School Notes

School Notes

Virginia Schools Rank Third in Nation with B-minus for K-12

A leading education journal ranked Virginia’s public schools as third in the nation in student achievement based on the performance of students on national assessments in reading and mathematics, graduation rates and achievement on Advanced Placement examinations.

Education Week’s Quality Counts 2019 report awarded the commonwealth a letter grade of B- for K-12 achievement. Only Massachusetts, with a B+, and New Jersey, with a B, earned higher grades.

Superintendent of Public Instruction James Lane said: “I look forward to visiting as many schools as I can during the coming weeks and months and personally congratulating teachers, principals, administrators and support professionals for all they do as we strive to make the commonwealth’s schools the best in the nation.”

K-12 achievement comprises one third of Education Week’s three-part Quality Counts rating system. Earlier this year, the publication awarded Virginia a B on its “Chance for Success Index” and a C for school finance.

Today’s grade for K-12 achievement resulted in Virginia earning an overall grade of B- from Education Week for 2019.

The Quality Counts 2019 report is available online. Reports from previous years are also available.

FCPS to Host Sixth Annual Mental Health and Wellness Conference

Fairfax County Public Schools will host its sixth annual Mental Health and Wellness Conference beginning at 8 a.m. on Saturday, Oct. 5, at Fairfax High School in partnership with Inova and Kaiser Permanente.

The morning session, which runs from 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., will focus on social and emotional learning and features a keynote address by Marc Brackett, Ph.D., founding director of the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence. Participants will receive a copy of Brackett’s book, Permission to Feel.

A special session for high school students—the Our Minds Matter Teen Summit—will also be held during the morning session.

Breakouts will include sessions on stress and anxiety, fostering resilience, healthy use of technology, self-care, communication, family mental health services, drugs and the adolescent brain, vaping, and sport and performance psychology skills.

Act on Addiction Summit

Conference attendees are invited to stay for Inova’s Act on Addiction Summit, scheduled for 12:30 to 4 p.m.

Admiral James "Sandy" Winnefeld, co-founder of SAFE Project, a national nonprofit committed to contributing in a tangible way to overcoming the addiction epidemic, will be the keynote speaker. The summit will offer several breakout sessions addressing substance misuse identification, resources, and recovery.

Exhibit tables and resources will be available to all attendees until 1 p.m. Breakfast and lunch will be provided courtesy of Inova.

Online registration is available.

Fairfax High School is located at 3501 Rebel Run in Fairfax.

Superintendent Committed to Transparency for Boundary Review

Fairfax County Public Schools Superintendent Scott S. Brabrand met with leaders of the Fairfax County Council PTA recently to discuss the proposed changes to Policy 8130.9, which identifies when a school boundary adjustment may be considered.

Brabrand told PTA leaders that the school division is at the beginning of a process to review the policy. “There are no major boundary decisions that have been made or policy changes that have been made.”

He said suggestions that cross-town busing and open boundaries are being discussed are not true.

Brabrand said the School Board wants to make sure there is transparency and they are committed to looking at a host of factors when considering boundary decisions.

The current boundary policy has not had a comprehensive review since its 1986 adoption. The School Board has discussed the policy in public work sessions beginning in October 2018. The review of the policy was initiated because of the following issues:

• Overcrowding at several schools.

• Recognition that the current level of bond funding is not sufficient to address capacity demands, renovations (currently a 37-year cycle), and major maintenance in a timely manner.

• Reliance on trailers (over 750).

• Planned growth in specific areas of the county.

• Demand for additional Pre-K classrooms.

“We need to be making all boundary decisions in full view of the community and in full view of the School Board,” said Brabrand.

At a July 22 School Board work session, the Board directed the Superintendent to hire an outside consultant to work with the Board to identify best practices in boundary policy and engage the community in the discussion. The Board also asked the Superintendent to identify "hot" areas of overcrowding that are not included in the current FCPS Capital Improvement Program but may need a boundary adjustment.

View Dr. Brabrand’s remarks to the Fairfax County Council PTA: