FCPS This Week - January 18, 2023

By Communication and Community Relations
January 18, 2023

Fiscal Year (FY) 2024 Proposed Budget Highlights 

At last Thursday’s School Board meeting, Superintendent Dr. Michelle Reid proposed a budget for FY 2024 that focuses on closing the achievement gap for all students which widened during the pandemic. This budget also gives our youngest learners a strong start and includes investments for our special education students that were impacted during the pandemic, while continuing to attract and retain teachers and staff who are the backbone of our organization. 

The FY 2024 Proposed Budget totals $3.5 billion—a net increase of $249.6 million or 7.6% over the FY 2023 Approved Budget. The superintendent is requesting an additional $159.6 million, or a 7.0% increase, from the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors. Nearly 86% of the budget is targeted at instruction. The Proposed Budget focuses on several key areas:

  • Innovative investments that close the achievement gap for all students:
    • Equitable access to literacy.
    • Increased access to PreK programming.
    • Supports for students with special education needs. 
    • Funding for students in Advanced Academic Programs.
    • Changing student enrollment needs.
    • Increase in student and family supports, including access to middle school athletic opportunities that support student well-being. 
  • Continuation of green investments.
  • Increased security measures.
  • Proposed increases in employee compensation.

Watch Dr. Reid’s presentation to the board. Access the presentation slides on Boarddocs. 

Virginia School Principal Appreciation Week

Thank you to our school principals for all of their hard work every day of the year! Share your support for your favorite school principal on the FCPS Facebook page.

School Board Reviews Draft School Year Calendar Options

At yesterday’s work session, the School Board discussed draft calendars that were created for the 2023-24, 2024-25, and 2025-26 school years. Draft calendars were developed using the following criteria as a framework:

  • Federal, state, and Virginia Department of Education guidance.
  • Superintendent’s priorities.
  • School Board input.
  • Student absentee data.
  • Staff absentee data.
  • Surrounding jurisdictions’ calendars.
  • Survey results.
  • Calendar Feedback Committee input.

You may view the draft calendars and other related documents in Boarddocs. The calendars will be presented as new business during the School Board meeting on Thursday, January 26. The Board is scheduled to vote on the calendars during their meeting on Thursday, February 9. 

Watch a recording of the Work Session. Get information on FCPS' calendar development process

Engineering with Empathy

Eighth-grader Rishab made a brace to help people with spinal cord injuries inspired by his father’s back pain woes. His classmate Aasritha made a specialized bottle cap opener after watching her grandmother struggle to open things on her own. And Roman (pictured above) made a “third thumb” that he hopes will help people with arthritis hold objects longer after noticing his grandfather’s difficulty hanging onto coffee mugs.

The prototypes are all part of an “Engineering With Empathy” unit created by Rachel Carson Middle School instructor Mark Bolt for students in his Engineering 3 elective course. Learn more about the course

COVID-19 Compensatory Education Plan Meeting for Families of Students with Disabilities

Fairfax County Public Schools is committed to implementing a plan for COVID-19 compensatory education as part of its obligation to provide a free appropriate public education (FAPE) to students with disabilities. If you did not get a chance to participate in one of our earlier informational meetings for parents/guardians and other stakeholders, please join us on Wednesday, January 25, from 7-9 p.m. Access this Zoom link to participate.

Language interpretation will be available in Amharic, Bengali, Chinese-Mandarin, Korean, Spanish, Tamil/Telegu, Turkish, and Twi. Learn more about the COVID-19 Compensatory Education Plan.

Strategic Plan: Make Your Student’s Voice Count! 

FCPS’ strategic planning process will incorporate feedback from school staff, families, students, and community partners and organizations. FCPS is currently seeking secondary students in grades 7-12 who are interested in participating in a Strategic Plan focus group. Please encourage your student(s) to participate in this unique opportunity to share their voices.

This focus group provides an opportunity to share feedback in a small group with other FCPS students and a trained facilitator. FCPS is hosting four virtual focus groups for secondary students in February and March:

  • February 9, 3:30-5 p.m. or 5:30-7 p.m.
  • March 16, 3:30-5 p.m. or 5:30-7 p.m.

