the School Board adopted the calendar for the 2019-20 school year. The first day of school will be Monday, August 26, 2019, and the last day will be Friday, June 12, 2020. Notable dates include a three-day break for Thanksgiving (November 27-29, 2019) a two-week winter break (December 23, 2019 to January 3, 2020) and a one-week spring break (April 6-10, 2020). See the complete 2019-20 school year calendar.

From the Healthy Minds Blog: Things to Consider When Getting a New Phone, Computer, or Gaming Device for Your Child

The holiday season is upon us, and many look forward to this time of the year—visits with family and friends, a festive atmosphere around town, and gift-giving to celebrate the season. Often, parents see this as a great time to buy their child a new phone, computer, or gaming device as a gift. A little planning ahead of time can go a long way toward ensuring that new device provides enjoyment for your child and minimal stress for parents and caregivers. 

Some questions you might want to ask include: Are there parental controls and how do they work? Will this device be allowed in my child's bedroom? What sort of time limits should I set? Should we agree on consequences for misuse ahead of time? Are there times when a device will not be allowed?

FCPS has resources to help you think about devices with health and safety in mind.

Note: The Healthy Minds blog is for parents, educators, and community-based providers who are interested in supporting student mental health and wellness. It represents a collaboration between FCPS’ Office of Intervention and Prevention Services and the Fairfax County Government.

FCPS Cares of the Month Winners for October 2018

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 October—one for each region and the central office—to receive extra recognition for their work. They are:

  • Central Office: Daureen Burton-Richardson, Department of Financial Services, Gatehouse Administration Center. 
  • Region 1: Kay Kim, Aldrin Elementary School. 
  • Region 2: Katie Marrefi, Poe Middle School.
  • Region 3: Cathy Bowman, Hollin Meadows Elementary School.
  • Region 4: Jill Halter, Mountain View High School.
  • Region 5: Larkin Gibas, Frost Middle School. 

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

Video: Vaping—What Are the Consequences of a First Offense?

In our continuing video series about vaping and juuling, we learn about the consequences for students for vaping in school, as described in the Student Rights and Responsibilities handbook. Watch the video.  

Get more information about the health risks associated with vaping and juuling

Cool Schools: Mount Vernon High School Students Build Trebuchets for Inaugural Pumpkin Chunk

In keeping with the spirit of the fall season, Mount Vernon High School engineering students designed and constructed trebuchets (think catapults) for their first Pumpkin Chunk. The goal was simple: design a machine to hurl a 7-10 pound pumpkin as far as possible. Both teams designed their trebuchets based on historic research. While one team took the top prize with a 30-yard chunk, all of the Engineering students did extraordinary work in getting this event off the ground. 

See more pictures of the Pumpkin Chunk.

Register Now for FCPS Adult and Community Education Classes

FCPS Adult and Community Education (ACE) is having an enrollment drive now through the end of December. One example of a class offered by ACE is called UNESCO Mediterranean Diet. Recently, instructor Devaki Das discussed the class and how food brings people together on a new podcast. This is just one of many culinary classes offered by ACE’s celebrated chefs. 

ACE offers a variety of tuition-based classes to provide students and community members with high-quality and affordable learning opportunities designed to empower participants to reach their full potential.

Get more information about ACE course offerings.

Career and Technical Education Annual Notice

Fairfax County Public School Division’s Career and Technical Education Program offers a variety of career and technical programs to all students at the middle and high school levels.  The program areas include the following:

  • Business and Information Technology.
  • Career Connections.
  • Family and Consumer Sciences.
  • Health and Medical Sciences.
  • Marketing.
  • Technology Education.
  • Trade and Industrial Education.

For more information about Career and Technical Education call 571-423-4526 or visit the FCPS website and search for Career and Technical Education. 

See the FCPS Nondiscrimination-Americans with Disabilities statement.