FCPS This Week - October 25, 2023

By Office of Communications
October 25, 2023

Students collaborate at Mount Vernon Woods Elementary School during Panther Pride Day. 

📊 Results from the 2022-23 Fairfax County Youth Survey

The Fairfax County Youth Survey provides insights into the behaviors and attitudes that affect the health and well-being of Fairfax County youth. 

Most Fairfax County students reported they feel safe at their school. Overall, the percentage of students who reported risky behaviors continued to decrease in many areas including substance use, sexual activity, and aggressive and delinquent behavior. 

Mental health indicators including feelings of sadness/hopelessness, suicidal ideations, and suicide attempts also improved noticeably compared to 2021. Students who reported the recommended amount of physical activity increased compared to the prior year as well. 

Read more about the report’s findings, and view the full report on the county’s website.

Protective Factors Support Healthy Habits and Positive Choices

Results from the Fairfax County Youth Survey highlight the importance of students having three or more “protective factors.” Protective factors are individual, family-based, school-based, and community-based assets (such as participating in extracurricular activities, having parents available for help, or having teachers recognize good work) that support healthy habits and positive choices. 

Survey data shows that students with at least three protective factors have a lower likelihood of reporting mental health challenges and engaging in a variety of risky behaviors, including substance and opioid abuse. These findings led to the development of the Three to Succeed program, which is being implemented divisionwide to educate FCPS students, families, and staff on the importance of protective factors and increasing the number of high school students with three or more of them.

📝 Become a High-Impact Tutor with FCPS

High-impact tutoring connects small groups of up to five students with a tutor. They meet regularly and tutors routinely assess student growth to ensure the students are meeting or exceeding their goals. Do you or anyone you know have an interest in becoming a high-impact tutor with FCPS?

As of October 17, FCPS has 161 tutors hired for this school year, working in approximately 60 schools. Additional tutors are continually being added to our roster which includes former teachers, school administrators, medical doctors, lawyers, NASA scientists, professors, and small business owners.

Read more about our high-impact tutoring program

🧼 “America’s Top Young Scientist” Heman Bekele Creates Skin Cancer Treating Soap

Woodson High School freshman Heman Bekele was newly crowned “America’s Top Young Scientist” after winning this year’s 3M Young Scientist Challenge for his creation: soap that treats skin cancer.

Read more about Heman and his journey to creating skin cancer treating soap.

Help Shape the Direction of FCPS Websites

FCPS will be updating our current websites to improve user experience. Our website vendor will be focusing on key elements including design, layout, navigation, content, and accessibility.

Please take our survey and let us know your thoughts about our websites and how well they are serving you.

The survey is anonymous, available in seven languages, and should take less than 10 minutes to complete. It will close on Wednesday, November 1. We will share the survey results later this fall. Thank you in advance for your time and feedback. If you have any questions about the survey, please email our vendor at [email protected].

Want to Provide More In-Depth Feedback?

In addition to the Website Redesign Survey mentioned above, we are looking for volunteers to provide more in-depth feedback on the current FCPS website by participating in a usability study. This research is being conducted by our website partner, Forum One. You may participate by downloading an app on your phone or via website on a personal computer.

If you are interested, please send an email to Sara Tetreault, [email protected], as soon as possible. Please note in your email what your role is at FCPS: parent, community member, teacher, staff, etc. 

Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) Opening in December

The FAFSA is needed to determine a student's eligibility for financial aid. Families of current seniors should be thinking about completing financial aid applications in order for students to be eligible to receive financial help to cover the costs of post-secondary education. Despite the late opening of the FAFSA, there are some things families can do now to prepare. 

A funding opportunity is available for students who are unable to complete the FAFSA — the Virginia Alternative State Aid (VASA) program. Find out which aid option is right for your family on the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia website.

📝 Applications Open for Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology

Middle school students who have an aptitude and passion for STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) are encouraged to apply for admission to the Class of 2028 at Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology (TJHSST). 

The application is available on the TJHSST Freshman Application Process webpage. Applications must be started by 4 p.m. Wednesday, November 15, with a deadline to submit the application by Friday, November 17, at 4 p.m. 

 🐰 Langley’s Alice in Wonderland: Whimsical and Visually Pleasing Rendition

The Cappies is a program through which high school theater and journalism students are trained as theater critics, attend shows at other schools, write reviews, and publish those reviews in local newspapers. This review of Langley High School's production of Alice in Wonderland is written by Stella Samereie of James Madison High School.

Dyslexia Open House

A Dyslexia Open House will be held tomorrow, Thursday, October 26, 4-6 p.m., at 8270 Willow Oaks Corporate Drive, Fairfax, Virginia. This event is open to staff members and families who would like to learn more about dyslexia and how FCPS supports students with dyslexia.

For the first hour, participants will have an opportunity to visit tables set up with information from a variety of departments in FCPS including the Office of the Ombuds, Office of School Psychology, and the Office of Special Education Instruction. During the second hour, speakers will address the importance of dyslexia awareness and how you can support your student. Please register today.

💊 National Prescription Drug Take Back Day

Take advantage of a free, convenient, confidential, and safe way to dispose of unused or expired medications during National Prescription Drug Take Back Day on Saturday, October 28.

Drug take back programs are organized and closely monitored by local, state, and federal government agencies. Safe disposal of unused or expired medications prevents drug abuse, misuse, and accidental poisoning. It also protects the environment. View the list of locations

🗓️ Calendar Reminders: Dia de los Muertos and All Saints Day

Día de los Muertos is an opportunity to remember and celebrate the lives of departed loved ones. Wednesday, November 1, and Thursday, November 2, are observance days this year. Watch this video to learn more about Día de los Muertos.

The school calendar recognizes many religious and cultural observances during the school year. 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. See the complete school year calendar.

🕰️ End of the First Quarter

As a reminder, Friday, November 3, is the last day of the first quarter, and a two-hour early release for students. Check your school’s website or newsletters for dismissal times. Schools are closed for students on Monday, November 6, and Tuesday, November 7, for a teacher workday. 

SIS Grade Book access for parents/caregivers and students will be unavailable from Friday, November 3, at 4 p.m., through Tuesday, November 14, at 6 a.m.

⏰ Daylight Saving Time Ends

Daylight saving time will end Sunday, November 5, at 2 a.m. Don’t forget to move your clocks back one hour!

✅ Election Day

Remember to get out and vote on Tuesday, November 7! The day will be observed as a holiday for students. For more information on voting, visit the Virginia Department of Elections website.

🏗️ FCPS Buildings Benefit All Community Members

In addition to our students and teachers, we estimate millions of visits by students and community members each year to Fairfax County public schools. Most of the public meeting and recreational facilities available in the county are FCPS facilities. FCPS works with the Fairfax County Department of Neighborhood and Community Services and with the Fairfax County Park Authority to ensure that school facilities and athletic fields are available to the public after school hours. 

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

School Board Meeting Scheduled for October 26 at 7:30 p.m.

The School Board will hold its regular business meeting on Thursday, October 26, at 7:30 p.m. Agenda highlights include:

  • Fiscal Year 2024 Revised Budget
  • Awarding of Contracts

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

🍬 Tips to Help Keep Children Safe 

The Fairfax County Police Department (FCPD) reminds parents and caregivers that it’s important to talk to your children about safety topics including:

  • What parents should know about their children’s plans.
  • Having a meeting spot in case of getting separated.
  • Establishing safe areas. 
  • What to do if you are followed.

Visit the FCPD website for more details on how to discuss safety topics.