Interested students should check their email for a form to sign up for a focus group. Students will be asked to provide their student ID, so their parents/caregivers can be identified and contacted to ask for consent to participate.

If you have any questions about the student focus groups or would like to learn more about this opportunity, please contact [email protected].  

Register Now to Attend a Strategic Planning Community Forum! 

Check out the schedule of Community Forums and register for one that is most convenient for you. Community Forums will provide every resident an opportunity to participate in and influence the direction of FCPS’ Strategic Plan, prior to its completion and formal adoption by the School Board. Learn more about our strategic planning process.

Academic Matters: Virginia Growth Assessments

During the Academic Matters section of the School Board meeting last week, Dr. Reid shared updates on the Virginia Growth Assessments (VGA). In 2021, legislation was passed in Virginia requiring schools to perform content standards testing in the fall and winter. Dr. Reid reflected that there are opportunities for improvement in the timeliness of the information being shared with schools between the two assessment windows. 

Families will receive fall and winter math and reading results together in the next eight weeks. FCPS’ fall results indicate that the school division is outperforming other Virginia districts in every area, in every grade level. 

2023-24 College Financial Aid Forms Are Available; College Access Fairfax Is Here to Help

It’s time for high school seniors and their families to complete college financial aid forms. Most colleges require that the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) be completed by Wednesday, March 1, to receive the maximum financial aid possible in fall 2023. Some schools have even earlier priority deadlines, so check the individual college’s financial aid office website for deadlines and specific forms to complete. To begin the FAFSA, you will need to create a FSA ID

A funding opportunity is available for students who are unable to complete the FAFSA—the Virginia Alternative State Aid (VASA) program. Visit the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia website for help in determining which aid option is right for you.

Visit College Access Fairfax’s website for recordings, virtual workshops, and resources. College Access Fairfax’s Financial Aid Champions also provide help completing the financial aid forms. To request a one-on-one appointment, please email [email protected].

Families can also contact their high school's college and career specialist or school counselor if they need additional help.  

Is Your Child Interested in Health and Human Services Careers?  

FCPS high school academies will hold open houses for interested students beginning this month. Falls Church Academy, featured in this video, will have a virtual open house on Thursday, January 26. Learn more and find the calendar of all Academy Open Houses

View the YouTube playlist of academy videos

Instructional Job Fair on February 11

Interested in becoming a teacher? Fairfax County Public Schools wants you to be a part of our team! We are searching for educators with a strong academic background and a passion to make a difference. 

To meet hiring needs in instructional areas, we are hosting a job fair on Saturday, February 11.  Networking and interviewing opportunities with representatives from various Fairfax County public schools will be available. The in-person fair will be held at Oakton High School from 9 a.m.-2 p.m. A virtual option will be held from 11 a.m.-2 p.m.

Get more information on the job fair. Or, visit our Become a Teacher webpage to learn more about how to become a teacher and read teachers’ stories. 

Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology Team Wins NASA’s TechRise Challenge

Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology was among the 60 winning teams chosen by NASA for the second TechRise Student Challenge. The Challenge is a nationwide contest designed to engage students in technology, science, and space exploration. These teams will work together to build science and technology experiments in preparation for a suborbital flight test. Read more about the contest

Does Your Child Refuse to Go to School? 

Each year, nearly 5% of youth experience school refusal. This refers to a child refusing to go to school on a regular basis or remain in school throughout the day due to significant emotional distress. School refusal includes kindergarten students with relatively mild separation anxiety and more severe cases where a student misses weeks or months of school because of debilitating anxiety or depression.

See how to get your child back to school in the Healthy Minds Blog or learn more about attendance policies.

Calendar Reminder: Quarter End

As a reminder, Wednesday, January 25, is the last day of the quarter and a two-hour early release day for students. Also, schools will be closed for students on Thursday, January 26, for a staff development day and Friday, January 27, for a teacher workday. See the complete 2022-23 School Year Calendar.