Partnership Update - December 2023

Latest News with FCPS Business and Community Partnerships

New and Expanded Ignite Partnerships

Following are two new and one expanded Ignite Partnership that we’re excited to share.

The Brooking Institution

Group shot of 17 Rooms participants at Lewis High School including students from across FCPS.

The Brookings Institution and the FCPS Instructional Services Department are collaborating on what Brookings calls the 17 Rooms initiative

The 17 Rooms initiative is a convening that encourages middle and high school students to come together, share insights, and cooperate to advance “next step” global actions spanning 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The overall goal of this new partnership is to bring together some 200 students from across the school division to generate and elevate actionable ideas for local priorities — those stated as global issues in the SDGs.

Love Like Adam Foundation

Courtney White presenting from a gym floor to students in the bleachers at University of Lynchburg.The local Love Like Adam Foundation creates awareness for high school students of potential dangers on college campuses including hazing, sexual assault, binge drinking, signs of alcohol poisonings and drug overdoses. 

The nonprofit was created by Courtney White in honor of her cousin, Adam Oakes, who died from hazing in 2021 at Virginia Commonwealth University. 

In this new Ignite Partnership, two employees from the Love Like Adam Foundation will offer interactive presentations, workshops and lessons to engage thousands of high school seniors in FCPS.

Adam’s Law, Virginia’s Anti-Hazing Law, aims to equip high school students to make informed decisions when joining teams, clubs, organizations, and other groups, especially as they embark on their transition to independence at colleges, trade schools, collegiate level sports, and more.  

Virginia’s Anti-Hazing Law

§ 18.2-56. Hazing unlawful; civil and criminal liability; duty of school, etc., officials; penalty.

It shall be unlawful to haze so as to cause bodily injury, any student at any school or institution of higher education.

Any person found guilty thereof shall be guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor.

Any person receiving bodily injury by hazing shall have a right to sue, civilly, the person or persons guilty thereof, whether adults or infants.

Think Big for Kids

The not-for-profit Think Big for Kids has expanded its workforce development partnership beyond the original five participating middle schools and now includes Whitman Middle School.

The schools selected earlier this year and already offering career showcases are Herndon, Holmes, Johnson, Key and Liberty middle schools.

Think Big’s mission is to prepare students to excel in today’s workforce. In Think Big’s model in Fairfax County, roughly 20 partner companies are working with the Fairfax County Economic Development Authority (FCEDA) to schedule and introduce students to different careers, identify general interests and begin to shape individualized career tracks.

Pictured are students from Holmes Middle School working on specific civil engineering transportation challenges in the fictitious village of Tinseltown. The lesson is being brought to them by engineers from Gorove Slade, transportation planners and engineers who signed on as Think Big for Kids partners.  

If your business is interested in partnering with FCPS through the Think Big for Kids initiative, reach out to Layla Mailoudi, talent specialist, FCEDA, at [email protected].

Students at Holmes MS learning about transportation engineering from GOROVE SLADE engineers during a Think Big for Kids showcase.Think Big for Kids logo.Holmes Middle School Student and a highlighter marking the key on the map of fictitious Tinseltown.


Change and a Check

GrandInvolve Executive Director Dorothy Keenan and members of the GrandInvolve board presenting a $39,380 check to Educate Fairfax.

As the volunteer work of longtime Ignite Partner GrandInvolve shifts from being part of a stand-alone 501c3 not-for-profit, to a program run by Fairfax County’s Neighborhood and Community Services, some housekeeping needed to take place, including the distribution of remaining funds.

GrandInvolve’s board of directors unanimously selected Educate Fairfax, the school division’s primary foundation, to receive a check for $39,380. The donation will be shared equally between GrandInvolve partner Title I elementary schools and is earmarked for durable equipment that will enhance each school's ability to provide for the particular needs of their learning environment.

As you may have read in previous Partnership Update newsletters, Neighborhood and Community Services has seamlessly absorbed the program, now called NCS-GrandInvolve, and together we’re ready to build on the success of GrandInvolve’s legacy. 

To the board of directors at GrandInvolve and their founder Dorothy Keenan, thank you for this thoughtful and generous donation.


All Eyes on Learning at Aim High Event

Falls Church and Marshall high school student paying close attention at an Aim High event.

Business and Information Technology students from Falls Church and Marshall high schools traveled to Capital One’s campus in Tysons Corner for the inaugural Aim High Capital One Coders Varsity event. 

The half-day immersive event included a tour of the Capital One Headquarters, offering a firsthand look into the constantly changing landscape of tech careers.

Thanks to a sponsorship from the JPMorgan Chase Foundation, this initiative connects Northern Virginia Technology Council (NVTC) tech champions with local high schools so that students receive career exposure and learn about training, mentorship, and internship opportunities. 

