January 2024 Newsletter

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January 2024 Newsletter


Greetings and Happy New Year, Bryant Families.  We hope this first newsletter of the 2024 year finds you in good health.  Despite the wide ranges of temperatures, we have experienced this month-from frigid cold and snow to record breaking warmth- the atmosphere at Bryant remains consistently sunny and warm.  We are happy to have your students back in the building because we know that's where student engagement and success happens!  We kindly request families to encourage their student to arrive to school daily and on time.  

Bryant proudly houses an outstanding program known as Jobs for Virginia Graduates, spearheaded by Mrs. Erika Hisey, a former FCPS ESOL teacher.  This initiative is part of the broader Jobs for America's Graduates umbrella.  The primary objective of JVG is to empower youth with the skills needed to discover opportunities, assist them in obtaining a high school diploma, and support them in transitioning from school to the workforce.  JVG is committed to curbing dropout rates and enhancing job readiness.

This month, Ms. Hisey facilitated an engaging session on Careers in Education, featuring a guest speaker who shared her personal journey to becoming an educator.  Emphasizing the importance of being open to possibilities and discovering what brings you joy, the speaker highlighted how this exploration can lead to finding one's own profession and passion.  

A true highlight for our students was a trip to The National Museum of the United States Army, a hidden gem right in our own backyard in Lorton. This museum celebrates over 245 years of Army history and pays tribute to our nation's soldiers.  The visit was particularly meaningful as many of our Bryant students aspire to belong to a branch of service.  

If you would like to know more information about JVG or have your student get involved, please contact Ms. Hisey at [email protected].  

Bryant High School boasts another outstanding program known as College Partnership Program (CPP).  CPP is designed to equip students with the necessary tools for college preparation.  Monthly meetings, college visits, and assistance with various college-related tasks are just a few of the valuable offerings provided by CPP.  Ms. Meletiche and Ms. Veenstra, two dedicated school counselors, facilitate this program.  

These two counselors organized a panel featuring first-generation college-goers for our CPP students.  These four panelists openly shared their personal journeys and pathways to obtaining their college diplomas.  Additionally, they candidly shared the challenges and barriers they faced along the way.  Despite facing adversity, they persevered and stayed committed to achieving their goals of earning a college degree. It was an inspiring session for all.  

Our very own talented and gifted art teacher, Ms. Smith-Gilmore recently had her art on display at The Lorton Workhouse Arts Center.  Here is a picture of Ms. Smith-Gilmore and her art exhibit called The Planets.  


The "Safe Space" group, led by five remarkable women at Bryant, provides crucial support and encouragement for young female students.  Meeting bi-weekly, this group offers a secure and open environment for participants to share their feelings and receive guidance in navigating both their high school journey and post-secondary goals.  At a recent January event, the group celebrated their graduating February seniors with a heartfelt farewell party and thoughtful gift cards.  For everyone involved, being part of this group has proven to be a transformative experience.  

Referring to our upcoming February seniors, Bryant recently hosted an Awards Assembly to recognize and celebrate the dedication of our soon-to-be graduates.  Attending a Bryant graduation is a memorable experience, and this year's February graduation is scheduled for Wednesday, the 7th, at 4pm at Bryant High School.  Many seniors were awarded scholarship funds and acknowledged for their exemplary work ethic, notable achievements, and positive attitude.   Graduates Selina Duven took home the Bryant English Award and Sandija Prova was awarded the Maureen Hanrahan Scholarship.

It's incredible how time flies, and counselors are now gearing up to register students for the upcoming school year 24-25.  Throughout February and March, student conferences will be conducted with their respective school counselors.  These sessions will focus on creating individualized graduation plans, highlighting the necessary classes and tests required for graduation.

In an effort to enhance our course offerings at Bryant, we are introducing new opportunities, including a Welding class, a full-time Cosmetology program, and a Medical Coding/Billing course.  We encourage you to connect with your student's school counselor or visit our website for more detailed information. Course Catalogue 24-25

Bryant is thrilled about these additional opportunities that not only allow students to broaden their horizons but also pave the way for career opportunities.  


