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PWCS E-News
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News Stories
Stay Alert: School Buses Will Roll on September 2
On the first day of school, 838 buses will pick up more than 62,000 children and take them to school. 

August 29, 2014

On Tuesday, a fleet of 838 Prince William County school buses will roll, some as early as 6 a.m., to pick up children and take them to the county’s 94 schools. More than 62,000 of an estimated 86,000 students will be transported by bus. School Division staff work hard to ensure the safety of students on buses, but their safety also depends largely on the willingness of motorists to follow laws concerning school buses.
 
Motorists are reminded that flashing yellow lights in school zones will be on beginning September 2. School zone lights were turned off at most schools in the county during the summer.
 
By law, motorists must stop when a school bus is stopped with its red lights blinking and stop sign extended, except when the bus is on the opposite side of a median strip. Motorists must also stop if the bus is loading or unloading children and the signal devices are not functioning properly. Passing a stopped school bus is considered reckless driving. This is a misdemeanor in Virginia and violators face fines of up to $2,500 and jail time, as well as six points on their driving record.
 
“School buses are the safest form of ground transportation on this planet, and we want to keep it that way,” said Edward Bishop, director of Transportation Services for Prince William County Public Schools.

PWCS bus schedules are now online and in the mail. 
PWCS Teacher and Author Inspires Others to Participate in Community of Writers
Open call for writers and would-be writers for “10,000 Poems” project.
 
August 29, 2014
 
Osbourn Park High School English teacher Robert Scott does more than inspire students in the classroom. The published author is among a community of writers—students and adults—that is making Prince William County a place to be for area authors.
 
Scott, one of two Poets Laureate named in June by the Prince William Arts Council, recently launched the web site www.pwcpoetry.com to collect 10,000 poems from citizens of Prince William County, Manassas, and Manassas Park. The project was part of Scott’s nomination for Poet Laureate and will culminate in what he calls, “an exhibit that can stand as a permanent testament to creative writing and poetry in our community.” 
 
Scott encourages any interested citizen of the county to participate. “We’re a community of nearly 500,000 people. With all of our local authors working together, I don’t doubt that we can inspire 10,000 writers or would-be writers to participate by submitting their poems. But I’m not just interested in poems from poets. I hope we’ll inspire teachers, students, nurses, police officers, construction workers, anyone at all to submit their work.”
 
Scott works to bring writers to monthly Poets & Writers’ Nights at the Deja Brew Coffeehouse in Haymarket. Along with monthly readings at Deja Brew, local writers can visit the City Tavern in Manassas for weekly poetry events – Spirits & Lyrics—as well as periodic meet-and-greet author gatherings at the Ground Central Station Cafe in Old Town Manassas. 
 
Alexandra “Zan” Hailey is the second Prince William County Poet Laureate. Hailey, a Virginia Commonwealth University student and graduate of the Center for Fine and Performing Arts Center at Woodbridge High School, is the daughter of Cathy Hailey who teaches the creative writing program at Woodbridge.
 
For more information on the “10,000 Poems” project or to submit a writing sample, visit www.pwcpoetry.com.
Osbourn Park Student Earns Invite to Prestigious Medical Event
Priscilla Ayala’s favorite childhood toys sparked her dream to become a doctor.

August 28, 2014

Osbourn Park High School junior Priscilla Ayala dreams of becoming a doctor.Ever since she was a little girl, Priscilla Ayala wanted to be a doctor. It might have been a little kit of medical tools with bandaids, thermometer, and stethoscope that first piqued her interested. Years later the passion was stoked by Osbourn Park Health Sciences Teacher Ellen Malka, whose classes in human anatomy and physiology and biomedical technology offered a glimpse into healthcare.

Now a junior at Osbourn Park High School, Ayala will attend a three-day national Congress of Future Medical Leaders in November, representing Virginia. The Congress is an honors-only program for high school students across the country that want to become physicians or go into medical research fields. Ayala will hear from experts about research, advances in medicine and medical technology, and what to expect in medical school. The criteria for selection include academic achievement, leadership potential, and determination to serve humanity in the field of medicine.

As she grew up, Ayala became fascinated and more passionate about her dream. She spent hours watching television shows related to medicine on the health channel. The human body, bacteria, and viruses drew her interest like a magnet.

Accomplished in academics, Ayala is a member of the National Spanish Honor Society and placed first on the National Spanish Examination in 2012. She is also drawn to community service and volunteers for activities sponsored by her school’s Key Club.  Last year she returned to Pennington Traditional School, which she attended, to judge their science fair. An avid soccer player, Ayala is a member of TopSoccer, an organization that mentors and works with children with disabilities.

“Doing something in the medical field would allow me to do what I love while also helping people. Now how cool is that?” said Ayala.
 
PWCS Students Show Progress on SOL Tests
Students outperform statewide average on 29 of 34 Virginia Standards of Learning exams.

August 27, 2014
 
Gains are seen in history, mathematics, reading and writing.
 
Prince William County Public School students met or exceeded the state pass rates on 29 of 34 Virginia Standards of Learning (SOL) Exams administered in 2013-14, according to new data released by the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE). School-specific information is available online from VDOE. The Division eclipsed state results almost across the board in subgroups, with a particularly strong performance among black students.
 
Math:
 
The new state findings highlight student improvements in pass rates for mathematics examinations that were made more rigorous in 2011 to require students to demonstrate critical thinking and multi-step problem solving ability. In the most recent tests, students across the commonwealth logged a three-year high of 74 percent passing their grade level or end-of-course math exams; PWCS students did better still with a 77 percent pass rate. 
 
“This is good news” said Deputy Superintendent Rae Darlington. “The state is asking our students to do more to demonstrate their knowledge, and Prince William County students are rising to the task.”
 
In mathematics, PWCS students made gains on seven of nine tests, and met or eclipsed Virginia pass rates on six of them. Local students bettered state pass rates by as many as eight percentage points. A notable exception in seventh-grade math—five points under the state performance—reflected PWCS efforts to encourage talented seventh-graders to take the eighth-grade course a year early. The resulting eighth-grade pass rate beat the state by that eight-point margin.
 
Overall, PWCS students also outperformed their statewide schoolmates in the four other SOL content areas (reading, 77 percent; science, 82 percent; history/social science, 86 percent; and writing, 78 percent).

Highlights include:
 
Reading and Writing:
  • PWCS outperformed the state on six of seven reading tests (equaled the state on the other).
  • On high school reading, PWCS improved and had a pass rate of 90 percent.
  • PWCS outperformed the state on all three writing tests.
  • On high school writing, PWCS held at last year’s level, but did have a pass rate over 80 percent.
Science:
  • PWCS met or exceeded state performance on four of six science tests.
  • On the earth science test, PWCS had a pass rate of 80 percent.
  • On the biology test, PWCS had a pass rate of 81 percent.
  • On the chemistry test, PWCS improved and had a pass rate of 86 percent.
 
History and Social Science:
  • PWCS met or exceeded state performance on eight of nine history/social science tests.
  • PWCS improved performance on the end-of-course VA and US History test.
  • PWCS pass rates exceeded 80 percent on eight of nine history/social science tests.
Pass rates and results will vary significantly across schools, with some outpacing the state by wide margins and others falling short of their goals.
 
“These tests show us we are making progress and helping students become better prepared for jobs and higher education,” added Darlington. “They also remind us we have more work to do and can always do better.”
 
Despite the largely positive results for PWCS and schools statewide, SOL scores could also generate a somewhat confusing story when the state releases annual school accreditation information in just a few weeks.
 
Virginia officials warn that the number of schools falling short of full accreditation may jump sharply this year—possibly to a third of all schools statewide—due to the SOL pass-rate averaging used to determine whether schools reach required levels. A far smaller percentage of PWCS schools will fall short of full accreditation, but the number is likely to rise from last year despite student performance.
 
The change stems from scores that declined sharply when the state first instituted more rigorous math exams three years ago. Until now, the lower rates were balanced by higher performance that preceded. This year, that counterbalance is lost and a significant number of schools will be termed “accredited with warning” in a specific area.
 
