FCPS This Week - February 21, 2024

By Office of Communications
February 21, 2024

A student learns about the anatomy of the heart in a Career and Technical Education class at Chantilly Academy.  


Black History Month at Woodson High School Starts With the Story of Carter G. Woodson

A Black History Month lesson hit close to home for students at W.T. Woodson High School this month. Students were interested in exploring historical figures they don’t normally learn about. 

The most obvious figure to study first was the person for whom the school will be named starting next school year. Last fall, the School Board unanimously approved changing the name of the school to Carter G. Woodson High School. Read about Carter G. Woodson and the Black History Month lesson


🩺 Career and Technical Education Courses Prepare Students for the Future

February is Career and Technical Education (CTE) Month. Hear from students how CTE courses and Academies are helping them explore and prepare for careers while still in high school. One student has earned more than 20 industry certifications in two years! 

Watch this video to learn more about opportunities in Fairfax County Public Schools’ CTE and Academy programs


Supreme Court Decision Regarding TJHSST

Yesterday, the U.S. Supreme Court let stand an appeals court decision upholding the admissions policy for the Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology (TJHSST), ending a three-year legal challenge. Read FCPS’ statement.


🚌 Going Above and Beyond: Thank You School Bus Drivers!

February is Love the Bus Month, and February 22 is School Bus Driver Appreciation Day. FCPS employs more than 1,500 drivers and attendants who transport an estimated 141,000 students on more than 1,600 buses safely to and from school each day. Our drivers and attendants take pride in being the first FCPS face students see in the morning and the last one they see before heading home for the evening.

Driver Synnethia Pacheli, pictured above, knew exactly what to do when she witnessed an accident earlier this school year. Read more about her and the extensive training our school bus drivers receive before getting behind the wheel. 

Thank you Synnethia, and all our school bus drivers, for the work you do every day and for safely transporting our students!


Family Engagement Survey to Open March 3

A Family Engagement Survey, which will help us to better recognize, understand, respect, and address family strengths and needs in our schools, will be open from Sunday, March 3, to Friday, March 22. Survey topics include:

  • Welcoming environment
  • Communication
  • Student success
  • Advocacy
  • Family and school partnerships
  • Community partnerships

The survey will be available in English, Amharic, Arabic, Chinese, Farsi, Korean, Pashto, Spanish, Urdu, and Vietnamese. 

Parents/caregivers will receive the survey link via email from an independent firm, K12 Insight. A public link will also be posted on FCPS’ website. Paper surveys will be available at each school. Please stay tuned for more information.

💭 Share Your Thoughts on Schoology

FCPS will be conducting voluntary, anonymous surveys on the use of Schoology from Monday, March 11, to Friday, March 22. Surveys will be delivered to:

  • Elementary students (grades 3-6) through the Schoology App Center.
  • Secondary students via email from Naviance.

Student feedback will inform our use of Schoology and help us improve our processes, communication, and professional learning for staff. FCPS’ Instructional Services Department will also conduct focus groups with families. 

Please contact [email protected] if you have questions. 


🐟 Trout Provide Classroom Lesson in Environmental Science

Something’s fishy in classrooms at Centreville Elementary School. Students have worked together to raise trout, hatching them from eggs. Their goal is to release them in a Virginia stream this spring. It’s a dynamic, hands-on lesson that uniquely applies STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and math) learning.

This experience is part of a program called Trout in the Classroom, taught in cooperation with the Virginia Council of Trout Unlimited and the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources. The program's goal is to foster a new generation of environmental stewards by teaching students about the importance of conservation. Read about Trout in the Classroom at Centreville


FAFSA Updates for Seniors and Their Parents/Guardians

There have been several technological challenges with the new Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) since its launch on December 31, 2023. The latest news is that colleges will not get FAFSA summaries from the U.S. Department of Education until mid-March at the earliest. As a result, colleges won’t be able to give students financial aid award letters based on their FAFSA information until late April to May, at best. Students who applied to a college that uses the CSS Profile may receive financial aid information sooner.

Different media outlets are reporting a growing list of colleges that will push back deadlines for students to accept offers of admission into May and even June. The American Council on Education has a database of colleges and universities that have extended their deadline to commit to enroll. We recommend that all information obtained by a secondary source be confirmed directly with the college or university.

If you are a caregiver or student with questions or persistent issues filling out the FAFSA, consider scheduling a free appointment with our partners at College Access Fairfax. Email [email protected]. All FAFSA help provided by your school or College Access Fairfax is free. 


NOVA Virtual Sessions for Seniors and Their Families 

Northern Virginia Community College (NOVA) is offering virtual information and application sessions. Information sessions will provide an overview of NOVA and the opportunities, services, and resources designed to connect high school seniors to the NOVA Nighthawk Community.

Sessions are open to all FCPS seniors and their families. For questions, email [email protected] or call 703-323-3000.


💼 Fairfax County Teen Job Fair

Fairfax County Teen Job Fairs and Career-Building Workshops will be held from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, March 2, at Chantilly High School, and Saturday, March 9, at West Springfield High School.

Student registration is free and open to all teens in Fairfax County seeking employment, volunteer opportunities, or tips on building their resume. Business registration is also free and open to any organization providing positions for students.


☑️ School Board to Adopt Fiscal Year 2025 Advertised Budget

The School Board will adopt FCPS’ Fiscal Year (FY) 2025 Advertised Budget at its regular business meeting on Thursday, February 22, at 7:30 p.m. 

As a reminder, Superintendent Dr. Michelle Reid presented the FY 2025 Proposed Budget to the School Board on February 8. This needs-based budget focuses on educational excellence for all students and competitive compensation for employees. Dr. Reid stated, “Our focus is on supporting the needs of each and every learner, as we attract and retain a world-class workforce that prepares our young people for jobs — and futures — yet to be imagined.”

Learn more about the budget. Find out how to watch and participate in School Board meetings.


👩‍🏫 Attend a Teacher Hiring Event This Saturday

Are you interested in becoming a teacher at FCPS? If so, please stop by our instructional job fair on Saturday, February 24, 9 a.m.-noon, at Lake Braddock Secondary School. Network and take advantage of interview opportunities with representatives from various FCPS schools. Employment offers may be extended during the fair. Register today


💻 Upcoming Webinars and Events for Families 

The Family Resource Center offers free webinars for adults to support the success of all students, including those with learning challenges, special needs, and disabilities. Upcoming events include: 

Click the linked titles above to register. Learn more about FRC webinars and events.


📅 Calendar Reminder: March 5 Presidential Primary — Student Holiday

The Fairfax Board of Elections requested that schools be closed on Tuesday, March 5, to accommodate the administration of the 2024 presidential primary election. 

March 5 will be a holiday for students and a virtual School Planning Day for teachers. Offices will remain open as will SACC. See the complete school year calendar.