Dr. Noonan's Friday Update - May 21, 2021

As we near the end of the year, our team has been reflecting on the accomplishments of the last 12 months. Without a doubt, this year has been the most challenging we have ever faced. So many people have experienced trauma and tragedy. We recognize that. Despite the challenges and loss, there is still so much to celebrate. Today I wanted to highlight a few milestones during the global pandemic to spotlight our staff, faculty, leadership, parents, and students in FCCPS.

  • We had 0 COVID cases this week for the first time since returning in person! Strong mitigation measures in the schools and support at home is greatly appreciated.

  • Today we vaccinated more than 500 students aged 12-18 at Henderson -- the first school or division to hold such an event in the Fairfax Health District. They have been tremendous partners.

  • On Martin Luther King, Jr. Day and Presidents Day, we held vaccination clinics for all FCCPS staff and faculty (400 people). FCCPS was the first division to do this in the Commonwealth of Virginia.

  • FCCPS was the first division to reopen school buildings in the northern region. We started in a hybrid format, then full-time. Further, more than 90% of our secondary students and 95% of our elementary students returned in person. Our neighbors on all sides are seeing fewer than 40% of their students returning on average.

  • Our preliminary SOL scores are coming in, and we see little to no learning loss among our students. In fact, our students are achieving at higher levels in some content areas than they did in 2019.

  • In December, we successfully moved out of the old GMHS into the newly completed (on time and on budget) high school and welcomed students back immediately.

  • We negotiated the demolition of the old GMHS in preparation for a new parking lot and the commercial development.

  • FCCPS developed and successfully passed through the School Board and City Council a needs-based budget that provided ALL of our employees raises. We added positions to provide more social and emotional support for our students.

  • This week we are excited to hold an in-person prom for our GMHS students, plan for an in-person graduation at our stadium, and support an All Night Graduation Celebration in partnership with Clare and Don’s and the State Theater.

  • Lastly, FCCPS was recognized by Newsweek as the #1 school division in Virginia for the 2nd year in a row.

All of these, in a “normal” year, would be huge accomplishments. It is truly a triumph for our team, and we are proud.

To be clear, we could not have done this without the entire FCCPS Community - the leadership of our supportive School Board, our involved parents (thank you again for the very cool “Thank You Teachers and Staff” yard signs), our amazing students, and incredible teachers and staff who continually go above and beyond the call of duty to ensure success.

I’ve said to our team in FCCPS that this year feels like a marathon. If you have ever run the Marine Corp Marathon, you will never forget that the last mile is all uphill. We are in our last mile of the year and this pandemic. Let’s all keep pushing and “run through the tape.” When the year ends, we will all exhale and breathe easier, knowing that we are in a great community that cares for one another.

I hope you have a wonderful spring weekend, and remember, together, through strong support for each other, we can overcome anything!

Sincerely,

Peter Noonan