“People watching these rankings will need to understand that schools are doing just as well, if not better, we’ve just raised the bar,” adds Darlington. “Test scores are only one measure of what our students and schools are actually accomplishing.”  
 
Understood in context, both pass rates and accreditation information are valuable tools for helping schools improve. Prince William County Public Schools continue to strive for continuous improvement to better prepare students for the careers and opportunities of the future.    
 
 
 
From Furniture to Computers, PWCS Buyers Excel in their Field
August 27, 2014

The School Division Purchasing Office has received the Achievement of Excellence in Procurement Award from the National Procurement Institute. The award recognizes innovation, professionalism, electronic procurement, productivity, and leadership. Prince William County Public Schools is one of only eight government agencies in Virginia and one of only 23 school districts in the United States to receive the award. Prince William County Public Schools has received this award 11 times. Congratulations to Tim Totty, supervisor of Purchasing, and to his team.
 
Re-Interment of Cemetery Remains Scheduled for Sept. 6
August 27, 2014

As announced here on August 6, anyone who plans to attend the memorial ceremony on Saturday, September 6 marking the reburial of remains and artifacts discovered at the site of the County’s 12th high school should meet at the Edward L. Kelly Leadership Center, 14715 Bristow Road in Manassas, at 9:45 a.m. Bus transportation will be provided from there to the ceremony site. Participants are cautioned not to drive to the high school site or enter the Independence Drive community to attend the ceremony.

The remains were respectfully re-interred on the property in early August, in accordance with plans approved by the Commonwealth and shaped by community input. The reburial involved the use of heavy equipment to place concrete vaults in an area that is part of an active construction site. Safety considerations precluded public participation in the actual re-interment.
 
Prince William County Public Schools looks forward to this opportunity to recognize those who lived and were buried on the site. We will honor their memory with a permanent resting place that will endure as new generations learn of and build on community history at the school being built nearby.

For planning purposes, individuals intending to attend the ceremony are asked to notify PWCS on or before August 29, by calling 703-791-7308.
Students Discover a New Candidate for "Awesomest" Instrument Ever
PWCS orchestra students glean skills and strategies from the US Air Force Strolling Strings.
 
August 27, 2014

Literally elbow-to-elbow with the pros—that's where student musicians found themselves one day during the PWCS Summer Orchestra Camp, held this year at Godwin Middle School, for students from fourth through twelfth grades.

In one special practice opportunity, expert musicians from The United States Air Force Strings, the Air Force’s official string ensemble, played some of their own arrangements of contemporary songs, inviting students to listen, identify, and discuss certain aspects of the pieces. One youngster recognized Michael Jackson’s “Billy Jean” in just eight notes.

“I learned that the accordion may be the awesomest instrument ever,” said another, after watching an airman’s impressive demonstration (see video below). “The way he made it sound like a train was so cool.”

Performing a wide range of musical styles, the Air Force Strings ensemble entertains in a formation known as the Strolling Strings, surrounding their audience and playing from memory without the aid of a conductor. Following their performance, airmen sat side-by-side in a session with upper level students, providing example, instruction, and encouragement. 

Many of the ensemble members hold graduate or doctoral degrees and encouraged students who are passionate about music to pursue higher education in the field.

Research shows that the mental benefits of playing a musical instrument are profound, exceeding even tasks such as reading and math. It engages practically every area of the brain at once, strengthening brain function and enhancing cognitive skills.

Karen Von Bernewitz and Tami Nelson, two PWCS orchestra teachers, started the camp in 2005 with a total of 23 students and four teachers. This summer, enrollment exceeded 90 students.

Instrumental programs in PWCS start at the elementary level in the fourth or fifth grade; band opportunities begin in the sixth grade.

“We provide assistance with instrument rental so that all students can have the opportunity to learn 
to play an instrument,” says Joyce Zsembery, supervisor for the PWCS Arts program. “No child is denied access to learning to play an instrument. The instrumental program in PWCS included more than 3,400 students in the fourth and fifth grades alone last year.” 


Student Accident Insurance Available Online
August 25, 2014

Many parents without insurance coverage worry about protecting their children in the event of an illness or injury. Affordable student accident insurance is available for purchase through your child's school at a group rate. Parents now need to enroll for student accident insurance via the Internet. This process will be accomplished by the use of a dedicated secure enrollment Web site from the insurance provider.
 

Enroll in Student Insurance.
September 25 Public Meeting Set On Urgently Needed Western Transportation Center
FAQs Available. Meeting planned for Bull Run Middle School.


August 18, 2014

A September 25 community meeting is planned on the PWCS proposal to build a new transportation center near Catharpin Park (northwest of the Manassas Battlefield). The new facility will help ensure safe, reliable bus service to thousands of students in the growing western part of the county.

 
Click on picture to view enlarged map.The proposed location sits on 14 acres adjacent to Catharpin Park on Sudley Road, with an entrance on Kyle Wilson Way.  

 “With this site we can provide improved bus service to students along the Route 15 corridor without compounding existing traffic issues,” said Associate Superintendent for Finance and Support Services, Dave Cline.  “It offers sufficient road capacity, safe access, and an ideal location.”

The new site will permit important safety inspections and routine bus maintenance without necessitating extra time and fuel to move buses across Route 29 and I-66 to the current McCuin Center on Piney Branch Road in Bristow. McCuin will remain in use for its local service area, but is currently overburdened and lacks capacity to meet future needs.

“Transporting a single bus that extra distance down to McCuin wastes approximately $900 in fuel every year and even more is spent on driver down-time,” said Transportation Director Ed Bishop. “With the 150 buses the new center can eventually serve, we will be saving $340,000 a year for education even as we make it quicker and more efficient to handle potential safety concerns and replace disabled vehicles to keep kids moving safely.”

The new transportation center will also provide adequate space for dispatchers and phone operators to service the needs of the western area’s 30,000 bus riding students. The proposed site balances public desire for a more distant, industrialized location with the reality that moving it further from homes would cause more congestion on area roads.

School officials will pay $1.3 million to Prince William County for the Catharpin site. The funds will benefit the local community through planned improvements to Catharpin Park. Nearly 250 of the Transportation Center’s paved parking spaces will also be available to park users at nights and on weekends.

The new site has been submitted for approval under the County’s Public Facilities Review process. A community meeting is set for Thursday, September 25, 7-9 p.m. at Bull Run Middle School. Until then, interested residents can learn more about the site and transportation center plans at pwcs.edu. The Web site will address “frequently asked questions" and include an email link to raise additional inquiries or post comments.     

PWCS officials say concerns sparked by the thought of a transportation center often fade in the face of   facts.  For example, buses that would be served by the center already travel on area roads daily, so when service and parking become more local, overall road use will go down. Additionally, the School Division will work to minimize the impact on adjoining properties through the use of buffers, berms, and other landscaping to improve aesthetics.

“The western part of the County is growing by leaps and bounds. Our School Division needs a new transportation center by 2017 so we can safely and efficiently move our students and provide top notch customer service to the citizens of this county,” adds Cline.
 
Email comments or inquiries to: WesternTransCtr@pwcs.edu
Haymarket Elementary, County’s 58th Elementary School, Opens
Views from classroom windows amaze parents, thrill students.

August 25, 2014

August 19, a blue ribbon day. It was a great evening to celebrate the opening of Haymarket Elementary School—a dazzling, sunny summer evening with blue skies; the kind of day that puts a smile on your face. And everyone was excited. An hour before the scheduled ribbon cutting, families began arriving with exuberant young children and babies. This was a family affair, and a clear signal that Haymarket Elementary will have terrific community support for its students and their activities. Staff, volunteers, and Principal Jewell Moore greeted all enthusiastically.

