Return to School News - October 26, 2020

By Communications and Community Relations
October 26, 2020

Video: Superintendent Brabrand's Return to School Plan

On October 23, Superintendent Brabrand shared his Return to School plan with the community and also discussed concurrent learning for in-person students, a model in which students receive two days of teacher-led instruction in the school building and two days of teacher-led instruction at home. Watch the video.

On that same day, he sent a letter to the community that also discussed the Return to School plan.  

Parents will be contacted by their child's school to reconfirm their decision, originally made this past summer, on whether they choose for their child to remain in 100 percent virtual instruction or choose the concurrent model of two days in person and two days online.

Mark Your Calendars: Two-Hour Early Release on October 30; Student Holidays November 2, 3 

Friday, October 30, is the last day of the first quarter and will be a synchronous (virtual) learning day for all students with a two-hour early release. There will be no in-person classes on October 30. Monday, November 2, and Tuesday, November 3, are student holidays. Teachers will not be available for office hours and students are not expected to complete new asynchronous assignments. Regularly-scheduled classes will resume on Wednesday, November 4. See the complete 2020-21 school year calendar

Double Food Distribution on November 2

FCPS will be distributing double breakfast and lunch meals on November 2 to cover both November 2 and 3, which are student holidays. Get more information about food distribution.      

Photos of the Week

Take a look at teachers connecting virtually with their students, a kindergarten meet-up on the playground, and a teacher hosting a virtual field trip for her students in this week’s photos.

How Are Things Going? Complete Our Brief Check-In Survey

How are things going? Tell us between now and 8 p.m. on Wednesday, November 4; our brief family survey is now live and posted on the FCPS website. Families will receive a message via email and text on Monday, October 26, with a link to complete a short check-in survey about how learning is going so far this year.

Your voice is important to FCPS as we examine strengths and areas of improvement related to teaching and learning during this unusual year. You can respond to the survey once for each child in your family.

New FCPS COVID-19 Dashboard 

FCPS has launched a COVID-19 dashboard to share weekly COVID-19 cases that have been self-reported to us. Data is updated weekly on Friday by 1 p.m. Any cases occurring after that time are reported for the following week.

This data should be interpreted with caution as it only reflects cases that have been shared with FCPS through self-reporting and may not be aligned to future epidemiological investigations. This data is currently being shared from a division level, as opposed to school or work site, so that it does not jeopardize sharing personally identifiable, confidential health information involving FCPS students and staff. Case reports indicate the total number of COVID-19 cases self-reported to principals, administrators, and program managers. Reports were shared with the Fairfax County Health Department to initiate contact tracing.

Effective November 2, the FCPS COVID-19 dashboard will be disaggregated and will present case data by school and case type (student, staff, visitor) and data will be updated daily. 

Updated information is available on the FCPS website

Amy Goodloe Named FCPS 2020 Outstanding Principal; Pete Cookson Named 2020 Outstanding Elementary Teacher, Howard Brewer Named 2020 Outstanding Secondary Teacher

Pete Cookson, a STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, and math) teacher at Laurel Hill Elementary School, has been named Fairfax County Public Schools 2020 Outstanding Elementary Teacher, and Howard Brewer, Lead Teacher—English teacher at the Transition Support Resource Center (TSRC) at Bryant High School, an Interagency Alternative School, has been named FCPS 2020 Outstanding Secondary Teacher. Get more information on Cookson and Brewer

In addition, Amy Goodloe, who has served as principal at Rocky Run Middle School since 2016, has been named Fairfax County Public Schools 2020 Outstanding Principal. 

Healthy Minds Podcast: Online All the Time; Finding Balance in Our Virtual World

In this week's Healthy Minds podcast, join FCPS Instructional Technology Specialist Tammy Sisk, a 26-year FCPS veteran, for a conversation on how to create balance and well-being given our current virtual learning—and living—environment. 

