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SPARK
PWCS E-News
Prince William Network - Distance Learning
PWCS TV
America's Promise Alliance - 100 Best Communities Award
PWCS Tip Line
Reminder: Police Training at former Nokesville Elementary School, October 2
Don’t be alarmed. It’s just an exercise and unrelated to schools.​
 
News Stories
October is United Way Month
Contributions can benefit schools through SPARK, a United Way agency.

October 1, 2014

As United Way Month kicks off, PWCS invites you to join others who give to the United Way Campaign. Past contributions have funded a multitude of service organizations, providing much-needed services, including shelter and emergency assistance, crisis intervention programs, care for terminally ill patients, family counseling, legal aid for the elderly, training for persons with severe handicaps, youth programs, and medical and dental care. Last year, PWCS employees contributed more than $109,000 to various organizations through the United Way Campaign.

SPARK, the Education Foundation for PWCS, receives thousands of dollars thanks to donations made through the United Way. This money helps the Foundation continue to offer educational assistance to students and teachers through the Innovative Grants program, Dr. Edward L. Kelly Memorial Scholarship, and other special projects.

Those interested in giving to SPARK this year may designate code 8167 on their United Way pledge forms. Federal government employees may also donate dollars toward local education by contributing to SPARK via the Combined Charitable Campaign; designate code 84495 to have your money make a difference for education in Prince William County.

With the generous support of Kitchen Gourmet and Potbelly Sandwich Shop adding to the PWCS effort, SPARK looks forward to the most successful campaign yet.

PWCS staff may click here to contribute online.
 
Food Pathways to the Future
Food service is probably in the future of students who celebrated the Grand Opening of Freedom High School’s Bistro on Wheels. See the Superintendent’s-eye view.


October 1, 2014

Mary AustinWhat began as an old school bus is now ready to serve up an array of cold foods from a special salad bar inside. Students with special challenges get the real treat, feasting on new skills and experience as they operate the Bistro on Wheels. 

“It’s fabulous. We’re very excited,” said Freedom Principal Inez Bryant. “We have a vision for our challenged students that the sky is the limit.”  

Parents and staff enjoyed the students’ culinary delights today. Superintendent Steve Walts proclaimed them “delicious.” He documented the scene in preparation for a soon-to-launch Twitter presence that will let you see and hear more from the Schools’ chief.

Customers from the area surrounding Freedom will soon get their chance to taste the Bistro’s offerings. 
Today, the honor went to parents, staff, and administrators. Some helped convert the bus to the Bistro over the summer. In the process, they built something that will make a world of difference for the students.  

“Once they leave Freedom we want them to have specific skills they can use outside these walls. This is a stepping stone to a future with lots of potential,” added Principal Bryant. 




 
Students celebrating the new Bistro on Wheels                Jane Lawson and Inez Bryant   






 
PWCS School Board Chairman Talks Building and Renewal on "Board Briefs"
PWCS-TV offers educational and entertainment programming that targets the entire community of learners—students, teachers, parents, and School Division staff. Tune in today.
 
September 30, 2014
 
On this first edition of “Board Briefs” for the school year, School Board Chairman At-Large Milton C. Johns broadcasts from the site of the 12th high school, scheduled to open in 2016, and updates the community about other new construction and renewal projects across the School Division.
 
Board Briefs is a periodic feature on PWCS-TV (Comcast Channel 18 and Verizon Channel 36), with rotating segments of School Board members sharing their views, news, and information about events taking place in PWCS. The program is produced by Media Production Services, in the Office of Communications Services. This episode will air at various times throughout the day through October.
 
In addition to the broadcasts, "Board Briefs" is available on-demand or as a podcast at http://pwcstv.com, and via YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/user/PWCSchools.

For more information about PWCS-TV productions or for a complete listing of show times and schedules, visit PWCS-TV


 
Interest-Based Specialty Programs Get Students on Path toward Careers
Eye-opening first-hand accounts from students in specialty programs show why these are great choices for highly motivated students.

September 29, 2014

Forging friendships around the world. Taking computer wizardry to the next level. Unscrambling mysteries of DNA.  PWCS students are quick to tell you what they are getting out of PWCS specialty programs. Like International Studies at Hylton, Information Technology at Forest Park, or Biotechnology at Osbourn Park High School, PWCS offers a broad range of opportunities that are unique for their diversity.

Check out program offerings at the upcoming Special Opportunities Information Nights for Middle School Specialty Programs and High School Specialty Programs. Students and faculty in specialty programs will be on hand to answer your questions and provide detailed information.

These are programs of choice, open to all students who are interested in pursuing a particular field of interest. High-tech corporations and businesses across the spectrum support specialty programs by providing mentors and volunteers, and financial and other resources.
 
Note that an application is required to participate in Specialty Programs even when the program location is in the student’s base school.
 
If a school receives applications for more students than the specialty program can accept or the school can house, a lottery is held to select participants. Under conditions of extreme overcrowding of a given school, a program may be open only to students within the school’s boundary and may be closed to all transfer students. Additionally, other programs may be filled through lottery, if necessary, due to capacity.
 
The application deadline is February 1, 2015 for most PWCS schools.
 
Middle School Program Opportunities Information Nights
 
Monday, October 13, 2014 from 7–9 p.m.
Tuesday, October 28, 2014 from 7–9 p.m.
Kelly Leadership Center
 
High School Program Opportunities Information Nights
County-wide programs that will be represented both nights are: Center for Environmental and Natural Sciences (Freedom), Center for International Studies and Languages (Hylton), The Biotechnology Center (Osbourn Park), and Center for Fine and Performing Arts (Woodbridge). 
 
Monday, October 20, 2014
7–9 p.m. 
Gar-Field High School
Eastern Prince William County —Forest Park (Information Technology), Gar-Field (International Baccalaureate), Potomac (Cambridge), and Woodbridge (Advanced Placement Scholars)
 
Tuesday, October 21, 2014
7–9 p.m.
Stonewall Jackson High School
Western Prince William County—Battlefield (Information Technology), Brentsville District (Cambridge), Patriot (Advanced Placement Scholars), and Stonewall Jackson (International Baccalaureate)
International Walk to School Day is October 8
 September 26, 2014

International Walk to School Day is an effort to promote health and environmental awareness and safer routes for walking and bicycling. On October 8 many elementary schools will participate in a variety of ways that include all students, not just walkers. All elementary schools will be offered support by local fire and rescue stations.

