Minority Student Achievement Oversight Committee (MSAOC)

Citizen Advisory Committee

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School Board Liaison

Marcia St. John-Cunning

Staff Liaison

Kim Amenabar, Equity & Closing Opportunity Gaps Manager, Chief Academic Office

Committee Purpose

This committee advocates for students who are underserved by identifying, reviewing, and assessing issues affecting minority student academic achievement within the policies, curriculum, practices, and procedures of FCPS. The committee’s responsibilities also include:

  • Making appropriate recommendations to the School Board.
  • Reviewing strategies and proposing solutions for factors that contribute to gaps in access and opportunity.
  • Evaluating progress toward goals set by the School Board for closing the achievement gap.
  • Ensuring outreach to parents and guardians about resources available through FCPS.

Parent Advocacy Handbook

The Parent Advocacy Handbook is available online.

Dr. Bussey Memorial Equity Award

Dr. Lawrence Bussey was a founding member of the FCPS Minority Student Achievement Oversight Committee (MSAOC). This award honors the legacy of Dr. Bussey by celebrating the efforts and impact of those who work to redress inequitable systems and practices in Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS).

2023 - 24 Committee Charge

The MSAOC will champion Equity in FCPS by monitoring the implementation of the Strategic Plan. We will study the foundational practices laid out in the Four Pillars to assess efforts to date and make recommendations which will support underserved students in achieving plan goals.

General Meetings

Regular meetings of the Committee are open to the public. Public comment during a meeting is limited to the first fifteen minutes of the meeting. Each speaker presenting public comments shall be allowed three minutes. Persons wishing to present public comments during a Committee meeting must provide advance notice by contacting Kim Amenabar, the FCPS staff liaison.

Meetings are held from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Gatehouse Administration Center in room 5055, on the following dates

September 13, 2023

Minutes

English (English)
TopicNotes
WelcomeC. Farrish, Co-Chair, called the meeting to order and welcomed the group to the first meeting of the 23-24 Academic year. The committee reviewed the member guidelines.
IntroductionsEach member of the committee introduced themself by sharing their name, the organization they are representing on the committee, and the reason they chose to be on MSAOC this year.
FCPS OverviewK. Amenabar shared an overview of the new organizational structure of FCPS leadership. This information was taken from the FCPS Office of the Superintendent web page.
Annual CalendarThe dates and times for the meetings were shared. Several meetings had to be moved to dates other than the 2nd Wednesday because of holidays or FCPS events. It was noted that according to School Board governance, 2 of our meetings can be virtual. A motion was made to accept the calendar as proposed. The motion passed unanimously.
OfficersLast year’s Co-Chair in Waiting resigned from the committee so there is a need for both a Co-Chair and a Co-Chair in Waiting. The commitment is one year as Co-Chair in Waiting and 2 years as Co-Chair. According to current bylaws, the Co-Chair this year needs to be someone who is not an FCPS employee that has been on MSAOC for at least 1 year. The Co-Chair in Waiting can be any committee member. Executive Committee responsibilities include weekly virtual meetings to plan for committee business, monthly virtual meetings with the CAO and CEO, and presenting the annual report at a School Board work session. Additional responsibilities may be needed, such as serving on interview panels, providing feedback on initiatives, or sending correspondence on behalf of the committee. Interested members should email Kim Amenabar.
AAP RepresentativeE. Osborne asked for a volunteer to be the MSAOC representative to the AAP Advisory Committee. This is another citizen advisory committee that specifically meets to discuss Advanced Academics in FCPS. They meet monthly on Tuesday’s from 7:00 – 8:30. Interested members should email Kim Amenabar.
October Meeting IdeasMarcy Kneale, Assistant Superintendent for Strategy, Planning, & Learning will be attending the next meeting on October 4th. She and her team will be presenting about how their office will be guiding the division on implementing the Strategic Plan. A link to the plan will be sent out so members can read it and be familiar in advance of the meeting. Please submit topics you would like Ms. Kneale to address no later than Friday Sept. 22nd.

Meeting Adjourned Time: 8:31 p.m.

