Committee Reports

FCCPTA organizes many committees to serve students and PTA members. As the leading voice for parents in Fairfax County, FCCPTA also appoints parent representatives to a number of Fairfax County and FCPS Citizen Advisory Committees. Here are their reports for the October 17 General Membership Meeting:

Reflections | Denise Bolton, reflections@fccpta.org Important Notice for Reflections chairs/coordinators:School Reflections chairs must submit their schools’ 1st-place winning entries (in each arts category/age division) on Nov. 8 and 9, 2018.  

Thursday, November 8th, 4:00 pm – 7:30 pm
Friday, November 9, 10:00 am – 3:00 pm

Gatehouse Rm 3050, 8115 Gatehouse Rd., Falls Church VA, 22042

(park in underground garage, building entrance at ground level closes at 5 p.m.)

Reflections coordinators are asked to complete a log, found online at fccpta.org. This log should accompany the entries at turn-in. Thanks to those volunteers who volunteered to help at turn in!

Spelling Bee| Eliza Morss, spellingbeechair@fccpta.org The Fairfax County Spelling Bee will be held Sunday, March 17, 2019 and is tentativelyscheduled for Lake Braddock SS. Sixty schools have enrolled for the 2019 Bee, including public, private and homeschooling organizations.

Enrollment is $235 and continues through Dec. 15. To date, 60 schools have enrolled, including public, private and homeschooling organizations. Of the public schools, 32 are elementary, eight are middle schools and three are Title I.By request – and at no additional cost – in June FCCPTA expanded our sponsorship area to include Alexandria City.

For the second year, two training sessions will be scheduled in early January, 2019 at Oakton Public Library.  Sponsorshipforms are updated and available at fccpta.org. Eliza will soon recontact 2017-18 sponsors.

Future Bee leadership needed.In January Eliza will explore finding and training a replacement from amongst the current crop of local Bee coordinators.

Special Education PTA | Joanne Walton, specialeducation@fccpta.org. We had our first Special Ed Liaisons meeting with over 25 new Liaisons in attendance! We have doubled our number of Liaisons so far this year.

SEPTA’s first general meeting will be October 30 from 6:30 pm to 9 pm at Gatehouse in the Cafe. We will be joined by Supervisor John C. Cook, and Cheri Belkowitz – a local attorney who specializes in representing families in matters of special education law. Ms. Belkowitz will give a presentation entitled “Details that Make a Difference in Your Child’s Special Education.” More about her presentation can be found below:

The special education process is complex, and navigating the system can be challenging. This presentation is a excellent opportunity to expand your understanding of how to effectively use the special education process to meet your child’s needs in public school. Learn how to best advocate for your child and avoid common pitfalls! This presentation can help you improve your understanding of how to use numerous options in each part of the process, from testing and eligibility through goal-writing, accommodations, services, and annual reviews.

On Wednesday, November 7th, we will host several organizations and schools doing inclusive programming at Robinson SS Recital Hall at 7 pm. Special Olympics, Best Buddies, Walk in Our Shoes, Camelot and Frost Acceptance teams will be speaking briefly about their programs. We will also discuss Inclusive Schools week December 3-7th.

December 1st is our 2nd Annual Barnes & Noble Book Fair from 1-5 pm. This year we are at the Fair Lakes AND Springfield locations! We will have Guest Readers and Performers as well as face painting.

Advanced Academics Program Advisory Committee (AAPAC)| Terri Radziewski, aapac@fccpta.org. Charge:AAPAC will examine current AAP Level II-IV identification practices in order to make recommendations for additional outreach and support to historically underrepresented populations.

The First AAPAC meeting of the 2018-2019 school year was held Tuesday evening, 10/2/2018. We elected our co-chairs for the season, received updates from the AAP Office from the summer, reviewed the response to last year’s Committee Report to the School Board, and reviewed this year’s charge. In small groups we discussed the charge and made lists of “What we Know” “What we Need to Know” and “What Resources We’ll Need” to address the charge for the year.

Advisory Committee for Students with Disabilities (ACSD)| Ann-Marie Ward, ACSD@fccpta.org. ACSD has held two meetings in the 2018-19 school year. The ACSD advises the school board on issues surrounding special education services in FCPS.

This year, the school board has charged the ACSD to:

  1. Explore FCPS practices regarding transition to post-secondary opportunities for students with disabilities.
  2. Make recommendations designed to improve division-wide practices to improve post-secondary outcomes for students who exit or graduate from FCPS services.

