FCPS This Week - January 18, 2024

By Office of Communications
January 18, 2024

Teacher Marlee Shope walks a student through a math problem at Stenwood Elementary School. 



❄️ Be Among the First to Know About Snow Closings

FCPS’ website is generally the first place where we will share an emergency weather closing. Other communication channels will be used as quickly as possible including email, text, social media, and news stations. Learn more about how FCPS makes weather-related closing decisions.

Be sure to plan for the winter season. Update your contact information in SIS ParentVUE, bookmark the FCPS website, and plan for childcare if needed.



🔌 FCPS to Receive $16 Million to Buy More Electric Buses

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the selection of two applicants in Virginia to receive more than $17.1 million through EPA’s first Clean School Bus Program’s Grants Competition. Fairfax County Public Schools was selected to receive $16.5 Million to purchase 42 electric school buses. 

FCPS was the first school division to acquire electric buses in 2019. With the help of this EPA grant, the electric bus fleet will more than double.  

FCPS has one of the largest bus fleets in the United States, transporting more than 141,000 students on over 1,600 buses each day. 



👏 Thank You, Principals!

It’s Virginia School Principals Week! We truly appreciate all of FCPS’ incredible principals for their leadership, dedication, and passion. Read about two of FCPS' outstanding principals: April Cage from Garfield Elementary School (pictured above) and KJ An from Eagle View Elementary. 



Academic Advising and Course Selection 

Rising 7th-12th grade students are discussing course selection for next year with their school counselors. Parents/caregivers should discuss this process with their children to ensure students select courses that align with their interests, career goals, and postsecondary aspirations. 

As they choose courses, students should also consider their personal well-being, extracurricular activities, and commitments. School-life balance is an important consideration. Families are welcome to contact their student’s school counselor with questions.

Review the Graduation Requirements and Course Planning webpage to help make informed decisions for high school and beyond. Refer to your school’s website for the school-specific course catalog and advising information. The Program of Studies and Course Catalogs pages provide information on the wide variety of courses offered in FCPS. 



🧪 Eight FCPS Students Among Nation’s Top 300 Teen Scientists

Society for Science announced the top 300 scholars in the Regeneron Science Talent Search 2024, the nation’s oldest and most prestigious science and math competition for high school seniors. Eight of the 300 scholars are students in Fairfax County public schools. The scholars will be awarded $2,000 each, and their schools will be awarded $2,000 for each enrolled scholar. Read about the students and their projects



🔬 Science and Engineering Fair Judges Needed

The Fairfax County Regional Science and Engineering Fair will be held on Saturday, March 16, at Robinson Secondary School

Each year 250 judges are required to evaluate science fair projects in a wide variety of categories ranging from plant sciences to robotics. Ideally, those volunteering to serve as category judges would hold an advanced degree or possess extensive academic and/or professional experience in their selected STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) category. 

Judges Needed for the Technology Student Associations Fair

This year’s Technology Student Association’s Northern Regional Fair will take place on Saturday, March 2, at Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology. Engineering students from across Virginia’s Northern Region will compete in events such as robotics, flight, computer aided design (CAD), structural design, and video gaming. 

Judges are needed! No background knowledge of the event or projects is necessary. Judging begins at 8:30 a.m., and judges will be provided breakfast and lunch.  

Please complete this form if you are interested in being a judge.


🏗️ Proposed Construction, Renovation, and Enhancements Support Students and Sustainability

Fairfax County Public Schools outlined plans for new school construction, capacity enhancements, and renovations during the School Board meeting on January 11. Read about the presentation. 

These projects — presented as part of FCPS’ proposed FY 2025-29 Capital Improvement Program (CIP) — represent a commitment to providing equitable access to high-quality public school environments for all students. View the proposed CIP

A public hearing will be held Thursday, January 18, at Luther Jackson Middle School. The School Board will take action on the proposed CIP at the February 8 meeting.



🍎 Become a Teacher! Job Fair Saturday, February 3

FCPS wants you to be a part of our team! We are seeking educators with strong student engagement skills and a passion for having a positive influence on our schools. 

Attend our job fair on Saturday, February 3, 9 a.m.-noon, at Lewis High School. There will be networking and interviewing opportunities with representatives from various Fairfax County public schools. Employment offers may be extended during the fair.  

Learn more about the event and register to attend



What Families Can Do to Fight Drug Misuse

FCPS is committed to raising awareness about the opioid epidemic with our educators, parents/caregivers, and students. Together, we can help ensure our students thrive.

What can families do?

