The “Open FCPS” movement formed when the Covid-19 pandemic struck in early 2020, and parents no longer had the option to send their children to their public-school classrooms.
Recently, the Open FCPS movement has renamed and branded itself into the Fairfax County Parents Association (FCPA). OpenFCPS realized that one day the school system would open back up and when that happens, they do not want their group and its hard work to disappear. This was the reason they decided to rebrand.
“We are a nonpartisan group of volunteer parents who are making sure kids are priority number one in Fairfax County Public Schools,” said Christy Hudson, a FCPA member and FCPS parent. “Students are the most important stake holder in any school system, and we need to make sure they are prioritized amongst FCPS.”
“The FCPA was born out of Open FCPS when families lost the choice to send their children to school,” said Hudson. “We had learned that families and students have little voice amongst FCPS decision makers. So we learned about the FCPS inner workings and wanted to keep the momentum going, and it molded into the FCPA.”
The Fairfax County Parents Association also is made up of smaller subcommittees which are focused on particular issues. “Our subcommittees focus on specific issues of concern. When a parent has questions or concerns about things like special education, English as a second language, military, athletics or curriculum, we help them reach the correct person,” Hudson explained. “We connect people with concerns to the right person. FCPS is a massive school system, it can be overwhelming and hard to find support. We know where to go with issues since we have members who have dealt with similar problems before.”
The group is made up of parents to serve parents, but the FCPA wants the community to know they are not just another PTA group. “We are different from the PTA. What if a parent has an issue and it isn’t a minor problem that can be solved in the school? Issues within special education, for example, are bigger than the school, PTA, teacher or principal,” Hudson said. “So where do they go then for answers? We can help. We know how to contact decision makers and the right people.”
Hudson joined the cause when she felt her own kids were being disregarded by the school system. She has a recently graduated FCPS student, a rising sophomore, and an eighth grader she moved to private school last year so her child could attend class in person. “There needs to be accountability within the school board,” Hudson said. “FCPS leadership has disregarded the needs of students over the past year. They put politics over students.”
The FCPA now has their sights set on helping empower parents to advocate for their students. “The FCPA was founded by parents for parents. Over the past year we have amassed knowledge of the inner workings of the school system, and we want to share that information,” said Hudson. “We don’t want parents to be caught off guard like we were.” The FCPA also encourages people other than parents to get involved if they are interested. “Anyone can join us. Residents, taxpayers, students, parents. Check out our website (https://www.fairfaxparents.org/) to get involved.”