Return to School News - February 22, 2021

By Communication and Community Relations
February 22, 2021

Safe, Steady, Ready: FCPS Welcomes Students Back to School Buildings

Last week, FCPS staff members were excited to welcome back more than 8,000 students to in-person learning. Our buildings and staff were ready, our mitigation measures were in place, and there were smiles on the faces of our students when they walked back into their classrooms! FCPS leaders visited students at Key Center and participated in a morning meeting.

Tomorrow, we will welcome back our next group of students, including our kindergartners, many of whom will celebrate their first day ever of in-person learning! Following our steady and measured approach, all FCPS students who have previously selected to do so are scheduled to return to school by March 16.

School Board Adopts Advertised Budget Focused on COVID Recovery

The Fairfax County School Board has unanimously adopted its FY 2022 (2021-22 school year) Advertised Budget that places student health, well-being, and learning at its core, while remaining fiscally responsible during this uncertain economic climate. 

The FY 22 Advertised Budget prioritizes and funds resources that support our students’ academic and social-emotional needs. The $3.2 billion budget also recognizes the sacrifices and commitment of Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) teachers and staff with a proposed 3 percent compensation rate for all employees.

Learn more about the FY 22 Advertised Budget

Updated FCPS Weather Conditions

FCPS inclement weather closing conditions have expanded and include additional options for the school division to consider as we bring more students back for in-person instruction. Please make a note of the new conditions:

  • All Schools and Central Offices Closed.
  • Virtual Learning for All Students, Division Operations are Open On Time, School and Central Office Building Work Spaces are Available to Employees.
  • Virtual Learning for All Students, Division Operations are Open On Time, School and Central Office Building Work Spaces are Not Available to Employees.
  • All Fairfax County public schools and offices will close two hours early.
  • All Fairfax County public schools and offices will open two hours late.

Learn more about the updated FCPS weather conditions.

FCPS Newsletter Poll

On March 17, this newsletter, Return to School News, will be changing its distribution day from Mondays to Wednesdays. In anticipation of the move, please help us better meet your needs by answering four short questions.

Take the FCPS Newsletter poll.

Video: Back to School at Bucknell Elementary

Superintendent Brabrand toured concurrent classrooms at Bucknell Elementary School on February 16, as part of his visit to welcome students returning to the school. 

Draft Calendars for 2021-22 School Year

Draft calendars for the 2021-22 school year were developed with a focus on instruction and learning time for students. The School Board will vote on the calendars at their regular meeting on Thursday, March 18. View the draft calendars.

School Board Votes to Rename Mosby Woods Elementary School as Mosaic Elementary School

The Fairfax County School Board has chosen Mosaic Elementary School as the new name for Mosby Woods Elementary School, a reflection of the school’s multicultural community that will represent inclusivity for students, families, and staff members. The new name will become effective at the start of the 2021-22 school year. 

Black History in FCPS: Providence Chapter of the NSDAR Posthumously Honors FCPS Teacher Minnie Beckwith Hughes

Recently, as part of Black History Month, the Providence Chapter of the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution (NSDAR) posthumously honored former FCPS teacher Minnie Beckwith Hughes with its Women in American History Award, which Superintendent Scott S. Brabrand accepted on her behalf.

Learn more about Minnie Beckwith Hughes

Return to School Photos of the Week

Take a look at these photos from last week's return to school for the first group of FCPS students in this week's photo gallery.

New Podcast: En Pocas Palabras FCPS

A new podcast, En Pocas Palabras FCPS, in Spanish and English, has been launched to provide timely and important information to busy FCPS families in their primary language. The goal of every podcast is to help families access key resources and understand how to best support their children’s education.

New episodes are available online

Fairfax County Special Education PTA Receives Outstanding Local PTA Advocacy Award

The Fairfax County Special Education PTA has been named the recipient of the National PTA’s 2021 Outstanding Local PTA Advocacy Award.  This is one of five national advocacy awards given to PTAs around the country by National PTA.

The Fairfax County Special Education PTA was recognized for demonstrating “true dedication and leadership through their determined advocacy on the issue of restraint and seclusion in schools,” according to the National PTA. The group will be recognized at the 2021 National PTA Virtual Legislative Conference on Wednesday, March 10.

Fairfax County Student Representative to the School Board Fulfills Campaign Promise

Business leaders in our region recently were asked by Nathan Onibudo, student representative to the Fairfax County School Board, to donate books to students in Fairfax County Public Schools or to purchase the books for themselves. The books, personally and carefully chosen by Onibudo, share messages of inclusion and equity that would interest elementary, middle, and high school students as well as adults.

Onibudo fulfilled a campaign promise by creating on online bookstore to help make the donations happen.

The Launch of NASA Mars Rover Perseverance

Last week, the NASA Mars Rover Perseverance made a successful landing on the red planet. Lake Braddock Secondary School student Alex Mather was last year's winner of the contest to name the new Mars Rover. His submission was the winner out of 28,000 entries. NBC Washington had a chance to speak with Alex as the Rover was making its way to Mars. 

Important Special Education Parent Survey Coming Soon

On March 1, parents of FCPS students with disabilities will receive an invitation via email from the FCPS Office of Auditor General to complete an independent, third-party survey on FCPS’s special education services provided through the Individualized Education Program (IEP) or 504 plan. All responses are confidential and will be used to generate recommendations for the Fairfax County School Board. 

Your voice counts, so please share your thoughts once you receive the survey.

Video: Smiling Faces at Kilmer Center

On February 16, students from the Kilmer Center were welcomed back by staff who were excited to see the smiling faces and joy in being back together again.

Elementary Magnet Schools Applications Accepted March 2-April 6

Fairfax County Public Schools will be accepting applications for its elementary magnet school programs beginning Tuesday, March 2. Bailey’s Elementary School for the Arts and Sciences will accept lottery applications for students who will be in grades K-2 during the 2021-22 school year; Bailey’s Upper School for the Arts and Sciences will accept applications for students in grades 3 and 4. Hunters Woods Elementary School for the Arts and Sciences will accept lottery applications for students who will enter grades K-6 during the 2021-22 school year.

Selection for available magnet school spaces is based on a lottery. Registration for the elementary magnet school lottery closes on Tuesday, April 6, at 4 p.m.    

Get more information about the magnet school lottery.

January FCPS CARES of the Month Winners

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

  • Central Office: Gregory Robinson, Sideburn Satellite Center, Department of Facilities and Transportation.
  • Region 1: Leah Conte, South Lakes High School.
  • Region 2: Barbara Oswalt, Sleepy Hollow Elementary School.
  • Region 3: Monica Pelzer, Stratford Landing Elementary School.
  • Region 4: Carmen Correa Ibarra, Ravensworth Elementary School.
  • Region 5: Erin Denton, Daniels Run Elementary.

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

Video: Back to Building for CTE Students

Earlier this week, students in the Career and Technical Education (CTE) construction program returned to their job site at Spring Village Estates to get back to hands-on work.

FCPS Return to School in the News