Fairfax County School Board Nominates Three Fairfax County Businesses to 2021 VSBA Business Honor Roll

School Board
June 24, 2021

The Fairfax County School Board nominated three Northern Virginia businesses to the Virginia School Boards Association (VSBA) Business Honor Roll for their support of K-12 education. The businesses—the Capital Area Food Bank, Cox Communications and Cox Business, and Synetic Theater—were recognized at the Board’s regular business meeting on Thursday, June 24.  

Capital Area Food Bank

The Capital Area Food Bank (CAFB) serves individuals and families across the region with the help of roughly 450 regional partners—including Fairfax County Public Schools.

Together, CAFB and FCPS serve families healthy meals in multiple ways, including holding monthly “Family Markets” at several school sites, providing after-school food bags, and using a converted school bus to support food distribution throughout the community. When the pandemic shuttered many businesses, impacting jobs and food security, the need to provide nutritious food to people who were struggling rose to a new level. 

CAFB worked closely with FCPS Food and Nutrition Services, Family Engagement teams, school staff, the Office of Communication and Community Relations, and the FCPS Title I Office to resume the Family Markets at the start of the new school year at eight school sites:

  • Annandale Terrace Elementary
  • Bren Mar Park Elementary
  • Weyanoke Elementary
  • Mount Vernon Elementary
  • Lynbrook Elementary
  • Riverside Elementary
  • Glen Forest Elementary 
  • Walt Whitman Middle

In the last decade, Capital Area Food Banks has distributed 62 million meals in Fairfax County. In this fiscal year, they have distributed nearly 10 million meals—three times as many as was distributed at the same time last year.

Cox Communications and Cox Business

Cox Communications and Cox Business have been valuable partners with Fairfax County Public Schools for many years. In 2020, that partnership proved to be more critical than ever as Cox worked to ensure that all FCPS students had broadband internet access at home for virtual learning. 

Internet access is a necessity for students to function and succeed in school. But a broadband internet connection is not free, and subsidies have limitations—producing a digital divide for some. This year, Cox stepped up to bridge this gap and created the Cox-FCPS Connect2Compete (C2C) enterprise. The goal of the project was to deliver subsidized internet services to FCPS families who otherwise might have gone without, and to simplify the highly detailed application process.

Other Cox partnerships with FCPS include: 

  • In the spring of 2020, Cox Communications doubled down, donating $20K to the Foundation for FCPS—supporting efforts related to internet connectivity and food insecurity.
  • Since the early 2000s, and again this year, Cox Communications has aired FCPS’ public service announcements at no cost, saving taxpayers more than a million dollars in potential costs.
  • Kathryn Falk, Northern Virginia Vice President at Cox Communications, has served as an effective chairperson on the board for the Foundation for Fairfax County Public Schools.
  • And, Cox Business leads efforts that encourage FCPS leadership to engage in chamber of commerce activities as public speakers—speaking on a range of issues that matter to our community.

Synetic Theater

For the past five years, the artists at Synetic Theater have provided professional development to FCPS theater and dance teachers in train-the-trainer style, and supported teachers and students with masterclasses. 

Over the past school year, Synetic generously provided teachers and students with several distance learning opportunities. These unique opportunities included: virtual talk-backs with students, video masterclasses that were posted on our FCPS Theater Arts Distance Learning site (the Virtual BlackBox), and artists who helped facilitate Cappies critic rooms. 

Synetic artists also provided virtual performances for FCPS teachers and students to use for class or personal use. 

Per a School Board initiative, Fine Arts field trips are typically provided to all elementary students and middle school Theater Arts students involved in music, visual arts, and theater. Unsure of whether that would happen this year or not, Synetic delivered. 

Synetic Theater was the only theater partner that provided virtual middle school theater field trips this year—allowing students to enjoy and learn from their experiences attending the live professional theater events.

Other Synetic initiatives this year included:

  • Supporting visual arts and theater students at some Title I schools by providing SmARTies Boxes at no charge. SmARTies boxes, like the candy that inspired the name, contained short and sweet art projects. The tangible supplies encouraged students and parents to break away from their screens and devices and connect in other ways. Every FCPS region was involved; students from Herndon, Providence, Lynbrook, Newington Forest, and Bailey’s Upper elementary schools received the kits.
  • Synetic Theater provides free and discounted tickets to their performances for FCPS theater teachers and students, and their education department has worked with several high school teachers on winning Wolftrap and local grants that support the arts in their classroom and extracurricular programs.    

The VSBA Business Honor Roll is announced each spring as a way for school districts to recognize local businesses for the support of public education. Businesses and community groups interested in becoming partners are encouraged to contact Jay Garant in the Office of Business and Community Partnerships at 571-423-1225 or jay.garant@fcps.edu