Superintendent’s Weekly Reflections | Fairfax County Public Schools
I hope you had the opportunity to enjoy today’s cool fall weather accented by blue skies. Even though the temperatures have been somewhat chilly, the bright sunlight provides that light and energy that I’m sure we can all enjoy as we head into the week ahead.
After many wet days, it is nice to see the sun again! Welcome home to all of our high schools celebrating this weekend, including Herndon High School. I was so excited to join the parade and this weekend’s football game against Yorktown High School. The Hornets were inspiring for sure.
I also had the opportunity to be at the Steamology STEM festival on Saturday at Walt Whitman MS. It was a great opportunity for students to explore robotics, coding, experiments, and other activities with students from across FCPS. I posted some photos of all the festivities on my Instagram account. Be sure to follow me here! We are very grateful for the many community partnerships that make these events possible.
Wednesday was World Teachers’ Day, held annually on October 5 to celebrate all teachers around the world. Thank you to all of our teachers for your service and commitment to each of our students – it matters! I think we can all remember those teachers who impacted our lives. On Fox 5 Morning News, our Equity Manager, Dr. Nardos King, shared his memories of the teachers who made a difference in his life. Here is a link to watch the clip. I would love to hear which teacher made a difference in your life. Do you recognize their influence in your work today?
At Thursday night’s school board meeting, a resolution was passed in honor of National Principals Month. October is National Principals Month, so I would like to personally thank our fantastic principals at FCPS. I want to share how important our principals and vice principals are to carrying out our basic work in the schools. I applaud their passionate justice-centered leadership and invite you to share your personal thanks during the month with your principal. I firmly believe that it is only through the power of public education that our communities and our country will remain strong. Each of us plays a role and together, anything is possible…
On Wednesday morning, I joined Col. Joseph V. Messina, Fort Belvoir Garrison Commander, at Fort Belvoir Elementary School to record a video promoting the upcoming Impact Aid survey. Did you know that Fort Belvoir provides services to over 216,000 military, civilian, retirees and families? FCPS has many military related families in our schools, not just on base. In fact, the number of military families in our school system is comparable to all of the schools in the city of Virginia Beach! FCPS has a webpage with resources to support the transition of our military families to our schools and to support them when they are with us, even if for a short time. I will also be hosting a community conversation with military families visiting this week.
On Monday night, I moderated the Mount Vernon Pyramid Community Conversation. In addition to parents/guardians and community members, there was a strong representation of teachers and staff. They all had at least one thing in common which is an intense passion for their schools. I really appreciated everyone’s candor and concern that their students have the same access and opportunities as those in other parts of the county. A parent wondered how we can keep the promise to meet every child by name and needs when the resources are not there. I don’t have that answer yet, but I remain steadfastly committed to ensuring that every student in every public school in Fairfax County has the tools and support they need to thrive in a world yet to be imagined. . Thanks to Principal JoVon Rogers and her staff for organizing the event. Our next Community Conversation will be on Tuesday, October 11 at Oakton High School. Hope to see you there!
If you missed it earlier this week, please take the time to read my very important message regarding the alarming increase in fatal opioid overdoses in Fairfax County. The letter, posted on our website, includes important links to resources for our community to help prevent substance use and support those with substance use disorders. Northern Virginia is a community with strong resources and support for families. Together, anything is possible.
I would like to thank the Fairfax County NAACP for inviting me to attend their Freedom Fund Luncheon this past weekend. It was inspiring to be part of the event that honored so many people who have done so much in our community; Together, anything is possible.
Thursday morning I had the pleasure of joining the FCPS Bus Drivers and Attendants Advisory Council meeting. I know how important our drivers and chaperones are in setting the tone for the day for so many of our students and being the last friendly face of the afternoon. I appreciate all the information provided by our transportation team on the joys and challenges of this job. After the meeting, Francine Furby, Director of Transportation Services, showed me around the Lorton Transportation Center. I met the dedicated Zone 7 staff, including Debbie Keller. Debbie has dedicated 33 years to FCPS! She continues to drive because she says our students are “the bees’ knees”. I agree! Thanks to Debbie and all of our transportation staff!
Next Wednesday is Walk & Roll to School Day. There are so many great reasons to walk or cycle to school when it’s safe to do so! I can’t wait to see all the pictures of our participating schools. Be sure to tag FCPS on Instagram and Twitter!
Reflecting on recent events, I remember something William Arthur Ward (1921-1994) shared; “Three keys to a more abundant life: caring for others, daring for others, sharing with others.” As I think of our amazing and bountiful fall season, I look forward to getting outside this week and hope you too find time to crunch leaves, walk trails, or whatever brings you joy. at this time of year. the possibilities….
Michelle Reid, Ed.D.
Fairfax County Public Schools