FCPS This Week - February 1, 2023

By Communication and Community Relations
For Parents
February 02, 2023

Therapy dog Micah visits Key Center for animal assisted instruction. Learn more in this video. 

Thank You For Your Feedback on the Draft Calendars 

Thank you to the approximately 23,000 families, staff, students, and community members who completed the Calendar Feedback Form to let us know which aspects of the four draft calendars—blue, green, orange, and purple—worked or did not work for them. The School Board received the feedback in real time at yesterday’s work session, and included it as part of their discussion on the calendar for the 2023-24 school year. The School Board is scheduled to vote on a calendar on Thursday, February 9. 

View a summary of the feedback collected on the four draft calendars. 

It's Not Too Late–Share Your Feedback Today!

FCPS has extended the deadline for community feedback on the draft calendar options to Monday, February 6, at noon. If you haven't already participated, please share your thoughts by filling out this form.

McLean High Student Chosen 2023 Regeneron Science Talent Search Finalist

Ethan Zhou, a student at McLean High School, has been selected as one of the 40 finalists in the 2023 Regeneron Science Talent Search. The competition is the nation’s oldest and most prestigious science and math competition for high school seniors.

This year’s finalists represent 34 schools across 14 states. 

Judges Needed for Regional Science and Engineering Fair

The Fairfax County Regional Science and Engineering Fair, held March 17-19, is a competition for students attending high schools in Fairfax County. Students may earn honorable entry to the regional competition through a science fair held at their local public or private school.

Each year 250 judges are required to evaluate science fair projects in a wide variety of categories ranging from plant sciences to robotics. It is desirable that those volunteering to serve as category judges hold an advanced degree or possess extensive academic and/or professional experience in their selected STEM category.

Learn more about the science fair and how to become a judge.

Scholastic Art Awards Names 337 Regional Winners in FCPS 

The 2023 Regional Scholastic Art Awards program has awarded a total of 533 awards to 337 Fairfax County Public Schools students for outstanding artwork. This includes 174 Gold Key awards, 171 Silver Key awards, and 188 Honorable Mention awards. Four works by FCPS students were nominated for the best-in-show American Visions Award. Artworks were submitted and judged in categories including drawing, painting, printmaking, photography, ceramics, sculpture, digital art, design, architecture, jewelry, fashion, film and animation, mixed media, and art portfolios.

The Gold Key and Silver Key artworks will be displayed at Northern Virginia Community College’s Ernst Community Cultural Center in Annandale from Friday, February 9, to Thursday, March 23, with an award ceremony on Wednesday, March 1. See the full list of winners.

Academic Matters: Literacy

At last week’s School Board meeting, Superintendent Dr. Michelle Reid highlighted the Equitable Access to Literacy plan and major milestones that have been made since 2021. Watch the presentation.

Interested in Becoming a Teacher?

"I was always interested in teaching but ended up working in the music industry post-college,” says Melinda Ward, strings teacher at Rolling Valley Elementary School. “I started teaching private lessons on the side. As my private students grew and progressed, I found myself more invested in their successes and accomplishments than in my music industry job. I realized I felt more fulfilled by their excitement over their achievements and decided to pursue a teacher licensure program and career switch."

Do you think you might find teaching to be fulfilling? We are searching for educators with a strong academic background and a passion to make a difference. Attend our job fair on Saturday, February 11. The fair will be held at Oakton High School from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. A virtual option will be held from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Get more information on the job fair. Find out how to become a teacher and read teachers’ stories.

Career Expo for High School Students

During the week of February 13-16, the Northern Virginia Chamber of Commerce and school divisions across the region are hosting a career fair. Industry experts in multiple fields will be speaking about their professional journeys and providing valuable insights into how to achieve success. Instruction 2 Industry, a live virtual event, is free to all Northern Virginia high school students. For more information about the schedule and to register for the event, please visit the Instruction 2 Industry event page.

Office of the Ombuds: At Your Service! 

Do you have questions or concerns about Fairfax County Public Schools? If so, reach out to the Office of the Ombuds, an independent, impartial, informal, and confidential resource for employees, parents/caregivers, students, and/or community members. Ombuds staff members are eager to listen and assist with navigating the school division. They will also offer options and/or resources to help resolve challenges.

Contact the Office of the Ombuds at 571-423-4014, [email protected], or via the “Submit a Question” button on their webpage. The team looks forward to serving you!

Federal Grant Supports School-Based Mental Health Staff

The U.S. Department of Education (DOE) has awarded the first year of a five-year grant to Fairfax County Public Schools for $13.5 million to support a School-Based Mental Health (SBMH) Services Grant project. The goal of the grant program is to increase the number of credentialed mental health service providers delivering school-based mental health services to students with demonstrated need.

With the funding, FCPS will focus on enhancing the division’s recruitment and retention practices for mental health professionals, including school counselors, school psychologists, and school social workers. 

Filling Your Child’s Emotional Bank Account

Read the latest Healthy Minds blog to learn how relationships are like savings accounts, and how you can help build trust and security with your children. 

Have Your Say in Our Future! 

Remaining Strategic Planning Community Forums will take place:

Click the date above to register for that forum, or check out the full schedule of Community Forums and register for one that is convenient for you. Childcare will be provided at in-person forums. Language interpretation will be provided, as available, at all events. Please register today. 

Share Your Thoughts With Us!

What keeps you optimistic about FCPS? What are your concerns? Answer these and two other questions on our Strategic Plan Feedback Form, and help shape our school division’s future. 

Low-Cost Internet for Free and Reduced-Price Eligible Students 

The Affordable Connectivity Program is a new Federal Communications Commission program to lower internet costs for families with children who have been eligible for free or reduced-price meals within the last 12 months. A qualifying household will receive $30 per month toward internet services and a one-time discount of up to $100 for a laptop, desktop computer, or tablet. Families can check their eligibility and register at AffordableConnectivity.gov or by calling 877-384-2575.

Visit our Free and Reduced-Price Meals webpage for more information on eligibility and how to apply.

2023 FCPS Gap Year Fair Is Tonight!

FCPS School Counseling Services and Go Overseas are co-hosting the annual FCPS Gap Year Fair today, Wednesday, February 1, at West Springfield High School, from 6:30 to 9 p.m. This event is for high school students and parents/caregivers. Representatives from more than 40 programs offering gap year opportunities will be on site.

Students are encouraged to pre-register for this event. For more information, visit USA Gap Year Fairs

A Jump Start to Careers for Students at Fairfax Academy  

FCPS high school academies are holding open houses for interested students. Fairfax Academy, featured in this video, will have an open house on Tuesday, February 7, 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. Learn more and find the calendar of all Academy Open Houses. View the YouTube playlist of academy videos

Find Free COVID-19 Testing in Your Community

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has launched a COVID-19 Testing Locator website, which allows consumers to search for free testing sites near them. Testing is available at pharmacies, commercial laboratory sites, community sites, and retail locations. Results are typically provided within 24-48 hours.

Calendar Reminder: Black History Month

Black History Month is an annual celebration of achievements by African Americans and a time for recognizing their central role in U.S. history. Learn more about the heritage months, celebrations, and traditions celebrated in FCPS. Learn more about Black History month.