Commitment 1

Commitment 1
Learning And Achievement For All

Objective 1.1:

PWCS will provide equitable opportunities for all students to achieve at high levels.


Values Spotlight

Equity icon -- icon is the scales of justice inside of a cirlce
Inclusivity icon -- icon is a group of four people inside of a circle
Innovation icon -- icon is a light bulb inside of a circle

Theory of Action

If all schools have high expectations and engage students through universal design for learning and rigorous problem/project-based learning, then every student will have the knowledge, skills, critical thinking, and digital tools needed to fully access advanced opportunities leading to higher levels of academic achievement.

As a school division, PWCS believes we must provide all students with access to equitable experiences and opportunities ensuring success for all students. Research indicates that if a district provides all students with equitable access to programs, course offerings, and high-quality teachers, and applies disciplinary policies equitably, then achievement gaps narrow, attendance and engagement increase, and all students experience more successful outcomes.

Currently, all schools in PWCS are accredited by the Virginia Department of Education. In 2019, 79% of students passed Virginia Standards of Learning (SOL) tests in reading, and 83% passed the SOL tests in mathematics. The 2019 reading pass rates for economically disadvantaged students, English Learners, and students with disabilities demonstrate that significant achievement gaps still exist.

Mathematics rates show similar disparities as economically disadvantaged students, English Learners, and students with disabilities pass at significantly lower rates than the division average. This demonstrates outcomes that are not equitable for our students. Pass advanced rates on the SOL tests have been less than 25% in most subject areas.

Since March 2020, students, families, employees, and our entire community have been profoundly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Factors brought on by the pandemic have increased gaps in both student achievement and opportunity from elementary through high school. These disparities must and will be addressed.

Goals and Strategies

100% of PWCS schools will be accredited by the Virginia Department of Education
60% of PWCS graduates will meet SAT college readiness benchmarks in reading and math
85% of students in grades 3-8 will pass reading and math SOL tests
All student groups in grades 3-11 will increase pass advance rates on the reading, math, and science SOL tests by 10 percentage points
80% of elementary students will be reading on grade level by grade three
100% of secondary schools will have an established Student Voice Committee
10% decrease in dropout rates for targeted student populations - students with disabilities and English Learners

The Instructional Core

Illustration of The Instructional Core. The three corners of the triangle are Student Engagement, Teacher Knowledge & Skill, and Content Rigor & Relevance. Bi-directional arrow go between each corner, and 'Task: What Students are Actually Doing' is written in the middle.

Focus on the integrity of the instructional core.

The instructional core consists of the teacher (knowledge and skills), the student (engagement), and the course content/curriculum (rigor and relevance) encompassing the task that students are doing all centrally placed as three cornerstones.
Research demonstrates that the task predicts the performance of the student in the subject area the student is learning. This means that the task in which students are engaged must align with the content learning standard (including the level of cognitive demand of that standard).

As part of our commitment to academic excellence for all student groups, PWCS will focus divisionwide on the implementation and fidelity of the Instructional Core for continuous improvement. PWCS is committed to continuously enhancing educator knowledge and skills needed to support the full range of learners by providing multiple means of engagement, representation, action, and expression of learning. By focusing on enhancing and improving the Instructional Core, students in PWCS will be exposed to challenging and rigorous content. The Instructional Core must be at the center of monitoring and feedback for continuous improvement in teaching and learning.

PWCS will ensure integrity to the teaching and learning process for 100% of students by focusing on the Instructional Core in all classrooms. All school-based administrators will be trained in how to conduct Instructional Rounds, a process through which groups of educators observe instruction and collaboratively analyze those observations with a focus on improving instruction. The Instructional Rounds training explicitly focuses on the Instructional Core components and will be normed to ensure consistency in the process across schools. These unified efforts will allow for monitoring of the integrity of teaching and learning occurring at all schools.

High Quality, Culturally Relevant Curriculum
Guarantee equitable access to rigorous, high-quality, culturally relevant curriculum for all students.

All students deserve access to high-quality curriculum in all subject areas. PWCS is committed to elevating the standards for students in all schools, divisionwide. All PWCS educators receive high-quality curriculum frameworks, resources, and planning opportunities centered on best practices and collaboration. This commitment provides every student with access to a rigorous curriculum and high-quality instructional materials that tightly align to state standards, challenging all students to achieve their full potential. With over 700 courses and more than 7,000 units of study available to PWCS educators, students will have access to learning experiences designed around a rigorous, locally developed curriculum that is grounded in the Virginia Standards of Learning and enhanced with high-quality instructional materials, aligned learning tasks, with multiple and varied opportunities for engagement, representation, action, and expression of learning. Educators can access these experiences and deliver them to students through the online learning management software platform, Canvas.

Multi-Tiered System of Supports (MTSS)

PWCS will implement coherent, articulated, aligned, culturally responsive instructional practices and learning pathways across all grade levels and content areas, focusing on improving the academic progress of English Learners and students with disabilities. PWCS will implement multi-tiered systems of support (MTSS), including consistent, ongoing progress monitoring for identified students in need of additional interventions at all schools. MTSS is a framework that helps schools identify and provide targeted support to students who are struggling academically and/or behaviorally. Nationally, 90% of referrals to intervention teams are due to concerns related to reading and behavior. By 2024-25, PWCS will develop common expectations for the implementation of MTSS and provide training to all staff to ensure the framework is implemented consistently.

By 2023-24, all teachers, assistant principals, and principals, will have participated in professional learning targeted toward identification and support of students struggling with behavior and/or reading to include students with Dyslexia. The Dyslexia Advisor collaborates with all staff in promoting the awareness, best practices for struggling readers, and professional learning for students K-12. A key component of MTSS is frequent progress monitoring. All students will participate in universal screening and early Dyslexia screening. Students identified as struggling will be progress monitored in reading, mathematics, and/or behavior, depending on identified student need, on a weekly basis.

