FCPS This Week - October 26, 2022

By Communication & Community Relations
For Parents
October 26, 2022

Strategic Plan Student Survey Coming Soon!

We will soon begin the process of developing FCPS’ new Strategic Plan! Community engagement will be a critical part of this work. Starting November 2, students will be asked to complete a survey to provide feedback on their experience at school. Their responses will give us valuable insight into what is important to them and help inform the planning of the school division’s future. 

Parents/caregivers are invited to review the survey questions and can also choose to opt their children out of completing the survey. Directions on how to do so in SIS Parentvue are online, along with links to a form that can be printed. The deadline to submit an opt-out form is Friday, October 28.

Early Online College Spring Sessions

Early Online College (EOC) allows current high school juniors or seniors the opportunity to take up to two tuition-free college courses at Northern Virginia Community College (NOVA). EOC courses for the spring semester begin on January 31, 2023, and end on April 24, 2023. Courses are for college credit only. These courses were selected because they meet the requirements for most of NOVA’s associate degrees. They are also courses that are most likely to transfer and count as general education requirements for most colleges and universities.

Learn more about EOC on NOVA’s website or sign up for an informational webinar on November 2, at 6 p.m. 

Feedback Welcome on Proposed Family Life Education Changes

The Fairfax County School Board is reviewing recommended changes to the Family Life Education (FLE) curriculum and invites public feedback as part of the review process. In May 2022, the Family Life Education Curriculum Advisory Committee (FLECAC) presented recommended curriculum changes, to go into effect for the 2023-24 school year. Those changes include adopting gender-combined instruction, and exploring instruction of gender identity, recommended media, and other instructional changes. 

The recommendations reflect leading education and child development research and expert advice. According to research cited in the recommendations, these changes will create a more inclusive learning environment, result in higher academic achievement for students, and improve school climate.

Public feedback will be shared with FLECAC and the School Board. FCPS staff and the School Board will consider all feedback but are unable to reply to individuals. 

Learn more about the recommended changes. The public feedback form will be open October 31 through December 1

Fourth-Graders Revitalize, Restore, Replant

The Revitalize, Restore, Replant! (R3) program transforms existing stormwater drainage facilities (like catch basins, rain gardens, or dry ponds) on Fairfax County public school campuses into outdoor classrooms. In this video, Fairfax County Government ecologists introduce Lemon Road Elementary School fourth graders to stormwater and watershed ecosystem management and lead a hands-on native plant installation.

November Parent Resource Webinars

The FCPS Parent Resource Center (PRC) offers a welcoming and engaging environment for families, educators, and community members. It provides access to information and resources to support the success of all students, including those with learning challenges, special needs, and disabilities.

Throughout the year, the PRC hosts family and educator webinars. Upcoming sessions include: 

To join the PRC email list and receive notices of upcoming webinars, sign up for their News You Choose newsletter

ESSER Funding Information and Feedback

Several federally funded programs were authorized to support schools during the COVID-19 pandemic. The purpose of these programs was to address the impact the pandemic had, and continues to have, on students and their schools. 

Since 2020, there have been stimulus funding opportunities for school divisions to apply for Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) funds in the state of Virginia. Fairfax County Public Schools has pursued stimulus funding grant opportunities that assist our students and families.

FCPS was allocated $84 million for ESSER II and $188.8 million for ESSER III, and has been using this funding to support various divisionwide programs. The $177 million that was recently reported as “available funding” is the remaining balance for both the ESSER II and ESSER III grants combined. As of the end of September, FCPS has spent more than 75% of its ESSER II funding allocation with remaining funds being used for longer term projects (like HVAC and air quality improvements) that have been committed to, but have not been completed. We have until September 2023 to spend that funding.

FCPS has spent 40% of its ESSER III funding, and we have until September 30, 2024 to use the funds. Funding was allocated to 29 programs using an intentional multi-year approach. Detailed information describing how these funds will be used is available online. As a recipient of ESSER III funding, we are required to ask for public feedback on how we used the funds. We would like to hear from you. This feedback form will remain open through October 31. The ESSER III plan will be reviewed at an update on November 1.

Thomas Jefferson HS Application Deadline November 18

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 2027 at Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology (TJHSST).

Applications must be started by 4 p.m. Wednesday, November 16, with a deadline to submit the application by Friday, November 18, at 4 p.m.

Visit the TJHSST registration website for more information and to access the application. 

Calendar Reminders: End of the First Quarter

As a reminder, Friday, October 28, is the last day of the first quarter, and a two-hour early release for students. Also, schools are closed for students on Monday, October 31, for a teacher workday.

All Saints Day/Dia de Los Muertos

Dia de los Muertos is an opportunity to remember and celebrate the lives of departed loved ones. Tuesday, November 1, and Wednesday, November 2, are “O” Days, religious and cultural observances noted in the school calendar. To learn more about Dia de los Muertos, watch this video.

While Dia de los Muertos is largely celebrated in Mexico and Latin America, it also coincides with All Saints Day (November 1) and All Souls Day (November 2). These days are celebrated by Catholics, Anglicans, and some Protestants worldwide to honor those who have died and gone to heaven (All Saints Day) and those who may still be in purgatory (All Souls Day).

The school calendar recognizes many O days during the school year. Classes are held on these days, however, the School Board has directed that tests, quizzes, field trips, graduation, homecoming, or FCPS-scheduled athletic events not be held on these observance days. Read Regulation 2234.12 for details.

Election Day

Don’t forget to get out and vote on Tuesday, November 8! The day will be observed as a holiday for students and teachers. For more information, visit the Virginia Department of Elections website. 

See the 2022-23 School Year Calendar.

Guidelines on Religious Accommodations for Students

FCPS makes reasonable accommodations so individuals are able to meet their personal religious obligations. Parents, teachers, and administrators are encouraged to consult the Guidelines for Religious Activities for Students. You may also access this information from FCPS’ website by clicking Calendars on the menu, then clicking Calendar of Religious and Cultural Observance Days. 

Spelling Bee Ace Shares Skills with Community

For the past 18 months, a Kilmer Middle School eighth-grader has been giving up his Friday evenings to offer free tutoring in spelling to dozens of Mongolian immigrant children across the US.

Mongolian by descent and a spelling bee ace, Erdem Dulguun (pictured above holding his spelling trophies) has the skills and desire to offer academic coaching to an underserved community in need of support. As if that wasn’t enough, he went a step further.

On Saturday, October 22, the 13-year-old welcomed many of these children at The World Bank 

in Washington, D.C., to take part in his latest venturea community spelling bee for American Mongolian students. Read more about Erdem and his story.

Drug Take Back Day

Take advantage of a free, convenient, confidential, and safe disposal of unused or expired medications during Drug Take Back Day on Saturday, October 29.

Drug take back programs are a safe method for disposing of prescription drugs, and 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. Locations will be available across the county

Tips to Help Keep Children Safe

The Fairfax County Police Department reminds parents and caregivers that it’s important to talk to their children about safety. Visit their website for more details on how to discuss 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.