October 4, 2023

Minutes

English (English)
TopicNotes
WelcomeC. Farrish opened the meeting. New members who were not present last month introduced themselves. The minutes from the last meeting were voted on and approved as submitted.
Strategic Plan

Dustin Wright, Executive Director of the Strategy, Planning & Learning Office presented to the committee on the implementation of practices outlined in the Four Pillars of the Strategic Plan. The presentation began with an overview of the Strategic Plan development and organizing structure. The new Chief of Staff comprises the Office of Strategy Planning & Learning, the Office of Professional Learning (OPL) and the Office of Research and Strategic Improvement (ORSI). The mission is to improve student outcomes, organizational effectiveness, and organizational agility by implementing continuous improvement systems. The office is charged with Strategic Plan implementation and alignment of division work. The Strategic Plan is the foundation. Then there are SIIP Teams in schools and interdepartmental Goal Teams. Departments will submit plans on how they will work in each of the areas of the four pillars. The Four Pillars identify what the division must do well to reach the goals for all students.

  • Pillar A – Differentiated & Culturally Responsive Learning Environments is focused on Teaching & Learning.
  • Pillar B – Vibrant Home, School, & Community Partnerships acknowledges that Family & Community Partnerships are vital because schools can’t do it alone.
  • Pillar C – Diverse, Adaptive, & Supported Workforce is focused on Hiring & Retention to ensure staff have what they need to achieve division goals.
  • Pillar D – Culture of Equity, Excellence, & Accountability brings it all together through data guided decision making.

There are levels of implementation at the school level, department level, and division level. Some things are more urgent right now and some are lasting changes for the division and may take longer to implement, refine, and bring to scale.

The November 12th School Board work session will be the first reporting which will be on Goal 3.

After the overview, Mr. Wright took questions from individual committee members. Topics included:

  • Interest in the Goal teams
  • Enacting the Equity Commitments
  • Student impact and participation
  • Professional Development on Equity
Subcommittee IdeasThere was discussion on the annual report and the extent to which the staff can respond to so many recommendations for things that may not be in their hands to decide. The suggestion was made to limit committee recommendations to no more than 1 per subcommittee.
Officers

C. Farrish called for nominations for Co-Chair. G. Becerra was nominated and seconded. He accepted the nomination. The vote was unanimous in favor.

C. Farrish called for nominations for Co-Chair-In-Waiting. Q. Craig had self-nominated and was seconded. She was voted in unanimously.

New BusinessL. Henry asked for volunteers for the College Fair and Postsecondary nights on October 15th, 16th, & 17th. Information will be shared via email.

Meeting Adjourned Time: 8:30 p.m.

November 8, 2023

Minutes

English (English)
TopicNotes
Welcome

George Becerra opened the meeting. The minutes from the last meeting were voted on and approved as submitted. Cheronda Farrish shared some norms which would make the meeting go more smoothly which are:

  • Turn nametag to be recognized to speak.
  • Give all space to speak - one question/comment per turn. (Follow-ups will be recognized after all first questions/comments have spoken.)
  • Wait to bring up off-topic questions/comments for New Business.
Staff Response to MSAOC Annual Report Recommendations

The written staff response was shared with MSAOC members in advance. Dr. Sloan Presidio lead the presentation of the Staff Response. He commended the work and outstanding report which the MSAOC has done historically and again this year. He shared that there are some recommendations that the staff have already been able to address and others that they have not yet been able to address. He shared that just because something has not been done yet does not mean that it will not be addressed later, and he praised the continued advocacy efforts of the committee. Dr. Presidio shared information about the Teaching & Learning & School Environment sections of the annual report. Ms. Lisa Hall, Chief Experience & Engagement Officer, Christy Scott, Director of Community Relations, & Angela Aldave shared information about the work their office will be doing to partner with families, in response to the recommendations in the Family Partnership section of the MSAOC report. Krista Simkins, Talent Acquisition Management Director spoke to the HR work with respect to the personnel recommendations in the School Operations section.

Following the presentation, staff members responded to questions from the committee. There was much discussion regarding the annual report including who provides the response, when the report is made to the board, and how the recommendations may be used by the budget committee.

Subcommittees

Kim Amenabar shared the structure of how the subcommittees will address the charge this year. The work groups will be:

  • Pillar A – Differentiated & Culturally Responsive Learning Environments
  • Pillar B – Vibrant Home, School, and Community Family & Community Partnerships
  • Pillar C – Diverse, Adaptive, & Supported Workforce

Members will receive a form asking for committee preferences. Future MSAOC meetings will include time for subcommittees to work on their area to draft the annual report.