Highlighting Curriculum Areas
Early Literacy and Early Childhood Education:

Serving our most vulnerable students in Head Start and the Virginia Preschool Initiative (VPI) provides intensive resources to create a system of educational and family support to ensure a successful start to their educational career. Currently, approximately 1,000 students participate in the PWCS Head Start and VPI programs. To expand these efforts, PWCS will add three additional preschool classes each year to serve an additional 200 students and their families. Improving access to high-quality preschool services will improve school readiness and early literacy rates, especially among the most vulnerable students in our community and honors our commitment to promoting education equity. Early Childhood Special Education programs serve approximately 700 students, with a focus on communication and developmental standards. During the 2021-22 school year, PWCS added nine early childhood special education programs. By 2023-24, all preschool students with disabilities will be progress monitored for readiness skills, including social emotional, literacy, and math.

English/Language Arts:

PWCS adopted new English/Language Arts curriculum materials for the 2021-22 school year. As part of the PWCS commitment to equity for every student in every school, each site will be provided with consistent, high-quality resources for literacy instruction. Additionally, a robust selection of advanced reading text will be provided to support teaching in advanced academic literature courses (such as IB, Cambridge, and AP). This consistent integration of the new instructional materials will be incorporated into the division's curriculum units of study. The deployment of these high-quality instructional materials will be supported by professional learning opportunities for staff.

Student learning will promote metacognitive thinking and students will demonstrate their learning of reading, writing, and math skills. Students will be able to decode, comprehend, and think critically about a variety of diverse, relevant, and authentic texts and media. Students will be able to read, write, and conduct research to support and enhance their critical thinking, communication, creativity, collaboration, and citizenship.


The Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) and the Virginia Board of Education recognize the needs for students to become thinkers and doers of mathematics and defined "Mathematical Process Goals for Students" to articulate expectations for students to build problem-solving and mathematical communications skills. PWCS has been working to enhance mathematics teaching and learning beyond traditional and procedural methods. Professional learning and coaching are focused on teachers consistently providing students with experiences and opportunities which allow them to develop and apply their problem-solving and mathematical communication skills. These important skills enable students to build positive mathematical identity and agency, which often translates to students having more confidence to pursue enrichment opportunities and advanced mathematics and STEM pathways.

Traditional K-12 mathematics study has focused on computational fluency and some forms of conceptual understanding. The rapid changes in technology in the information age require greater problem-solving capabilities, data analysis, and clear communication skills in addition to those traditional areas of focus. PWCS provides mathematics learning experiences that build a foundational understanding of basic concepts such as number sense, patterns, and computation while ensuring students have essential skills to efficiently and accurately solve problems in flexible ways that grow in complexity over time. Students apply their learning to real-world situations and communicate the processes and solutions they develop mathematically to others.

The PWCS Profile of a Graduate speaks to a quality of critical thinking, defining this as the ability to apply "knowledge to everyday life situations to make independent decisions." Our students will move beyond simply computing to thinking through complex problems using various math concepts as a way of understanding the world today. Few challenges provide us with problems that are solved within a single strand of mathematics. Nearly every field of study requires students to analyze data and evaluate information to develop solutions to emerging challenges and opportunities that can be improved through mathematics. When students can communicate their understanding of problems and the mathematical skills used to solve them, they grow in confidence and influence. In solving authentic problems, students can build their mathematical identity and agency, seeing themselves as capable mathematicians able to shape their futures in positive and empowering ways.
In all PWCS schools, students learn how to think critically, analytically, and quantitatively. Students will be challenged to solve novel, relevant, real-world situations using mathematics to promote mathematical literacy. They will learn that mathematics is iterative, and multiple problem-solving strategies must be investigated. Problem-solving and the analytical discourse of mathematics topics will form the foundation in every mathematics classroom in PWCS. By 2024-25, 85% of students will pass their mathematics Standards of Learning tests. The pass-advanced rate will increase by ten percentage points during that same time. This goal will be accomplished by using divisionwide adopted textbooks and core materials to include manipulatives, the development and use of an identified PWCS universal problem-solving process, the consistent use of mathematical models, and varied strategies with application to real-world problems. Pathways toward acceleration will continue by expanding opportunities to access algebra and geometry coursework in all middle schools.


The COVID-19 pandemic delayed both the full implementation of the 2018 Science Standards of Learning and the SOL assessment to the 2022-23 school year. Unlike the earlier state standards, the new standards focus on the development of conceptual understanding and analytical reasoning. The standards were structured to support a) addition of engineering practices; (b) integration of Scientific and Engineering Practices (SEP) within disciplinary core standards; and (c) emphasis on the nature of science versus specific scientists or events and terminology. To date, teaching and learning in science have aligned with the 2010 Virginia SOL, which did not include engineering practices. Scientific inquiry was a standalone reporting category, with the focus of instruction placed primarily on memorization and recall of specific facts at the expense of developing enduring understandings of the nature of science and the crosscutting concepts.

By focusing on the authentic use of the scientific method, and the use of engineering principles in problem-solving, students will rise to meet the challenges of an ever-changing society in an ethical manner, consistent with the values of our community. By 2025, PWCS will increase by at least 5% a) the number of students taking part in the Virginia Junior Academy of Science Symposium, b) regional, state, and international science and engineering fairs, and c) Biology and Chemistry Olympiads. PWCS will create a local system for formally judging whether interested students have met the criteria for the new Governor's Seal for Excellence in Science and the Environment. PWCS will have qualified applicants representing all thirteen high schools in the division applying for and earning the new Governor's Seal for Excellence in Science and the Environment.

To date, instructional materials (textbooks, supplemental resources for hands-on scientific inquiry, and educational software licenses) have been purchased individually by schools rather than on a centralized basis. Over the next four years, PWCS will support students with the centralized purchase and consistent implementation of common textbooks and core materials, hands-on manipulatives, and software applications in all schools. Additionally, the fidelity of implementation will be supported through content-specific professional development for all teachers of science and their supervising administrators using a division K-12 STEM coach. Additionally, a STEM Center will be developed as a divisionwide resource for advancing hands-on opportunities for students and professional development for instructional staff.