PWCS is promoting safe routes to school activities in partnership with the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) Safe Routes to School (SRTS) initiative and the Virginia Department of Education. The PWCS coordinator is Rebecca Short, a retired firefighter. She is working with Prince William County (PWC) Fire and Rescue and the PWC Police Departments to coordinate support for walkers and riders on International Walk to School Day. To learn more and get involved, visit the PWCS Safe Routes to Schools Web page, or contact Rebecca Short at shortbv@pwcs.edu or 703.791.8798.

SRTS is a federally funded program to encourage children to walk or bicycle to school; make walking and bicycling safer and more appealing transportation alternatives; and facilitate planning, development, and implementation of projects and activities that will improve safety and reduce traffic, fuel consumption, and air pollution in the vicinity of schools.
Expand Your Opportunities through Adult Education Classes -- Registration Begins October 6
September 26, 2014
 
Registration for Prince William County Public Schools Adult Education classes begins next week for the fall session which starts October 27. Adult Basic Education (ABE), General Educational Development (GED), and English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) classes are offered for adults 18 years of age and older at locations throughout Prince William County, Manassas City, and Manassas Park.

Register at any of the following locations on dates and times below:

5-7 p.m.
Mon., Oct. 6, 2014 - Freedom High School
Tues., Oct. 7, 2014 - Osbourn High School
Wed., Oct. 15, 2014 - Freedom High School
Thurs., Oct. 16, 2014 - Osbourn High School
 
11 a.m.-2 p.m.
Fri., Oct. 17, 2014 - Adult Learning Center


Allow approximately one hour for registration. Classes are in 12 Week/90 hour sessions. Tuition is $165 and is due at registration, payable by cash, cashier's check or money order to PWCS. Credit or debit cards, or personal checks will not be accepted. Children will not be allowed at the registration.

For more information please click below, call 703.791.7357, or email adulted@pwcs.edu or view the following brochures.

ABE-GED Class Brochure Fall 2014

ESOL Class Brochure Fall 2014 

Classes de Otoño 2014


 
Parents and Students -- Need to Change Your Email Address or Web Site Password?
September 26, 2014


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.
 
However, if students have changed their student email address but are still not receiving Web site notifications, check with your school office staff; they may need to make a change in the student database.
 
Your password for both Parent Portal and your school Web site must be changed in the Parent Portal. See instructions for changing your password and for retrieving a forgotten password.
 
October School Board Meeting Schedule
September 25, 2014
 
The October public meetings of the Prince William County School Board will be held at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, October 1 and October 15 in the School Board Meeting Room, 14715 Bristow Road, Manassas. View School Board meeting agendas online and find additional information on the School Board Web page. Agenda items and materials are subject to change up to the time of the meetings.
 
In addition, a disciplinary hearing is tentatively scheduled on October 22. If needed, members Lillie G. Jessie (Occoquan), Alyson A. Satterwhite (Gainesville), and Gil Trenum (Brentsville) will convene to review up to four cases.
 
October 1
5 p.m.           Dinner
6 p.m.           Closed Session Meeting
7 p.m.           Public Meeting
 
October 15
5 p.m.           Dinner
6 p.m.           Closed Session Meeting
7 p.m.           Public Meeting       
 
October 22 (tentative)
5 p.m.           Dinner
6 p.m.           Disciplinary Hearing
 
Anyone may attend public meetings, which are streamed live on pwcstv.com and broadcast live on PWCS-TV, available on Comcast Channel 18 and Verizon Channel 36. Past meetings are also available for viewing on-demand at pwcstv.com.
 
Individuals who wish to address the School Board during Public Comment 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 by noon on the day of the meeting. Individuals may also sign up in the School Board Meeting Room prior to 6:55 p.m. on the evening of the meeting.
PWCS On-Time Graduation Rate Reaches New High of 91%
Freedom HS Posts Major Gains.

September 24, 2014
 
A record number of Prince William County Public School students who entered high school in the fall of 2010 graduated on time in 2014. The new on-time graduation rate of 91 percent continues a steady climb from 83 percent just six years ago.

"This is truly cause for celebration," said PWCS Superintendent, Dr. Steve Walts, who noted that nearly 47 percent of all students earned advanced studies diplomas.
 
Seven of 11 PWCS high schools saw improved on-time rates in 2014, with Freedom High School leading the upward climb. Freedom's on-time rate soared by more than four points over 2013, to a new level of nearly 86%.
 
"Freedom's success is a tribute to what can be accomplished by hard work and dedication," added Walts. "Everyone at that school should be extremely proud." 

New Directions School played a significant role in the Divisionwide success story. The alternative school assists students who faced challenges that once created big obstacles to graduation. New Directions programs put students back on the path to academic success, graduation, and even bigger achievements ahead.    
 
The PWCS on-time graduation rate exceeds the Division's Strategic Plan target, and also surpasses the steadily climbing statewide record.

PWCS On-Time Graduation Stats:
  • Graduation rates have increased from 83% in 2008 to 91% in 2014.
  • 46.7% earned an advanced studies diploma in 2014, compared with 43.5% in 2013.
Details for Student Groups:
  • Graduation rate for Black students increased from 88.9% in 2013 to 89.0%.
  • Graduation rate for Hispanic students increased from 81.8% in 2013 to 84.3% in 2014.
  • Graduation rate for economically disadvantaged students increased from 82.5% in 2013 to 85.3% in 2014.
Details for Schools:
  • Seven of 11 PWCS high schools showed increases in on-time graduation rates.
  • Seven of 11 PWCS high had graduation rates higher than the state average.
  • For the first time, ALL high schools in PWCS met the graduation benchmark required for full accreditation (Graduation and Completion Index). ​
PWCS Hosts Screening of American Promise on Oct. 4
September 19, 2014

“American Promise” is a documentary that follows a 13-year journey of two African-American families to chronicle implicit assumptions on issues of race, class, and opportunity. The free screening, made available through PWCS and the Prince William County Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta, Inc., will be held on October 4 from 6–9 p.m. at Gar-Field High School. See the “American Promise” Screening flyer for additional details.
Students Named in First Round of Rigorous National Achievement Scholarship Program
September 24, 2014
 
Seven Prince William County Public School students are among the highest-scoring students in Virginia. They have been named National Achievement Scholarship semifinalists for 2015 based on the results of the 2013 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test they took as juniors. The students join more than 1,600 Black American high school seniors designated semifinalists in the 51st annual National Achievement Scholarship Program.
 