  • Show you disapprove of underage drinking and other drug misuse. More than 80% of young people ages 10-18 say their parents are the leading influence on their decision whether to drink. 
  • Show you care about your child’s health, wellness, and success. 
  • Show you are a good source of information about alcohol and other drugs. Find helpful resources on the FCPS Opioid Awareness webpage
  • Pay attention to your child and discourage risky behaviors. 
  • Build your child’s skills and strategies for avoiding drinking and drug use. Talk with your child about what they would do if faced with a decision about alcohol and drugs, such as texting a code word to a family member or practicing how they will say, “No thanks.”

Visit our website for more information.



💻 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: 

  • Meet the Author Series: Mind in The Making with Ellen Galinsky – Help your children learn how to take on life's challenges, communicate well with others, and remain committed to learning. Friday, February 2, 10-11 a.m. 
  • Youth Mental Health First Aid – This in-person course teaches how to identify, understand, and respond to signs of mental health and substance use challenges among children and adolescents ages 12-18. Friday, February 9, 8:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. Family Resource Center
  • Behavior Solution Series for Elementary and Secondary Families – Join FCPS Behavior Intervention Services staff for help encouraging positive communication and behavior at home. Webinars will be held at 10 a.m. on:
    • Elementary Webinars: 
      • Proactive Strategies for Effective Communication, Friday, February 16 
      • Taming Tantrums and More, Friday, March 15
    • Secondary Webinars:
      • Proactive Strategies for Effective Communication, Friday, April 19
      • Taming the Teen-Aged Brain, Friday, May 31

Click the linked titles above to register.



😊 The Power of Gratitude

The simple act of finding something good, even in difficult moments, can shield against stress, boost happiness, and build positive relationships. In the latest Healthy Minds blog, learn how to start small, build a gratitude routine, motivate through engaging activities, and build connections that express gratitude. 



FAFSA Is Open: College Access Fairfax Can Help

Over the next two months, College Access Fairfax will be offering a number of programs on completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and Virginia Alternative State Aid (VASA), and finding and applying for scholarships. Visit the College Access Fairfax website for details.

In addition, College Access Fairfax staff members are available for virtual one-on-one help sessions to complete the FAFSA/VASA. Email [email protected] for an appointment.

The FAFSA is now available. Any college-bound high school senior — regardless of income — who wants to be considered for federal, state, and school financial aid programs should complete a FAFSA form. Parents/caregivers are encouraged to work with their students to complete the FAFSA as early as possible. Check each college’s financial aid office website for deadlines and forms. Then, create an FSA ID and fill out the FAFSA.

The VASA application has not yet opened, but should be available in late January for students who are unable to complete the FAFSA. To help determine which aid option is right for you, visit the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia website.



🎓 Review of Graduation and Dropout Rates 

During the Academic Matters segment of last Thursday’s School Board meeting, Dr. Reid presented five-year trends of graduation and dropout rates from 2019 (pre-pandemic) until 2023. Our five-year on-time graduation trends are consistently above state outcomes. Our rates have also improved more than 2 percentage points since 2019, compared to Virginia’s improvement of less than .5 percentage points. 

Dropout rates look at students who did not successfully earn a diploma, GED, certificate of completion, or did not remain enrolled. We have significantly reduced our dropout rates over the five-year trend from 7.3 to 5.5, and now we are closely aligned with statewide rates. “Our goal is always zero, and we will continue to work on this measure,” Dr. Reid said. 



🗺️ Dual Language Immersion Program Registration

Registration for the countywide lottery for Dual Language Immersion programs will open on Monday, January 22. Programs are available in French, German, Japanese, Korean, and Spanish. 

Parents/caregivers who are interested may attend an informational meeting at the school site. Check the FCPS events calendar for dates and times. Get more information on the immersion program webpage and registration page. 



📅 Calendar Reminder: Orthodox Epiphany (Observance Day)

In the Orthodox church, Epiphany is celebrated on January 19 and commemorates the baptism of Jesus.

The school calendar recognizes many religious and cultural observances. There is school on these days, however, the School Board has directed that tests, quizzes, field trips, graduation, homecoming, or FCPS-scheduled athletic events will not be held on these observance days.

Quarter End, Early Release and Student Holiday/Teacher Workday

Thursday, January 25, is the last day of the quarter and a two-hour early release for students. Also, schools are closed for students on Friday, January 26, for a teacher workday. 

See the complete school year calendar



School Board Leadership Confirmed

The Fairfax County School Board’s leadership has been confirmed for the remainder of the 2023-24 school year. Karl Frisch (Providence District), the board's current vice chair who has been acting as chair since January 1, was elected chair. 

The board elected Melanie Meren (Hunter Mill District) as its new vice chair at its January 11 regular meeting. Additionally, recently elected board members were confirmed for various committee assignments. Read more about board leadership