As more than 800 people filled the cafetorium, Assistant Principal Rhonda Jeck was on the radio checking last-minute details with staff; retired principal Wayne Ralston was spotting dignitaries as they arrived. Cub Scout Pack 42 came, spiffy in their uniforms and eager to lead the Pledge of Allegiance. Music Teacher Carol Fella gave instructions to a chorus of children from all grades that later belted out the school song, “Cubs,” for the school’s mascot, Black Bear Cubs—who are creative, unique, brilliant students. The open house that followed the ceremony drew hundreds who explored on their own and met teachers at every turn. “I could never stay focused on teaching if I had this view,” said one parent, remarking about the windows in many classrooms that overlooked the woods surrounding the school.

Haymarket Elementary School, on Learning Lane off Haymarket Drive, is built for 850 students and draws students from Alvey, Buckland Mills, Gravely, Mountain View, Piney Branch, and Tyler Elementary Schools.

See below for dignitaries who attended. See also photo gallery on Facebook.



Speakers included Dr. Steven L. Walts, Principal Jewell Moore, School Board Chairman At-Large Milton C. Johns, Vice Chairman Gil Trenum (Brentsville), Senator Richard H. Black (VA 13th District), Delegate Robert G. Marshall (13th District), Delegate Timothy D. Hugo (40th District), Board of County Supervisors Chairman At-Large Corey A. Stewart, and County Supervisor Wally Covington (Brentsville). Other dignitaries included School Board members Betty D. Covington (Potomac), Lillie G. Jessie (Occoquan), and Alyson A. Satterwhite (Gainesville).
 
It’s Never Too Late—Registration Starts August 25 for Fall Adult Education, GED Prep, or ESOL Classes

August 25, 2014

Has it been a long time since you entered a classroom? Need some help boosting your basic reading, math, or writing skills, preparing for the General Educational Development Test (GED Test), or learning to speak English? Come study with adults like yourself to achieve your career and life goals. PWCS has adult education classes beginning in September and October for residents of Prince William County, Manassas City, and Manassas Park.

Adult Basic Education and the GED program classes are for individuals 18 years of age and over and provide instruction in reading, math, and/or writing skills at the ninth grade level or above.

English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) program classes are for individuals 18 years of age and over who speak a native language other than English.

(See links above to access the flyers for specific class tuition, dates, and locations.)

For classes beginning on or after September 2, registration will be held from 5–7 p.m. on the following dates: From 11 a.m.–2 p.m. on the following dates:
  • Friday, September 5, at the Adult Learning Center, Building 4, 14800 Joplin Road, Manassas (Independent Hill).
For classes beginning on or after October 28, registration will be held from 5–7 p.m. on the following dates: From 11 a.m.–2 p.m.  on the following date:
  • Friday, October 17, at the Adult Learning Center, Building 4, 14800 Joplin Road, Manassas (Independent Hill).
Tuition fees vary by class and are payable at registration. Fees may be paid by cash, cashier’s check, or by money order, payable to PWCS. We do not accept personal checks, credit cards or debit cards for payment. ESOL registration takes approximately one-half hour and Adult Ed/GED registration takes approximately two hours to complete once a registrant enters the registration process.

For additional information, visit the PWCS Adult Education Web site, email adulated@pwcs.edu, or call 703.791.7357.
Connecting the Dots for Student Success from Attendance to Achievement
Kids tell their stories of the great help they get from those who care.

August 22, 2014

Perhaps it is only a band-aid a child needs, or more seriously, asthma medication—or comfort and guidance to overcome a problem—whatever the need, students have a cadre of compassionate Student Services staff members working to promote their success and, when necessary, to link their families to services outside the school.

Several students stepped forward at the recent Student Services Symposium to express their appreciation to those who had made a difference in their lives. Kenny Miller, Keyshala Gonzalez, Cassandra Bates, India Weatherspoon, Felicity Gonzalez, and Nia Keeton spoke to over 300 school social workers, school counselors, school psychologists, school nurses, school age child care representatives, attendance officers, and invited guests attending the annual PWCS Student Services Symposium.

As is the tradition, several staff in Student Services were singled out for extraordinary efforts to assist and support student success. The “2014 Above and Beyond” awards were presented to Cynthia Brown, School Social Worker; Lien Weakland, School Counselor; and Nancy Griggs, School Nurse. The “Spotlight on Success” student award was given to Aleksander Nikitenko, fourth-grade student at Ellis Elementary School, for his courage in reporting a potentially dangerous situation.

The keynote speaker, Christian Moore, inspired his audience with his story of resilience. His quest to understand how to motivate at-risk students was portrayed in his “Why Try?” program, which sparks hope from failure.

Superintendent Steven L. Walts warmly greeted the crowd. Timothy Healey, Associate Superintendent for Student Learning and Accountability, reflected on typical family summer experiences and the positive difference that Student Services staff make daily in the lives of all children.

Carolyn Custard, Director of Student Services, recognized all Student Services staff for preparing students to achieve success from kindergarten to graduation.

Breakout sessions were designed to refresh and renew school professionals’ knowledge of suicide prevention strategies, threat assessment, and Child Protective Services procedures.
Staffing Update August 22, 2014
Julia Renberg, currently a Chemistry Teacher at Battlefield High School, has been named an Assistant Principal at Battlefield High School, effective August 13, 2014.
 
Constance Mills, currently an Occupational Therapist with the Department of Special Education, has been named an Administrative Coordinator with the Department of Special Education, effective August 14, 2014.
 
Lee Holland, currently an Administrative Coordinator, Specialty Programs at Potomac High School, has been named Assistant Principal at Freedom High School, effective date to be determined.
 
Richard Shahan, currently Administrative Coordinator for Media Production Services, has been named Supervisor of Media Production Services, effective August 25, 2014.

Congratulations to these talented individuals.
 
Henderson Elementary Honored as Program of the Year for Engineering Focus
School takes STEM to a new level with engineering design challenges and wins national and international recognition.

August 22, 2014

Henderson Elementary School has had a key initiative since 2011: create a World-Class children’s engineering program incorporating STEM. That effort was rewarded recently when the Virginia Technology and Engineering Education Association (VTEEA) named Henderson Elementary School the 2014 "Program of the Year" for its Elementary School Technology Education program. The process began with creation of a staff engineering team, followed by teacher training and program implementation. Students’ design projects were presented in August 2014 at the VTEEA conference.

“Rather than thinking of subject areas separately, STEM is the integration of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics into every lesson, whether it is a reading, math, or science lesson,” said Principal Suzanne Bevans, describing engineering activities as “hands-on, experiential, inquiry-based, learner-centered, collaborative, and engaging.”

Children’s engineering is not a way to add crafts or “fluff” to the curriculum.  Students design and create projects that require problem solving skills, and learn to communicate what they learned and their thinking process. They have to describe the moving part(s) of their designs, whether they had challenges and, if so, how they solved them, evaluate results, and what they would add, change, or take away if they did the project again. In short, it is the scientific method, technology design loop, and problem solving loop—all introduced to students in a way that becomes a natural way of thinking for all students.

“The integration of STEM reaches students with different learning styles, builds content vocabulary, teaches independent innovation, work habits, and problem solving, among other benefits,” said Bevans.
Henderson will also be recognized in March 2015 at the International Technology and Engineering Educators Association Convention in Milwaukee, Wisconsin with the “Program of Excellence Award.”

Steady Upward Trend on Prince William ACT Scores; PWCS Continues to Exceed National Scores
August 20, 2014
 
In all four content areas of English, mathematics, reading, and science, Prince William County Public School students exceeded the national average composite score on the ACT exam, continuing a 19-year record for the college-readiness benchmark.
 
PWCS composite scores for 2013-14 were up five-tenths of a point to 22.5 on the 36 point scale. That beats the national composite score by 1.5 points, and is a tenth of a point below Virginia’s average for  public school students.
 
The biggest gains in the last three years have been in reading, with scores increasing from 22.3 in 2012 to 23.1 in 2014, and in science, where scores rose from 21.6 to 22.3. In the same period, the average ACT score in mathematics increased to 22.4 in 2014 from 21.8. The English average ACT score rose from 21.4 to 21.7.
 