The semifinalists are Brianna J. Gilmore from Battlefield High School; Noah Hawkins of Forest Park High School; Ian B. Jones from Osbourn Park High School; Sydney A. Jordan a student at Stonewall Jackson High School; Francesca L. Peavie and Hannah C. Wied of Patriot High School; and PWCS student Rollin N. Woodford attending Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology.
 
To qualify as a finalist and be considered for an Achievement Scholarship, a semifinalist must have an outstanding high school academic record, be endorsed and recommended by their school principal, and submit SAT scores that confirm their earlier qualifying test performance. The semifinalist and a school official must submit a detailed scholarship application, which also  details the semifinalist’s participation and leadership in school and community activities, demonstrated leadership abilities, and educational goals. 
 
Two types of Achievement Scholarship awards will be offered in 2015: one-time National Achievement scholarships worth $2,500 awarded regionally and about 100 Achievement Scholarships funded by corporate and business sponsors who set individual award criteria. The National Achievement Scholarship Program will release the names of the 2015 Achievement Scholarship winners in April 2015.
Growing Great Communicators through MLK Oratorical Contest
Martin Luther King Jr. Oratorical Competition fosters high-achieving students.

September 24, 2014

Ladies in red came in force to the School Board meeting on September 17. Representing the Alumnae of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, they invited School Board members and the community to the 30th Anniversary Celebration of Martin Luther King Jr. Day. The event will be held on Monday, January 19 at 11 a.m. in the Cecil D. Hylton Memorial Chapel in Woodbridge.
 

The King Day Celebration will also mark the 25th anniversary of the Martin Luther King Jr. Youth Oratorical Competition. The contest draws middle and high school students in Prince William County, Manassas City, and Manassas Park who conduct research and write a speech or essay on the annual theme, and compete in a school-level contest. School winners are then eligible to compete in the regional competition held at Hylton Chapel.

Mrs. Sandra MitchellThe theme for the 2015 competition is "The High Road of Peace and Brotherhood," a reference to the eulogy delivered by Martin Luther King Jr. at the funeral service for three children killed in a bombing on September 15, 1963.

"Students deliver thought-provoking and well-written speeches,” said Sandra Mitchell, co-chair of the oratorical contest. "Mrs. [Lillie] Jessie told us many years ago, 'When you expect the best from students, they will never disappoint you,' and she was right." School Board member Lillie G. Jessie (Occoquan) was the first chair of the oratorical competition.
 
"The ability to speak with clarity and conviction is one of the most important skills any of us could have...It cannot be tested on a state multiple choice test and that is why we believe this kind of performance task--this annual oratorical exercise--is so vital to our schools and to this community," said Mitchell.
 
Joan Bagnerise, who also spoke to the School Board during citizens' time on September 17, said many winners of the contest have "gone on to speak at churches, the White House, Virginia state capital, annual scholars programs, and even the inaugural luncheon for the President of the United States.'"
 
 
Left, Mrs. Sheila Bryant; right, Mrs. Joan Bagnerise

 

 
Police and Fire Departments Plan Realistic Training at Former PWCS School
September 23, 2014

The sight of fire crews or police swarming around the former Nokesville Elementary School should not cause alarm in the weeks ahead; they will be taking part in routine, but realistic-looking training. The now-closed school buildings and grounds are being used to help Prince William County first responders better protect the safety of all county residents.

Police training is currently planned for October 2 and 10.  Firefighters are scheduled to train at the old school on November 26 and December 9. Trainings will begin in daylight hours, but some may continue well after dark.

Ongoing email and social media messages will remind residents that these are simply training exercises and not to mistake them for actual emergencies. Signs will also carry the “training” message.

The soon-to-be temporary training site, Nokesville Elementary, ended its long operation as a school last June. Students now attend The Nokesville School, a brand new K-8 facility nearby. Students walking to or from the new school may encounter the training scenes along their way. Parents and school personnel should strive to make sure they know there is no reason for worry.     
 
Global Competency--What is It and Why Do Our Students Need It? Participate in Global Conference in November
September 23, 2014

Plan now to participate in the 2014 Global Education Conference during International Education Week, November 17-November 22. All PWCS educators are encouraged to take part. The conference is soliciting proposals through November 15. This will be a week of free online professional learning in webinar format with educators and innovators around the world. The conference will take place entirely online using the Blackboard Collaborate platform which can be accessed at any time, even in the evenings. See the Blackboard Web site for details. 
Tech Support for Mouse Problems and More
Critical backup always there for learning in the digital age.

September 22, 2014

What do schools do when there is a computer or technical issue? They turn to their TSSPEC ("T-Spec") or Technical Support Specialist for guidance. TSSPECs have the specialized knowledge that keeps computers, interactive white boards, and school networks running smoothly. Watch "School Focus" to see the important role that these employees play in our schools.

"School Focus," produced by the Office of Media Production Services, and airs regularly on PWCS-TV (Comcast Channel 18 and Verizon Channel 36), on demand at pwcstv.com, and on YouTube. Episodes air daily at 9 a.m., noon, 5 p.m., and 8 p.m. For more information about PWCS-TV productions or for a complete listing of show times and schedules, visit pwcstv.com. The airing schedule is subject to change.

 
Navigating Hurdles—New Resources Help Military Students and Their Families Reach Goals
September 19, 2014
 
PWCS has launched a new initiative to help military-connected students and their families make a smooth transition into the School Division and community. Through a Department of Defense grant, PWCS recently hired Carolyn Juba, a Military Student Transition Consultant from the Military Child Education Coalition (MCEC). Juba will work initially with families from Ashland, Henderson, and Pattie Elementary Schools to develop a military-connected transition program for the entire School Division. These three schools have more than 15% military dependent student enrollment.