Mental Health, Coping & Addiction

One in four Americans suffer from a mental illness. Almost 3 in 5 people with mental health challenges will not receive treatment or medication. In 2019, an estimated 19% of adults in the United States (47.6 million) dealt with a mental health challenge, but only 43% received any kind of mental health care (Johns Hopkins). People often turn to alternative methods to cope with issues that are uncomfortable topics to speak about. These reasons include turning to drugs, alcohol, food, etc. Coping mechanisms are habits formed over time that serve to help a person manage difficult situations or high stress levels. These mind-altering substances are sometimes used as coping mechanisms for stress, difficult emotions, physical ailments, focusing, and other issues. Drugs and alcohol can provide a temporary moment away from the reality of everyday life. Substances can enhance the feelings of pleasure, decrease feelings of anxiety and restraint. Substance use can be an unhealthy coping mechanism. Not all coping mechanisms are destructive or fail to provide appropriate or adequate adjustment to the environment or situation; however, addiction is both.

Before using drugs as a coping strategy here are some recommendations for a healthier mindset. The main goal is to identify the “void” or issue and work towards healing. In the meantime, experts recommend diet and exercise as great places to start. Schedule a visit to your Primary Care Physician and a Professional Counselor if needed. Quality sleep is also a major factor in the stabilization of a healthy mind. Surround yourself with people who are supportive and good examples. Keep in mind that finding balance in life is an ongoing process. Lastly, don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it.

For general questions about the FCPS Substance Abuse Prevention Program, please contact the Office of Student Safety & Wellness at: (571) 423-4270.


Substance Use Disorder info

FCPS Social Work

For further information & support

Shawn Elliott, BS, QMHP-C

Substance Abuse Prevention Specialist

[email protected]

Edison Academy invites families to attend their in-person Open House event on Saturday, February 3rd from 10:00 am- 1:00 pm.  Edison HS is located at 5801 Franconia Road, Alexandria, VA  and Door #13.  You will have the opportunity to tour their state-of-the-art facilities, meet their instructors and current students, and learn more about their incredible courses.  

See attached flyer

Bryant staff look forward to hearing from you and partnering together to build a stronger home and school partnership.  If you or your family are in need, our food pantry is stocked with hygiene items, clothing and food supplies  Please reach out to our Family Liaison, Ms. Zeury at [email protected] for additional resources.  Ms. Zeury will also be sharing more information on Talking Points about an Immigration Seminar that is coming your way.

Together, we embody the spirt of BRYANTSTRONG.  

2709 Popkins Lane Alexandria, VA 22306  | Main Office: 703-660-2000
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December Newsletter

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December 2023


How time flies! It's hard to believe that 2023 is drawing to a close and a new year is beginning.  As we say goodbye to the past year, our Bryant family extends warm wishes to everyone for a healthy and happy holiday season.  We look forward to the return of our incredible Bryant students on Tuesday, January 2nd, 2024.  

On December 16th, Bryant warmly welcomed Ms. Belinda Williams as our new Assistant Principal.  With over 27 years of experience in education, Ms. Williams began her career as an English teacher and, most recently, served as an Assistant Principal at West Potomac.  Beyond her wealth of experience, Ms. Williams brings phenomenal energy and enthusiasm to our school. Bryant is thrilled to have Ms. Williams join Bryant High School.  

Our Holiday Winter Blanket Activity was a huge success, with students from all programs joyfully selecting their own warm, soft, and cuddly blankets.  As they indulged in cookies and hot chocolate, each student had the pleasure of choosing a blanket to call their own.  We extend our heartfelt gratitude to the South County and West Potomac Community for their incredible donation of 375 blankets.    

Twenty Bryant students embarked on a trip to Wilson College to explore its campus.  Wilson College boasts a specialized program that uniquely enables young mothers to pursue their college education while having the invaluable experience of having their child live with them on campus.  School Counselor Ms. Veenstra arranged this special day for all students, providing them with the opportunity to experience the atmosphere of a college campus. 

For the past 21 years, New Hope Church in Lorton has been dedicated to spreading joy during the holiday season by gifting presents to our parenting teens and their babies.  On December 15th, Project Opportunity hosted its annual holiday gathering, where students expressed their gratitude by writing heartfelt thank-you notes to the wonderful HER Ministry ladies who carefully selected and purchased these gifts.  

