FCPS This Week e-newsletter - September 29, 2021

By Communication and Community Relations
September 29, 2021

Opening of Schools 2021 Report: Opening Doors for All Students So They Find Joy in Learning

Superintendent Scott Brabrand presented the 2021 Opening of Schools Annual Report to the School Board at its regular meeting on September 23. 

Highlights of the presentation include: 

  • FCPS remains the largest school division in the state of Virginia with approximately 180,000 students. 100% of our schools are open for in-person learning.
  • The FCPS on-time graduation rate for 2021 was 94.6% - up three percentage points from 2019.
  • Average daily meal participation has increased by more than 25% this school year compared to pre-COVID-19 levels. This year, no-cost breakfasts and lunches are available for every child.
  • Summer learning participation increased 66% over the previous four-year average as FCPS expanded its programming to ensure students were supported during the pandemic.
  • All schools have received funding to support family liaison outreach to connect families to resources and tools and help the smooth transition back to school.
  • Significant technology enhancements included network upgrades to triple school bandwidth capacity and reliability.
  • The Foundation for FCPS received $1.4 million in contributions in 2020-21. 

You can view the entire presentation on the FCPS YouTube Channel.


Check Out the StreamIN/CheckIN Experience

StreamIN/CheckIN, a way for students being paused, quarantined, or isolated due to COVID-19 to learn directly from their teachers, began Monday, September 27. Curious about what the experience is like for teachers and students? Check out this brief video

Learn more about StreamIN/CheckIN on our website.


Fairfax County SAT Outcomes Stay Strong Despite Pandemic Testing Challenges

The Class of 2021 in Fairfax County continued to perform well above state and global averages on the SAT, according to results recently released by the College Board.

The Fairfax County overall mean score of 1201 surpassed both the state average (1151) and the global average (1060). Evidence-Based Reading and Writing (601) and Mathematics (600) in Fairfax County likewise posted above the state and global averages. 

The pandemic had a major impact on SAT participation worldwide, due to COVID-related exam cancelations, combined with family reluctance to send their students in person for testing. The College Board reported a 31.4% drop in SAT participation globally, with a 33.4% drop in Virginia. Fairfax County’s participation rates were substantially less affected, with a participation drop of only 4.4%.

More information is available online.


Information About FCPS’ Social Emotional Learning Screener

This week, media implied that FCPS student data collected through a screener meant to assess the social and emotional welfare of our students could be shared with organizations such as Facebook. We would like to reassure our community that any suggestion of this kind is false.

FCPS has contracted with Panorama Education, Inc., an established and reputable educational research company used by multiple school divisions in the U.S. to conduct this screener. While FCPS shares student data directly with Panorama Education, no other parties have access to the data. Student data will be kept confidential and used only for FCPS’ educational purposes. Panorama Education complies with all applicable federal laws, including FERPA and the Protection of Pupil Rights Amendment (PPRA), as well as state and local regulations concerning student data.

Parents who prefer that their child not take part in the SEL screener should complete the opt-out request form at the bottom of the testing notification letter and return it to their school. This testing notification letter was sent to families within 30 days of the screener.

This month, FCPS will be screening all students (grades 3-12) to assess where they are socially and emotionally following their return to school 5 days in-person this fall. 

Social Emotional Learning (SEL) skills include self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills and responsible decision-making. These skills are important for collaboration and perspective taking. They also help students manage their feelings, address challenges, and reach their goals.

Research shows that when schools embed SEL into the school day with fidelity it improves children’s lives, the culture of the school, and teacher well-being. Schools report increased academic success, enriched relationships between teachers and students, and decreases in disruptive behavior. When school staff are able to proactively identify and address the social and emotional needs of students they can actively promote these positive outcomes.

Results from the second interim study report compiled in spring 2021 as part of the FCPS Study of Teaching and Learning during the COVID-19 Pandemic by the Office of Research and Strategic Improvement (ORSI) showed that students at all three school levels reported elevated stress levels this year compared to last year. FCPS wants to make sure we are identifying any issues early so that we can better support our students as they return to our buildings.

The screener collects information about students’ SEL skills, feelings, relationships, school environment, and well-being. Screener results are used with other information to support students academically and personally.

For more information please see the FCPS website.


South County High School Teacher Recognized for Excellence in History Teaching

Sean Miller, a social studies teacher at South County High School, has been named the 2021 History Teacher of the Year award from George Washington's Mount Vernon Estate.

The award is presented annually to one teacher in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area who brings creativity and passion to their teaching, generates a love of learning, and deepens their students’ understanding and appreciation of history. The winner receives a cash award of $5,000 and a fully funded field trip to Mount Vernon for their students. Learn more about Sean Miller’s award


Students from 16 FCPS High Schools Named National Merit Semifinalists

Two hundred fourteen students from 16 high schools from across Fairfax County Public Schools have been named semifinalists by the National Merit Scholarship Corporation for 2022. 

The number of students honored this year during the pandemic is higher than last year when qualifying test scores were taken in 2019 before COVID-19 hit. The increase serves to indicate consistently high levels of academic achievement remain despite the challenges of the pandemic. 

