Return to School Countdown - August 10, 2020

By Communications and Community Relations Staff
August 10, 2020

Community Invited to Virtual Town Hall Aug. 12

Join FCPS Superintendent Scott S. Brabrand for an FCPS virtual community Town Hall on Wednesday, August 12, from 6 to 7 p.m. View the livestream on or Channel 99 (Verizon, 11). Ask questions before or during the forum by emailing or calling 1-800-231-6359 (during the forum). Questions will be answered about the virtual start of the 2020-21 school year.

Message About Tutoring Pods

Across the country, many parents are joining together to engage private tutors (who are often school teachers) to provide tutoring or home instruction for small groups of children. While there is no systematic way to track these private efforts, it’s clear that a number of “pandemic pods” or tutoring pods are being established in Fairfax County. We are aware of these tutoring pods, as well as some accompanying community concerns. These instructional efforts are not supported by or in any way controlled by FCPS—for several reasons. Read more.


PSAT-SAT-ACT Test Update

We are pleased to announce that FCPS will cover the cost of the SAT School Day for any twelfth grade student who wishes to test on Wednesday, September 23. In this unprecedented time, we are making access to this test a priority for our division, and we encourage all of our seniors to take advantage of this opportunity as part of their college and career preparation. Schools will share registration information for the September 23 test date in the coming weeks once details are finalized.

Additionally, we are excited to share that we are moving forward with plans to host the PSAT/NMSQT test for all juniors in October. FCPS will cover the cost for the PSAT/NMSQT for any interested eleventh grade student, and additional details about the specific test date and registration process will be shared by schools in September. We will also look ahead to the spring to offer our tenth grade students the opportunity to take the PSAT, and we will share additional information as we get closer to that time.

We are continuing to prepare for hosting the August 29 SAT testing at several FCPS high schools as well as additional weekend testing options for SAT and ACT throughout the 2020-21 school year. Registration for these weekend tests is available directly through ACT and College Board. Any additional changes for weekend testing sites for the ACT or SAT in FCPS throughout the 2020-21 school year will depend on health conditions along with health and safety guidelines. Changes will be communicated directly to registered students by ACT or by the College Board for the SAT.

Mental Health Town Hall August 13

To provide support for the virtual start to the school year, at-large School Board member Rachna Sizemore Heizer and School Board vice chair and Sully District representative Stella Pekarsky will host a mental health virtual Town Hall on Thursday, August 13, from 6 to 7 p.m. on Facebook Live. This town hall will be open to students and their families who want to discuss mental well-being and learn how to stay mentally strong during the next school year. Participants will learn about the mental health supports that FCPS provides, and will take part in an open conversation about the challenges of the upcoming school year with a focus on helping students cope with isolation, fear, the need to connect, concerns about academics, and social activities. Taking part will be School Board Student Representative Nathan Onibudo; FCPS mental wellness specialist Bethany Koszelak; and FCPS coordinator of psychology services Mike Axler. Students and family members can follow along on Facebook Live; participants will answer questions and post comments on Facebook.


County CPS Reports Large Dropoff in Calls

Child Protective Services (CPS) needs your help. According to Fairfax County, calls to the CPS hotline have dropped 62 percent, from 498 during the first week of March to only 192 the last week of June. The drop in calls to the hotline began as soon as children had limited contact with teachers, counselors, school social workers, child care providers, and others who normally keep an eye out for signs of abuse and neglect. Right now, community members can help to keep eyes on children who may be experiencing abuse or neglect.  If you have concerns about a child’s safety, call the CPS hotline at 703-324-7400, 24-hours, seven days a week, to make a report or discuss your concern. More information is available online. School social workers are assigned to each FCPS school and are available for consultation and resources.

Healthy Minds Blog: Get Creative!

Two new articles are posted on the FCPS Healthy Minds blog: learn more about Navigating Uncertainty and how to Get Creative; It’s Good for You as summer 2020 winds down. The uncertainty we encounter every day can create anxiety, but there are ways to mitigate those feelings by taking control of things you can control. Counter the boredom and monotony of being quarantined with creative pursuits and projects, and discover the positive effects of creativity.

Parents: Food Service Survey Coming This Week

Parents, be aware that a brief survey regarding the need for food service will be distributed this week. This survey will enable Food and Nutrition Services to plan food distribution services during the fall. Help us continue to serve students and families in need by filling out and returning the survey by the August 17 deadline.



Herndon HS Students See Original Recipe Replicated for Those in Need

A team of four Herndon High students has seen their original recipe for Carne Asada Tacos with Asian Slaw replicated for people in need this summer. The students took the third place prize in Real Food For Kids’ 2020 Culinary Challenge, and had the opportunity to help distribute their meals to those in need at Harvey Hall Apartments in Arlington earlier this summer.  Read more.

New Videos Feature Digital Citizenship, Tech Tips, and Flipgrid Fun

Poplar Tree Elementary students share tech tips and digital citizenship reminders for students when using Blackboard Collaborate Ultra for virtual learning. Watch the video with their suggestions.

Flipgrid Fun! Flipgrid is a fun way for students to connect by creating short, shareable videos on topics assigned by their teachers. The school-based technology specialist at Deer Park ES walks you through the basic process for creating and sharing a Flipgrid video.

The FCPS YouTube channel includes a Virtual Learning Tips and Tricks playlist, which will grow as the school year gets underway. See the playlist.

Virginia Autism Council Offers Free Lunch Webinar Series

The Virginia Autism Council (VAC) is offering a free webinar series on supports and services, transportation, trauma and resilience oriented care, communication with first responders, and a review of the 2021 VAC skills competencies. These free seminars are held from noon to 1:30 p.m. on the third Wednesday of each month.  The next seminar is scheduled for Wednesday, August 19, and will focus on navigating supports and services. 

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