ACT scores assess high school students’ general educational development and ability to complete college-level work. Unlike an aptitude or reasoning test, the ACT is designed to be an achievement test, measuring what a student has learned in school. The ACT consists of multiple-choice questions. 
Three Schools Receive Grants to Operate After-School Programs
August 20, 2014

Freedom High School and Fred M. Lynn and Godwin Middle Schools were notified this week that they have received grants to house 21st Century Community Learning Centers at their schools over the next three years. The centers provide after-school and summer tutoring, enrichment activities that complement regular academic programs, literacy, and other educational services to students and their families.

The grants total $554,853. Freedom will receive $187,502, Fred M. Lynn will receive $182,351, and Godwin will receive $185,000 to operate the centers over the next school year. Each school will receive the same amount over the following two years contingent upon the funds being available; satisfactory performance, including serving the number of students stated in the applications; and efficient stewardship of funds. Parkside Middle School is currently entering the third and final year of a grant to operate a community learning center; it will receive $140,000 this year.

Each center is required to operate with a community partner. The two middle schools are partnering with the Prince William County Department of Parks and Recreation. Freedom High School’s partner is the Hispanic Organization for Leadership and Action. Parkside works with the Manassas Boys and Girls Club. Partners assist in the centers’ operation and provide services to students and families.
Take a Course in the Comfort of Your Home - Registration for Fall Virtual High School Session Open through September 8
August 20, 2014
 
Enrollment for the fall session of the Virtual High School @PWCS, the School Division's online high school program opened on August 13 and remains open through September 7. The Fall session classes that start September 8 and conclude in January. Register online by visiting their Web site at http://virtualhighschools.pwcs.edu.
 
Students looking to accelerate their course of study, or those who want additional time mastering a previously attempted subject before moving on, have a tremendous resource in the Virtual High School @ PWCS. Twenty-one online courses for high school credit are being offered this fall, including the new graduation requirement: Economics and Personal Finance that will be offered during all sessions.
 
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Study at Independent Hill Complex Assures No Health Risk
August 18, 2014

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) continues its assessment of groundwater at the one-time Manassas Air Force communication facility, now the site of Prince William County Public Schools’ Independent Hill complex, as part of an ongoing effort to assess and clean up former Department of Defense sites. Periodic reviews and studies of the site have occurred since 1986. The complex was connected to the county water system in 1986 to avoid any potential exposure to possible solvent contaminants.

The past and ongoing reviews by USACE indicate there are no health threats to students, occupants, or residents of the Independent Hill complex and none of the scheduled construction at Independent Hill alters safety conditions. The Independent Hill School, PACE East, and other buildings and offices on the site are not affected. The USACE reconfirmed findings from past reviews and shared with local representatives the groundwater at only the southern portion of the site contains chlorinated organic compounds.

As part of its work, the USACE is evaluating and developing treatment options for the site. School Division staff have worked closely and coordinated work activities with the USACE, monitored their activities and progress, and will continue to ensure that students and occupants work in a safe and healthy environment. The public is invited to learn more about how the USACE manages and executes environmental cleanup projects and other associated responsibilities on formerly-used defense sites, and in particular the Independent Hill complex, by contacting Andrea Takash, Corporate Communication, US Army Corps of Engineers – Baltimore district, at 410.962.2626 or Andrea.M.takash@usace.army.mil.
Rules Have Changed - All Children Entering Sixth Grade Must Have Tdap Immunization
Cambio en la normativa-Todos los estudiantes que van a entrar al sexto grado deben tener la vacuna triple bacteriana (Tdap)
Articulo completo.
 
August 14, 2014

See locations for Tdap immunizations.

All students entering sixth grade must present proof that they have received the Tdap vaccine for tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis before starting school this year. Virginia rules have changed, so all sixth-grade students are now included. There is no exemption for those under 11 years of age. Parents are asked to check with their doctor to be sure their child is current on shots. Proof of immunization must be presented to enroll children in sixth grade for the 2014-15 school year.
 
Shots may be obtained from a doctor, military clinic, or the Prince William Health District. Documentation should be taken to your child’s middle school or Central Registration.
 
The Prince William Health District may be reached at the following locations and telephone numbers: 9301 Lee Avenue, Manassas, VA 20110, 703.792.6300, and 4001 Prince William Parkway, Ste. 101, Woodbridge, VA 22191, 703.792.7300.
Applications Available for Families Eligible for Free and Reduced Meals
August 15, 2014

Parents of Prince William County Public School students wishing to apply for free and reduced-price meals can complete and submit their application online. The process can help families avoid delays they may encounter by mailing in an application, and will ensure that applications are complete because applicants will be prompted to submit all of the necessary information required.
Apply now for Meal Applications online. Links to the online application in English and Spanish are also on the left navigation of School Food Services Web site at menus.departments.pwcs.edu. All information transmitted will be kept confidential and made available only to the Office of School Food and Nutrition Services.
 
Parents still have the option of completing the traditional paper application. Families with students who were registered in Prince William County Public Schools by the end of July 2014 will receive an application packet in the mail. Families with students who registered after that date will need to secure an application from their local school. Applications may also be obtained at the Kelly Leadership Center located at 14715 Bristow Road, Manassas.
 
If you have questions regarding the application process, contact the Office of School Food and Nutrition Services at 703.791.7314.
 

Ya están disponibles las solicitudes para aquellos que califiquen para la comida gratis o a precio reducido

15 de agosto de 2014

Los padres de alumnos de las Escuelas del Condados de Prince William que deseen solicitar comida gratis o a precio reducido, pueden completar y enviar la solicitud por internet.  El proceso evitará a las familias las demoras que pueden producirse al enviar la solicitud por correo. Además, podrán estar seguros de que la solicitud se completó en su totalidad ya que el sistema les pedirá que proporcionen toda la información necesaria.
Completen ya la solicitud en línea. Los enlaces a las solicitudes en inglés y español se encuentran en la barra de navegación izquierda de la página de los Servicios de Comida (School Food Services) en menus.departments.pwcs.edu. Toda la información proporcionada será confidencial y estará a disposición solamente de la Oficina de Servicios Alimentarios y Nutrición.
 
Los padres tendrán la opción de completar la solicitud por escrito. Las familias de estudiantes registrados en las Escuelas del Condado de Prince William antes de fines de julio de 2014, recibirán un paquete de inscripción por correo. Las familias de estudiantes registrados después de dicha fecha deberán retirar la solicitud en su escuela. Las solicitudes también pueden obtenerse en el Kelly Leadership Center ubicado en 14715 Bristow Road, Manassas.
 
Por preguntas relacionadas al proceso de solicitud, llame a la Oficina de Servicios Alimentarios y Nutrición al 703.791.7314.

 
Have a Question? Answers May be Here
From cell phones to dress codes, from homework to field trips, check out School Division regulations if you have questions.
 
August 14, 2014
 
From electronic devices to dress codes, homework to field trips, honor rolls to course credits, if you've got a question on these - or have other questions - consider looking at School Division regulations.
 
All regulations and policies of Prince William County Public Schools are available on the School Division Web site, pwcs.edu. Both can be searched by topic or number on the home page by choosing "Policies & Regulations" from the left-side navigation menu. Paper copies of PWCS policies and regulations are also kept in the School Board Clerk’s Office located in the Edward L. Kelly Leadership Center, at 14715 Bristow Road, Manassas, Virginia.
 
One of the primary functions of the Prince William County School Board is the development of policies for the operation of the School Division. These policies cover instruction, administration, personnel, students, and other areas.
 
Schools Announce Open House and Orientation Sessions
August 13, 2014
 
In preparation for the school year, many Prince William County Public Schools have scheduled orientations, open houses, and meet-and-greet events. Please check your school's Web site for times, dates, and more detailed information. As dates and times are subject to change, please check back for updates.
 
High Schools:
   
 
Middle Schools:
   
 
Traditional and K-8 Schools:  
Elementary Schools:
   
 
 
 
 
Alternative and Special Education:
 
 
Staffing Update August 8, 2014
The following administrative appointments have been made:
 
Danna Johnson, currently a Third Grade Teacher at Bel Air Elementary School, has been named an Administrative Intern of Featherstone Elementary School, effective August 14, 2014.
 
