FCPS This Week e-newsletter - November 10, 2021

By Communication and Community Relations
For Parents
November 10, 2021

Fairfax County Public Schools Welcomes Dr. Jill Biden to Kick Off National 5-11 Vaccination Rollout

Fairfax County Public Schools kicked off the national rollout of COVID-19 vaccination for children ages 5-11 on Monday. The school division welcomed First Lady Dr. Jill Biden to a clinic at the school where the first polio vaccine was administered in 1954 (see story below).

Surrounded by a group of children who had just received their first dose, she urged all parents to follow in the footsteps of the Polio Pioneers and have their children vaccinated as soon as possible. 

Watch this video to see the sights and sounds of the day’s events

Photo Gallery: Photos from the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccination for children.

Read the full story and see more pictures on our website.

After 67 Years, Fairfax County Public Schools Reprise Role in Vaccine History

In April 1954, Gail Adams, an FCPS second-grader at the time, knew she was a part of something big. Gail says she recalls a car pulling up to transport her and two other classmates to visit a doctor, where they were going to get a shot.

Fairfax County Public Schools, and McLean’s Franklin Sherman Elementary in particular, can lay claim to a significant role in the fight against polio. Students from across the district became “Polio Pioneers” in nationwide field trials for the Salk vaccine. Those trials kicked off at Franklin Sherman in 1954 where a group of primarily second-grade students became the first healthy kids in the country to receive the vaccine.

How to Prepare Your Child to Get a Pediatric COVID-19 Vaccine

FCPS is encouraging all parents whose children are eligible to get vaccinated. We know that vaccination is the way out of this pandemic and we are asking you to help us continue to make our schools as safe as they possibly can be.

The Fairfax County Health Department’s webpage has resources for finding and scheduling a vaccine appointment. Up-to-date information about vaccination opportunities is available on our website

We know you may have questions about the vaccine. We talked with local pediatricians to answer some of the most common questions. Find out how to prepare your child for their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine and how you can make them more comfortable if they experience side effects in this short video.

Meal Kit Distribution Change for Thanksgiving Break

In preparation for the Thanksgiving break when schools are closed (November 24-26), the following plan is in place to distribute meal kits:

  • Wednesday, November 17: Additional meals (7 days of breakfast and lunch, along with 14 days of afternoon snack and supper meals) will be served in one meal kit.
  • Wednesday, November 24: Meal kit distribution is canceled.
  • Wednesday, December 1: Regular meal kit distribution resumes.

More information and the location of the meal kit sites is available online.

FCPS 2022-23 School Year Calendar Survey Closes Today

Families and contracted staff received an email two weeks ago from [email protected] with a link to the FCPS Calendar Survey. The survey is also available in other languages.

The deadline to complete the survey is 11:59 p.m. today. Contracted employees and students in grades 7-12 have been invited to take a similar survey as well. The results will be used to inform and support FCPS staff as well as the Fairfax County School Board as they work to adopt the 2022-23 calendar. All responses are confidential. If you have any questions about the survey, please email [email protected].  

This year, FCPS is using a different process to develop the calendar. Learn about the criteria being used in the development of the 2022-23 calendar.

If you missed the Calendar Development Webinar on November 8, you can watch a recording of it.

Calendar Reminder: Two-Hour Early Release on November 11

As a reminder, Thursday, November 11, is a two-hour early release for students for the Veterans Day holiday. Veterans Day provides a great reason to pause, reflect, and recognize the extraordinary sacrifices our Veterans and their families have made on our behalf, and we thank them for their service. 

Classes will resume on Friday, November 12. See the complete 2021-22 school year calendar.

Striving for an Inclusive and Compassionate Community 

In the past few weeks, FCPS has experienced several incidents of racial and anti-Semitic graffiti at some of our schools. These acts are not only unkind, but they are completely unacceptable. 