Parent Handbook RevisionThe MSAOC Executive committee met with Sloan Presidio, Lisa Hall, and some members of her team to begin conversations about revisions to the handbook. The Chief Experience and Engagement Office (CXO) expressed interest and support for the project.
Student Rights & Responsibilities Listening SessionThe MSAOC has been invited to a feedback session on the SR&R on Friday from 12:00 – 1:00pm. The session is virtual. Committee members received a link to register in emails on 10/25 and 11/03.
New Business

Congratulations to Dr. Lynette Henry on her new appointment as Executive Director of Educate Fairfax.

Congratulations to Karen Keys-Gamarra on winning the election for VA House of Delegates.

We will be reaching out to the newly elected School Board members to have a meet and greet and invite them to understand the work of the committee.

Meeting Adjourned Time: 8:30 p.m.

December 13, 2023

Minutes

English (English)
TopicNotes
WelcomeGeorge Becerra opened the meeting and introduced the Chief Experience and Engagement Officer, Lisa Hall
Chief Experience Office Presentation

Lisa Hall introduced her team and each presented information about their office’s accomplishments and focus.

Family & School Partnerships – Renee LaHuffman-Jackson, Director, shared the ways her office supports schools in partnering with families in ways that are based on mutual trust, culturally responsive and linked to learning.

Student Registration & Language Services – Ms. Hall shared for Coordinator Dave Anderson, who was not able to attend, about the registration process and the improvements which have been made, including on-line registration. The translation and interpretation office has increased their response time as well. They hope to focus on continuing to expedite and improve the registration process.

Ombuds – Dawn Clements presented the work of the Ombuds office which was established in 2018. There are now 3 staff in the office. The Ombuds provides informal assistance to answer questions, resolve concerns and voice complaints regarding FCPS matters. They offer assistance with brainstorming and navigating the school system for families, students, staff and community members. Their focus is on increasing student-centered outreach to serve more students.

Educate Fairfax – Lynette Henry, Director, shared that the fundraising office of the CXO is aligning its priorities to the priorities in the Strategic Plan. All funds go directly to support schools or programs. There is a Board of Directors made up of community members, the Superintendent, or her designee, FCPS leadership representative and an assigned School Board Liaison. The foundation brings in funds to support students in need with supplies such as technology, clothing, and hygiene items. They also fund curriculum, materials, teacher grants, and employee recognition. In addition, they recognize Alumni and bring them back to share their accomplishments. The foundation is focused on student, staff, and community engagement to provide the resources to support the pillars of the Strategic Plan.

Communications – Beth Visioli, Executive Director, spoke about the role of the communications office which includes strategic planning for large initiatives, crisis and incident responses, media outreach, The communication office strives to tell the stories of our division and respond to inquiries. They oversee the FCPS website and social media accounts and support schools with their individual accounts as well. They also produce the FCPS This Week newsletter, the Employee Newsletter, and provide informational toolkits to the school board and principals. Communications has a graphic design team for brand management, video production staff, and photographers. They also manage FOIA and FERPA requests. A focus for 2024 is to compete a redesign of the FCPS website.

Community Relations – Christy Scott, Director, shared the mission of the community relations team which is to build relationships and trust with our community. They provide Communications and Communications strategy, Community engagement and events, intercultural engagement, as well as business and community partnerships. They provide outreach to hear the voices of our communities and engage with multicultural families through focus groups and listening sessions. Their focus is to increase meaningful engagement at events as well as feedback opportunities.

Subcommittee Assignments and Work Time

Kim Amenabar shared information about the 3 subcommittees: Learning, Partnerships, & Workforce. Members who submitted their selection form all got their first choice. Others were placed where needed. The group broke into subcommittees to begin initial work. The outcomes for the worktime were:

  1. Select a subcommittee chairperson to:
    1. Keep the group focused and on track.
    2. Organize drafting the Annual Report.
    3. Communicate any needs for data or information to the Staff Liaison.
    4. Convene extra meetings if needed.
  2. Discuss possible areas of consideration to begin to narrow down the focus of inquiry for the annual report.

Subcommittee assignments will be emailed to all members.

