FCPS This Week - November 30, 2022

By Communication and Community Relations
For Parents
November 30, 2022

Assistant Principal Matthew Johnson plays UNO with students during recess at Whitman Middle School. It’s a great way to connect and have a brain break. Read more about middle school recess. 

Calendar Survey Deadline, Attend a Calendar Webinar 

FCPS parents/caregivers, employees, and students in grades 7-12 were emailed an invitation(s) to take the 2023-24 School Year Calendar Survey. If you haven’t participated yet, please do so by Thursday, December 1. If you are unable to locate the survey link that was emailed to you, please contact [email protected] so you can complete the survey before the deadline. Thank you for lending your voice to the calendar development process.

Attend a Calendar Development Webinar

Join us on Thursday, December 1, at noon or 6 p.m., for a webinar about how FCPS creates the school year calendar. The webinars will be held on Zoom. Please register today.

An Elementary Perspective on Strategic Planning

The success of our strategic planning process depends on our entire community being engaged. Watch as some of our amazing elementary students share their hopes and ideas for the future of schools. Also, stay tuned for information on upcoming opportunities to participate in the development of FCPS’ Strategic Plan. 

Student Project Is Out of This World! 

On Tuesday, November 22, NASA launched the TJ REVERB CubeSat from the Kennedy Space Center as part of the SpaceX-26 Commercial Resupply Service Mission en route to the International Space Station. The launch is the conclusion of seven years of hard work by students and instructors at Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology. Read more on TJHSST’s webpage.

Preparing for Winter Weather

Winter weather will be here before you know it! Watch this video to see how weather-related closing decisions are made

FCPS’ inclement weather procedures will remain the same as last year. The first five inclement weather days will be traditional “snow days” with no school activities. After those five days, we will use the flexibility provided by the Virginia General Assembly to have unscheduled virtual learning days, whenever possible, to maintain the continuity of learning. Virtual learning on these days will be synchronous/live instruction, following the inclement weather virtual learning day schedule (includes a two-hour delay).

FCPS’ website is generally the first mode of communication during emergency weather closings. Other communication channels will be used as quickly as possible including email, text, social media, and news stations. Learn more about how schedule changes are communicated

Be sure to plan ahead for the winter season. Make sure your contact information is up-to-date in weCare@school, bookmark the FCPS website, plan for childcare, if appropriate, and know what items your child may need to take home before a weather event.

Keep Your Child Warm During Outdoor Activities

Your school’s principal will monitor the weather for low temperatures, wind chill advisories and warnings, and weather advisories which may prevent children from being outside. Make sure your child is dressed appropriately with a warm coat and other cold-weather clothing, so they can comfortably enjoy their time outdoors. See the National Weather Service’s tips on staying safe during cold weather.

If you need assistance supplying your child with cold-weather clothing, please call Fairfax County's Coordinated Services Planning (CSP) at 703-222-0880. The multilingual staff can assist with any challenges you are facing, including food, shelter, employment, financial assistance, and healthcare.

Multicultural and Language Resources 

During National Family Engagement Month, the Office of Family and School Partnerships would like to remind families of some of the resources available to them.

  • Bilingual community liaisons support student registrars by providing families with information about school and community services offered in Fairfax County. Liaisons are available to help families speaking Spanish, Korean, and Arabic. Once registered at a school, families can contact their family liaison for assistance. 
  • Early literacy programs are available to Fairfax County residents for parents of children up to 5 years old. These programs help prepare children for school and build confidence in parents as their child’s first teacher. They also help parents become active partners in their child’s education. Programs are available in African-Heritage, Arabic, Spanish, and Korean. 
  • Parent Information Phone Lines are available in eight languages for parents who speak languages other than English. 
  • A Multilingual Family Podcast is produced by the offices of English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL), Family and School Partnerships, and Professional Learning and Equity. It covers important information for parents in English, Spanish, Arabic, and Korean. 
  • ESOL services are available in Fairfax County for students as well as adults. Information on spring classes will be posted in March 2023.

Additional resources are available on the Family Engagement webpage

Coates Family Academy Helps Parents Support Kids in FCPS

On Thursday evenings at Coates Elementary School in Herndon, approximately 20 parents report for class. Instructor Marcelo Ribera is teaching the mothers and fathers a lesson on the importance of opening a child’s backpack every day after school, saying it may contain important communications from the teacher or principal, as well as information about school gatherings or sign-up forms for sports or clubs.

The Coates Elementary Family Academy is intended to be a boot camp of sorts for families adjusting to the American public education system. Almost half of Coates students are English language learners, and many families are new to the U.S. Read more about this parent academy

Proposed Process for Special Education Enhancement Plan 

FCPS will be developing a Special Education Enhancement Plan to help inform our work to increase outcomes for students with disabilities. On November 15, FCPS staff shared their proposed process for developing the plan at a School Board work session. This process includes many opportunities for community feedback and collaboration from a diverse group of internal and external stakeholders such as FCPS students, employees, parents/caregivers, and content experts. View the presentation on YouTube. Get more information on BoardDocs.