Please join us in congratulating our school-based excellence award winners.  They are Mr. Ramon Lee, Outstanding School Based Leader, Ms. Ann Clark-Berry, Outstanding School Based Professional Employee, and Mr. Ron Virts, Outstanding Teacher.  All three individuals move to the next round at the region office and we wish them the very best.  They are exceptional educators, and we consider ourselves fortunate to have them as part of the Bryant HS community. 

During December and the upcoming month of January, Standards of Learning testing will be conducted.  These tests hold significant importance as students meet specific graduation requirements, and these assessments play a crucial role in fulfilling these criteria.  The second quarter will conclude on January 25th, and we urge all families to support our students in finishing strong.  

Persistent absenteeism remains a challenge to student engagement, learning, and overall success. Our dedicated staff continues to emphasize the importance of regular attendance.  We encourage parents and families to reach out their school counselor to schedule an attendance conference if needed.  We want to partner together to ensure academic success and well-being.  

                                              FCPS Resources:

No Cost Mental Health Therapy:  https://www.fcps.edu/teletherapy

Free/Reduced Meals Application:  www.fcps.edu/frm

No Cost Tutoring:  https://www.fcps.edu/family-resources/tutoring-options-fcps/tutorcom-online-tutoring-services

Sign up for newsletters:  https://public.govdelivery.com/accounts/VAEDUFCPS/subscriber/new?qsp=VAEDUFCPS_1

2709 Popkins Lane Alexandria, VA 22306  | Main Office: 703-660-2000
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Bryant High School November Newsletter

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November Newsletter

We sure hope this newsletter finds you and your family well and that you enjoyed a nice Thanksgiving.  As we step into the month of December, we anticipate a busy and yet brief month, as the holiday break kicks off on Monday, December 18th, and the students are set to return on Tuesday, January 2nd, 2024!

On November 17th, 11 students traveled over to Edison High School to attend the Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) event. These institutions of higher education in the US were established before the Civil Rights Act of 1964.  It was an amazing experience and one of our students was accepted into Morris College on the spot! Our Career Center has also hosted speakers from Northern Virginia Community College (NOVA), and Adult Community Education (ACE).  Please reach out to your child's school counselor for more information about these programs.  We want to ensure that all students have a post-secondary plan in place, whether it be college, work, military, or an apprenticeship.  

Twenty-six students took a field trip to the Workforce Innovation Skills Hub (WISH) on Monday, November 20th.  This incredible community resource is helping our students develop workplace readiness skills and assisting with finding jobs.  Our students were there to investigate a career with the Steamfitters Union and our math teacher, Ms. Robinson, is helping our seniors with the necessary math preparation to complete the application. To find out more information about all the services, WISH offers please visit their website.   https://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/familyservices/employment-and-training/wish

Bryant celebrated the academic achievement of its students at an Awards Assembly right before Thanksgiving break.  Bryant students are some of the hardest working, committed, and dedicated students in FCPS.  In addition, each teacher recognized individual students who go above and beyond in their attendance, behavior, and grades. Bryant takes immense pride in our hardworking students who put forth effort everyday to improve their future selves and lives. Many of our students are balancing school, work and/or parenting and are an inspiration to all.  

                             Important FCPS Resources 

Mental Health Resources:  https://www.fcps.edu/teletherapy

Parent Handbook:  https://www.fcps.edu/parentadvocacyhandbook

Free and Reduced Price Meals:  https://www.fcps.edu/frm

SIS ParentVUE:  https://www.fcps.edu/family-resources/technology/student-information-system-sis/sis-parentvue/sis-parent-account

FCPS Region 3 is hosting a Post-Secondary Planning Night In Spanish on Wednesday, December 6th from 6:30-8:00 pm at Hybla Valley Community Center (7950 Audubon Avenue, Alexandria, VA 22306).  Childcare is provided.  Featuring presentations in SPANISH on 2 year/4 year college, military, the WISH Center. For more information, please visit https://bryanths.fcps.edu/event/post-secondary-planning-night-spanish

December looks to be a busy month with our holiday blanket drive, Standards of Learning Tests, Social Emotional Learning Lessons, Industry Certification Exams and Career Center Activities. Please encourage your students to come to school every day as we know that attendance plays such a crucial role in learning, engagement, and success.  

Your Bryant Community wishes you and your family a joyful holiday season. 

2709 Popkins Lane Alexandria, VA 22306  | Main Office: 703-660-2000
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