The new military-connected student support Web site serves as a resource for information about PWCS, Prince William County, military resources, and community resources. The Web site can be found at www.pwcs.edu under “How Do I Find” as well as on the “Parents” tab.

Juba is available to assist families with questions and/or issues as they arise in transition, deployment, and relocation. If you have any questions, please contact Darlene Friedline at friedld@pwcs.edu, or Carolyn Juba at jubacm@pwcs.edu or call the PWCS Military-Connected Academic Support Program at 703.791.7463. Dr. Deborah Ransom, supervisor of Elementary Counseling and Related Services, is the grant project director.
Light Continues to Glow on Potomac Basketball
Even after six months, the Potomac boys' basketball team is still reaping the rewards of a championship season.

September 18, 2014

At the September 17 School Board meeting, Delegate Michael Futrell, 2nd District, read General Assembly House Joint Resolution No. 5035 which commends the Potomac Panthers for winning the Virginia High School League championship last March.

Futrell presented Keith Honore, head coach for the Potomac High School boys' basketball team, Principal Michael Wright, and Director of Student Activities Bill Stearns, with a prepared resolution as a congratulatory gesture.






 
PWCS Joins in Combatting Hunger
The new Prince William Food Council will unite and coordinate the anti-hunger efforts of government agencies, not-for-profit organizations, and others across the area.  

September 18, 2014

Prince William County School Board Chairman At-Large Milt Johns reaffirmed the Division's commitment to battling hunger at the launch of a new group created to help lead that battle countywide.

Prince William County Public Schools play a huge role by providing tens of thousands of free and reduced price breakfasts and lunches to children every year. The Food Council wants to build on those efforts by helping to make certain every eligible child takes part, and by working to expand efforts that take place when schools are not in session. 

Speakers at Thursday's launch acknowledged the enormity of the challenge. But along with Johns, they echoed the Food Council's determination to ending hunger in our community.  


 
Superintendent Begins 10th School Year
Chairman At-Large and School Board Members congratulate Superintendent on accomplishments and leadership.

September 18, 2014

The School Board’s meeting last night included an item not on the agenda—commendations for Superintendent Steven L. Walts on leading a great team of administrators, teachers, and support staff to such accomplishments as implementation of the regional Governor’s School @ Innovation Park and full-day kindergarten; raising the on-time graduation rate to 90%, and taking the School Division into the digital age.

School Board members extended best wishes to Walts as he begins his 10th year. Chairman At-Large Milton C. Johns, noted that Walts has much to show for his leadership, and “he’s got a few more gray hairs than when he was hired in 2005.”
 
Johns also noted the booming economy in 2005 followed by the economic downturn, and that Walts managed our growing School Division and got “us through this financial crisis without laying off a single employee, which was not the case in other school districts across the nation.”
 
 
The Governor’s School @ Innovation Park Joint Board Meeting Schedule
September 18, 2014
 
The Joint Board of The Governor's School @ Innovation Park will hold its first meeting of the year on September 25, starting at 7:30 p.m. in Room 110H of the Occoquan Building on the Prince William Campus, George Mason University, located at 10900 University Boulevard in Manassas.
 
2014-15 Meetings:
 
September 25, 2014             Business Meeting
December 11, 2014              Business Meeting
February 19, 2015                Business Meeting
April 23, 2015                      Business Meeting
June 18, 2015                       Business Meeting
 
Members of The Governor's School @ Innovation Park's Joint Board are Scott Albrecht, Manassas City Public Schools; Arthur Bushnell, Manassas City Public Schools; Brenda Foster, Manassas Park City Schools; Milton Johns, Prince William County Public Schools; Dr. Fran Kassinger, Manassas Park City Schools; and Dr. Michael Otaigbe, Prince William County Public Schools.
 
View meeting agendas and minutes.  
Does Listening Improve When the Heroes Are Speaking?
When their heroes talk, students listen. Savvy educators invoke the power of sports mania to reinforce healthy learning and living habits.
 
September 16, 2014
 
 

Their parents tell them, their teachers tell them: reading is important, exercise is important; some may listen. But offer kids a chance to engage with their football heroes, and a little convincing goes a long way coming from some of the coolest guys around.
 
At a revved-up rally on September 9, about 300 third-through-fifth-grade Dumfries Elementary School students kicked off the school year with a visit from some Washington Redskins Football players and the NFL Play 60/Read 20 Back-to-School Backpack Giveaway. Three hundred backpacks were donated to the school.
 
The school glistened with a start-of-the-school-year shine and students and staff were decked out in football garb in anticipation.

In activity stations throughout the school, students and players danced and exercised to Zumba music, shared stories in reading groups, and, in the library, players handed each student a new backpack in the color of their choice. Students got to fill them up with school supplies and fun promotional goodies, chatting with players as they went.
 
Nick Sundberg, #57 and the team's long snapper, reminded students that there is an important path to reaching their goals. Before playing football in the NFL, that road includes studying hard and going to college. "It all starts here, at this level," he told them. "This is where you gain the tools to be successful."
 
Dumfries Principal Marlene Coleman offered special thanks to School Board Member Betty Covington (Potomac) for initiating this event. Eric Williams and Jim Almond of the Prince William County Boys and Girls Club had reached out to Covington to facilitate the event.
 
“We are so excited to have these special visitors at our school to get the school year off to a great start,” Covington said. “This event gives our kids the chance to hear their heroes reinforce the important ideas of healthy living and lifelong learning that we promote every day.” 

Superintendent of Schools Dr. Steven L. Walts and Rita Goss, Associate Superintendent for Eastern Elementary Schools, were also on hand to offer their support.

     






















 
How Does PWCS Support Student Mental Health?
Come to the PWCS Mental Health Expo on October 20 to find out.
September 24, 2014


Mental Health Expo

Mental health disorders from mild to severely disabling affect nearly a quarter of adults and one in ten children aged 8-15.

Get the latest information on the resources PWCS provides to support our students and families. Learn about youth mental health issues, and meet some of the many professionals dedicated to the personal and social growth of every student.

 
PWCS Mental Health Expo
Monday, October 20, 2014
6:30-8:30 p.m.
Kelly Leadership Center
14715 Bristow Road
Manassas, VA 20112

 
Do not miss a special opportunity to discover what good mental health means and what your schools are doing about it.