Jeremy Byrd, currently a Social Studies Teacher at Woodbridge High School, has been named an Administrative Intern at Stonewall Jackson High School, effective August 14, 2014.
 
Richard Martinez, currently an Assistant Principal at Freedom High School, has been named the Principal for Forest Park High School, effective date to be decided.
 
Joseph Murgo, currently a Health & Physical Education Teacher at Gainesville Middle School, has been named an Administrative Intern at Gainesville Middle School, effective August 14, 2014.
 
Congratulations to these talented individuals.
2014-15 Bell Times Revised for Woodbine Preschool
Five minutes has been added to the morning and afternoon sessions at Woodbine Preschool Center. This will provide a 10-minute increase in the school day which is consistent with the 10-minute increase previously added to other schools. The revised bell schedule reflects this change. View revised bell schedule.
School Board Meetings for 2014-15 School Year
August 7, 2014
 
The first public meeting of the Prince William County School Board for the new school year will be held on Wednesday, September 3, beginning at 7 p.m. in the School Board Meeting Room, 14715 Bristow Road, Manassas.
 
With the exception of meetings on Tuesday, November 18, and Wednesday, April 8 and 22, the School Board meets during the school year on the first and third Wednesdays of each month at 7 p.m. In addition, a public meeting is set for Monday, February 9, to discuss the 2015-16 budget and a budget work session is scheduled on Wednesday, March 11.
 
Regular public meetings are open to the public and are streamed live on pwcstv.com, and broadcast live on PWCS-TV, Comcast Channel 18 and Verizon Channel 36. Closed sessions are held prior to the public meetings at 6 p.m. and are not open to the public. Items discussed in closed sessions are confined by law to personnel, student matters, acquisitions/disposition of real property, legal, and other specific matters exempted from open sessions under Virginia’s Freedom of Information Act.
 
Special meetings are called when necessary to conduct school business and are announced in advance on the School Division’s Web site and through local news media. All School Board meetings, except closed sessions, are open to the public.
 
View meeting schedule for the school year.
 
Electronic School Board agendas are available online in advance of meetings from pwcs.edu.  Agenda items and materials are subject to change up to the time of the meetings. “Board Briefs” summarizes the actions taken by the School Board at each meeting and are also available online.
 
Individuals who wish to address the School Board under Citizens’ Time may notify the board clerk in advance in writing at P.O. Box 389, Manassas, VA 20108; by phone at 703.791.8709; or by email at pwcsclerk@pwcs.edu. Individuals may also sign up in the School Board Meeting Room prior to 6:55 p.m. on the evening of the meeting.
   
School Board Calendar for August
August 6, 2014

School Board members may attend any of several professional development sessions for staff this month, as well as Summer School graduation and the ESOL Summer High School Scholars program, as listed below. Members of the media may contact Irene Cromer, supervisor of Community Relations, 703.791.8721, or cromeri@pwcs.edu if they have questions.

 
Thursday, August 7 7 p.m. Adult Education and Summer School Graduation Woodbridge High School
Friday, August 8
 
10 a.m. ESOL Summer Scholars Program Woodbridge High School
Monday, August 11 7:45 a.m. Assistant Principals’ Summer Conference Kelly Leadership Center
Tuesday, August 12 8:30 a.m. Classified Professional Development Conference Hylton High School
Thursday, August 14 7:30 a.m. Excellence and Equity in Education Conference (Administrators and Teacher Teams) Hylton High School
Friday, August 15 7:30 a.m. Student Services Symposium Hylton High School
Thursday, August 21 8:30 a.m. Teacher Connect (New Teacher Orientation and Induction) Hylton High School
 
Disciplinary Hearing Committee
The School Board Disciplinary Hearing Committee will meet on August 20 at 6:30 p.m. following dinner at 5 p.m. and a closed session at 6 p.m. Chairman At-Large Milton C. Johns and members Lisa E. Bell (Neabsco) and Loree Y. Williams (Woodbridge) comprise the Disciplinary Committee for this hearing.
Try a Different Path to Your High School Diploma
Benefit from Your Life Experience and Work Know-How

August 6, 2014

Need a high school diploma to advance in your career? If you have acquired academic skills through life and work experiences and can demonstrate what you have learned, the National External Diploma Program may be for you. In addition to the GED Program (for individuals 18 years and older), PWCS Adult Education offers this competency-based high school completion program for individuals 21 years of age and older. Successful completion of this program earns the participant a high school diploma issued by the local school board.

To learn more, attend the information sessions scheduled on August 18 at both 10 a.m. or 7 p.m. for your convenience. Sessions are held at the Adult Learning Center, Building 4, 14800 Joplin Road, Manassas, VA 20112 (Independent Hill).

For additional information, please call 703.791.7357 or refer to the Adult Education Web site
Federal Rules Raise Lunch Prices for 2014–15
August 6, 2014

School lunches will cost more this school year. Prices will increase a nickel at all levels due to federal directives that require parity with the amounts school divisions are reimbursed by the free and reduced price lunch program.

Come September, prices will be:

$2.40 Elementary School;
$2.55 Middle School; and
$2.65 High School. 
School Site Cemetery Remains Re-Interred; Public Invited to Memorial Ceremony
August 6, 2014

Remains and artifacts discovered in the previously undiscovered cemetery at the site of the County’s 12th high school were respectfully re-interred on the property last week, in accordance with plans approved by the Commonwealth and shaped by community input. The reburial involved the use of heavy equipment to place concrete vaults in an area that is part of an active construction site. While safety considerations precluded public participation in the actual re-interment, a planned memorial ceremony will allow community members to pay their respects.      

The ceremony will be held on the site Saturday, September 6, 2014 at 10:00 a.m. Safety and limited parking concerns require that all attendees meet by 9:45 a.m. at the Edward Kelly Leadership Center, 14715 Bristow Road in Manassas. Bus transportation will be provided from there to the ceremony site.  Participants are cautioned not to drive to the high school site or enter the Independence Drive community to attend the ceremony. 

Prince William County Public Schools looks forward to this opportunity to recognize those who lived and were buried on the site. We will honor their memory with a permanent resting place that will endure as new generations learn of and build on community history at the school being built nearby.

For planning purposes, individuals intending to attend the ceremony are asked to notify PWCS on or before August 25, by calling 703-791-7308.
Staffing Update August 6, 2014
The following administrative appointments have been made:
 
James 'Jim' Smith, currently a Social Studies Teacher at Osbourn Park High School, has been named an Administrative Intern at Battlefield High School, effective August 14, 2014; and

Artise Gill, currently a Professional Development Specialist with Professional Learning, has been named an Administrative Intern at Patriot High School, effective August 14, 2014.

Congratulations to these talented individuals.
 
School Supply Lists Available
School Supply Lists 2014–15



Traditional & K-8 Schools



Middle Schools




Elementary Schools


Location for the Summer English Learner Institute Has Changed
July 10, 2014
 
 
The location of the Summer English Learner (EL) Institute has changed. It will now be taking place at Reagan Middle School. Sessions begin June 23 and run through August 8.

These courses are applicable toward the 15 hours of annual professional development to be completed during the 2014–15 school year by educators instructing English Learners (ELs) in meeting the Language Allocation Service Plan requirements. Read the course descriptions to learn how best practices in classroom instruction for ELs are addressed. Find course dates, descriptions, and register using the “EPLP” code to search in the Professional Learning Catalog. For your convenience, the course lists for July and August offerings are attached, as well as offerings planned for the October 13 professional development day. Flyers are available by topic and focus area on the ESOL home page under EL Courses for Staff.
 
Please contact Christina Jennings (jennincm@pwcs.edu) or Kim Peterson (peterskx@pwcs.edu) with any questions.
 
School Board Disciplinary Committee Meeting Scheduled
June 26, 2014
 
Members of the Prince William School Board will meet on Wednesday, July 23, 2014 at 6 p.m. at the Kelly Leadership Center, 14715 Bristow Road, Manassas, for a closed disciplinary hearing.
 
