Tuesday, September 5, 2023
Few people can match Dr. Lawrence "Larry" Bussey's thirty-year activism in Fairfax County Public Schools, putting minority student achievement and parent and family engagement first. According to school board member-at-large Karen Keyes-Gamara, Dr. Bussey personified the biblical phrase, “I am my brother's keeper.”
“He was willing to carry the weight of others to improve the next generation, and for that, we are so very grateful," Keyes-Gamara said. On Thursday evening, Aug. 31, Keyes-Gamara read a naming proclamation at the board's first regular meeting for the 2023-2024 school year. The date was a little more than a month after the first anniversary of Larry Bussey’s death on July 22, 2022.
The proclamation directed Superintendent Michelle Reid to "rename the Family Resource Center library the "Dr. Larry Bussey Family & Community Library." The renaming would be a lasting tribute to Dr. Bussey's dedication to educating and equipping families to advocate for their children's educational rights and needs.
Dr. Bussey was a "strong voice" in developing the One Fairfax policy, Keyes-Gamara said. He was the "data man," not the type “to simply shake things up.”
“He would take you to the numbers he had meticulously analyzed to help us understand where improvements could be made. His MSAOC reports always helped us know that we could do better. It was in the numbers," Keyes-Gamara said.
Bussey was a founding member of the first FCPS Minority Student Achievement Joint Committee. The ad hoc committee, formed in 1992, developed an action plan and made recommendations that included re-examining the curriculum, changing administrative structures, and improving parent outreach. Bussey was a committee member for thirty years, first as co-chair during the 1995-1996 school year and then as a community representative or staff liaison under six superintendents until he died.
In her remarks at the proclamation, Keyes-Gamara recalled that when she was considering running for school board six years ago, people she trusted told her, "If you want to understand FCPS and you want to make a difference, talk to Dr. Bussey."
"He has been and was a guiding light. … He was always concerned about every student having an opportunity to achieve excellence," Keyes-Gamara said. Before coming to FCPS, Bussey worked on policy decisions for the Department of Education to effect real change. Bussey's advocacy stemmed from "an incredibly kind heart."
School board member Karen Corbett Sanders, who seconded the motion, wanted to be part of the proclamation, she said, because of the location the board was about to rename. “It is appropriate because Dr. Bussey was the most family-centered person” she knew. “And he knew that the key to a student's success was centering the families around that student and ensuring the parents and families add the resources necessary to ensure their family's success and their student's success.”
School Board member Megan McLaughlin, a data enthusiast herself, said that while Bussey was incredibly kind and joyful, he was also "a very serious and substantive advocate."
“I couldn't be more happy and more honored to get to vote tonight, where we can honor him and his tremendous legacy,” McLaughlin said.
Using the Library
The Dr. Larry Bussey Family & Community Library is within the division’s Family Resource Center. The brick-and-mortar facility offers free webinars, confidential consultations, and resources.
The Dr. Larry Bussey Family & Community Library
The library includes over 10,000 materials and resources to help adults support the success of all students, including those with learning challenges, special needs, and disabilities.
Patrons can visit in person, search the library online, and access over 400 E-books using a personal computer, tablet, or smartphone. Check out up to six books, and keep books for as long as three weeks.
Family Resource Center
The center can provide prepackaged materials on many curated topics ready for use on topics such as ADHD, anxiety, bullying, executive functioning with children and teens, military-connected students, motivation, and more.
Call 703-204-3941 or email email@example.com to reserve a pack. Packs can be sent for pickup to your child's school via the division’s internal ‘pony’ service or picked up at the Family Resource Center. The library is open weekdays from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at 2334 Gallows Road, Room 105 (Door 1), Dunn Loring, VA 22027.
Resources: Hired Tutoring and No-Cost Tutoring
The center also offers the 2023-2024 School Year and In-Person Tutor List, updated monthly. FCPS says online, it contains the names of current FCPS employees who hold a valid and current teaching license in Virginia and want to tutor after their contracted school day. Families who wish to hire one of these instructors should make arrangements directly with the tutor. FCPS is not responsible for these arrangements.
Additionally, “Students also have unlimited access to 24/7, on-demand, online tutoring support services through Tutor.com at no cost to families. Students can connect online any time, any place, and in most K-12 subjects for however long they need. Tutoring may be on-demand and/or scheduled at a time convenient for the student and/or family. For the purposes of safety and security, every tutoring session is recorded, and transcripts are available (up to 6 months) for students, parents and FCPS staff to review if needed.”