--Childcare not provided--

Sponsored by the PWCS Safe Schools Advisory Council  

 
 
Workshop Series Answers Your Questions about Special Education
September 17, 2014
 
 
The PWCS Office of Special Education Parent Resource Center is hosting a series of evening workshops for parents, educators, and community members on the special education process. Interested persons can attend one, two, or all three sessions. All sessions of this series will take place from 7-9 p.m. in room 1101 A & B at the Kelly Leadership Center, 14715 Bristow Road, Manassas.
 
Thursday, October 9 - "Understanding Special Education: School Intervention, Referral, Evaluation, and Eligibility"
Participants will learn about the School Intervention process, how a student is referred for a comprehensive special education evaluation, the evaluation process, and how special education law finds a student with a disability eligible to receive special education services.  Michelle Roper, supervisor, Office of Special Education, will present.
 
Thursday, October 16 - "Understanding Special Education: Parents as Partners in the IEP Process"
 
Participants will learn the components of the IEP document and how to be an active participant in the IEP process. Robin Blaemire, administrative coordinator, Office of Special Education, will present.
 
Thursday, October 23 -  "Understanding Special Education: Parental Rights in Dispute Resolution"
Participants will learn the "appropriate chain of command" for rectifying problems that arise with regard to a child’s special education services, also gain an understanding of the options for dispute resolution available to parents and schools, which include central office review, state mediation, and due process hearing. Chrystal Thompson, administrative coordinator, Office of Special Education, will present.
 
There is no charge for attending the workshops; however, pre-registration is required. To pre-register, or for further information, contact the Parent Resource Center at 703.791.8846 (Voice), 703.791.8847 (TDD) or email howartmj@pwcs.edu or bamaher@pwcs.edu.
 
Individuals requiring accommodations, such as sign or foreign language interpreter services, are asked to pre-register by 4:30 p.m. one week prior to the scheduled workshop.
 
Staff can earn six state recertification points by attending all three workshops in the series. PWCS staff members should register online through the electronic register.
PWCS Schools Far Surpass State Averages for Full Accreditation
Four schools in need of improvement make major strides.

September 16, 2018

A total of 74 out of 86 eligible Prince William County Public Schools (PWCS) are fully accredited according to a report released today by the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE). These results mean 86 percent of PWCS schools are fully accredited versus just 68 percent of the schools statewide.

The number of schools falling short of full accreditation rose substantially statewide this year, in large part due to the use of more rigorous Standards of Learning (SOL) tests. Although related data released just weeks ago showed PWCS schools met or exceeded state pass rates on 29 of 34 of the latest SOL tests, 12 PWCS schools missed full accreditation and were given the designation Accredited with Warning in a specific subject area. This includes six elementary schools, three middle schools, and three high schools.

“The overall performance shows students continue to make solid progress,” said Superintendent Steve Walts. “Though we are asking them to do more, they are rising to the task.  Our schools are already outperforming the state, and we will work to get full accreditation numbers to catch up to higher expectations.” 

In addition to the state’s release of accreditation information, VDOE also reported information related to school and division performance on the Annual Measurable Objectives (AMOs) outlined in Virginia’s ESEA Federal Accountability plan.

Last year, PWCS had four schools identified as a Title I Focus School based on the academic performance of some of their student subgroups in prior years. These schools were Ellis Elementary School, Vaughan Elementary School, Yorkshire Elementary School, and West Gate Elementary School.

This year, by increasing the performance of those student subgroups, all four schools exit the Title I Focus School status. In fact, not only did West Gate Elementary School exit, but it also earned the designation of “Met All Federal AMOs and Higher Expectations” along with 52 other PWCS schools. This school year, only Belmont Elementary School was given the Title I Focus School status based on the academic performance of specific subgroups of students at the school.    

“We still have work to do, but we are making significant strides to help every student at every school learn and excel,” added Walts.
Division’s Advisory Committee Meetings for October
September 15, 2014

The following Advisory Committees or Councils will hold regularly scheduled meetings in October. Meetings are open to the appointed members and the agendas, presentations, and minutes are available to inform the general public. Space limitations may make it difficult to open meetings beyond the membership. If you have questions, please contact the appropriate office. 
  
• CTE (Career and Technical Education) Advisory Council, on October 8, 4:30–7 p.m., KLC room 3011. See the CTE Advisory Council Web page. Contact the CTE program at 703.791.7297 for assistance.

• Gifted Education Advisory Council, on October 14, 7–9 p.m., KLC room 2011. See the Gifted Education Advisory Council Web page. Contact the Gifted program at 703.791.7400 for assistance.

• Safe Schools Advisory Council, on October 20, 6:30 p.m., KLC room 3011.

See the Safe Schools Advisory Council Web page (click on “Meetings”). Contact Risk Management and Security Services at 703.791.7206 for assistance.

• Special Education Advisory Committee, on October 21, 7–9 p.m., KLC room 2011. Citizens interested in attending a meeting or seeing the meeting schedule are asked to visit the Special Education Advisory Program Web page or call 703.791.7287 for additional information.

• Superintendent’s Advisory Council on Instruction, on October 9, 7–9 p.m., KLC 1101. See the Superintendent’s Advisory Council on Instruction Web page.

• Wellness Advisory Committee, on October 2, 7–8:30 p.m., KLC 1001 A/B. See the Wellness Advisory Committee Web page. Contact Health and Physical Education at 703.791.7353 for assistance.

All meetings are held at the Kelly Leadership Center (KLC), located at 14715 Bristow Road in Manassas. Check the specific Web pages to confirm details. Check with building staff on site for questions about meeting room location. 
Highlights of New Schools, Stonewall Jackson's Achievements, First Day at Beville and Old Bridge
"School Focus" keeps you informed about what’s going on in the School Division.

September 15, 2014

In what has become tradition, Superintendent Steven L. Walts launched the 2014–15 school year by spending time in several PWCS schools. He began his September 2 tour with a visit to Stonewall Jackson High School where students in the International Baccalaureate (IB) Program are earning their IB certificates at a rate that is higher than the national average. The Superintendent also stopped at Beville Middle School and Old Bridge Elementary School to welcome students and staff. Watch "School Focus" to see the excitement captured by the film crew.