All semifinalists are eligible to compete for 7,500 National Merit Scholarship awards worth more than $30 million, to be awarded in spring 2022. 

More information is available online.


A Day as a Super Sub

Like many school districts across the region and country, FCPS is looking for kind and caring substitute teachers to ensure our students continue to thrive when teachers need to be out of the building. 

Substitute teaching is a great opportunity for stay-at-home parents, retirees, college students, and anyone who wants a flexible work schedule. 

Kathleen Miller, a media relations specialist in FCPS and a mom with two children in FCPS elementary schools, traded in her normal duties to serve as a substitute teacher for a day. 

Find out what it’s like to spend a day as a Super Sub or find out how to become a sub yourself.


FCPS Virtual Mental Health and Wellness Conference Continues

The 8th Annual FCPS Mental Health and Wellness Conference and Inova Act on Addiction conference, Strategies for Today and Beyond, is virtual this year and continues until October 1. Upcoming sessions include: Zenit Journals Workshop (for students only), hosted by Our Minds Matter; Getting a handle on…ALL THIS! How to thrive in overwhelming and uncertain times; and Act on Addiction: Tools for Resiliency During Unprecedented Times. 

Registration information and the complete schedule and list of speakers are now available online

Student Mental Health and Resiliency

Many students struggle with emotional and behavioral issues that can affect their learning and overall wellness. If you have any concerns about anxiety, peer relationship problems, depression, or other social and emotional issues your child may be experiencing, please contact your school psychologist, school social worker, or school counselor. They are available for consultation and support. Visit the Mental Health and Resiliency and Student Wellness: Tips and Strategies web pages to learn about mental health resources and fostering resiliency in your child. 


From the Healthy Minds Blog: Simplify Your Morning Routine

School mornings can quickly become an exhausting experience. “I’m telling you for the last time, get out of bed now!” “Are your homework and library books packed away?” “Where are your shoes?” “Hurry up, you are going to be late again!” This is no fun for anybody. As much as you dislike hectic school mornings, your children likely feel the same way. 

It doesn’t have to be this way. With a little preparation and a consistent routine, you can get the mornings started off smoothly without all the stress. Consider these strategies from the Healthy Minds blog.


Care After You Wear: Help FCPS Keep Our Facilities Safe and Clean

Many groups enjoy recreational use of FCPS facilities such as community rooms, school gyms, and ball fields. We all have a role to play in keeping these sites safe and accessible for everyone to enjoy.

Due to the ongoing pandemic, FCPS will continue to require masks indoors and some may choose to wear additional personal protective equipment (PPE), such as gloves, at our facilities. 

Care After You Wear

Whatever PPE you choose to wear, please make sure that it is disposed of properlyIf you wear a disposable mask and you no longer need it, please put it in the trash. Washable masks are a great, sustainable option. If you cannot find a trash container, take the mask with you–you’re sure to find one nearby! 

Please share this information with your teammates, your staff, your families, and anyone else who will be using Fairfax County facilities.


The 2022-23 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) Opens October 1; College Access Fairfax Is Here to Help

Parents of current high school seniors—did you know that the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) will open on October 1? Parents are encouraged to work with their students to complete the FAFSA as early as possible, but definitely before March 1, 2022, as you prepare for your child to begin college in the fall of 2022. Parents and students should start by creating an FSA ID and then begin the FAFSA.

Our partners at College Access Fairfax will be offering a number of webinars on completing the FAFSA and finding/applying for scholarships over the next two months. Information on these programs and how to access them can be found at the College Access Fairfax website.

In addition, College Access Fairfax staff are available for virtual one-on-one help sessions to complete the FAFSA. Interested families should email appointments@collegeaccessfairfax.org to request an appointment.


Updated Title IX Notice

Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) is committed to a learning and working environment free from all form of discrimination and does not tolerate acts of sexual or gender-based misconduct.

  • Any student who believes that he or she has been subjected to sexual or gender-based misconduct, any parent of such a student, or any student who believes that another student is being subjected to sexual or gender-based misconduct is encouraged to report the misconduct to FCPS, specifically to their school principal.  
  •  Any administrator who believes that a student is being subjected to sexual or gender-based misconduct is required to report such suspected misconduct to the school principal.

FCPS conducts prompt, thorough, and impartial investigations into any such reports. Interim measures will be available to students who have alleged sexual or gender-based misconduct and students who are accused of sexual or gender-based misconduct - including but not limited to: separation pending the outcome of an investigation, counseling, and educational resources.

When an investigation reveals that sexual misconduct created a sexually hostile environment, FCPS will take prompt and effective steps to end the misconduct, prevent its recurrence, and remedy its effect—including continuing the interim measures as necessary to protect the reporting student and ensure his or her safety. Students found to engage in acts of sexual misconduct or other acts that create a hostile environment will be dealt with promptly, and discipline may include, but is not limited, to suspension or expulsion. FCPS encourages students, parents and staff to work together to prevent sexual or gender-based misconduct of any kind.

For more information about the FCPS Title IX Response, please contact:

FCPS Title IX Coordinator

Office of Equity and Employee Relations

8115 Gatehouse Road

Falls Church, VA 22042

Phone: 571-423-3070

titleixcoordinator@fcps.edu