History and Social Sciences:

To become productive citizens, all students must have equal access to high-quality instruction and resources to support their learning. Historical thinking is at the center of high-level instruction and assessment and must be prevalent in every lesson every day for students to achieve high-level academic success. Educational programs must prepare students for future success in their career goals, family life, and civic life. For our students to have happy, successful, and thriving futures, they must have the skills and knowledge to achieve their goals in a global world. The division will continue to improve all History and Social Science (HSS) Canvas modules, K-12, with emphasis on the integrity of the Instructional Core. This will include tight alignment of student tasks to the content and cognitive level of each standard, priority prerequisite knowledge and skills, along with enduring understandings/power standards, which will guarantee equitable access to rigorous, high-quality, culturally relevant curriculum for all students. Classroom instruction will include high-quality lessons that focus on engaging students in historical thinking and analysis of authentic and culturally relevant tasks.

Students will engage in student representation activities, applying what they learn in the civics curriculum in the classroom and throughout the school. Student agency and voice must be amplified to create connections with school communities. Creating avenues for amplified student voice will connect students to the school experience and the rewards of school completion. PWCS commits to establishing pathways for all students, and especially underrepresented student groups, to have meaningful opportunities to shape their school experience. By 2025, 100% of secondary schools will have established student voice committees to ensure student voices inform decision-making in the schools.

PWCS will also engage students in leadership roles to promote civic understanding and work with student leadership groups to promote self-advocacy and community involvement. PWCS established the Student Senate in 2019 to provide opportunities for students at each high school to actively seek feedback from students in support the division's continuous improvement efforts. These student leaders work closely with each other to provide input to the student representatives on the School Board and help to lead positive changes to their school communities which will ultimately impact our Prince William County community, our state, the nation, and the world. By June 2025, the PWCS Student Senate and Student Representatives will collaborate with school student councils to create a Student Bill of Rights to promote self-advocacy and a sense of community across the division.

Libraries, Media, and Research:

The school library program provides students opportunities for exploration, validation, and possibilities both at home and in school. The school library offers essential academic support throughout a students' educational career. Familiarizing students with the powerful tools needed to search for and critically analyze authoritative research is vital to intellectual growth and the development of an educated citizenry. PWCS will strengthen our commitment to academic student empowerment by ensuring clean and robust cataloging practices to provide better search results for student catalog use, accurately identifying resources to support learning. By 2024-25, all PWCS library collections will align with the standards established by the Library of Congress.

Librarians contribute to developing the attributes of the PWCS Profile of a Graduate. To promote critical thinking, digital citizenship, innovation, resiliency, and collaboration, students will learn and practice the skills of authors and illustrators. PWCS students will not only be consumers of knowledge but will be producers of knowledge. Author and illustrator visits provide a real-life link from their craft with written words and illustrations to the writing and illustrating students themselves do in school, supporting students in a variety of writing and artistic experiences across content areas. By 2025, every PWCS school will host an author or illustrator visit.

Fine and Performing Arts:

PWCS provides multiple opportunities for students to participate in performance and production opportunities with the fine and performing arts, but much of the participation is "opt-in" rather than a fundamental component of the students' weekly learning. By 2024-25, PWCS arts programs will increase student access to performance and production opportunities like auditions, concerts, and exhibitions so that all fine and performing arts students will participate in at least three extended learning experiences per year. PWCS will also provide tools to help teachers better measure student progress as they perform and create. More performance and production opportunities and better feedback will lead to a 5% increase in student enrollment in fine and performing arts programs and greater student success in post-secondary settings.

World Languages:

World language study in PWCS provides opportunities for students to explore a continuum of sequential learning of basic communication skills in at least one additional language other than English. The study of French or Spanish begins for many students in elementary classes, then progresses through formal sequences in middle and high schools where students can choose from eight additional languages (German, Italian, Latin, Russian, Arabic, Korean, Mandarin Chinese, and American Sign Language (ASL)).

Currently the division offers a dual-language immersion program at one elementary school; we will add six more dual-language immersion programs by 2024-25. Expanded opportunities will be available for students to participate in divisionwide elementary dual- and one-way language programs which offer more commonly taught languages such as Spanish, French, and German. Additionally, these dual- and one-way language immersion programs will offer less commonly taught languages such as Arabic, Russian, Mandarin Chinese, Urdu, Farsi, and ASL; these languages are highly represented in our student demographics and are also of economic and political importance. Students within all groups will succeed in progressing through at least two years of study in two languages or three years of study within one language. By 2024-25, the goal is for the diversity of students enrolled in all world language classes in middle and high school to mirror the division demographics within all student groups.

In order to validate the bi- or multi-lingual skills of students from the over one hundred language backgrounds represented in PWCS, the world language program will institutionalize a Credit-By-Exam option for 2021-22 as a pilot that provides middle and high school English Learners the benefit of taking an approved VDOE external exam and receive up to three high school credits towards the world language diploma requirements that lead to advanced studies diplomas and potentially the Seal of Biliteracy.

Health, Physical, and Driver Education:

PWCS health and physical education programs promote and enhance physical health literacy to support a student's ability, confidence, and desire to be physically active for life and learn health content while practicing skills that keep them healthy. Children and adolescents need at least 60 minutes a day of physical activity and the benefits of physical activity on brain health occur immediately after moderate-to-vigorous physical activity. Physical and health skills also support the foundation and choices needed for a lifetime of fitness, recreation, and culturally relevant sport-related activities; making informed decisions to lead healthy and productive lives; and selecting resources and services necessary to maintain and promote health and safety for self and others. As part of the PWCS health and physical education program, students will become physical and health literate, receive training in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and first aid, gain knowledge in safe driving practices, and self-select lifelong fitness activities by the time they graduate.

PWCS health and physical education programs promote and enhance physical health literacy to support a student's ability, confidence, and desire to be physically active for life and learn health content while practicing skills that keep them healthy. Children and adolescents need at least 60 minutes a day of physical activity and the benefits of physical activity on brain health occur immediately after moderate-to-vigorous physical activity. Physical and health skills also support the foundation and choices needed for a lifetime of fitness, recreation, and culturally relevant sport-related activities; making informed decisions to lead healthy and productive lives; and selecting resources and services necessary to maintain and promote health and safety for self and others. As part of the PWCS health and physical education program, students will become physical and health literate, receive training in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and first aid, gain knowledge in safe driving practices, and self-select lifelong fitness activities by the time they graduate.