During guided conversations, students were given the opportunity to engage with industry professionals by posing questions and sharing and exploring insights. Advice from one student to the next on the post event survey revealed the value of the conversations: “Ask as many questions as you can. The responses that were given were very informative and insightful.”

Capital One, as an Aim High Champion, is dedicated to collaborating with FCPS students on many fronts. This new approach, where a work-based tour is involved, is an exciting way for students to picture themselves at work.

Whether it’s engaging Aim High through career exploration, by extending an internship, or providing an apprenticeship, the benefits reach everyone involved.

Extending internships, according to Matt Bechtel, FCPS Work-Based Learning specialist, is increasingly important for operations who look to grow their workforce with people who are skilled and passionate about their work. “During our visit, we learned that over 90% of Capital One's college student interns transition into full-time roles post-graduation. Envisioning a future where Aim High Champions continue to broaden opportunities, we aspire to see internships extended beyond the college level to empower high school students on their journey to success.”

To learn more about NVTC’s Aim High initiative in partnership with Northern Virginia Community College and Fairfax County Public Schools, and how your company can get involved, reach out to Matt Bechtel of the FCPS Work-Based Learning team at [email protected].


Education and Workforce Solutions are Center Stage at National and Statewide Conferences 

National Partnership for Student Success Summit

U.S. Secretary of Education Dr. Miguel Cardona speaking at the Student Success Summit

U.S. Secretary of Education Dr. Miguel Cardona offered the opening remarks at the 2023 National Partnership for Student Success Summit. Secretary Cardona encouraged educators and leaders of participating education support organizations to continue expansion of the National Partnership for Student Success (NPSS).

The NPSS helps states, schools, local communities, youth development organizations, colleges and universities, and others who support youth to implement, expand, and improve programs supporting students through five evidence-based roles:  Mentors, Tutors, Student Success Coaches, Postsecondary Transition Coaches, and Integrated Student Supports Coordinators.

Breakout sessions at the summit covered topics relevant to today’s educational challenges including addressing chronic absenteeism, strategies to implement high impact tutoring, expanding professional pathways for students and more.

2023 Virginia Education and Workforce Conference

Five panelists and a moderator on stage at the Virginia Education and Workforce Conference

Internships, work-based learning, talent pathways, increasing social mobility and getting unemployed and underemployed people in the workforce were among the many topics discussed at the Virginia Chamber Foundation’s 2023 Virginia Education and Workforce Conference.

Hosted at the Greater Richmond Convention Center, the conference brought together political and business leaders as well as higher and K-12 education leaders to discuss ways to position the state’s workforce for success.

Data presented at the conference highlighted workforce challenges nationally and in the commonwealth, but solutions took center stage as speakers and panelists put forth ideas on ways to reduce the time and cost to earn a college degree, ways to develop valuable paid internships, and the benefits of looking toward and developing often overlooked populations including formerly incarcerated people.

As evidence that social mobility matters, 88% of respondents to a Growth4VA survey agree that “Since social mobility is especially important in our diverse state, Virginia’s Governor and General Assembly should work to increase student financial aid so that college is more affordable for low-income and first-generation college students.”

The summary of a 2023 Growth4VA Public Opinion Survey entitled Virginia Voter Attitudes on Higher Education and the Economy, concluded that, “In a time of great political division, there is something on which Virginians in both parties strongly agree: It’s time to invest in Virginia’s talent.” 


Science and Engineering Fair Sponsors and Judges Needed

Robinson Secondary School's gym filled with students and judges at the science fair

Each year, businesses and organizations provide support for the Fairfax County Regional Science and Engineering Fair by sponsoring awards and serving as judges.

Judging for this year’s fair will be in-person on Saturday, March 16th, 2024 at Robinson Secondary School in Fairfax, VA

More information about the Science and Engineering Fair, including the form to register your organization, can be found under the “Special Awards from Organizations” section on the FCPS website:

Your dedication and support for the Fairfax County Regional Science and Engineering Fair is necessary, and appreciated. More importantly, judging is a lot of fun and quite a learning experience. 

Contact Brian Schwenk, FCPS Regional Science and Engineering Fair Special Awards Coordinator at [email protected]. Please do not hesitate to reach out with any questions.


Forestdale Elementary School’s New Generous Neighbor

Forestdale Elementary School Principal Jennifer Cunneen accepting a $5,000 check from Burlington, their new neighbor.

A big thank you is in order to the Burlington store team at Springfield Mall for their donation through AdoptAClassroom to Forestdale Elementary School which is located in the shadows of the new store.  The store opened on November 10, and Burlington made an impression that day!

The Forestdale team, as a way to say thank you, invited their new neighbors to the school’s Thanksgiving Luncheon. Forestdale Principal Jennifer Cunneen says that they’re using the funds to purchase teaching and learning materials. 

Thank you Burlington. Thank you AdoptAClassroom.