Letter from the PTSA President

Dear Madison Community, 

Happy New Year! To quote a lyric that may belie my age, “Welcome back my friends to the show that never ends!” Yes it is a new calendar year, but we are working through the same academic year – and wondering how learning at JMHS will evolve between now and June. As I sat down to write this letter, the FCPS School Board was in a Work Session to discuss, among other things, Return to School plans. The situation has changed: Covid rates in the state of Virginia and Fairfax County are substantially higher than they were in the fall. FCPS is working to apply updated safety standards which consider mitigation efforts schools take to meet criteria for students to return to in-person learning. As a consultant friend of mine sometimes says, “It’s like we’re building the airplane as we’re flying it.”

So the next few months of school may be a bit of a bumpy ride. There are many uncertainties beyond any individual’s control but we can prepare for contingencies and move forward. Buckle your mental / emotional  seat belts and listen for further announcements. If I had to guess how FCPS School Board Members feel when asked “when will all our kids get back to school in person?” I’m guessing it would be like I feel when unexpectedly bad weather has left my car inching along I-95 in heavy traffic and young voice in the back seat asks, “When are we going to get there?” The truth is I may not be certain, but I know I’m doing the best that I can and am more concerned about arriving safely than as quickly as possible. 

On a positive note, the process of working towards normalcy has spawned several creative efforts. Athletics are happening without spectators, so JMHS now has its own YouTube channel to stream live sports and activities. Check out “Warhawk Nation Live” for live streams and videos of JMHS students in action.  Also JMHS Track Teams are selling “Home of a Warhawk” yard signs to promote school spirit throughout the community; they are available for purchase via MySchoolBucks.com

Lastly, the PTSA continues its mission to support all Madison students and families. In mid-December the PTSA’s “Giving Tree” provided winter clothing to many needy Madison families, many of whom have recently moved to Vienna from warmer climes. The Madison Food Pantry also provided significant support to food insecure Madison families. Thank you to all those who supported these PTSA efforts. Looking forward, the PTSA is sponsoring mock SAT & ACT tests (in partnership with Educational Connections) and mock PSAT tests (in partnership with Applerouth Tutoring). Check out the Academic Boosters tab on the PTSA website for details. 

Thank you all again for your time, effort, and creative & financial support. The PTSA is definitely a group effort. If you haven’t joined yet, please join; details at www.jmhsptsa.org. If you have any ideas about what we could do better or other initiatives we should pursue, let us know. And in any event, please join our next (virtual) PTSA meeting at 7:00 pm Monday Jan, 11, 2021. Details are posted on the JMHS PTSA Facebook page. 

Christopher Lande,
President, JMHS PTSA