Celebrating the Best of 2023 in FCPS

By Office of Communications
December 20, 2023


students throw colorful scarves.
Kindergarten students at Glen Forest Elementary School play with colorful scarves as part of a music lesson. 

Student Mentors Share Their Love of Music

On Tuesdays after school, middle and high school students volunteer their time and share their passion for classical music and art while mentoring elementary students at Dogwood Elementary School. The sisters who created the club demonstrate Portrait of a Graduate skills as they recruit friends to serve as fellow mentees and offer creative learning opportunities for younger students at another school. Read more about ITZArt4you or watch the video above. 


a mother and son embrace
A student at Mountain View High School embraces his mother on graduation day. 

The Stomping Eagles Step Team

The Stomping Eagles of Edison High School take extreme pride in their step routines and in being the best representation of the students of Fairfax County Public Schools. Through their words and actions, the dance team is honoring the individual members’ identities and experiences; part of Goal 2 of the 2023-30 Strategic Plan

Watch the video above


Middle School Students Use Vertical Farming System to Feed Families

a girl holds lettuceTucked behind Luther Jackson Middle School is a small ordinary-looking shed, but step inside and you’ll see a futuristic farming operation run by engineering students. Plastic towers are bursting with green spinach and lettuce leaves that will soon be donated to the school’s food pantry. Next to the tower sits a large circular water tank that will house about fifty tilapia fish. The complex ecosystem, known as hydroponics, will allow the fish waste to nourish the plants as the plants filter the fish’s water. The project is a living example of Goal 4 of the 2023-30 Strategic Plan, having access to high-quality academic programming and resources to support student success. 

Read more about the vertical farming system at Luther Jackson

This story was also covered by Fox5, Yahoo News, WJLA, WUSA9, The Washington Post, and NBC4. 


a teacher gives a student seeds
A teacher at Riverside Elementary School gives a preschool student seeds in an outdoor learning lab. 

NASA Astronaut Lindgren Leads Students to Launch Dreams

NASA astronaut Kjell Lindgren returned to Robinson Secondary School to speak to students on March 31. Lindgren, a Robinson graduate, talked about his career at NASA and the advice he would give students aspiring to reach their dreams. Lindgren’s comments support Goal 5 of the 2023-30 Strategic Plan: helping students innovate and prepare for the future. 

Read more about Lindgren’s presentation


FCPS Teachers Nominated for GRAMMYs

A female conductor stands before a band playing stringsAlberto Rodriguez, orchestra director at Mount Vernon High School, and Ær Queen, music teacher at Braddock Elementary School, have been selected as quarterfinalists for the 2024 GRAMMY Music Education Award. They are among 212 teachers from across the country being recognized for having made a significant and lasting contribution to the field of music education. 

Additionally, Annie Ray (at right), strings teacher from Annandale High School, is a Legacy Applicant and will also be eligible to win the Music Educator of the Year Award.

Read more about the teachers who were nominated for GRAMMYs.


Graduates dressed in gowns walk down the hall of an elementary school
Oakton High School students participate in a grad walk at Oakton Elementary School. 

Graduation and the Last Day of School

Take a look at the last day of school in this Instagram reel, and watch the Madison High School grad walk at Flint Hill Elementary School


A student works to build a model
A student creates a model in Tech Adventure Camp. 

🥁 “And the Emmy Goes to…” - FCPS Bands Together to Win Award for Student’s Story

In a moment that embodied Fairfax County Public Schools’ spirit of team collaboration, FCPS Video Producer Mark F. Jones proudly walked up to the stage at the recent Capital Area Emmy Awards Gala to receive his first Emmy. Winning in the category “Video Essayist,” the entry, “To the Beat of His Own Drum,” champions student Michael Gouin’s experience, as a drummer who is deaf, in the Cavaliers marching band at Woodson High School. 

Read more about the Emmy or watch the winning video above. 


Happy students cheer in a parking lot
Students at Robinson Secondary School celebrate the first day of school at Senior Sunrise. 

First Day of School

Relive the first day of the 2023-24 school year through these photos and this Instagram reel


Teacher Honored by Fred Rogers Institute with Helper Award

It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood at Katherine Johnson Middle School. Science Teacher Eric Haapapuro, known as Mr. H by his students, was honored this week by the Fred Rogers Institute with a Helper Award. Inspired by the legacy of Fred Rogers, a children’s television host and icon of the 20th century, the Helper Award recognizes individuals who care for children in their daily and professional lives. 

Read more about Mr. H. and what inspired him to become a teacher and watch the video above


a teacher and students pull students on a quilt
A teacher and students pull  another group of students on a blanket during Mount Vernon Elementary School's Panther Pride Day. 

Unlocking Hope - The Incredible Journey of a Young Boy Who Uses His Eyes to Speak

Seeing the world through a new gaze! Quinton, a nonverbal student at Marshall Road Elementary School, is using assistive technology to empower himself to communicate and engage with the general education curriculum, which he might not have access to without assistive technology. Vibrant home, school, and community partnerships is one of the pillars of the 2023-30 Strategic Plan. Learn more about Quinton in the video above. 


Students at Orange Hunt Elementary School participate in a mini boot camp on Veterans Day. 

Super Slugger: McLean High School Student Wins Women’s Softball World Cup

It’s a chilly morning on the softball field at McLean High School. The stands are empty — softball season for the Lady Highlanders is still months away — but one team member has already accomplished so much. Sitting in the dugout, looking over the field and beaming with pride, is sophomore Riley Staats. In late October, the young athlete celebrated a big win on the world stage. Riley, along with 15 other girls comprising Team USA, claimed the inaugural World Baseball Softball Confederation U-15 Women’s Softball World Cup title at Ota Stadium in Tokyo, Japan. The team defeated Puerto Rico 3-0 in the final.

Read more about Riley and watch the video above


two first grade friends
First graders at Wakefield Forest Elementary School practice patterns. 

🎓 Destined For Great Things: Student Overcomes Obstacles With Support from FCPS

Growing up in war-torn Liberia changed the entire course of James Wrobeh’s life. Although he experienced unimaginable tragedy, he never lost his bright spirit or the determination to achieve his goals, pursue his education, and create a better future for himself. Without the support of caring educators at FCPS, James said graduating from college would not have been possible. 

Read more about James’ journey and watch the video above