Old BusinessThe minutes from the November meeting were voted on and approved as submitted.
New Business
  • November Meeting Notes (Vote)
  • Questions for January presenters from the Office of the Chief of Staff:
    • Sherry Wilson, Asst. Superintendent, Human Resources
    • Jay Nocco, Executive Director, Professional Learning
      • There are requirements around compliance – outside of that what are the areas we are focusing on. Is one of them cultural proficiency?
      • What does every teacher need to have in place and how do we make sure they have it with the turnover?

New Business

  • Successful Children and Youth Policy Team – George Becerra attended the meeting to see how the work aligns to the Strategic Plan. Met with Fairfax County Government group and they highlighted the racial differences. There was a discussion on race and identity and how professional learning is needed.
  • Strategic Plan Goal 3 Presentation to SB 12/4/23 (PDF)

Meeting Adjourned Time: 8 p.m.

January 10, 2024

Minutes

English (English)
TopicNotes
WelcomeCheronda Farrish opened the meeting and introduced the newly appointed member from the Hunter Mill District, Renee Brown Small.
Chief of Staff Office Presentation

Two of the departments within the Office of the Chief of Staff presented to the committee on their work to support the foundational practices which contribute to Strategic Plan Pillar C – Diverse, Adaptive, & Supported Workforce.

Professional Learning

Jay Nocco, Executive Director, Professional Learning

Mr. Nocco clarified the distinction between Professional Development (PD) and Training. PD is generally future focused learning of longer duration which is designed to promote employee growth and overall competency in adaptive skills while Training is usually of shorter duration, job specific, and is focused on providing the technical or concrete skills needed in the present.  He shared that FCPS offers professional learning in a variety of from required to optional, on-line and in person as well as synchronous and self-directed. The key factors when thinking about professional learning are Knowledge, Skill, Attitude, and Beliefs.  These are where the design of the learning needs to be focused on where you want to create the most impacts.

Providing professional learning does not guarantee that what has been shared will be implemented.  Once the Professional learning is provided there may be a knowing doing gap which then has to be addressed through evaluation, compliance, and coaching.

In FCPS Professional Learning may be delivered through the Office of Professional Learning (OPL) however much of the PD provided is department specific.  OPL centrally coordinates staff professional development support from hiring to retirement. This includes Great Beginnings (new teachers), tuition reimbursement for staff, Title IIA federal grant funding for professional learning, Instructional Leadership, Teacher Leadership, Instructional Coaching, National Board Teacher certification and systemwide PD. Operational Leadership is something that the office has realized needs to be improved and has begun a new leadership program for operational staff. Affinity Groups have been started in the last 2 years to provide staff from various groups a space to get a sense of belonging and connection.  There is a learning management system called MyPDE which schedules and tracks in-house PD and training.

In response to a question about time for PD, Mr. Nocco explained that early release Mondays started in the 1970’s and at that time an additional 30 minutes of instruction was added to Tuesdays – Fridays to compensate for the 2 hours of early release on Mondays.  When early release ended in 2015, students got 2 additional hours of instructional time, however teachers never regained that time for professional learning.  Additionally, because the calendar was created to emphasize 5-day weeks for students, there are fewer PD days, and they are concentrated at the beginning and end of the school year.  Because of this some of our practices have changed.  There is more asynchronous learning, and more PD in schools from instructional coaches and leaders during collaborative team time.  The cost is a great cognitive load on teachers.  Research shows the importance of learning, modeling, coaching, and practice for teachers to improve their performance.  Advocacy is needed for our staff to have the necessary professional learning and planning time so teachers can do their job well.

We have really streamlined the required PD that is assigned. Required PD is due to a federal, state, or division regulation or a leadership decision. Managers, evaluators, and principals are the ones who are responsible for monitoring if their staff complete required professional learning.

Human Resources

Sherry Agnew-Scott, Assistant Superintendent, Human Resources 
Krista Simkins, Director, Office of Talent Acquisition (OTA)  
Felicia Hamilton, Employment Specialist, Office of Talent Acquisition (OTA)

Since COVID things have changed in how the public views working in education. HR works with principals and staff to help them understand the importance of treating staff well and making FCPS a great place to work. The HR team described recruitment initiatives and events that they attend including those for students in teaching programs and career switchers. Diverse initiatives sometimes need outreach to different parts of the country.  HR is also developing pipeline programs such as options for IAs to become special education teachers, Teach for Tomorrow (contracts for FCPS students going into the profession).  The OTA team is working to staff 200 schools.  A centralized hiring team will be placing early contract hires but other candidates are given a choice of schools. FCPS has been approved for the iTeach program through the VDOE which allows candidates to get everything needed for licensure quickly and at a low cost.