Additionally, the ACSD will identify other unmet needs for students with disabilities and follow up on previous recommendations with county staff.

Members of the public are invited to attend ACSD meetings, which are held the second Wednesday of each month. Public comments (limit of 3 minutes) are encouraged. Interested parties may register to speak in person before the meeting begins. Details, including meeting dates, agendas, and minutes are available at https://www.fcps.edu/committee/advisory-committee-students-disabilities-acsd

Families are also encouraged to take advantage of the FCPS Parent Resource Center, which provides free workshops, consultations, and lends library materials to support the success of all students. More information is available at https://www.fcps.edu/resources/family-engagement/parent-resource-center

Career and Technical Education Advisory Committee (CTEAC)| Monique Roberts, cteac@fccpta.org

Highlights of the CTEAC meeting that was held Tuesday, September 25.

  1. We had introductions of new members. There were many motivated members on the board and everyone is excited for a new year with CTEAC.
  2. We reviewed our calendar for the year and our plan for the school board.
  3. We had a plan for two workshops at at the NOVA District EXPO to have a overview/focus group but due to lack of parental interest it was postponed for a later date.

Community Action Advisory Board| Beth Tudan, caab@fccpta.org

The CAAB mission is to empower residents to achieve self-sufficiency and reach their full potential.

To achieve this mission, the CAAB employs advocacy, provides education, and offers funding for effective community-based programs. CAAB focus on issues, including homelessness and poverty, facing members of the Fairfax County community. Over 28 percent of FCPS students receive free or reduced cost lunch in FCPS. Over 82,000 Fairfax County residents receive Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits. Over 69,000 Fairfax County residents live in poverty.

Cornerstones:In October, Cornerstones presented their program in dealing with homelessness in Reston and Herndon.  They have homeless shelters, food pantries, and housing.  The average stay is five years.  That length of time is helpful for children and their schooling.

Presentation about CAAB: On Wednesday, October 17th at 7:30 PM, Michele Menapace will be making a presentation about the Community Action Advisory Board before the Advisory Social Services Board and discussing how the two boards can work together to support their missions.  The meeting will be held in Conference Room 9/10 of the Government Center.

Upcoming Coat and Toy Drive:In October we hope to give away 3,000 new coats to children from Title 1 schools. There is a coat drive event takes place on Friday October 26,2018 from 8:30 am-12:00 PM.  They also have a toy giveaway on Monday December 17, 2018 from 8:30 AM- 12:00 PM.  The location is: Fire Station 11,

6624 Hulvey Terrace, Alexandria, VA Battalion Chief Willie F. Bailey

Affordable Housing for Older Adults: Everyone knows that housing is expensive in Fairfax County – and that includes new housing designed for seniors interested in a smaller, more manageable home. On Fairfax 50+ Podcast, Host Jim Person speaks to two county housing department officials about a new group of affordable homes designed especially for older adults considering downsizing as well as those who are unsure whether they can afford a home. Tune in at: https://soundcloud.com/fairfaxcounty/fairfax-50-affordable-housing-for-seniors-sept-26-2018?in=fairfaxcounty/sets/fairfax-50-podcast

Family Life Education Curriculum Advisory Committee (FLECAC)| Risa May, flecac@fccpta.org

The FLECACfor levels K through 12 was established by the School Board to advise the K-12 Coordinator for Health, Family Life, and Physical Educationon Program of Studies development (goals, objectives, media, and special instructional materials) and implementation.

VDOE guidelines allow local school divisions to implement a locally developed plan, provided that “a local curriculum plan shall use as a reference the Family Life Education Standards of Learningobjectives approved by the Board of Education….”

This Advisory Committee is chaired by the current Coordinator, Elizabeth Payne. The agenda for the SY18-19 is to identify “gaps” in the current curriculum, review proposed new media items, and address issues as they arise.

From the October 11 meeting: The current Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) Standards of Learning for Family Life Education include a lengthy section on parenting, intended to help students prepare for this role, themselves.  Example of one lesson objective: “The student will explain the stages of growth and development in children.” We reviewed these standards and decided not to add them, as a unit of study. Instead, we identified a number of objectives, primarily addressing the economic impact of having children, that might be especially important to review. The Chair offered to have her curriculum development team look at these and make recommendations about where they might fit in the current program. To be continued at the next meeting.

