2020年3月18日,FCPS校董会以7 : 5 投票通过采用2021-2022年度新校历 (option D)新校历中标注了15个重要的宗教节日和传统节日以表示社区的文化多样性,其中包括中国的传统节日春节。学校在这些节日将正常开课以保证教学进度。新校历设计与CAPA-NoVA向FCPS校董会的建议几乎完全吻合,这是CAPA-NoVA正式成立以来第一次向FCPS校董会提供社区意见和成功合作。将来CAPA-NoVA会继续努力参与社区与FCPS校董会的合作,推动建立平等和谐,积极有效的良好教学环境。

附:CAPA-NOVA 给 FCPS 校董会建议信  (由 Lisa Wu, 俞婷婷,陈汉宁,王军等共同编写)

March 15th, 2021

Dear FCPS School Board Members,

Thank you very much for your responses to our CAPA-NoVA Open Letter dated March 1st on the school calendar topics, and our community would like to share more thoughts with you before the school boarding meeting to vote on this issue.

We continue to stress the importance of more inclusiveness for diversity in all forms throughout FCPS. We also believe that our broader FCPS community is facing unprecedented pandemic challenges which is a critical consideration in calendar planning. Many students are struggling to achieve the desired learning results in the virtual setting, and our working parents and school workers are struggling with financial stresses. This means that our school calendar should maximize the in-person instructional days for our students and minimize further financial stress on our working families and school workers.  In addition to what we stated in the March 1st Open Letter, we further point out the following for the school board to consider in the calendar decision:

  • A recent Washington Post article titled “Failing grades spike in Virginia’s largest school system as online learning gap emerges nationwide” reported that the percentage of middle school and high school students earning F’s in at least two classes jumped by 83 percent, resulting in nearly 10,000 FCPS students failing two or more classes by the end of the first quarter of 2020-2021 school year. We believe the pandemic has more negative impact on students from disadvantaged families because their parents may not be able to provide enough help that they need. The addition of four proposed religious holidays would further reduce in-person instruction and cause more challenges and mental wellness issues impacting our students.
  • Many FCPS part-time employees are from underrepresented groups and other lower income families who count on their daily pay to support their families and can’t afford increased non-payment holidays. The community should avoid adding more financial stress to these families.
  • Many couples in Fairfax County work full time and only have a limited number of vacation days, normally between 10 to 15 days each year. Parents need to use these vacation days to take care of personal matters, take care of sick kids, take care of themselves when they are sick, and take their family for vacations. Based on our own experience, it will be very hard to parents to spare four more days without conflicts with work or cancelling vacation plans. Adding four religious holidays has a much larger impact on the local community than to the FCPS employees and students.
  • As ruled by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1999, public schools are limited to celebrating holidays with both secular and religious significance. Since the majority of FCPS students and teachers don’t observe those holidays, FCPS risks being challenged by adding the proposed religious holidays to the school calendar.
  • FCPS should not favor one cultural or religious group over another. In addition to the four proposed religious holidays, there are many other culturally significant holidays such as the Lunar New Year and Mid-Autumn Festival observed by Eastern Asian Americans. Orthodox believers with Eastern Europe origins celebrate Christmas on a different date. Buddhists have important holidays too. It is not practical to use the school calendar in the form of days-off to fully reflect our diverse community.
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We enjoy the tremendous cultural and religious diversity in FCPS. As an alternative, we recommend that FCPS recognize and appreciate the various cultures and religious events by increasing awareness, allow students and teachers to take a day off to observe their own cultural and religious holiday(s) and avoid important academic events such as exams on these days. Recognizing these significant holidays on the FCPS calendar without marking these days off and sending messages on these holidays to celebrate the diversity in FCPS community will be welcomed by everyone without causing any negative impact on FCPS employees, students and families.

As a non-profit organization established in late 2020, CAPA-NoVA (Chinese American Parents Association Northern Virginia) has grown to over six hundred members and continues to grow rapidly. Our community has many passionate and highly educated volunteers who are eager to work with the FCPS School Board and provide our inputs and support to create a positive learning environment for students while celebrating the diverse community we live in.

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Please let us know how CAPA-NoVA can best engage on a regular cadence with FCPS system.

Very respectfully,

 

Yuyan Zhou, President of CAPA-NoVA

Jun Wang, Vice President of CAPA-NoVA

Jay Song, Vice President of CAPA-NoVA

 

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Yuyan zhou
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Yuyan zhou
3 years ago

Thanks for your tremendous effort in advocating for the interests of our community 👍

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