Ensuring Equitable Voice During Covid-19


In response to COVID-19, the Fairfax County Public Schools—the 10th largest school system in the United States—consistently and creatively engaged its stakeholders to ensure that the voices informing district action-planning represented the diversity of the district’s student population. These efforts to broaden stakeholder engagement were coupled with a commitment to learning from early setbacks—a situation they refer to as “two weeks to struggle, two months to soar.”

The district also leveraged its partnership with George Mason University to ensure instructional coherence and coordination. For example, FCPS was able to build-on and benefit from GMU’s experience in distance learning to rapidly build its own capacity in this key area. Similarly, partnership coordination ensured that teachers, coaches, and mentors were able to work across institutional boundaries, minimizing disruption to key efforts such as school improvement planning. This partnership showcases a purposeful pivot toward transparency and iterative improvement designed to strengthen coherence, equity, and engagement with teachers, students, and families.


  • Dr. Regina Biggs, Associate Professor, Education Leadership, George Mason University
  • Dr. Mark Ginsberg, Provost and Executive Vice President, George Mason University
  • Ray Lonnett, Executive Principal Region 1, Fairfax County Public Schools
  • Natasha Saunders, Middle School Language Arts Specialists, Instructional Services, Fairfax County Public Schools
  • Dr. Farnoosh Shahrokhi, Associate Professor & Director for the Division of Education Leadership and Policy, George Mason University
  • Claire Silva, Manager, Project Support Coach, Instructional Services, Fairfax County Public Schools
  • Dr. Samantha Viano, Assistant Professor, Education Leadership , George Mason University
  • Paige Whitlock, Secondary Language Arts Coordinator, Instructional Services, Fairfax County Public Schools


  • Ash Vasudeva, Vice President, Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching



August 27, 2020

Fairfax County Public Schools and George Mason University are members of the Improvement Leadership Education and Development (iLEAD) network comprised of 13 university-district partnerships. iLEAD is committed to the use of improvement science to develop leaders, address local problems of practice, and promote equitable educational opportunities and outcomes for all students.

Improvement Science in the Time of Covid-19

This webinar is part of the Carnegie Foundation series, Improvement Science in the Time of COVID-19, which explores how K–12 leaders and their partners have leveraged improvement-based thinking and practice to respond to the challenges of COVID-19, particularly those related to coherence, equity, and engagement.

Much thanks to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for supporting this webinar series.