With approximately 86,000 students, Prince William County Public Schools continues to be the second-largest school division in Virginia. Ninety-four schools welcomed students on September 2, including one brand new elementary school and one K–8 school built to adapt and to make room for a growing student population.

"School Focus," produced by the Office of Media Production Services, airs regularly on PWCS-TV (Comcast Channel 18 and Verizon Channel 36), on demand at pwcstv.com, and on YouTube. Episodes air daily at 9 a.m., noon, 5 p.m., and 8 p.m. For more information about PWCS-TV productions or for a complete listing of show times and schedules, visit pwcstv.com. The airing schedule is subject to change.


 
You Are Invited to Celebrate Our New Employees
September 15, 2014

PWCS and Prince William Education Association (PWEA) are excited to welcome the many educators and staff joining PWCS for the first time in 2014–15. All staff, new or old, along with community members are invited to the “New Employee Celebration” to show appreciation and support to our new employees. The event takes place on Wednesday, October 1 from 6:30–7:30 p.m. at the Kelly Leadership Center.

Please R.S.V.P. by going to the PWEA Web site or calling 703.361.2444. 
Could a Regional Governor's School be in Your Future? Learn How to Make it Happen
September 15, 2014
 
Considering a regional Governor's School for high school? PWCS students have two great options to explore--The Governor's School @ Innovation Park and Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology. Be sure to mark your calendars with these upcoming events as you begin to chart your path.


THE GOVERNOR'S SCHOOL @ INNOVATION PARK
 
The Governor's School @ Innovation Park offers juniors and seniors the opportunity to earn high school and college credit through dual enrollment. Mornings are spent on the Prince William campus of George Mason University where students explore STEM disciplines (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics). Students return to their base schools in the afternoon for additional classes, and continue in their social and extracurricular activities.
 
Students in grades 7–10 and their parents are invited to attend an open house to learn more about the Governor’s School @ Innovation Park on November 8 or December 8.
 
November 8 -- Open House at 9 a.m.
George Mason University, Prince William Campus
Occoquan Building - Verizon Auditorium
(note: there will be no fee to park on campus for this event)

December 9* -- Open House 7-8:30 p.m. 
Location TBA
 
THOMAS JEFFERSON HIGH SCHOOL FOR SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
 
Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology (TJHSST) is a full day four-year regional Governor's School located in Fairfax County. Residents of Prince William County are eligible to attend. Online and paper applications for admission to the TJHSST for the class of 2019 will be available beginning September 22. Students interested in applying should contact their school counselor.
 
Some important dates to remember:
 
September 29 —Information Session at 6:30 p.m.
                            Benton Middle School
                            7411 Hoadly Road, Manassas, VA 20112
 
October 7 —       Information Session at 3 p.m.
                             Lake Ridge Middle School
                             12350 Mohican Road, Woodbridge, VA 22192
 
October 8 —       Information Session at 6:30 p.m.
                             Reagan Middle School
                             15801 Tanning House Place, Haymarket, VA 20169
 
 October 17 —    Absolute deadline is 4 p.m. for submission of (online and paper) applications to schools or admissions office. No late applications will be accepted for any reason.
 
November 15 — Open House from 9 a.m.–noon
                             Holmes Middle School*, 6525 Montrose St., Alexandria, VA 22312
                             Change of location due to construction at TJHSST.

*Date updated on 9/23/14
Virginia Association for Pupil Transportation Hosts Student Poster Contest
September 15, 2014
 
Poster submissions based on the theme “Bully Free Zone” are due by April 30, 2015 for the Virginia Association for Pupil Transportation 2015 Poster Contest. See contest rules and details, including pictures of the School Division’s own 2011 winning posters created by students from Bennett Elementary School, at www.vapt.org. (Click on “Poster Contest” and scroll down to view winning posters and contest rules.)
 
 
October 7 Workshop Shares Strategies for Addressing Behavioral Issues
September 15, 2014

Are you struggling with your child’s significant behavioral issues? Check out this informative session on effective strategies to best help your child learn.
 
Parents and educators are invited to attend a workshop on Tuesday, October 7 addressing children’s behavioral issues. The free workshop will be held from 7–9 p.m. at The Arc of Greater Prince William Muriel Humphrey Center, 13505 Hillendale Drive, Woodbridge, VA 22193, training room 1. Pre-registration is required and attendance is limited to 60 participants.
 
The PWCS Office of Special Education Parent Resource Center and The Arc are sponsoring the workshop.
 
View the flyer for registration information and additional details.
 
Visit the PWCS Parent Resource Center.  
 
Parents, Here’s How to Receive Critical Messages from PWCS
September 12, 2014

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 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 PWCPSE-News@pwcs.edu and email@blackboard.com addresses to your contact list to ensure you receive important messages from your child's school and the School Division.

E-News (Blackboard Connect Subscription Service)

Students, spouses, and community members interested in receiving emergency messages, news, events, and updates from PWCS may subscribe to PWCS E-News. News is sent by email; emergency messages and inclement weather closures or delays are sent to your choice of email and/or via a 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.

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
Updating Contact Information
Subscribers are responsible for updating and removing themselves from the subscription system.
 
Be sure to add the PWCPSE-News@pwcs.edu and email@blackboard.com to your contact list to ensure you receive important messages from the School Division.
It's National Preparedness Month. Do you have a plan "B"?
Be prepared for weather-related school closings.

September 12, 2014

With National Preparedness Month in full swing, PWCS officials are reminding parents that during inclement weather or emergencies it is important to listen to local media reports, and to check the School Division's Web and social media sites for any messages about changes in school or School Age Child Care (SACC) schedules. View letter from the Superintendent.

When the weather causes hazardous road conditions schools may open late, close early, or close for the entire day depending upon the severity of the weather. Parents/guardians are encouraged to plan ahead by making alternate arrangements for their child-care needs in anticipation of modified school and SACC schedules.

Announcements of changes in school schedules are posted immediately after a decision is made on all School Division Web sites including pwcs.edu, facebook.com/PWCSNews, and twitter.com/pwcsnews, PWCS-TV (Comcast channel 18 and Verizon channel 36), and on the School Division’s telephone closing line, 703.791.2776. Messages are also sent by email and text message. For subscription information or to verify your contact information please visit "How to Receive Critical Messages from PWCS."

