FCPS This Week - October 11, 2023

By Office of Communications
October 11, 2023

A kindergartener at Annandale Terrace Elementary School enjoys a school lunch full of fresh fruits and vegetables.

🥗 Happy National School Lunch Week! 

Healthy and nutritious school lunches aren’t just tasty, they’re also important building blocks for academic success! Celebrate National School Lunch Week with us by learning about FCPS’ new menu options and meeting Food and Nutrition Services Executive Director Shaun Sawko (above). Check out this feature article and video.

🖥️ Thinking Like a Computer: Students Explore AI

An elective course in artificial intelligence (AI) is available to students at Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology (TJHSST). Instructors Malcolm Eckel and Peter Gabor want their students to learn how to write AI programs of their own that could be used to simplify life. One idea is maximizing instructional time; having a camera take attendance by recognizing images of student faces instead of a teacher manually going through the class roster each day.

The AI program at TJHSST is an example of FCPS Strategic Plan Goal 5, Leading for Tomorrow’s Innovation. Goal 5 seeks to push students to innovate and prepare for jobs of the future. Read more about TJHSST’s AI class

🌒 Upcoming Solar Eclipses and How to View Them Safely

There will be an annual eclipse on Saturday, October 14. Virginia is not in the direct path of the moon’s shadow, so we will only be able to see a partial eclipse in this region.

FCPS has gathered resources for students and families to learn more about the eclipse and how to view it safely. 

Save the date for a more dramatic event! On Monday, April 8, 2024, a total eclipse will be viewable from North America. 

🌎 Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month at Braddock Elementary

At Fairfax County Public Schools, we believe students deserve meaningful, sustained opportunities to learn about the experiences and contributions of the many cultures and people who make our nation (and our schools!) unique. National Hispanic American Heritage Month is a perfect time to honor the rich stories of those who trace their roots back to Hispanic and Latin American countries. Read about a recent celebration at Braddock Elementary School, where 75% of students and 30% of staff identify as Hispanic or Latino.  

🎤 Our Schools, Our Future: Community Conversations Continue

Join Superintendent Dr. Michelle Reid for Our Schools, Our Future – A Community Conversation. Share your thoughts about FCPS and bring your questions to:

Pre-registration for a Community Conversation is not required but will help us plan. Childcare and interpretation services will be provided for all events based on staff availability. 

Events are open to all. Find out about other opportunities to connect with Dr. Reid. Your voice matters!

⚠️ Know Our Security Terms

FCPS uses specific terminology to describe the actions school staff and students should take to ensure safety in a variety of situations. It is important for staff, families, and students to understand what the different terms mean and how they impact school operations.

Watch this video to learn about safety terms including lockdown; secure the building; and stay put, stay tuned.

If students, staff, or community members have a (non-emergency) safety concern at school, they should submit a tip to the FCPS Safety Tipline. In an emergency, please call 9-1-1. 

 📚 Lexia Parent Night: Learn About Literacy Support

FCPS funds Lexia for all elementary and middle schools to use 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 the data to identify students who need further support, and the ability to know which specific concepts and skills to prioritize.

Attend an information night to learn more about Lexia and how FCPS is integrating it into the classroom. Parents/caregivers will also get tips for supporting their students at home. 

Information nights will be held from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. on:

  • Wednesday, October 18, at Thoreau Middle School (Cafeteria).
  • Thursday, October 19, at Edison High School (Auditorium).

Register to attend or submit a question in advance

Integrating Lexia into the literacy curriculum aligns with the Virginia Literacy Act, FCPS’ Equitable Access to Literacy, and Strategic Plan Goal 3, which aims to have all students reading on level by the end of third grade.  

🎓 College Fair and Postsecondary Virtual Events

The annual FCPS college fair will feature admissions representatives from more than 250 colleges and universities from across the United States and abroad. The fair will be held at George Mason University’s Eagle Bank Arena on Sunday, October 15, 4-7 p.m. 

The postsecondary virtual nights will be held on Monday, October 16, and Tuesday, October 17, 5-8 p.m. The virtual events will feature workshops related to the college admissions process, financial aid, and other postsecondary educational opportunities. 

Students are encouraged to register in advance for these events. 

Opportunity to Evaluate FCPS’ Websites

FCPS will be working with our website vendor to enhance user experience on the school division’s website and our school websites. This will include improving key elements such as design, layout, navigation, content, and accessibility.

Your input is an important part of this process. A survey will be sent next week. The survey will provide an opportunity to tell us how our websites work for you and what you would like to see improved. 

FCPS Celebrates Ombuds Day October 12

Office of the Ombuds staff engage with families, students, and staff to offer resources, assist in settling conflicts, and raise concerns to improve the experience of every member of the FCPS community. The team works as an independent confidential resource to help get answers to questions, resolve concerns, and hear complaints regarding FCPS matters.  

The ombuds is available to: 

  • Share strategies for parents to improve communication with, and between, school and home.
  • Help resolve disagreements between parents and schools or disagreements involving employees in the workplace.
  • Provide ideas to foster parent participation in Individual Education Plan (IEP) and 504 Plan meetings.

Ombuds staff do not change or make decisions, policies, or regulations; take sides; or provide legal advice.

Anyone with concerns, questions, or complaints to share with the Office of the Ombuds may call 571-423-4014, email [email protected], or visit their webpage, where you may Submit a Question.

🏗️ How School Building Projects Are Selected 

Each year, the School Board and staff members work with the community to develop an updated five-year Capital Improvement Program (CIP) for school building and renovation projects. To develop the CIP, the school system assesses changes in expected enrollments, academic programs, and facility conditions to determine priorities for new construction, renovations, and other capital facility projects. The School Board then evaluates the affordability of these school needs against other countywide requirements to determine the bond proposal. 

The School Board is committed to protecting the community’s investment in schools and other buildings, which have a combined present value approaching $6.5 billion. Not only do these facilities wear out over time, but they also become outdated, both technologically and instructionally. FCPS renovates its schools to ensure that students countywide have effective and efficient learning environments.

The 2023 Bond Referendum will be on the ballot in November. Vote on Tuesday, November 7. Learn more about registering to vote.

National Bullying Prevention Month

October is National Bullying Prevention Month. To help develop a common understanding of bullying, below is the FCPS definition as included in the Student Rights and Responsibilities document: 

Any aggressive and unwanted behavior that is intended to harm, intimidate, or humiliate the victim; involves a real or perceived power imbalance between the aggressor or aggressors and victim; and is repeated over time or causes severe emotional trauma. “Bullying” includes cyberbullying. “Bullying” does not include ordinary teasing, horseplay, an argument, or peer conflict.

For more information on how FCPS handles a bullying situation, please visit the FCPS Bullying Prevention and Intervention webpage. Our goal is to ensure all students feel safe and welcome at school. If you have questions or concerns about a situation at school, please contact the front office so they can support you, and most importantly, your student.  

🚒 Teach Your Child How to Call for Help in an Emergency

It’s National Fire Prevention Week. Ensure your children know how to call 9-1-1 and what to say in an emergency. Watch this video for some tips on teaching them about 9-1-1

All Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department stations are hosting open houses on Saturday, October 14, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Stop by your local station to check out the fire safety activities. 

School Board Meeting on October 12 at 7:30 p.m.

The School Board will hold its regular business meeting on Thursday, October 12, at 7:30 p.m.

Agenda highlights include:

  • Global Executive Expectations
  • Woodson High School Renaming
  • Awarding of Contracts

See the complete agenda. Find out how to watch and participate in School Board meetings.