Physical fitness and wellness are essential traits to develop among young people to promote good personal habits and community health. Elementary students begin fitness assessment measurements and SMART goal planning. Students in grades four through 10 continuously monitor and evaluate their own goals in the components of fitness to meet Virginia Wellness's healthy fitness zones. By 2025, 95% of elementary students will show proficiency in fundamental movement skills by the end of fifth grade.

Middle school students develop and apply their fitness and nutrition plans, and high school students refine their fitness and nutrition plans for lifelong application. Students will continue to demonstrate specialized skills application and further refine their competencies and choices for a lifetime of fitness, recreation, and sport-related activities throughout secondary physical education. To support these aims, by 2025, every PWCS student in grades four through 10 will create personal fitness and nutrition goals, and 98% of students will analyze pre-and- and post-assessments with their own SMART fitness goal(s).

Student drivers receiving PWCS driver education including behind-the-wheel training have a long history of lower crash rates than those enrolled in other driver training programs. The driver education behind-the-wheel program will increase participation by ten percent to increase driver safety in our community. Students participating in the driver education course will exceed pre-pandemic passing levels of 90%.

Student Activities and Athletics

PWCS offers a variety of activities to all students. From academic competitions and interscholastic athletics to many clubs and activities, students enjoy opportunities that support their social, emotional, mental, and physical well-being. Furthermore, research has shown a strong relationship between participation in extracurricular activities including athletics and positive impacts on student achievement and human relations skills. PWCS offers students safe environments with quality facilities and fields, supporting their ability to improve through practice and competition. Athletic trainers at every school help the athletics programs ensure high standards of safety through increased injury prevention and treatment services for our student-athletes. Title IX compliance expectations and safety inspections of our facilities and equipment are conducted three times per year. At every school there are high-quality coaches and club sponsors who hold sportsmanship, diversity, and community pride in high regard.

As an extension of quality instruction, student activities programs encourage students to engage in activities of their choosing and build connections in their school community beyond academic classroom experiences. These connections lead to students having more caring adults mentoring and supporting them with academic and extra-curricular success as well as social-emotional well-being. To help assess the needs and desires of our students, the Student Activities Program conducts an annual student interest survey, aligning offerings with the needs and interests of students. The pandemic has negatively impacted student participation in competitive academic offerings in our high schools. PWCS will increase participation and meet the needs of our students by doubling the number of students taking part in academic competitions by 2025.

PWCS encourages students to pursue their interests in competitive athletic, academic, and interest-based programs offered at our schools. Participation in extracurricular activities promotes academic achievement, and competitive athletics contributes lifelong lessons in the rewards of hard physical work, mental discipline, perseverance, leadership development, and the importance of teamwork to our students. Our middle school athletics program leads our region, offering high-quality sports programming where most other divisions do not. PWCS will increase by 10% the number of students participating in clubs and in all seasons of athletics at the middle school, junior varsity, and varsity levels.

Increase Opportunities for English Learners, Students with Disabilities, and Underrepresented Groups

PWCS continues to rank as one of the highest and fastest-growing communities in terms of population size and diversity in Virginia, and the nation. Currently, US News and World Report ranks Prince William County as the 10th most diverse county in the nation. As a global-majority school division, a focus on multilingual families and students is paramount to the success of all students. We are committed to improving instruction, ensuring it is culturally responsive and specific to English Learners' (ELs) needs, given that English Learners represent 1-in-4 students in PWCS.

PWCS is committed to supporting all students with disabilities and their families. Approximately 12,000 students ages 2-22 receive specialized instruction through their Individualized Education Program (IEP) or Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act. The Special Education Department works collaboratively with families, staff, and community stakeholders to provide equal opportunities for all students. VDOE mandates that divisions must implement a Child Find program to identify, locate, and evaluate students under 18 years old who are suspected of having a disability and need special education and related services. Children can transition from early intervention to school-based programs starting as early as 2 years of age and remain until kindergarten.

PWCS will engage ELs in language-rich experiences to support their English Language Development that will result in the growth of their English Language Proficiency as measured by the ACCESS for ELLs assessment. In 2018-19, 53% of English Learners met their identified growth targets. This exceeded the federal annual benchmark of 48% for schools. By 2023-24, this percentage will increase so that at least 58% of English Learners will meet the specified growth targets in keeping with the long-term federal benchmark identified for schools. Division and school staff will deliver instruction that is focused on differentiation, co-teaching, and equitable access to rigorous instruction, responding to the strengths and needs of ELs. As a result, by 2024-25, EL graduation rates (currently at 79%) will increase by 5%, as will the identification of ELs for specialty programs, gifted programs, and advanced courses. Additionally, students will experience culturally responsive instruction in every school across the division. Schools and classrooms will be inclusive and equitable regardless of teacher assignment or EL population size. This will result in increased student engagement in school communities both during the instructional day and through extracurricular activities, clubs, and school events.

Integrate language development in all content areas to provide for equal participation and access to grade-level curriculum.

PWCS commits to implementing disciplinary literacy units with a focus on performance-based tasks and academic language proficiency. Generally speaking, academic English is the language of schooling; this language helps students acquire and use the content area knowledge taught in schools (Anstrom, DiCerbo, Butler, Katz, Millet, & Rivera, 2010). Thus, ensuring that language development is a consistent part of the instructional planning and delivery process for all courses and content is critical. In addition, given the diverse student population and that English Learners are the second-largest student group in PWCS (next to economically disadvantaged students), all schools and teachers will use language objective(s) for every content lesson to ensure equal student participation and access to all grade-level curricula.