Calendar Reminders

National Special Education Day

National Special Education Day is recognized each year on December 2 and commemorates President Gerald Ford’s signing of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) in 1975. We celebrate our teachers and staff who serve and support our students with special needs, as well as our families who are partners in the education and support of those students! 

Learn more about the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. Check out some of FCPS’ special education resources:

  • The Office of Special Education Procedural Support provides guidance to staff, families, and students in areas related to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, as amended. 
  • Families of students in Special Education programs can find more resources in the Special Education Handbook for Parents. Translations are available from the Parent Resource Center (PRC).
  • The PRC offers free webinars, consultations, a lending library, and resources to help adults support the success of each and every student, including our students with learning challenges, special needs, and disabilities. Their YouTube Channel includes videos of workshops and webinars for families and educators to support student success. Sign up for their newsletter to receive information on upcoming webinars and other resources. Please contact the PRC with any questions at [email protected] or call 703-204-2941.
  • Kathy Murphy, the assistant ombuds for special education, serves as a confidential resource, providing information and support to parents and students regarding special education services. The assistant ombuds also provides transparency and understanding to families of children with special needs, so they may receive all the services and supports required to equitably access public education. Contact the assistant ombuds by submitting a question, calling 571-423-4014, or emailing [email protected]

Bodhi Day

Bodhi Day, Thursday, December 8, is the Buddhist holiday that commemorates the day that the historical Buddha, Siddhartha Gautama (Shakyamuni), experienced enlightenment, also known as “bodhi'' in Sanskrit and Pali. Learn more about Bodhi Day in this video from the Miami Children’s Museum. 

The school calendar recognizes many religious and cultural observances (O days) during the school year. There is school on these days, however, the School Board has directed that certain events that cannot be made up will not be held on these observance days. See the complete 2022-23 School Year Calendar.

ESSER III Community Conversation on December 13

Thanks to everyone who provided input in October on ESSER III funding–federal funding which was allocated to FCPS to address the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on students and student learning. Community feedback indicated that there is a general unawareness of the impact of ESSER funding and a perceived lack of communication around how the funds are being used. 

To help address this, Superintendent Dr. Michelle Reid and Sloan Presidio, chief academic officer, will host a Community Conversation on ESSER on Tuesday, December 13, at 6:30 p.m., at the Gatehouse Administration Building. Please stay tuned for more details. Visit BoardDocs for a complete update on ESSER III.

See How We are Putting COVID Recovery/ESSER III Funds to Work 

Rocky Run Middle School educators reviewed standardized testing data, teacher recommendations and work samples to decide which students to target for services and materials funded by the federal money. Some students are being aided by supplies like math manipulatives that help them visually see concepts like fractions. Others are receiving help with executive functioning skills, like planning and organizing their work. Read more about Rocky Run’s ESSER plans.

SHARK Tank Technology Challenge Deadline December 12

Calling all high school students! Submit your proposal for Fairfax County’s Student SHARK Tank Technology Challenge by Monday, December 12. The challenge is to develop an innovative device or app that will have a positive impact on the lives of older adults, adults with disabilities, or caregivers. IntegrityOne Partners is providing cash prizes to the winners. Get more details and learn about past winners.

Recommended Changes to Family Life Education Curriculum 

Your opportunity to share feedback about the recommended changes to the Family Life Education (FLE) curriculum continues through Thursday, December 1. Review the recommended changes on our website and provide your input on the brief feedback form. Public feedback will be shared with the Family Life Education Curriculum Advisory Committee and the School Board. FCPS staff and the School Board will consider all feedback but will not be able to provide replies to individuals.

Provide Feedback on Secondary World Languages Basal Resources

FCPS will adopt new Secondary (Grades 6-12) World Languages Basal Resources for the 2023-24 school year. Basal resources are the primary instructional resources used to teach a given subject. The process for selecting new resources includes an opportunity for the public to review the instructional materials being considered. Public review will run through Thursday, December 8. A review committee made up of community members, administrators, and teachers will meet in November and December to evaluate the materials under consideration as well as feedback from the community. Find more information

School Board Meeting on December 1 at 7 p.m.

The School Board will hold a regular business meeting on Thursday, December 1, at 7 p.m. See the complete regular meeting agenda (English only). The meeting can be viewed on FCPS Cable TV Channel 99 (Verizon Channel 11), the FCPS YouTube Channel, and on the FCPS website. Agenda highlights include:

  • Midyear Budget Review.
  • Issuance of School Bonds.
  • Proposed New Policy 3290, Parental Notification Regarding Instructional Materials with Sexually Explicit Content.

Recordings of School Board meetings and work sessions can be viewed on the FCPS YouTube channel. To watch School Board meetings dubbed in Spanish, you can visit the FCPS en Español YouTube channel.

If you need language interpretation or American Sign Language support for any School Board meeting, please contact the Board clerk.

Find your School Board member and how to contact them on the School Board Members webpage.