Important Message to Parents about Student Health - Mensaje importante para padres acerca de salud estudiantil
Eating disorders are serious health problems that usually start in childhood or adolescence and affect both girls and boys. With early diagnosis, eating disorders are treatable with a combination of nutritional, medical, and therapeutic supports. With summer coming soon, many adolescents feel increased social pressure about their appearance, and this can lead to eating disorders.

It is important to note that eating disorders are not diagnosed based on weight changes as much as behaviors, attitudes, and mindset. Symptoms may vary between males and females and in different age groups. Often, a young person with an eating disorder may not be aware that he/she has a problem or keeps the issues secret. Parents/guardians and family members are in a unique position to notice symptoms or behaviors that cause concern. Noting behaviors common to people with eating disorders may lead to early referral to the primary care provider. It is important for eating disorders to be treated by someone who specializes in this type of care.

After reviewing the information attached if you think your child may be showing signs of a possible eating disorder, please contact your primary health care provider, school nurse, or one of the resources listed below:
 
Toll free, confidential Helpine: 1.800.931.2237
 
Additional resources may be found at:



 
Mensaje importante para padres acerca de salud estudiantil


Los trastornos alimenticios son problemas de salud graves, que por lo general comienzan en la infancia o en la adolescencia y que afectan tanto a las niñas como a los niños. Con un diagnóstico precoz, los trastornos de la alimentación se pueden tratar con una combinación de apoyos nutricionales, médicos y terapéuticos. Ahora que va a empezar el verano, muchos adolescentes sienten una mayor presión social por su apariencia, y esto puede conducir a trastornos de la alimentación.

Es importante tener en cuenta que los trastornos alimenticios no se diagnostican tanto a partir de los cambios de peso si no por los comportamientos, actitudes y forma de pensar. Los síntomas pueden variar entre varones y hembras y en diferentes grupos de edad. A menudo, puede que una persona joven con un trastorno de alimentación no sea consciente de que él/ella tiene un problema o puede que guarde sus problemas en secreto. Los padres/tutores y miembros de la familia están en una posición única para notar síntomas o comportamientos que causan preocupación. Tomando nota de los comportamientos comunes de las personas con trastornos de la alimentación pueden conducir a una pronta remisión al médico de atención primaria. Es importante que los trastornos de alimentación sean tratados por alguien que se especializa en este tipo de cuidado.

Después de revisar la información adjunta, si usted cree que su hijo/a puede estar mostrando signos de un posible trastorno alimenticio, por favor póngase en contacto con su proveedor de atención primaria de salud, la enfermera de la escuela, o uno de los recursos que se indican a continuación (en inglés):

 
 
 
Línea de ayuda confidencial gratuita: 1.800.931.2237
 
Pueden encontrar recursos adicionales en:
Departamento de Educación de Virginia - bajo la sección titulada, “Eating Disorders”

 
2014-15 Bell Times Revised for Benton and Godwin Middle Schools
June 23, 2014

2014-15 bell times have been revised
today and are posted on the PWCS Transportation Services Web page. Benton Middle School and Godwin Middle School times were moved forward by 10 minutes, now starting at 8:20 a.m. and ending at 3 p.m.
Summer Vacation on a College Campus? Mais Oui, When You Love Languages
June 18, 2014
 
Global awareness, multicultural understanding, and international education are not the usual agenda for teens during summer vacation. This summer, 14 Prince William County Public Schools students will trade in three weeks of what could be the lazy days of summer to participate in the highly selective Virginia Governor’s Foreign Language Academies. The students will experience life on a college campus as they participate in immersion and partial-immersion programs sponsored by the Virginia Department of Education. These summer residential programs have served Virginia's most motivated and talented foreign language students since 1986.

The immersion programs in French, German, and Spanish provide an intensive experience and unique challenge for students who have excelled in language study. They will continue their study of language in a total immersion environment, which is generally unavailable in the regular school environment. These academies will take place from June 21–July 12 at Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Virginia.

The partial-immersion program in Japanese is for students who excelled in another language for two years and will be introduced to the Japanese language and culture. This academy is offered from June 22–July 13 at Randolph-Macon College in Ashland, Virginia.

Prince William County Public Schools offers 10 world languages for formal study: Arabic, American Sign Language, Chinese, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Latin, Russian, and Spanish. The Governor’s Foreign Language Academies provide unique experiences for students to learn a new language like Japanese in order to apply their language skills to inter-disciplinary enrichment studies such as the arts, music, social sciences, and sports.
The participating students and their schools are: 
 
French                                                                                   
Sara Valentine, Osbourn Park High School                             
Brianna Gilmore, Battlefield High School                   
Colin Bushweller, Hylton High School                       
Olivia Chowning, Woodbridge High School
Taylor Petty, Woodbridge High School
 
German
Sadie Peloquin, Hylton High School
Logan Burum, Woodbridge High School
Madison Lynch, Woodbridge High School
Halle Williams, Patriot High School
 
 
Japanese
Brandon Chaney, Patriot High School
 
Spanish
Kyleigh Hynes, Battlefield High School
Jesse Dawsib, Patriot High School
Francesca Peavie, Patriot High School
Bikar Michael, Stonewall High School
Obey School Flashing Yellow Lights Even During Breaks—Summer School Will Be in Session at Some Locations
June 18, 2014
 
Motorists can expect school flashing lights to continue operating after school has ended on Thursday, June 19. These lights must be obeyed according to law. Flashing lights are controlled remotely and may be indicating summer school is in session at that site.
High School Summer Program Bus Schedule Now Available
June 17, 2014

Bus transportation for students attending summer school at Woodbridge High School is now posted on Transportation Services Web site. Buses stop at all PWCS high schools to pick up students for transportation to Woodbridge High School. The high school summer program begins Monday, June 30. See Summer School Web page for more details.
 
 

 
El horario de los autobuses está disponible para la escuela de verano de escuela secundaria

El transporte en autobús para los estudiantes que asisten a la escuela de verano en Woodbridge High School está publicada en el sitio Web de Servicios de Transporte (Transportation Services Web site). Los autobuses paran en todas las escuelas secundarias de PWCS para recoger a los estudiantes y transportarlos a Woodbridge High School. El programa de verano de la escuela secundaria comienza el lunes 30 de junio. Vea la página Web de la Escuela de Verano (Summer School Web page) para más detalles.
Bell Times for 2014–15 School Year
June 16, 2014

Bell times for school year 2014–15
are posted on the PWCS Transportation Services Web page. Bell times have been added for the new schools opening this fall, Haymarket Elementary School and The Nokesville School.
 
Generally, high schools will be in session from 7:30 a.m.–2:10 p.m.; middle schools from about 8:10 a.m.–2:50 p.m.; and elementary schools from approximately 9 a.m.–3:40 p.m.
 
The School Division continues to employ a three-tier system so that the same buses and drivers can be used to transport high school, middle school, and elementary school students in succession.
 
 
High School Students: Need a Summer Project? Make a Video to Compete in Student Contest
 June 13, 2014


Got a camera with video capability? If so, you and your friends can create a video and compete to win the Virginia School Boards Association (VSBA) student video contest. The contest invites all Virginia high school public education students to create a video based on the contest theme, “Virginia, we are one!” Contestants should submit a 30-second video clip. It can be in any format, such as a commercial, news broadcast, music video, etc. The video can feature people, photographs, animation—whatever best demonstrates the concept in a way that is clear, compelling, and real.
 