By the end of the 2021-22 school year, all teachers and school leaders will revisit the best practices for planning and implementation of language objectives for each content objective; co-teaching and co-planning between content teachers and ESOL teachers will be evident in instruction across all classrooms. Language development will be reflected in the implementation of the Universal Design for Learning and all updates to curricula units. With a systematic focus on language development and disciplinary literacy, and emphasis on ensuring equal participation and access to all curricula, all student groups, but especially ELs, students with disabilities, and dually identified students, will improve their academic achievement in English language arts, mathematics, science, and history and social science.

PWCS will ensure that student schedules are created that maximize learning time for students, using a high-quality curriculum that supports the needs of EL and students with disabilities. PWCS will use the digital and accountability systems to monitor student placement, as well as academic and language progress for ELs. By the end of the 2021-22 school year, every IEP team will have considered if a student requires recovery services.

Engage all division leaders and educators with English Learners in professional learning in the implementation of instructional best practices to promote English language proficiency.

PWCS will ensure teachers of ELs attend essential training that will support their understanding of how language development happens. They will learn the interrelationships between language and content. Increasing the language development of ELs creates more opportunities for their participation in the full range of course offerings; this will lead to increased engagement and reduced dropout rates.

PWCS will provide consistent ongoing professional development focused on employing classroom practices that reflect high expectations for all learners. We will use research-based differentiated tools and strategies to support the full range of diverse learners through language development, disciplinary literacy, and content competencies and skills. Professional learning will focus on differentiated instruction based on EL progress data and needs-based scaffolds, strategies, and interventions for groups of and individual ELs. This will include immigrants, refugees, ELs with disabilities, as well as long-term ELs, and students at risk of becoming long-term ELs in core content areas.

Provide academic advising and outreach focused on increasing the participation and performance of underrepresented students in gifted, advanced, and specialty programs.

Current PWCS data shows disproportionate student access to gifted programs, challenging advanced coursework, and specialty programs, most notably for ELs, students with disabilities, and economically disadvantaged students. This lack of opportunities creates gaps in student success. PWCS will focus on ensuring that historically underrepresented student subgroups are encouraged and advised on advanced programs and/or courses. Increasing communication and providing opportunities for academic advising will ensure all students and families have access to gifted, advanced, and specialty programs. Underrepresented student groups and their families will receive special advising opportunities with an emphasis on varied outreach platforms and the use of interpreters.

By the end of the 2024-25 school year, academic advising targeted at underrepresented students and families will be a part of every school's continuous improvement plan and parent outreach. Currently, the division hosts 10 monthly parent engagement sessions that include support from interpreters, which provide information regarding opportunities, ways to access those opportunities, and strategies to support learners at home. With an increase in staffing to support parent engagement, the division will double the number of parent engagement session by offering two per month. These sessions will occur in virtual and in-person environments as appropriate, based on the topic and needs of participants.

PWCS will increase both the participation and performance of students in gifted education by removing barriers to identification and access. Parent engagement sessions will be provided and will focus specifically on gifted identification and access to gifted education services for all parents, with targeted outreach to parents of underrepresented students.

Accurate identification of underrepresented students for gifted education requires purposeful action. PWCS employs multiple strategies, including universal screening at multiple points (grades 2, 3, 6, and 9), professional development for educators, community outreach, and early exposure to enriching opportunities to remove barriers and increase equity. In the early grades (kindergarten through grade 2), all students participate in enrichment lessons, and PWCS uses the Early Talent Development Program to recognize students with gifted potential and provide targeted support to further develop that potential. By 2024-25, the participation of underrepresented groups in gifted education programs will see a 10% increase to reflect the diversity of each school's student population.

In addition, by 2025 every elementary, middle, and high school will have at least one full-time, highly qualified gifted resource teacher, trained to support the academic, social/emotional, and intellectual needs of gifted learners by delivering direct gifted services. Identified gifted learners will receive appropriately differentiated curriculum and instruction. Identified gifted learners will benefit from the collaborative planning that takes place between the gifted resource teacher and the classroom teacher to increase the depth and complexity of grade-level curriculum.

Through participation in the gifted education program, identified students will develop into independent thinkers and learners, informed and supportive collaborators in group settings, and exceptional leaders. They will apply advanced skills in critical thinking, creative thinking, collaboration, communication, and conceptual thinking that will prepare them for AP/IB/Cambridge coursework, dual enrollment classes, post-secondary education, and their future careers. By 2024-25, the participation of economically disadvantaged, minority, students with disabilities, and English Learners in advanced programs will see a 10% increase to reflect the diversity of each school's student population.

Meeting the Needs of Students with Disabilities

Students with disabilities require specially designed instruction to address their unique needs and ensure access to the general curriculum. To support the provision of specially designed instruction, the Special Education Department supports schools in determining the appropriate instructional match for each student, and provides research-based materials in reading, math, social skills, life skills, and transition. Division staff provide coaching and modeling to classroom teachers in these areas to ensure ongoing student success.

Progress monitoring is a scientifically based practice used to assess progress and evaluate the effectiveness of instruction. This is accomplished using a benchmarking and monitoring system based on direct and frequent student assessment. PWCS will continue to foster leadership in the analysis and interpretation of data to inform instructional practices, as well as support the fidelity and efficacy of those practices. Students with disabilities participating in the general curriculum that have an area of need in reading, math, and/or behavior receive research-based specially designed instruction. PWCS will enhance progress monitoring systems to ensure the fidelity and effectiveness of instruction.

Students with significant cognitive disabilities often participate in an alternate curriculum and require specific supports and methodologies to be successful. Through computer-delivered and teacher-led instruction, students learn individualized skills that are both developmentally appropriate and grade-level aligned. By 2023-24, 100% of students with significant disabilities will receive multi-modal evidence-based instruction with embedded curriculum-based assessments.

The provision of specially designed instruction includes supplementary aids and services that allow students with disabilities to be educated with their non-disabled peers to the maximum extent appropriate. Related services and assistive technology provide communication and/or access to instruction that increase, maintain, or improve the functional capabilities of a student with a disability. For the 2022-23 school year, PWCS is adding a full-time educational audiologist in the Special Education Department who will support students who are deaf or hard-of-hearing.

