FCPS Leadership Conference Outlines Priorities for 2019-20 School Year
At the annual gathering of Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) instructional and administrative leaders, Superintendent Scott S. Brabrand outlined his priorities for the upcoming 2019-20 school year, emphasizing the goal of ensuring that “every single FCPS student feels ‘seen’ or ‘visible’…through their true identity.”
Brabrand said teachers and administrators will be asked to prioritize equity, excellence, and effectiveness to ensure each student can reach his or her potential. In support of equity, individuals have been selected to serve as leads in all schools and departments, equity specialists have been assigned to each of the five regions, and an ombudsman and assistant ombudsman have been named to work with parents and families. Additionally, the Students Rights and Responsibilities (SR&R) booklet has been revised to emphasize equity while addressing disproportionality in discipline.
Fairfax County School Board Chair Karen Corbett Sanders emphasized the important role building leaders have in creating a positive culture that allows all students to achieve their potential and take advantage of the opportunities that make FCPS a great school system. She reviewed the Board’s action on the SR&R, “These changes move our system from a structure that focuses on discipline to one that decreases the amount of time students spend out of school, that considers students’ social, emotional, and behavioral needs, and that ensures our schools remain safe.”
Virginia Secretary of Education Atif Qarni addressed the school division leaders and noted that Fairfax County Public Schools is a leader in the state as it works to address inequities. “Together we can create classrooms that value all cultural perspectives and meet the needs of every child regardless of their race, first language, or zip code. Going forward, we will continue to deliver a world class education to our students and make sure we are addressing the needs of all of the Commonwealth's students."
Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chair Sharon Bulova said education is the number one priority in the county. “When you have a well-educated community, everything else works. You have a safer community, people make better choices. People are able to give back to the community. All of those things really flow from an educated community.”
Brabrand credited the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors for fully funding the school district’s budget for two consecutive years. He pointed out that 99 percent of schools are accredited by the Virginia Department of Education, and that 91.5 percent of students graduated on time. He also cited the 14 schools recognized as Purple Star schools for their support of and commitment to military-connected students and families, and the four schools recognized for their commitment to inclusion.
Effectiveness is demonstrated in and out of the classroom in school improvement plans, by earning recognition from the Environmental Protection Agency as an Energy Star® Partner of the Year, in the budget process alignment to the strategic plan, and in relationships with parents and families, said Brabrand. While the recent Family Engagement Survey revealed that the majority of parents were satisfied or very satisfied with Fairfax County schools, he stressed that the district needs to ensure it reaches all families.
Entering the new school year, the superintendent challenged employees to focus on maintaining a welcoming and culturally-responsive environment, valuing all employees, working as effective team members, and continuing to offer high quality instructional and operational excellence in support of students and families.