FCPS This Week - March 20, 2024

By Office of Communications
March 20, 2024

Fourth grade students at Union Mill Elementary School work on leprechaun traps. The project combined science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics (STEAM) and Portrait of a Graduate attributes of creativity and collaboration.



🏆 Congratulations Student Award Winners

This year, four teams — including Lake Braddock Secondary School gymnastics, above — and 36 individuals won the Virginia High School League Class 6 championship in their respective sports. Five teams and 36 individuals were the state runners-up. Read about our talented athletes

🧪 Nine Projects Earn Grand Prize Award at Science and Engineering Fair 

The 69th annual Fairfax County Regional Science and Engineering Fair showcased more than 300 high school science projects. Roughly 400 students presented their research projects in a wide variety of science and engineering fields. Projects were judged by more than 150 professionals, and 40 professional organizations and businesses. 

The grand prize winners are eligible to compete in the Regeneron International Science and Engineering Fair in May, and many others are eligible to compete in the Virginia State Science and Engineering Fair in April. Read about the winners

🕊️ Students Named Peace Award Recipients

Students from 26 Fairfax County public schools have been named recipients of the 2024 Student Peace Awards of Fairfax County. Every year, high schools in Fairfax County are asked to select one junior or senior, or a group of students, whose work has promoted peace. Read about the students and their impact



✅ Last Chance to Take the Family Engagement Survey!

If you haven’t already, please take FCPS’ Family Engagement Survey today! Survey results will help us to better recognize, understand, respect, and address family strengths and needs in our school community. The survey is available in 10 languages. Your voice matters! Please participate now



🤧 Updated COVID Recommendations

In accordance with the updated Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) respiratory virus guidance, FCPS and the Fairfax County Health Department have updated school COVID-19 recommendations.

The COVID-19 isolation period of five days is no longer recommended

New respiratory virus guidance applies to respiratory viral illnesses, including COVID-19, influenza, and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV). Students who have symptoms of, test positive for, or have been diagnosed with a respiratory virus may return to school when the student is fever-free for 24 hours without fever-reducing medication; AND the student’s symptoms have improved or resolved. 

Students should follow additional precautions as outlined by the CDC after resuming normal activities. 

Should I Send My Child to School? 

Please refer to the chart on this attendance webpage if your child is experiencing symptoms or illnesses and you are unsure if they should go to school. 

Thank you for helping to keep our students and staff healthy.



📖 Lexia Parent Night: How We Help Your Child Learn to Read

FCPS funds the use of Lexia for all elementary and middle schools as part of their literacy instruction. Lexia is a computer-based program that supplements classroom instruction to help students develop literacy skills. It also provides teachers with data to identify students who need additional support and the ability to know which specific concepts and skills to prioritize.

Attend a virtual information night on Tuesday, April 9, to learn more about Lexia and how FCPS is integrating it into the classroom to support student growth. Participants will also get tips for supporting their students at home. Integrating Lexia into the literacy curriculum aligns with the Virginia Literacy Act, FCPS’ Equitable Access to Literacy, and FCPS’ 2023-30 Strategic Plan Goal 3, which aims to have all students reading on level by the end of third grade. 



⏰ Community Forums on Middle School Start Times

FCPS is exploring options for adjusting middle school start times and invites the public to be part of the process. Prismatic Services, Inc., an educational consulting firm, will lead the forums. All forums will deliver the same presentation and provide the same feedback opportunities. Please attend the event that works best for your schedule: 

Registration is not required but does help with planning. Click the date of the event to register. Language interpretation and childcare will be provided. Learn more about the project exploring middle school start times.  



⛱️ Summer Camp for Middle Schoolers 

All rising seventh and eighth graders (and rising sixth graders attending Poe, Holmes, or Glasgow middle schools) are invited to attend a summer of fun and leisure with VIP Camp. 

VIP Camp takes place from Monday, July 1, to Thursday, August 1. It is designed to encourage teens to develop healthy and positive interests and features a wide variety of leisure activities and programs. Register now. VIP Camp costs $100 to attend. Reach out to your school’s after-school specialist for scholarship availability due to financial hardship.  

FCPS and Fairfax County’s Department of Neighborhood and Community Services sponsor the VIP Camp.



🚀 National Women’s History Month

March is National Women’s History Month, which is a great opportunity to honor women’s contributions to American history. 

Katherine Johnson was a mathematician and aerospace technologist. As a NASA employee, she was well known for her calculations of orbital mechanics, which were critical to the success of the first and subsequent U.S.-crewed spaceflights. 