Please know that acts of racism, anti-Semitism, and hate will not be tolerated in our FCPS community. Our division is a place where we strive for inclusiveness and compassion. It is our responsibility to ensure that all people are treated with dignity and humanity. Our schools must be a safe space for every child and adult in the building.

As a school division, our success and well-being depend upon all of us standing united against actions that seek to dehumanize or violate any person or group within our community. If you witness a behavior that does not align with our values, please speak up. FCPS also has an anonymous tip line that can be used for this purpose.

November’s Walking Wednesday Dedicated to Ruby Bridges

Students and families are being encouraged to take part in monthly Walking Wednesdays during the 2021-22 school year to help promote mental and physical health. The Safe Routes to School office will be promoting Walking Wednesdays throughout the year, with a different theme each month.

November’s event is dedicated to Ruby Bridges, the elementary student who, as the first African American student to integrate William Frantz Elementary School in New Orleans, was escorted to school by federal marshals in 1960. Ruby Bridges Walk to School Day is November 17.

Senior Regional Orchestra Event Returns

One hundred-three students representing eighteen Fairfax County Public Schools high schools have been named to the 2021 Northern Virginia Senior Regional Orchestra. Twenty-eight FCPS students were selected as alternates. 

The Senior Regional Orchestra event is the first in-person state-sponsored audition group of the school year and the first collaborative concert since March of 2019. The public is invited to the group’s performance at Westfield High School on Saturday, November 13, at 2:30 p.m. The concert is free and masks are required. The Northern Virginia Senior Regional Orchestra is led by Maestro James Ross of the Alexandria Symphony Orchestra.

See who was named to the Senior Regional Orchestra.

Deadline to Apply for TJHSST Class of 2026 Is November 19

Middle school students who have an aptitude and passion for STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) are encouraged to apply for admission to the Class of 2026 at Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology (TJHSST). 

Applications must be started by Wednesday, November 17, at 4 p.m., with a deadline of Friday, November 19, at 4 p.m. to complete the final application, which is available on the TJHSST Admissions Office webpage

Students or Superheroes? Unique Escape Room at Jackson Middle School Teaches Teamwork and Critical Thinking

It was just another ordinary day at Luther Jackson Middle School. A group of students sat around a table tucked in the back of the library, watching a video about their next assignment. Suddenly, the thunder roars and the screen is taken over by a shadowy figure next to the school’s beloved mascot, who’s been kidnapped! Now, Luther Jackson’s mightiest heroes must come together and learn to work as a team if they are going to stop the mischievous Evil Twin from enslaving Jackson the Tiger. 

It may sound like the beginning of an action-packed blockbuster, but it’s actually the mission given to students taking part in Luther Jackson’s brand new escape room.

Tip Sheet for Parents: Encourage Your Child to Make Responsible Choices

You want your child to learn to make responsible choices at home and at school. But constant orders and criticism can wear him or her down. Instead of commanding, encourage your child to make better choices and improvements.

Here’s how:

  • Thank him or her when they remember to do something on their own.
  • Praise him or her for effort more than outcome.
  • Recognize the hard work he or she puts into schoolwork.
  • Encourage his or her involvement in music, sports, or other activities that keep them busy. Busy, involved children need less external control than those with too much time on their hands.

Copyright 2021, the Parent Institute, a Division of PaperClip Media Inc. All Rights Reserved. Get more tips for parents and other family engagement resources.

Reminder: School Board Meeting on November 11

The next regular business meeting of the FCPS School Board will be held on Thursday, November 11, at 7 p.m. at Jackson Middle School. The meeting will be broadcast on FCPS Cable TV Channel 99 (Verizon Channel 11), and will be live streamed on the FCPS website. Current agenda items include:

  • Recommended Changes to the Governance Manual Regarding Advisory Committee for Students with Disabilities (ACSD) 
  • Student enrollment numbers for 2021-22
  • Awards of Contracts

See the complete meeting agenda.