See the flyer for full details and submission information. Submission forms must be submitted to VSBA. All videos must be uploaded to the Internet and then submitted as follows: email your name, school name, school division, and the URL of your uploaded video to Bridget Merker, coordinator of board development, at bridget@vsba.org. Submit the Student Video Contest Submission Form, attached to the flyer, by downloading and completing the form and sending with your video submission to the above address. Visit www.vsba.org (click here to access details and forms about the VSBA Video Contest). Submissions are due by Wednesday, October 1.
Student Accident Insurance Available Online
 June 13, 2014


Student accident insurance is becoming more and more important to families due to lack of other insurance for their children, or having major medical plans with ever-increasing deductibles and co-insurance requirements. Student accident insurance will be available July 1 for parents to enroll their students for the 2014–15 school year. Markel (PWCS student accident insurance provider) has an electronic enrollment process through the Markel Web site or by calling 877.444.5014.

This Web site allows parents to:
• View all of the coverage and premium options;
• Review a “Frequently Asked Questions” section; and
• Purchase the insurance using a credit/debit card and receive an instant and printable confirmation of what they purchased.
PWCS-TV Airs High School Graduations
June 12, 2014

PWCS-TV will air broadcasts of most PWCS high school graduation ceremonies. The shows give graduates, friends, and families a second chance to view the big event from the comfort of their own home. Broadcasts will take place at 5:30 p.m. on the following dates and are available via Video On Demand after the first airing date. Go to pwcstv.com and scroll through the episodes to find the graduation ceremony you are interested in viewing.

Potomac High School
June 30 and July 4

Battlefield High School
July 7 and July 11
 
Stonewall Jackson High School
 July 14 and July 18
 
Patriot High School
July 21 and July 25
 
Osbourn Park High School
July 28 and August 1
 
Forest Park High School
August 4 and August 8
 
Hylton High School
August 11 and August 15
 
Gar-Field High School
August 18 and August 22
 
Woodbridge High School
August 25 and August 29
 
Freedom High School
September 1 and September 5
 
Brentsville District High School
September 8 and September 12
 
Adult Education and Summer School
September 15 and September 19
 
New Directions
September 22 and September 26 

Register Early for Elementary Professional Educators Conferences on August 26—Space is Limited
June 11, 2014

The Office of Student Learning is sponsoring three conferences for elementary educators on August 26. These conferences are targeted toward teachers in the following grade level bands: K–1, 2–3, and 4–5 and are scheduled from 8 a.m.–12:45 p.m. Each conference features presentations across all four core content areas, instructional technology, and general interest sessions. Teachers will receive five recertification hours for attending. Pre-registration at is required due to limited space at all locations. Sessions will be selected during the registration process. See the Elementary Professional Educator's Conference flyer for full details and registration instructions.
News from the Principal of Haymarket Elementary School
Principal Jewell Moore has posted important news and information on a Web page for parents and students of the new Haymarket Elementary School which opens September 2. The community is invited to attend a ribbon cutting ceremony before the school opens on August 19 at 6 p.m. Go to Web page.
View Web story on the Groundbreaking ceremony in 2013.
You Can Go to Unknown Places, Be a Detective, a Sports Expert, a Pop Star, or a Top Chef — Find Out How
June 11, 2014
 
Let your imagination take you to places and adventures you would not normally experience. Reading has the power to do this and more. Your school’s summer reading list has been carefully selected and designed by librarians for your enjoyment as well as for enriching your mind. This summer is your opportunity to slow down and relax with a good book. Find the right books and articles that interest you and they can entertain and inspire you, as well as teach you. There are many kinds of books to choose from on your school’s reading list or from the public library’s summer program. To find the right books for you, begin by going to the Summer Reading List Web page.
Saluting Our Stars Photo Gallery Now Available
June 11, 2014 

A photo gallery from the May 13 Saluting our Stars ceremony at Patriot High School is now available through the SPARK website at www.poweredbyspark.org and videos from the event are available on-demand at www.pwcstv.com. Award recipients may now share their special moment with friends and family.
 
The event brought together more than 400 recipients of international, national, state, and regional awards in academics, arts, athletics, and education. SPARK is the Education Foundation for PWCS, and sponsors the annual recognition event.  SPARK represents the commitment of the business, non-profit, and civic sectors to encourage and recognize excellence throughout PWCS and to support efforts to offer a World-Class Education to students. 
In Pursuit of Excellence, Scholarship Recipients Further their Education
May 30, 2014


The Prince William Education Association (PWEA) has awarded scholarships to students Tyler Mazza, Cynthia Kovacich, and Alisha Riley and to Prince William County Public School employees Jessica Hruska, Adrienne Mattison, and Victoria C. Morris.
 
The Member Dependent Scholarship was awarded to Tyler Mazza, Woodbridge High School alumnus and grandson of Linda Mazza, special education teacher assistant at Independent Hill School. Mazza currently attends Northern Virginia Community College and plans to attend James Madison University.
 
The winner of PWEA’s Deloris Hampton Future Teacher Scholarship, Cynthia Kovacich, will graduate from Osbourn Park High School and plans to attend James Madison University in the fall. This is a four-year renewable scholarship.
 
To recognize the efforts of student Alisha Riley, PWEA created and awarded the first PWEA Future Teacher Scholarship. Riley will graduate from Stonewall Jackson High School and plans to attend Northern Virginia Community College. Both Kovacich and Riley are members of the Future Educators Association and plan to pursue their certification in education.
 
PWEA also awarded Member Scholarships to Jessica Hruska, science teacher at Stonewall Jackson High School, and Adrienne Mattison, math teacher at Potomac High School. Hruska plans to continue her studies at Concordia University. Mattison will attend James Madison University.
Victoria C. Morris is a kindergarten teacher assistant at Occoquan Elementary School and the recipient of the Nettie Attkisson Education Support Professional Scholarship which will assist her studies at Grand Canyon University.
 
 
Schedule for Last School Day Announced
May 5, 2014

Provided there are no unexpected situations that impact instructional time between now and the end of the school year, the school schedule for the last day of school, Thursday, June 19, will include a new two-hour early dismissal for elementary and middle school students, and high school student dismissal will be at 10 a.m.  Dismissal times for all schools will be posted to the Transportation Services Web site as soon as they are available.

This schedule change is possible based on the additional 10 minutes the School Board added to the school day to adjust for time lost to weather-related closings and delays.
By Popular Request, Here Are Videos and Resources Shared at the High School Parent Summit—A “Must See” for Parents
March 14, 2014
If you missed the opportunity to attend the High School Parent Summit at Hylton High School on Saturday, January 11, you can still learn much of what was offered. The half-day program included expert presentations on graduation requirements, earning college credit through tests, financial aid and scholarships, college admissions and programs, SAT/ACT information, career and workforce information, trade and technical options, and much more. Event organizers heard from many parents that they wanted to see presentations again and watch those they missed.

Check out the videos and resources
here 
Choose Your E-News—Complete All Three Sign-Up Sections to Get the News You Want
With winter in full swing, the Prince William County community is encouraged to keep up with school announcements through official School Division sites, including the home page on the Internet, pwcs.edu; PWCS E-News; Facebook; Twitter; and YouTube. The Office of Communications Services uses these sites to get information to the community quickly during inclement weather.
 
PWCS E-News is an email and/or text message subscription service that offers a choice of topics including daily news digests, emergency and inclement weather announcements, and in-memoriam announcements.
 
Get weather and emergency news by email, text message, or both pertaining to your school by signing up online for PWCS E-News.
 
To subscribe, go to pwcs.edu and click on the PWCS E-News logo, located on the left of the home page. Remember to fill out the information on all three pages of the online form by clicking the three tabs on the “MY ACCOUNT” page.
 
Complete the:
1-    “User Info” tab with your contact information;
2-    “My PWCS E-News Roles” tab with any student/school associations; and
3-    “PWCS eNews” tab with your closing and emergency notification preferences.
 
View detailed instructions for registering for PWCS E-News, or go to pwcs.edu, click on “News and Updates” on the left navigation, and click “How do I subscribe to PWCS E-News” to view them.
 
Want to Create Your Own TV Production? Watch “Producing an i-Report” to Learn How
 
December 31, 2013

Students: Do you want to be on TV? Or, maybe you would rather try writing and directing a documentary? PWCS-TV invites students, teachers, and parents to try their hand at working on a video production. Here’s how:

Write five paragraphs about one of these topics:
• Your school activities, 
• Your dream job, 
• Your winter break activities, or 
• Your favorite hobby (cooking, sports, cheerleading, robotics, etc.).