In 2020, the City of Fairfax School Board voted unanimously to change the name of Lanier Middle School to Katherine Johnson Middle School. Learn more about Katherine Johnson’s legacy.

And, here's a fun fact: Johnson’s niece, Valerie Johnson, worked at FCPS as a classroom teacher and mathematics specialist for 32 years! She retired in June 2023. 



💟 Honoring Erin: A Student’s Legacy Lives On 

A parent of an FCPS alumna is committed to making a difference in the Westfield High School pyramid. Celeste Peterson lost her daughter, Westfield graduate Erin Peterson, in the tragic shooting at Virginia Tech in 2007. While dealing with tremendous grief, Celeste realized that her daughter helped many people in the community and she wanted to continue the legacy. Read about how she is honoring Erin.



Safe, Supported, and Included — FCPS Family Summit 2024

The FCPS Family Summit will take place on Saturday, April 20, 8:30 a.m.-1 p.m., at Marshall High School. The conference will cover topics that are helpful for all families, such as social-emotional resources, along with a specially curated online component to provide supports for students with disabilities and their families. 

Some of the topics include raising resilient, independent children; forming meaningful connections with children; addressing big emotions; and the dangers of opioids and fentanyl. The conference is being planned by several FCPS offices in collaboration with the Fairfax Alliance of Black School Educators, Black Women’s Educational Alliance - DC Chapter, Hispanic Educators Association, and Asian Educators Association. 

This year’s theme is Safe, Supported, and Included, which aligns with Goal 2 of FCPS’ 2023-30 Strategic Plan. More details will be available after spring break. 



🏐 New Athletic Opportunities for Students

Our advertised budget for next school year expands high school athletics with boys volleyball and girls wrestling, giving students more ways to nurture their passion and enhance their well-being. We are now in the middle of the annual budget process, which includes opportunities for you to give feedback. See the Budget Calendar for details. Learn more about the FCPS FY 2025 Advertised Budget.



Community Learns About the Dangers of Fentanyl and Other Drugs

More than 200 staff, students, and community members gathered at Lake Braddock Secondary School this week for the latest Community Conversation on Fentanyl and Other Drugs. They heard moving testimony from the parents and friends of Cayden Foster, a student at Centreville High School who died from a fentanyl overdose last year. 

Other speakers included Dr. Reid, Fairfax County School Board Chair Karl Frisch, Fairfax County Chief of Police Kevin Davis, and Centreville High School Substance Abuse Prevention Specialist Dawn Brower. 

FCPS teams, county representatives, and community partners shared information and resources to support students and families. The Fairfax Community Service Board provided free NARCAN training to attendees. 

In collaboration with the Office of Counseling and College and Career Readiness, all FCPS students in attendance had the opportunity to gain critical insight into this important topic, with the added incentive of earning service hours.

Learn more about this event, the opioid epidemic in Fairfax County, and free NARCAN training



💻 April 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: Spring Break

Monday, March 25, to Friday, March 29 is spring break. Schools and school offices will be closed. Have a happy and restful spring break! 

🗓️ Quarter End/Student Holidays

Friday, March 22, is the end of the third quarter. Monday, April 1, and Tuesday, April 2, are school planning and teacher workdays, respectively, and are holidays for students.

Eid al-Fitr (Half-O Day, Holiday)

In Islam, Eid-al-Fitr is a three-day festival to mark the end of Ramadan. Muslims dress in new clothes, give to charity, and pray in congregation. Eid is celebrated with the exchange of presents and delicious food with family and friends. Read more at Britannica.com.

Tuesday, April 9, is an evening observance day. There is school on this day, but important events will not be held after school. Wednesday, April 10, is an FCPS holiday and all schools and offices will be closed. See the school year calendar



School Board Meeting Scheduled for March 21 at 7 p.m.

The School Board will hold its next business meeting on Thursday, March 21, at 7 p.m. 

Topics on the agenda include:

  • FY 2024 Third Quarter Budget Review
  • ERFC Proposed Plan Design Changes
  • Revised Glasgow Middle School Boundary Study Scope

View the complete agenda.

Find out how to watch and participate in School Board meetings.



Reach the Virginia Department of Social Services at 211

The Virginia Department of Social Services can help provide information and referrals for resources to those who need food, shelter, rent, or utility assistance. They can also connect individuals and families with resources regarding physical and mental health resources, job training, and transportation assistance. Individuals who would like to help others may also find volunteering and donation opportunities. 

Reach 211 Virginia by phone at 211, or visit 211virginia.org