Prince William County encompasses 348 square miles and stretches from the Potomac River to the Bull Run Mountains. Road conditions may change, vary from one end of the county to the other, or look normal later in the morning. The decision to delay the opening of schools is made to allow commuter traffic to clear and hazardous road conditions to improve, or allow school officials to make a subsequent decision to close schools for the day. Closing decisions may also be based on conditions in some parts of the county, though other areas may look very different.

"The safety of our students and staff is always the deciding factor during inclement weather," said Superintendent of Schools Steven L. Walts.
 
View detailed information on closing procedures.
School Board Honors Reporter Nominated for VSBA Media Honor Roll

September 12, 2014
 
Local reporter Bonny Fahy has been honored by the Virginia School Boards Association (VSBA) for her high-profile coverage of education news. Fahy, a reporter for the Old Bridge Observer Newspapers, has been added to the VSBA statewide Media Honor Roll for the second time in three years. The Prince William County School Board honored her on September 3.
 
The Media Honor Roll calls attention to Fahy’s “ongoing responsible and exemplary nature of reporting” on Prince William County Public Schools.
 
Criteria for honorees include giving a high-profile position to good news about schools; reporting school news in a manner that is fair, accurate, and balanced; and maintaining a cooperative relationship with School Division personnel.
 
Chairman At-Large Milton C. Johns described her writing as “balanced, and provides special insight into the programs that make Prince William County Public Schools stand out as a World-Class School Division.” Fahy’s coverage of the School Division’s budget was especially impressive, Johns said.
 
Superintendent of Schools Steven L. Walts commended Randi Reid, publisher of the Bull Run Observer, Manassas Observer, and Old Bridge Observer, on coverage of the schools. “We know that in hundreds and hundreds of classrooms there is something great going on every day, and your publications are capturing those stories.”
 
Reid accepted a plaque from Johns on behalf of Fahy on September 3. 
School Board's Internal Audit Committee to Meet on September 17, 2014.
The School Board’s Internal Audit Committee will meet at 4 p.m. on Wednesday, September 17, in room 1132 of the Edward L. Kelly Leadership Center, 14715 Bristow Road, Manassas. Milton C. Johns, Chairman At-Large of the School Board, is the Committee Chairman. Dr. Michael I. Otaigbe, School Board member for the Coles District also serves on the Internal Audit Committee. Lisa E. Bell, School Board member for the Neabsco District is the alternate School Board member. Dave Cline, Associate Superintendent for Finance and Support Services, represents the School Division and Rae Darlington, Deputy Superintendent, is the alternate School Division member. Gary Maness is the Chief Internal Auditor.
 
The School Division's Office of Internal Audit reports to the School Board’s Internal Audit Committee. The Office of Internal Audit is guided by a philosophy of adding value to improve the operations of PWCS through a cooperative approach of Internal Audit working with management and other employees to identify risks and offer solutions that continuously improve the School Division’s internal control environment and governance processes.
 
View meeting agenda. 
Save the Date; College Fairs Set for September 29 and October 22
September 11, 2014

Parents and students are invited to attend one of the college fairs scheduled in the coming weeks to explore post-graduation options. Representatives from various colleges, universities, technical schools, and the military will attend. All seniors and juniors and their parents are strongly encouraged to attend.

The Western Prince William County Regional College Fair will be held at Patriot High School on September 29 from 7–8:30 p.m. Patriot High School is located at 10504 Kettle Run Road in Nokesville.

The Eastern Prince William County Regional College Fair will be held and at Woodbridge High School on October 22 from 6–8 p.m. Woodbridge High School is located at 3001 Old Bridge Road in Woodbridge.
 
Remembering 9/11 on Patriot Day and National Day of Service and Remembrance
Students and staff pay tribute to heroes and victims of September 11, 2001 terrorist attack.

September 11, 2014
  
PWCS employees at Kelly Leadership Center gather to remember 9/11 events.In Prince William County Public Schools and offices across the county today, students and employees observed a moment of silence to honor and remember those who lost their lives in a Pennsylvania field, at the Pentagon, and in the twin towers of the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. Our school community is united in recognizing the courage of those who risked their lives to save innocent victims.
 
“Their heroic acts remind us all of the compassion, bravery, and sacrifice that is part of the fabric that makes America strong. Our thoughts and gratitude are with those in uniform who defend our country every day,” said Superintendent Steven Walts.

In honor of 9/11 and the National Day of Service, Lisa Zilka's language arts classes at Parkide Middle School created cards for soldiers for the non-profit, Operation Welcome Home.

 
Presidential Proclamation

12th High School Boundary Decision Postponed
September 10, 2014

A decision on proposed boundaries for Prince William County’s 12th high school will be delayed.

The scheduled vote on the issue has been pulled from the September 17th School Board agenda following receipt of comments from the Federal Department of Justice (DOJ). That agency has been looking into concerns about whether the proposed boundaries would result in a school population that differs substantially from the county’s demographic make-up.

Division staff will talk with DOJ officials before attempting to craft a revised boundary plan that addresses the agency’s demographic concerns, along with community input, educational, and economic considerations. No timetable or planning process has been determined. Any revised staff boundary proposal will require School Board review and approval.    
Nine PWCS Students Distinguish Themselves as National Merit Semifinalists

September 10, 2014

   
Students Benjamin E. DelToro, Robert O. Dulin, Sydney A. Jordan, Alexander J. Kourmadas, Erica T. O’Donnel, Aren G. Porta, Charles Smith, Ian A. Ware, and Justin J. Yum join the nationwide pool of semifinalists in the 2015 National Merit Scholarship Program. About 1.4 million juniors entered the program by taking the 2013 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test. Now in their senior year, these PWCS students are among the highest scoring entrants from Virginia and join less than one percent of U.S. high school seniors who are continuing to the next stage of this scholarship competition.

 

As semifinalists in the National Merit Scholarship Program, these nine students will compete for one of the 7,600 Merit Scholarship awards, which combined are worth more than $33 million. O’Donnel is a student at Forest Park High School; Ware attends Hylton High School; and Smith is a student at Osbourn Park High School. DelToro, Dulin, and Kourmadas attend Patriot High School with Kourmadas and DelToro dually enrolled at the Governor’s School @ Innovation Park; Jordan attends Stonewall Jackson High School; Porta is a student at Woodbridge High School; and Yum attends Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology in Fairfax.