Take 20 photos related to your topic. If you have access to a video camera, have someone record you reading your report. At the end of the video, record, "For PWCS-TV, this is _(your name)__, i-Reporter!"

Email your written report to careyax@pwcs.edu (with your parent's contact information if you're under 18). Any PWCS staff member or parent is also invited to participate in a student production. Staff in PWCS Media Production Services will work with you, your parents, teachers, or scout leaders to produce your report, using our cameras, if you don't have access to a video recording camera.

Parents, teachers, or students who have questions may call Angie Carey at 703.791.7433. Reports will be broadcast on PWCS-TV, Comcast Channel 18 and Verizon Channel 36, and on our Web site, pwcstv.com.

Click here or below to watch this PWCS student-made video, which shows students, parents, and teachers how to be an i-reporter.


2014–15 School Calendar Approved
December 19, 2013
 
At its meeting on December 18, the School Board approved the 2014–15 school calendar. The first day of school will be Tuesday, September 2, 2014. The elementary school calendar features 182 days of instruction with 13 days of conferences or inservice/workdays for a total of 195 days. The middle and high school calendar features 183 days of instruction with 12 days of conferences or inservice/workdays to equal a 195-day-calendar. The last day of school for students will be Thursday, June 18, 2015.
 
 
Holidays include Veterans Day (observed November 11), two days for Thanksgiving (November 27 and 28), New Year’s Day Holiday (January 1), Martin Luther King Jr. Day (January 19), Presidents’ Day (February 16), and Memorial Day (May 25).
 
Schools will be closed on Monday, October 13, 2014 (Columbus Day) for a teacher professional development/workday.
 
Students and teachers will attend a half-day on November 26 before beginning Thanksgiving break (November 27–28). Winter break will give students and teachers a full two weeks off from classes, stretching from Monday, December 22-Friday, January 2. Winter break for all employees is December 24 and 25, plus the New Year's holiday on January 1.  School will resume on Monday, January 5, 2015.
 
Spring break for students and teachers runs from March 30–April 3. Spring break for all employees is April 2–3. Schools will be closed on Monday, April 6, 2013 for a teacher professional development/workday.
 
The annual school calendar is reviewed by employee groups, organizations, and councils prior to being submitted to the School Board for approval each December.
 
An orientation and induction program for new teachers will be held August 21–22, 2014. All teachers will report to their schools on August 25.


Parents - How to Make Sure You Receive Your School Web Site's Daily Email Notifications
Some parents have indicated recently that they are not receiving the SchoolFusion "recent activity notifications" email which contains their child’s class Web site activities including homework. Here is what you can do to resolve the problem. Also see details about when notifications are sent out.
 
1)  Make sure that no one in your family is using the same email address. SchoolFusion has a problem with the notifications system if an email address is used for more than one person. If your child is using your email address, please notify the school to delete or change the student’s email address, or change your own in Parent Portal. In the case of a parent who is also a teacher and has 2 accounts, each account needs to have its own email address.

2)  Check the SPAM filter for your email service. It could be that your email service is blocking you from receiving email from SchoolFusion. Check your email options - Add the following to your contact list: SchoolFusion, Daily Digest, do-not-reply@centrifugessolutions.com, reminder@centrifugessolutions.com. You may also need to call your email provider and ask if these addresses are being blocked.
 
3)  Check your SchoolFusion notifications settings to make sure that option is turned on. Logon to your school’s Web site; Click "My Account - Personal Settings - Notifications" on the lower left of the screen. Then select "Yes" and "Submit." Also check the setting called Daily Digest which sends announcements and events email. Select one of the options on the menu, such as "Send me a daily Prince William County Public Schools Digest the day before."
Click on  
 
Select
 
Select an option.
 

4) If your email address has changed, change it in Parent Portal -- It will automatically be imported to SchoolFusion:
To change your email address for daily SchoolFusion notifications you will need to first change it in the Parent Portal. Please go to the following URL to change your email address: http://parentportal.pwcs.edu. Be sure to change it in 2 places on Parent Portal -- see instructions at: http://pwcs.schoolfusion.us/modules/cms/pages.phtml?&pageid=244272#change_email
 

Parents/students should receive email notifications between 3 and 8:30 p.m. EST:
The Recent Activity Email contains new information added to the system within the prior 24 hours, and will contain information for the upcoming three days. Teachers need to have information added to their FusionPages, such as new Announcements, New Events, and Homework Assignments posted prior to 3 p.m. EST, in order to be included in that day's email notification. Recent Activity email is sent Sunday through Friday, and is not sent on Saturday.
 
To view your child's class activities, calendar, and homework at any time, log on to your school Web site and click on "My Family" on the bottom left of the screen.

View more information about SchoolFusion and how to use your school's Web site.
View Parent Portal FAQs.
Parents, Here’s How to Receive Critical Messages from PWCS
September 18, 2013

Blackboard Connect (Automatic Enrollment)
Parents and guardians of students and employees of Prince William County Public Schools are automatically enrolled in the Blackboard Connect messaging service. PWCS central office and schools use this system to communicate delayed opening and school closing information, emergency messages, and attendance and school-based outreach messages. Messages are delivered using basic contact information provided by parents and employees. 

Updating Basic Contact Information
It is important to keep emergency contact information up to date. Parents may view request edits to their child's emergency contact information online through Parent Portal.

Employees may view and update their contact information through Employee Self Service.

Be sure to add the Blackboard email address to your contact list to ensure you receive important messages from your child's school and the School Division.

PWCS ENews (Subscription Service)

Students, spouses, and community members interested in receiving emergency messages, news, events, and updates from PWCS may subscribe to PWCS ENews. News is sent by email; emergency messages and inclement weather closures or delays are sent to your choice of email and/or text message. Parents may consider using this service to receive emergency messages at additional phone numbers or addresses not listed in their child’s contact record.

Updating Contact Information
Subscribers are responsible for updating and removing themselves from the subscription system.

To avoid duplicate messages, parents of PWCS students should not subscribe to “Emergency Messaging” for the school where their child attends if their e-mail and/or phone number is already listed in the contact record for their child. These contacts are automatically included in the Blackboard Connect service. 

Be sure to add the PWCS ENews email address to your contact list to ensure you receive important messages from the School Division.
You may subscribe to any of the following topics: 
  • Emergency messages, delayed openings, and school closings (select your schools of interest)
  • News releases, Events, and Web stories
  • Board Briefs
  • School Board news from At-Large Member – Milton C. Johns
  • School Board news from Vice Chairman (Coles) — Dr. Michael I. Otaigbe
  • School Board news from Brentsville Member — Gil Trenum
  • School Board news from Gainesville District Member — Alyson A. Satterwhite
  • School Board news from Neabsco Member — Lisa E. Bell
  • School Board news from Occoquan Member — Lillie G. Jessie
  • School Board news from Potomac District Member — Betty D. Covington
  • School Board news from Woodbridge District Member — Steven Keen
 
Parents and Students, Need to Change Your Email Address or Web Password?
Your email address listed in the Parent Portal will be used to send notifications from both Parent Portal and from School Web sites (SchoolFusion). Since the Parent Portal is self-service you must change your email address in the Parent Portal and it will be automatically changed for school Web site notifications. View instructions on the Parent Portal FAQ’s Web page.
 
Your password for both Parent Portal and your school Web site must also be changed in the Parent Portal. See instructions for changing your password and for retrieving a forgotten password.
 
PWCS Google Apps Now Available to Grade 6-12 Students
September 4, 2013

PWCS Google Apps for Education is now available to students in grades 6-12. For more information visit the Instructional Technology Web page for Google Apps information.

Warning! This Web page may contain links to one or more Web sites outside the PWCS network, which are not PWCS venues and may not reflect the views or opinions of PWCS. PWCS does not control the content of such Web sites and does not sponsor or endorse any messages, products, or services contained on such Web sites.

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