Progress has been made since last year in having schools with more teachers who are Asian, Black, and Hispanic teachers.  More work is needed in diversity hiring but there is improvement. Participate Learning is a program we have to bring teachers from other countries for 3-5 years.  We are looking to expand the program to 100 teachers next year.

Dr. Agnew Scott shared the structure of the HR office:

Employee Relations OER - ensures the equitable administration of applicable federal, state, and FCPS regulations and laws impacting the FCPS community.

Employee Services & Operations ESO – leads employee communication and customer service efforts to include fielding HR-related inquiries, conducting new employee onboarding, maintaining salary plans and personnel records, and administering staff recognition, retention, awards programs, and engagement surveys. We also develop and manage the department’s fiscal and technology resources.

Labor Relations OLR – ensures compliance with collective bargaining and administer the grievance process. Provides training related to collective bargaining.

Office of Executive Director – partners with community businesses to provide support to management to define and implement people initiatives that benefit the division. Business mindset specialists consult with HR.

Old BusinessThe minutes from the December meeting were voted on and approved as submitted.
New BusinessHigh School Pathways Work Group - FCPS is creating a work group to discuss potential changes to high school course pathways. The purpose of this work group will be to gather feedback on these changes and then make recommendations to FCPS leadership. They would like one FCPS parent/guardian (preferably a HS parent) from MSAOC. The group will meet twice in person over the course of the year. Contact Kim Amenabar for more information.

Meeting Adjourned Time: 8:30 p.m.

February 7, 2024

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March 13, 2024

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April 17, 2024

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2022 - 23 School Year Meetings

DateDocuments
September 14, 2022September Minutes
October 12, 2022October Minutes
November 9, 2022November Minutes
December 7, 2022December Minutes
January 11, 2023January Minutes
February 8, 2023February Minutes
March 8, 2023March Minutes
April 12, 2023April Minutes
May 10, 2023May Minutes

2023 - 24 Membership

School Board Member Representatives

Caitlin Kim, At-Large (Moon)
James Bensinger, At-Large (McDaniel)
Laverne Henson, At-Large (McElveen)
Victoria Long, Braddock District
Heather Murphy Capps, Dranesville District
Renee Brown Small, Hunter Mill District
Kenny White, Franconia District
Edward Osborne, Mason District
Shellie McKinney, Mount Vernon District
Savita Raeisian, Providence District
Robert Shaw, Springfield District
Aïcha Janan, Sully District
Wesley Kang, Student Representative
Zaid Limparis, Student Representative

Organization and Community Representatives

Margot Dickey, Advanced Academic Programs (AAP) Advisory Committee
Ducchi Quan, Asian Educators Association
George Becerra, Community Representative
Guru Nagaraja, Dream Foundation
Nelly Samaniego, United Hands of America
Kimberly Kardelis, Fairfax Alliance for Black School Educators (FASBE)
Elizabeth Rodriguez, Fairfax City School Board
TBD, Fairfax County Council of Parent and Teacher Associations (FCCPTA)
Mennetta Smith, Family and Early Childhood Programs (FECEP)/Head Start Parent Representative
Micheline Lavalle, Hispanic Educators Association
TBD, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP)

FCPS Staff Representatives

Lynette Henry, At-Large
Emmanuel Bonhomme, Chief Academic Office
Qia Craig, Chief Equity Office
Angela Aldave, Chief Experience & Engagement Office
Laura Mondragón, Fairfax Association of Elementary School Principals (FAESP)
Tiffany Narcisse, High School Principals Association (HSPA)
Monika Vereb, Middle School Principals Association (MSPA)
Cheronda Farrish, Region 1
Christie Kargbo, Region 2
Ariel Sparrow-Kamara, Region 3
Jason Potten, Region 4
Dana Walker, Region 5
LaDonna Tate, Region 6

Annual Reports