Tammi shares practical strategies for students, families, and educators, who are looking for ways to find balance and increase their knowledge of digital citizenship. Listen online.

Upcoming Workshops for Parents

Introducing Virtual Sibshops

Sibshops, workshops for FCPS students in grades 2-6 who have siblings with special needs, will be held virtually this year. The first Sibshop workshop is scheduled for Monday, November 2, a teacher workday, at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.   

Sibshops allow students to meet other siblings in a relaxed, virtual setting; celebrate the contributions made by brothers and sisters of children with special needs; share sibling experiences and receive peer support; and play games and have fun. Online registration is open.

Launching Your Adolescent into Adulthood

A recent survey reported that nearly 45 percent of young adults between the ages of 18 and 34 now live with their parents—even though they are employed. Launching Your Adolescent into Adulthood, a webinar for families, will provide support and guidance to parents and their young adult offspring on Friday, October 30, from 10 to 11:30 a.m. Register online.

This session will provide:

  • Ten tips to help launch your young adult successfully into adulthood.
  • Strategies to teach your child “soft” employment, money management, and communication and self-advocacy skills.

The webinar will be presented by Amy Fortney Parks, LPC, ACS, owner of the Wise Family Counseling and Assessment Services in Alexandria and Arlington.

Dyslexia Awareness Month: A Webinar for Families

Join the FCPS Dyslexia Specialist, Carrie Leestma, for an update on FCPS resources for students with dyslexia on Wednesday, October 28, from 10 to 11 a.m. Register online.

NCS Connects: A Way to Keep Students Engaged 

Looking for a way to keep your children engaged during remote learning? A new program from Fairfax County Neighborhood and Community Services called NCS Connects is offering live activities remotely each weekday from 3 to 6 p.m. Offerings include crafts, sports, and art classes.

More information is available online.

October 19 Town Hall Discussed the Start of In-Person Learning

At the October 19 virtual Town Hall meeting, Superintendent Scott S. Brabrand spoke about the start of in-person learning for small groups of students having challenges with virtual learning. Assistant Superintendent of Instructional Services Sloan Presidio, Assistant Superintendent for Special Services Michelle Boyd, Special Services Director of Student Services and Strategic Planning Lea Skurpski, and Interim Assistant Superintendent for Human Resources Sean McDonald joined him for this Town Hall. Watch the video online.

Information for Prospective Substitute Teachers

In response to the state of Virginia’s mandated closures related to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Department of Human Resources, Office of Substitute Employment, is holding virtual orientation sessions until further notice.

Given the unique nature of the closures related to COVID-19, Fairfax County Public Schools have made the following adjustments:

  • To become a substitute teacher, a minimum of 30 college credits is required. An exception may be provided for applicants who do not have a minimum of 30 college credits but are enrolled in an approved teacher education preparatory program or participated in a teacher introduction course in high school.
  • FCPS will suspend, for this school year, its requirement that substitutes sub a minimum of ten days per school year in order to remain active.

The substitute hiring team will provide information around the benefits of substituting, application and procedural instructions, as well as information on technology resources. Information sessions are held weekly on Fridays, are informal, and are not required. You do not have to participate in an information session to sub this school year. Register online for an information session.

FCPS Cares Recipients of the Month for September

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

  • Central Office: Tony Klepic, Office of Information Technology.
  • Region 1: Tamara Durfee, South Lakes High School.
  • Region 2: Sarah Wegener, Justice High School.
  • Region 3: Rachael Smith, Fort Hunt Elementary School.
  • Region 4: Maria Eliana Lopez Reyna, Mountain View High School.
  • Region 5: Andrew Garcia, Chantilly High School.

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

Foundation for Fairfax County Public Schools' Project Cornucopia

The Foundation for FCPS is working to ensure that the neediest students in FCPS can enjoy a special meal for the holidays. Donations to Project Cornucopia will be used to purchase gift cards that can be redeemed for grocery items so that families can enjoy their favorite flavorful traditions–or create new ones. Donations can be made online