FCPS school board member, new superintendent meet with local business community

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Mount Vernon District School Board Representative Karen Corbett Sanders provides a school update at the Mount Vernon-Lee Chamber of Commerce Business Breakfast on Aug. 11, 2022.

Mount Vernon District School Board Representative Karen Corbett Sanders provided members of the Mount Vernon-Lee Chamber of Commerce with an update on local Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) at an Aug. 11 business breakfast and introduced a special guest: new FCPS Superintendent Dr. Michelle Reid.

Looking ahead at the upcoming 2022-2023 school year, Corbett Sanders said FCPS administrators are still working through some tough issues, including recovery from COVID-19 pandemic challenges, addressing staff shortages and figuring out what skill sets are needed for kids. At the same time, the school system’s graduation rates are higher than in previous years — 94.6% of FCPS students in the class of 2021 graduated on-time compared to 93% in 2020 — and Mount Vernon area students earned over $20 million in scholarships this past year. Part of that financial support was attributable to the generosity of chamber members, said Corbett Sanders.

A couple of local schools are expected to wrap up renovations this fall, she added. The majority of the renovation work at Washington Mill Elementary School — with the exception of the playground — will be done by the start of the new school year on Aug. 22. At West Potomac High School, the wet labs and new classrooms are done, but the connector between two buildings will not be ready by the first day of school due to a delay in the delivery of glasswork, said Corbett Sanders.

Front entrance of newly renovated Washington Mill Elementary School in Mount Vernon District

West Potomac’s cafeteria expansion also requires more time, according to a recent news update from Principal Dr. Tangy Millard, but the new Kiss-n-Ride will be ready in time for school opening.

Following Corbett Sanders’ presentation, Reid told chamber members a bit about herself, noting that she loves data, believes in staying curious and values strategic thinking. In coming months, she’ll be conducting a listening tour with the goal of “ensuring that the division meets the needs of each and every student.”

Chamber members were vocal about what they’d like Reid to consider and prioritize in the months ahead. Among their varied comments were requests for FCPS to focus on the increasing pressures on teachers to serve in multiple roles; to recognize that students don’t necessarily need a college degree to succeed in the business world; to prioritize innovation; and for Reid to meet regularly with Mount Vernon area stakeholders about the unique needs of students in southeastern Fairfax County.

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