FCPS Alumni and Friends: A Place for Alumni and Community to Gather

Educate Fairfax is thrilled to announce our brand new online community, FCPS Alumni & Friends, which will allow us to establish greater connections with our graduates and the community. 

Through this new network, all Fairfax County Public Schools alumni, supporters and community members will be able to stay connected and receive regular updates and news articles, along with a wide variety of information on special events, mentoring and volunteer opportunities. A directory allows you to easily find and connect with other alumni and community members, no matter where they’re located.

Graduates of FCPS schools, former school district students, supporters and local residents may sign up for this network and receive regular news and updates. This includes information on district news and events, community points of pride, and how alumni and the community can get more involved in FCPS schools. There will also be regular profiles on alumni, teachers, students and community partners who serve their communities in notable ways.

We invite you to check out the FCPS alumni network and all that this new online community has to offer. We look forward to connecting with you!

Educate Fairfax: The Foundation for Fairfax County Public Schools re-aligns to address evolving needs

The former Foundation for Fairfax County Public Schools has changed its name to Educate Fairfax. This new name better reflects the organization’s mission to elevate the community by providing enhanced resources to teachers and students across Fairfax County.

Through a refined focus on “Our Students, Our Strength,” Educate Fairfax strives to ensure that every FCPS student has a path to success.

Educate Fairfax relies upon the generous support of Fairfax businesses, educators, parents and alumni to fulfill its mission. Visit our Impact Page to see how we enhance educational opportunities for all students! Read the full release here.


Foundation for FCPS Announces 73 Grant Awards!

The Foundation for FCPS has announced the third round of grant winners for its innovative teacher grant program. For the 2021-2022 school year, the Foundation will provide $96,000 in grant awards to support 73 educators in three areas: continuity of learning, building or recovery of math and literacy skills, or social-emotional learning. The grant program was modified this year to support a strong Return to School following the pandemic.

In the first three years of the program, a total of 146 grants have been awarded, impacting nearly 55,000 FCPS students. 

Details on the grant awards can be found on the Teacher Grant page.

Thinkabit in Action at Glen Forest Elementary School

Teachers at Glen Forest Elementary School were awarded a Foundation for FCPS grant to provide a field trip for the 5th grade class to the Thinkabit Lab on the Falls Church campus of Virginia Tech. At the lab, students explore STEM related careers and assess their own strengths, interests and values. Then students work in teams, in the technical lab, to engineer, code and build a robo-craft. These creations were displayed in a gallery to the rest of the class, and everyone was able to gather valuable feedback and enjoy seeing what their classmates built.  For many students, this was the first time they had been on a college campus, or a STEM lab, or had given thought to how specific careers could be related to STEM and what that actually meant. In many cases, visiting the lab was a catalyst to change student perspectives positively about STEM careers and what is possible for their future.

Young Scholars From Mosby Woods Learn about Vertical Farming

Students in the Young Scholars program at Mosby Woods participated in a 10-week after-school program, funded through the Foundation for FCPS, to explore potential solutions to food shortages in the world. The students learned how to engineer a vertical farm as one solution to the problem. They learned how an engineer would approach the problem, and followed the engineering design process to develop and test a solution. Students used a number of resources including recycled products to build a water pump system and light system to construct three different levels of a vertical farm. They started out small,  learning about the process and uses of technology in many aspects of life, and worked up to their final design by creating window gardens, investigating ways to deliver water to different locations through tubes and pumps, and making sure each location receives direct light through lights and mirrors.

After completing their vertical farms, the students presented their findings to professionals in the field from Arcadia Center for Sustainable Food & Agriculture, and to the Fairfax Food Council. They were able to interact with professionals, and answer questions about the real-world implications of the students’ work. Students gained a lot from their experience, including working in small groups, using critical thinking, applying creative skills, and learning about environmental stewardship. All of them wanted the project to last longer!

Great job, Mosby Woods kids!

Mosby woods students present results of vertical farm work to Arcadia Center and the Fairfax food Council.