Professional learning will focus on the implementation of special education regulations, and effective specially designed instruction. The Special Education Department offers in excess of 100 professional learning opportunities each year, both virtually and in-person. In addition, the Differentiated Instructional Practices (DIP) conference is offered annually, providing teachers and administrators best practices and innovative ideas to effectively engage students. Since 2017, over 50,000 participants, including general education teachers, special education teachers, and administrators, have received reading and progress monitoring training. Approximately 4,000 individuals have participated in specialized multi-sensory reading strategies, and over 7,500 staff members in the area of math. By 2024-25, each PWCS school will implement multi-sensory approaches for reading and math for all students diagnostically determined to have reading or math challenges.

Inclusive education has proven effective in promoting positive student outcomes through strategies that focus on fully engaging all students regardless of their disabilities or other learning challenges. Inclusive education, as required in federal and state regulations, encompasses practices that concentrate on creating meaningful access to instruction for all students across academic, social, and physical environments. At the state level, Virginia has not shown expected progress in meeting the established least-restrictive environment (LRE) targets (school-age and preschool placement in the regular classroom) for students with disabilities. However, percentages for time spent in regular education for students with disabilities in Virginia are comparable to federal trends. Students with disabilities can make significant development and learning progress in inclusive settings (Grisham-Brown, et al., 2009). The state target is 70%, with PWCS performing at 64.72%. By 2025, PWCS will meet or exceed the state LRE targets for preschool and school-aged students with disabilities.

Mitigating Unfinished Learning
Design and implement strategies to accelerate learning to mitigate unfinished learning and provide appropriate recovery services.

Using funds received through the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, PWCS launched the Unfinished Learning Plan at the beginning of the 2021-22 school year. This is a two-year recovery plan for acceleration, recovery, and re-engagement through providing comprehensive academic, social-emotional, and mental health supports in schools. To achieve the goals of the Strategic Plan, PWCS will continue to implement the key strategies identified in the Unfinished Learning Plan to accelerate learning. Different from remediation, acceleration of learning is a focus on instruction of the priority unfinished prerequisite learning and power standards that are necessary for the understanding of new grade level/course content. High-dosage tutoring and extended learning times are two ways PWCS is supporting this acceleration. Common formative assessment systems are being implemented to inform instruction and monitor student learning progress. Students with disabilities, especially, can experience significant regression of skills or gaps in learning due to breaks in instruction. Any regression in skills or identified gaps in performance can be addressed by providing students with COVID recovery services to target areas identified by IEP teams, in keeping with guidance from both the U.S. Department of Education and VDOE. By 2023, 100% of IEP teams will consider any appropriate COVID recovery services for all students with disabilities.

Objective 1.2:

PWCS will prepare all students for post-secondary education and the workforce.


Values Spotlight

Equity icon -- icon is the scales of justice inside of a cirlce
Resiliency icon -- icon is a person standing on a mountain with a planted flag inside of a circle
Well-being icon -- icon is a shield inside of a circle

Theory of Action

If all professional educators and leaders are trained, supported, and accountable for collaborating with and supporting all students in creating and carrying out an academic and career plan, then this will lead to higher levels of aligned student resources, student ownership, and commitment, as well as an increase in the students' ability to meet post-secondary goals.

The role of schools is to prepare students for post-secondary education and employment by developing their cognitive competencies (e.g., academic mastery, critical thinking skills, and creativity), interpersonal competencies (e.g., communication, collaboration, and leadership skills), and intrapersonal competencies (e.g., growth mindset, motivation, and grit). Research shows that preparedness benefits students by increasing: college enrollment rates, college completion, employment in high-quality jobs, and participation in civic life. Preparedness decreases the need for remedial courses in college and reduces gaps in post-secondary educational outcomes based on students' income and race/ethnicity.

To support post-secondary preparedness, PWCS offers access to multiple pathways for students to earn college credit and industry certification while in high school. Research shows that when students are given access to opportunities for advanced coursework, they work harder and engage more in school, leading to fewer absences and suspensions and higher graduation rates (The Education Trust, 2019).

Goals and Strategies

100% of graduates will a have post-secondary plan for entering college, technical school, the military, the workforce, or to access community transition services
100% of graduates will enroll in technical school, enroll 2- or 4-year college programs, enter the military, enter the workforce, or access community transition services within 16 months of graduation
95% of high school students will graduate on-time within four years
Students who are identified as economically disadvantaged, students with disabilities, minority students, and English Learners will increase completion of advanced or dual enrollment courses by 10 percentage points
60% of graduates will take and earn at least one qualifying score on an AP, IB, or Cambridge exam or have earned dual enrollment credit, industry certification, or the Seal of Biliteracy
Graduates who are identified as economically disadvantaged, students with disabilities, minority students, and English Learners students will increase post-secondary education enrollment by 10 percentage points
PWCS graduates will earn a combined total of at least $260 million in scholarships

Post-Secondary Planning and Success

On-Time Graduation: In 2021, 92.8% of PWCS students graduated on time within four years of starting high school. However, the on-time graduation rates of Hispanic students, English Learners, economically disadvantaged students, and students with disabilities were all under 90%. PWCS will implement a consistent system of support, information, and resources with fidelity to ensure on-time graduation for all students, with prioritized counselor and educator networks for economically disadvantaged students, students with disabilities, English Learners, and minority students.

Ensure course structures at all high schools are designed to provide pathways for the achievement of post-secondary goals.

PWCS will increase post-secondary readiness through formalized supports for on-time graduation across all student groups and increased participation of economically disadvantaged students, students with disabilities, English Learners, and minority students in dual enrollment courses for college credit while in high school.

As part of the division's commitment to student success beyond their schooling years, students develop career portfolios in elementary school, expand them into the career plans in middle school and fully developed plans in high school. School counselors work with students to update their academic and career plans on a yearly basis; this includes the selection of courses to support them on the path toward on-time graduation. The process of setting a career goal helps students track their own progress towards meeting graduation requirements. By 2024-25, all high schools will have a dedicated post-secondary advisor to support all students and counselors in the completion of post-secondary plans. PWCS encourages students who are applying to colleges to consider seeking scholarships to facilitate their post-secondary enrollment. Post-secondary advisors will support students in scholarship-seeking behaviors and strategies, so that graduates over the next four years will earn a combined total of at least $260 million in scholarships.