The FLECAC last year recommended that this year’s group consider adding the topic of pornography to the FLE curriculum. Additionally, the Chair received a number of inquiries about this from other sources. We discussed this issue and shared ideas and research about the impact on youth – both as consumers of porn (viewing it), and creators of porn (sexting, revenge porn, cyber-bullying by sharing images). Consensus grew around the idea of including new material about the risks of sharing sexual images, and expanding the lesson on sexting already in FLE so it is taught in more grades.  Currently it is only mentioned in 8thgrade, and the recommendation was to include 6thand 7thgrades, also. This topic, also, will be continued at the next meeting, once the FLE team has a chance to develop an outline to propose.

Minority Student Achievement Oversight Committee (MSAOC)| Maya Castillo, msaoc@fccpta.org

2018-19 Committee Charge (summarized): Undertake the review and assessment of initiatives, programs, and policies impacting student discipline, advanced academic and recruitment, retention, hiring and deployment.

The committee broke into working groups to take on each piece of the above charge.  The working groups are “advanced academics,” “student discipline,” “teacher hiring, assignment and retention,” and “closing the achievement gap.”  Each committee assigned roles within the working group and discussed 2017 recommendations questions be assessed, generated additional questions, and begin to identify follow up.

School Health Advisory Committee (SHAC)| Elizabeth Ende, health@fccpta.org

SHAC appointees this year include 29 people: parents, a student, health professionals, educators, and others.  At the September meeting, we discussed the following items:

  1. How to reduce student stress levels. Discussions are ongoing and include ideas such as: limits on number of AP classes, number of tests on same day, and sports, band and theater practice times; helping students deal with stress created by threats at school; getting feedback from students (Madison Minds Matter students will talk to us in October); and we will review Youth Survey results (November).
  2. How new recess guidelines are working (two 15-minute recesses, and recess not to be withheld as punishment or so students can complete unfinished work or take tests). FCPS reported that recess training and resource webpage have been shared with elementary principals and staff. Based on community feedback, FCPS is also investigating how it can implement recess for sixth graders at middle schools.
  3. Evaluating wellness report metrics. All schools have three representatives on their wellness team. In September,FCPS sent a Wellness Newsletter to the wellness representatives.  To view metrics, visit https://www.fcps.edu/node/36633  or google “FCPS School Wellness Reporting”. There is a report for each school and an executive report.

Successful Youth and Child Policy Team (SCYPT)| Michelle Leete, scypt@fccpta.org

SCYPT is comprised of leaders from multiple sectors within Fairfax County. The team’s role is to set community-wide goals and priorities for public policy as it relates to children, youth and families. According to the team’s charter, “in order to become confident individuals, effective contributors, successful learners and responsible citizens, all of Fairfax County’s children need to be safe, nurtured, healthy, achieving, active, included, respected and responsible. This can only be realized if the county, schools, community and families pull together to plan and deliver top-quality services, which overcome traditional boundaries.”

During the October 3 meeting, SCYPT members endorsed a funding request for Behavioral Health Blueprint.Newfunding would expand crisis response services ($100,000), expand behavioral health treatment services for underserved populations ($130,000), and establish a psychiatric consultation program for pediatricians and family physicians ($100,000). This funding would make services more efficient and effective, and able to serve more youth, because they would help free up other existing services for youth with the greatest needs.

The SCYPT also voted to endorse funding for the Equitable School Readiness Strategic Plan. Funding is to expand family-child playgroups to support social emotional competency development ($80,000), expand the pilot of the Early Development Instrument ($15,000), expand pre-kindergarten program access ($1,443,479), maintain VPI+ classrooms in FCPS ($650,300), increase financial assistance in the Child Care Assistance and Referral program ($1,000,000), and develop an early childhood mental health consultation program ($170,000). Much of the initial strategies are focused on increasing program slots for low income families, but that the plan is focused more broadly, and the new efforts will be aimed at universal access to programs.

For more information visit https://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/health-humanservices/scypt.

Trauma Informed Community Network (TICN)| Jenna White, ticn@fccpta.org

At the October TICN meeting, attendees learned more about the newly launched Campaign for a Trauma Informed Virginia.  The goal of the campaign is to influence state policymakers to adopt trauma-informed approaches by increasing investments in prevention of trauma and adopting trauma-informed and evidence-based practices across the state agencies that impact children and families.  This campaign strives to connect local partners, stakeholder groups, advocates, state agency leaders, and elected officials in order to create and advance a unified state policy agenda for trauma-informed policy and practice.  Learn more and sign up for updates on policies affecting children, including education at vakids.org.