Stewardship and Service Learning at Centreville Elementary School

Centreville Elementary School has a Green Ribbon with the US Department of Education and is an Eco-School with the National Wildlife Federation. Part of the school’s philosophy is teaching students that stewardship can be a profession. To that end, the Foundation for FCPS provided a grant that enabled students to expand the school’s garden and continue to hold the student-run farmer’s market, the first such one in Virginia. Students in 4th-6th grades figure out what vegetables to grow, what factors will help them thrive, and what other materials are needed to run a successful market. The school also receives vegetables from a local organic farmer to supplement the market and enable the entire community to have more choices for healthy eating. Students learned through the year how to operate a business and developed critical life skills in collaborative, communication, planning, customer service and math.

Young Scholars Career Academy at Braddock Elementary

In the Young Scholar’s Career Academy at Braddock Elementary, 54 students in 4th and 5th grades gathered either during lunch or before school to learn about future careers and college opportunities. With funds from the Foundation for FCPS, students and parents were able to take a field trip to George Mason University, where they had a tour from a current student who also grew up locally. Grant funds also provided supplies for students to research different careers and educational paths. The students created presentation boards that looked like magazine covers for each career or college that they researched. They were surprised at the variety of potential careers that existed, and many of them learned about a path for the first time. The students held a Career and College Fair for the whole school, so everyone could benefit and see some interesting new ideas for their future. The Foundation is proud to support this important program and give students a glimpse into the possibilities.

Cedar Lane Students Collaborate to Open the Cedar Cafe

A grant from the Foundation for FCPS allowed students at Cedar Lane School to work together to create and open a cafe inside the school. Students in the Work Awareness and Transition Program, a specialized program for students with disabilities, created this student-run enterprise from scratch. Working collaboratively, the students practiced many skills, such as teamwork, integrity, positive work ethic, collaboration, communication and interpersonal skills, and problem-solving. Funds from the Foundation enabled the students to purchase a custom counter, microwave, push cart, utensils, and the consumables needed to run a cafe. Finally, the students practiced customer service skills by selling items to their community. It was an excellent example of work-based learning – the students felt comfortable handling orders from familiar people, and can see themselves expanding the cafe to more customers in the coming year. Finally, the cafe brought students together and helped them feel part of a team. They were enthusiastic about the shared goal of operating a cafe and building skills for their future. 

Bucknell and Cameron Elementary “Computer Literacy” Challenge

The art teacher at Bucknell and Cameron Elementary Schools had the great idea to inspire students to research careers and learn computer literacy and graphic design skills at the same time. Funds from a Foundation grant were used to purchase a large presentation color printer, paper and ink, so that she could work with students on Google Slides. She asked the students to select a career – something that they may be interested in learning more about – and research visual images about that career and other information, like potential salary, education requirements, etc. The students then were excited to assemble a presentation about the career they had researched, and print it on the giant paper. One hundred and seventy students were able to participate in this project, and the research they were doing led to many in-depth classroom discussions about salaries, money, taxes, and “whether or not a high income leads to a satisfying life.” The students found careers on-line that they had never heard of, researched them, and discovered they were interested in learning more. In the end, the students’ presentations were hung in the hallways of the school for everyone to read. Students learned how to research, and how to find and download images for presentations, and how to put the information together in a format that helped others understand what they had learned!

Grant from Foundation Helps AVID Students at Annandale High School Explore Careers

The AVID program in FCPS is an academic mentoring program and an elective class designed to support certain students in preparing for college. Students from under-served populations who have the capacity to attend college are identified to participate. In the elective class, these students are supported and encouraged to increase their rigor of coursework and set high goals, and ultimately attend a post-secondary program after graduation. In the 2018-19 school year, a grant from the Foundation for FCPS enabled AVID students at Annandale High School to explore career options available through either certification programs or an associate’s degree from Northern Virginia Community College. Students took two field trips, to NOVA’s Medical Education Campus and NOVA’s Annandale Campus, to explore the varying qualifications required to work in health care or tech. At the Medical Education Campus, students were intrigued by the simulators of pregnant women and babies, and were able to draw blood from a mannequin. All of the students improved their research and language skills in preparation for the field trips, as they studied different career possibilities and the educational work needed to achieve them. Teachers were impressed by the impact of taking students to these outside experiences, expanding their awareness of multiple opportunities. In the coming year, the teachers are planning even more field trips, to career fairs and colleges, to continue to show students their path to success.