Analyze and refine accountability systems to monitor and measure student enrollment and completion of college, vocational school, and entry into the workforce and/or military, assessing and responding to the enrollment of special populations such as, economically disadvantaged, students with disabilities, English Learners, and minority students.

PWCS analyzes post-secondary enrollment patterns from data provided through the National Student Clearinghouse. The graduating class of 2019 had 72% of students enrolled in a 2-year or 4-year college within 16 months of graduating high school.

PWCS commits to additional analyses of postsecondary achievement and persistence data, as well as to develop systems for capturing data for graduates in the military and workforce that are not part of the National Student Clearinghouse. By collecting post-graduate data in all areas to include military and workforce.

Advanced Academic Opportunities

PWCS commits to providing opportunities for students to earn college credit while in high school through numerous advanced academic programs including:

  • The College Board's Advanced Placement (AP) Program;
  • The International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma (IBDP) and Career (IBCP) Programmes;
  • The Cambridge International Examinations; and
  • Dual enrollment (DE) with Northern Virginia Community College (NOVA).

PWCS plans to expand these programs to extend these opportunities to more students across the division. By 2025, PWCS plans to expand the elementary IB Primary years Programme from five schools to nine schools. An additional two IB Middle Years Programmes will bring the division total to six. An additional high school IB Diploma Programme will make this rigorous program available to 20% of our students in grades 9-12. In addition to the expansion of IB, the division will collaborate with our community college partners to explore the possibility of a specialty program that brings expanded dual enrollment opportunities in-person and virtually.

Access to advanced academic opportunities will include student enrollment in programs that yield valuable post-secondary credentials. PWCS commits to increasing enrollment in advanced courses and those leading to professional certification by utilizing multiple data sources to identify students who demonstrate potential and interest in these offerings. PWCS also commits to removing barriers to access and encouraging students to take risks. We will provide programs to improve student readiness and support their success as they take on new challenges.

While participation is important, improving performance is vital to our students' success in the post-secondary experience. In 2021, 32% of graduates earned early college credentials through AP, IB, or Cambridge exams. By 2025, the percentage of graduates earning a qualifying score will increase to 37%. In 2021, 22% of graduates earned early college credentials through DE. By 2025, the percentage of graduates earning these early college credentials will increase to 27%. Through partnerships with NOVA and Shenandoah University, dual enrollment courses are currently available at 12 high schools. PWCS currently offers 36 dual enrollment courses: 15 of these DE courses can help students earn early college credit to accelerate their path to earning an Associate's or Bachelor's degree, with most accepted for credit at colleges and universities. CTE offers 21 courses that can help students earn technical credentials and certifications for careers in skilled trades, technology, medical careers, and more. In the 2020-21 school year, more than 800 CTE students enrolled in over 20 available CTE dual enrollment courses.

By 2024-25, PWCS will offer 17 academic DE offerings and 25 CTE courses and enroll more than 1,519 students. At least 1,000 CTE students will graduate high school in 2025 with a minimum of six CTE dual enrollment credits.

Students who have gained bilingual proficiency skills in non-traditional ways or prior to enrollment in PWCS will be able to earn one to three high school credits in lieu of the traditional world language classroom study required for a Virginia diploma. They will demonstrate their skill level through evidence of a score on VDOE external exams in one of more than 30 languages not offered in schools for formal study in schools due to low enrollment. This will allow students room for other coursework and possibly the opportunity to earn the Seal of Biliteracy as proof of a skillset marketable in the global job force. By 2024-25, the diversity of students enrolled in all world language classes in middle and high school will mirror the division demographics. Students within all groups will meet the requirements for an advanced diploma that include completing three years of study within one language or at least two years of study in two different languages. As a result, by 2025, World Languages will increase student participation in AP, IB, or Cambridge world language courses and will increase the number of students earning the Seal of Biliteracy by 5%.

Career and Technical Education

CTE programs prepare students for employment in fast-growing fields such as computer programming, engineering, health science, and the skilled trades.CTE staff collaborate with the high school college and career counselors and middle school counselors to implement each student's Academic and Career Plan, beginning in the seventh grade. Students earn college credits and industry certifications from Northern Virginia Community College (NOVA) and learn from industry professionals through apprenticeships, internships, and mentoring. CTE programs also provide experiences in work-based learning for students, including internships and apprenticeships in high school that provide opportunities for students to develop skills and gain confidence, promote success in post-secondary education, and lead to future employment prospects. CTE commits to providing students with equitable access to multiple pathways for post-secondary options, including entering the workforce, a two- and four-year college/university, and military. Over the next four years, CTE will strengthen these programs to create a deeper understanding of workplace readiness. CTE will effectively communicate course information to diverse stakeholder groups to increase the number of underrepresented students participating. By 2024-25, all PWCS high schools will offer increased dual enrollment courses, prepare students to meet the requirements for industry credentials, and provide students with opportunities to participate in work-based learning activities.

Work-based Partnerships: Develop and foster community workforce development partnerships to provide Work-based Learning and Career Experiences, high school internships, and post-secondary opportunities.

Students in our Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs have access to paid summer internships and Youth Registered Apprenticeship (YRA) opportunities as part of these efforts. Over the next five years, CTE will recruit more employers to provide internships and YRA opportunities. These offerings will align with students' career interests. CTE will collaborate with the Virginia Department of Labor to create an apprenticeship opportunity so students can earn marketable job skills. As such, students will explore their chosen field while still attending high school, gaining experience and earning potential income to assist with college/post-secondary tuition. Over the next four years, 3,500 summer employment opportunities will be provided for rising high school juniors and seniors.