 

In order to advance to finalist and be considered for Merit Scholarships, a semifinalist must have an outstanding high school academic record, be endorsed and recommended by their school principal, and submit SAT scores that confirm their earlier qualifying test performance. The semifinalist and a school official must submit a detailed scholarship application, which also includes the student’s self-descriptive essay, and information about the semifinalist’s participation and leadership in school and community activities.

Those chosen as finalists will join more than 308,000 other distinguished young people who have earned the Merit Scholar title and were selected on the basis of professional evaluations of finalists' abilities, accomplishments, and personal attributes considered important for success in rigorous college studies.


Three types of Merit Scholarship awards will be offered in 2015: National Merit $2,500 scholarships, corporate-sponsored scholarships, and college-sponsored scholarships. The non-profit National Merit Scholarship Corporation will release the names of the 2015 Merit Scholarship winners to news media nationwide beginning in April and concluding in July 2015.

High School Students: Make a Video to Show Your State Pride
Student Video Contest Promotes Virginia Unity

September 10, 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 make a video based on the theme, “Virginia, we are one!”

Contestants should submit a 30-second video clip. The video 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 attached VSBA High School Student Video Contest flyer for full details and submission information. Submission forms (attached to the flyer) 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 by downloading and completing the form and submitting with your video URL to the above address. Submissions are due by Wednesday, October 1.
 
Know the Lingo; Be Prepared for School Emergencies
New video and pocket pamphlet share safety protocols

September 9, 2014

Emergencies are rare, but PWCS school staff is trained and ready to respond. Planning, frequent drills, and close coordination with police, fire, and other authorities help ensure the safety of PWCS schools, its students, staff, and visitors.
 

Getting this message out to parents is the aim of a new PWCS pocket-sized brochure on emergency preparedness. The pamphlet gives school families important information about the plans in place to keep students and staff safe in the event of a crisis. Just as important, it shares tools and resources for how parents can help, stay informed, and get updates about what’s happening. The brochure also includes a perforated tear-out copy of a "Stay in Touch" card/calendar.

The pamphlets came home as part of your back-to-school packets. Please look it over and consider keeping the tear-off section with you so that, in the event of an emergency, you know where to look for news.

A brief video version of the Emergency Pamphlet is being shown at Back-to-School Night events. At only seven minutes long, it’s a quick way to take comfort in the fact that PWCS is doing everything to ensure the safety and well-being of your student.  


 
Culture, Community, Heritage Celebrated at Memorial Service Sept. 6
Heirs and friends invoke legacy of Lynn family in Prince William County history.
 
September 8, 2014
 
In a solemn ceremony on Saturday, September 6, about 25 Lynn family descendants, friends, and school and county officials assembled to commemorate the reburial of remains and artifacts found at a previously unmarked gravesite on the grounds of the 12th high school. The relocated cemetery is now marked with a plaque and enclosed by a fence. An archeological report determined that the remains and artifacts that were discovered last summer, excavated, and re-interred at the new location are most likely those of William and Cordelia Lynn and their children, who owned and farmed the property from 1848 until the late 1800s.

Pastor Gene Wells, Woodbine Baptist Church, officiated. The church, and Woodbine School, were founded by a member of the Lynn family. Scottish bagpiper Kevin Byrne played while School Board member Lillie G. Jessie (Occoquan), County Supervisor Martin Nohe (Coles), and David Cline, associate superintendent for Finance and Support Services, laid a wreath. Supervisor Nohe noted that previous occupants of the land buried in the cemetery would likely be very pleased that a new generation of Prince William County leaders will be educated here.

“It was a beautiful ceremony, and school officials did a great job incorporating a new cemetery on this property. We are all very pleased,” said Carolyn Lynn, a direct descendent of William and Cordelia Lynn.

Division’s Advisory Committee Meetings for September
September 4, 2014

The following Advisory Committees or Councils will hold regularly scheduled meetings in September.
Meetings are open to the appointed members and the agendas, presentations, and minutes are available to inform the general public. Space limitations may make it difficult to open meetings beyond the membership. If you have questions, please contact the appropriate office.
   
  • Gifted Education Advisory Council, on Tuesday, September 16, 7 p.m., (KLC 1101). See the Gifted Education Advisory Council Web page. Contact the Gifted program at 703.791.7400 for assistance.
  • Safe Schools Advisory Council, on Monday, September 8, 6:30 p.m., (KLC 3011)
See the Safe Schools Advisory Council Web page (click on "Meetings"). Contact Risk Management and Security Services at 703.791.7206 for assistance.
  • Special Education Advisory Committee, on Tuesday, September 16, 7-9 p.m., at the Kelly Leadership Center. Citizens interested in attending a meeting or seeing the meeting schedule are asked to visit the Special Education Advisory Program Web page or call 703.791.7287 for additional information.

All meetings are held at the Kelly Leadership Center (KLC), located at 14715 Bristow Road in Manassas. Check the specific Web pages to confirm details. Check with building staff on site for questions about meeting room location. 
Back to School Nights Announced
September 4, 2014
 
 
Many Prince William County Public Schools have scheduled Back to School Nights as an opportunity to orient parents to school procedures and introduce their child’s teachers. Please check your school's Web site for times, dates, and more detailed information. Check back for updates, as dates and times are subject to change. 
 
High Schools:
     
Middle Schools:
 
Traditional and K–8 Schools:  
Elementary Schools:
 
Alternative and Special Education:
 
 
 
 
 
The Top 10 Reasons to be Enthusiastic about the New School Year
Celebrating our great World-Class School Division.

September 4, 2014

 
Students are settling into their routines, staff are prepared, and school lunchrooms are abuzz with excitement. The timeless cycle of learning and growth continues.

Before we start thinking of tests, report cards, and even snow days, let's reflect on where we are.

 
Check out our Opening Week Top Ten List, as shared by Superintendent Steven L. Walts at the first School Board meeting of the new school year. It offers plenty of reasons for pride and excitement.
 
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.
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.
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.
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.

 
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.
   
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.
 
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.
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.

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