PWCS will increase and strengthen partnerships with Prince William County local businesses, local trade unions and philanthropic communities to attain more apprenticeship and internship opportunities for our students. These opportunities will ensure that our students have the necessary knowledge and skills in the latest technologies and equipment to successfully gain employment and have a fulfilling career with the certainty of a living wage. With a target of adding 500 new apprenticeships or internships by 2025, we will challenge our partners to consider how they can contribute to having meaningful apprenticeship pathways at every high school.

Post-secondary Transition Planning: Prepare students with disabilities to achieve successful post-secondary outcomes.

To prepare students with disabilities for life after high school, PWCS provides specialized instruction throughout their academic career in these areas: pre-employment, daily living, independent living, and leisure. All students apply these learned skills in real-world situations throughout their academic career from preschool through high school.

Through community-based instruction (CBI), students transfer their learning to the settings in which they will need to function as productive citizens. This instruction focuses on daily and independent living and vocational training. With the goal of aligning CBI opportunities throughout the division, all secondary schools will implement a transition curriculum with relevant, individualized community-based experiences by 2024.

By 14 years of age, or younger if determined appropriate, students with disabilities are required to have a plan for transition documented in their IEP. Transition specialists support the assessment of students' interests, aptitude, and needs and development of a transition plan based on their vision for their future, to include post-secondary education and employment. In addition, transition specialists coordinate linkages with community agencies that support students' transition to post-secondary life.

EMPLOY is a high school CTE program, that includes both class and community-based learning. EMPLOY provides students with skills that will facilitate their entry into suitable occupations in accordance with their individual educational needs, aptitudes, and interests. Through class-based instruction, students learn about a variety of careers and occupations, job search and retention skills, and begin to develop their self-advocacy skills. Through community-based instruction, students develop marketable job skills through the completion of internships and paid employment. By 2025, all high schools will follow a cohesive divisionwide framework to implement the EMPLOY program for students pursuing all diploma options.

In 2020, PWCS partnered with Novant Healthcare to offer Project SEARCH to students between the ages of 18-22, with the goal of preparing students with significant disabilities for competitive integrated employment. This program offers students the opportunities to gain vocational experiences in a variety of occupations and has an overall job placement success rate of 80%. In addition to continuing with the current Project SEARCH program, by 2025, PWCS will partner with businesses to replicate this model in three different locations in Prince William County.

Objective 1.3:

PWCS will prepare all staff members to support and challenge all students.


Values Spotlight

Equity icon -- icon is the scales of justice inside of a cirlce
Integrity icon -- icon is an award ribbon inside of a circle
Innovation icon -- icon is a light bulb inside of a circle

Theory of Action

If PWCS ensures the effective implementation of continuous improvement processes and research-based best practices to engage, challenge, and empower all students through rigorous culturally responsive instruction, digital tools, and social emotional learning, then students will report increased satisfaction with the quality of their educational experience.

Research identifies professional learning that includes theory, modeling, practice, and coaching as most effective to increase teacher and administrator knowledge and skills. (Joyce and Showers 2011). This process aligns with best practices for adult learning (Knowles, 1980) that include time for planning, reflection, feedback, and practice. Professional learning that is designed and implemented with these opportunities can contribute to positive outcomes for teachers in terms of increases in content knowledge and pedagogical skills, quality of classroom instruction, job satisfaction, and job retention. According to studies from the Wallace Foundation (2021), school leadership is second only to teaching among school related factors on student achievement and attendance.

Goals and Strategies

100% of teachers will be trained in and employ universal design for learning, culturally responsive practices, and trauma-informed practices
100% of leaders and educators will be knowledgeable of and responsive to the strengths and needs of diverse learners and their communities through differentiated strategies and supports
100% of leaders and teachers will participate in professional development on universal design for learning and continuous improvement processes through aligned school improvement plans

Expand professional learning and leadership development opportunities for principals, assistant principals, and teachers.

Currently new principals, assistant principals ,and administrative interns participate in academies for induction. Professional learning in the academies focuses in three areas:

  • People skills;
  • Organizational skills; and
  • Instructional skills.

Academy sessions will be expanded by utilizing the continuous improvement coaches to support leaders through the use of data, trends, and patterns to provide targeted coaching. In 2023-24, a third year will be added to the principal academy. Professional learning will be developed in the three focus areas to support experienced administrators as well.

Professional learning opportunities focused on leadership development for both principals and teachers will be expanded. PWCS commits to developing strong cycles of professional learning that align to the needs identified in the school continuous improvement plans for teachers and leaders. The content of this professional learning will support school-based practices and identified priorities.

Professional learning options will be articulated as:

  • Universal support that is required for all schools, ensuring that all staff have the same elevated baseline;
  • Focused and prioritized support including professional learning, mentoring, and coaching required for schools identified in the prioritization index within the Unfinished Learning Plan; and
  • Optional support and professional learning that provides individual professional growth and opportunities for leadership.

Universal Design for Learning (UDL) establishes a framework intended to proactively meet the needs of all learners. Principles of UDL assume that barriers to learning are in the design of the environment, not in the student. UDL provides learners:

  • Multiple Means of Representation;
  • Multiple Means of Action and Expression; and
  • Multiple Means of Engagement.
PWCS will provide divisionwide professional development on continuous improvement planning, processes, and classroom systems.

All schools are required to complete and submit continuous improvement plans yearly. The implementation of the plans is supported by continuous improvement coaches divisionwide. Professional learning is provided by offices and departments to support this work. As we embark on this new Strategic Plan, PWCS will strengthen and invest in our leadership development program to ensure all leaders are trained in the principles of UDL, continuous improvement planning, processes, and classroom systems. Courses will be developed and updated to meet the needs of universal, focused, and prioritized support beyond the existing leadership academies. The opportunities will include teacher leadership pathways to build capacity in our teacher leaders and support retention and leadership pipeline. Skills and attributes will be identified to support the growth and development of this stakeholder group, so that participants can attain credentials and increased compensation related to their work. UDL and continuous improvement processes will be implemented by 100% of leaders and teachers through aligned school improvement plans and classroom systems that utilize data, root cause analysis, and student feedback to revise instruction and empower student agency and ownership of learning and achievement.