PWCS ARP ESSER Spending Plan

Section 1: General Information

  1. School Division/LEA Name: Prince William County Public Schools
  2. Division Number: 075
  3. Contact Name: John Wallingford
  4. Contact Email: wallingj@pwcs.edu
  5. Contact Phone: 703-791-7200
  6. Amount of ARP ESSER funding allocated to LEA: $87,930,618.52

Section 2: Transparency and Accessibility

A. LEA webpage where plan is posted (provide URL)

https://www.pwcs.edu/departments/finance/budget/esser-iii-plan/index

B. Describe how the plan is, to the extent practicable, written in a language that parents can understand, or if not practicable, will be orally translated for parents with limited English proficiency.

PWCS created Unfinished Learning Plan using ARP ESSER funding with all stakeholders and students in mind. The written language was selected carefully to ensure readability. The Unfinished Learning Plan is posted on the public website in multiple languages and with a notation that offers interpretation if needed.

C. Describe how the plan will be provided upon request in an alternative accessible format to a parent who is an individual with a disability:

Individuals with a disability may contact our division for assistance and the contacts listed will help those individuals access information using the appropriate accommodation. The following message is posted on our public website. Prince William County Public Schools has taken the following steps to make this plan available to the public:

  • The plan is posted at https://www.pwcs.edu/parents/pwcs_unfinished_learning_plan/index;
  • The plan is available in multiple languages on the PWCS webpage. It is available in the nine major languages of Arabic, Mandarin Chinese, Urdu, Farsi, Spanish, Vietnamese, Korean, Dari, and Pashto plus additional languages available for selection on our webpage;
  • The plan may be interpreted for parents. Contact the Director of Student Opportunity and Multilingual Services, Dr. Lynmara Colón, at ColonLX@pwcs.edu to request translation or interpretation; and
  • Upon request, a parent who is an individual with a disability as defined by the ADA may be provided with the plan in an alternative format accessible by contacting the Director of Communications, Diana Gulotta at GulottDC@pwcs.edu.

Questions about this plan should be directed to John Wallingford, Associate Superintendent for Finance and Risk Management at WallingJ@pwcs.edu, or Rita Goss, Associate Superintendent for Teaching and Learning at GossRE@pwcs.edu.

This plan may be orally interpreted. Please contact the Director of Student Opportunity and Multilingual Services, Dr. Lynmara Colón at ColonLX@pwcs.edu to request translation and/or interpretation. If you use assistive technology or are a person with a disability and have difficulty accessing the information on this page, contact the Communications Department at communications@pwcs.edu

Section 3: Opportunity for Public Comment

A. Describe how the LEA provided the public the opportunity to provide input on the updated ARP ESSER spending plan since initial submission in August 2021, with emphasis on the 2022-2023 school year.

Stakeholders have been contacted by email and provided a survey link. All stakeholders may access the survey at any time on our website at https://survey.alchemer.com/s3/6632902/ESSER-III-Funds-Follow-up.

B. Describe how the LEA took public input since August 2021 into account

Student needs and stakeholder feedback guide the PWCS spending plan for Unfinished Learning. Based on survey feedback and student achievement data, the following themes emerged and were taken into consideration:

  • A focus on student social-emotional needs and mental health needs of students and staff
  • Support for at-risk student populations
  • Providing targeted, evidence-based interventions and extended learning programs (before and after-school, etc.)
  • PWCS has provided increased student support by providing targeted tutoring

Section 4: Consultation with Stakeholders

Describe how the LEA consulted with each stakeholder group below. If a stakeholder group is not present in the LEA, indicate Not Applicable in the description of consultation conducted. If the LEA conducted a survey as a consultation method, provide a summary of the survey results as an Appendix to this spending plan.

Feedback on the spending of ARPA ESSER funding was initially collected via a survey (Appendix A1) and two public hearings held in June 2021 (June 15, 2021, and June 22, 2021). Reviews of Appendix B and Appendix C are conducted each six-month interval, as previously noted and submitted to VDOE.

Section 5: Addressing Learning Loss (recommended to be 100% of an LEA’s remaining allocation and must be at least 20% of an LEA’s allocation per federal statute)

Section 2001(e)(1) of the ARP Act requires each LEA to use at least twenty percent of its formula funds to address the academic impact of lost instructional time (learning loss) through the implementation of evidence-based interventions. Governor’s Challenge: in Action Seven of Our Commitment to Virginia’s Children, Governor Youngkin challenges LEAs to spend all of their remaining Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) funds on proven efforts to recover learning, such as: supplementing learning through instruction before school, after school, on weekends, and in the summer; providing direct support to families to access tutoring; extending the school year; and rewarding those teachers and schools that make the greatest impact on student learning with performance bonuses.

Describe how the LEA identified learning loss, including among student groups most likely to have experienced the impact of lost instructional time such as students from low-income families, students of color, English learners, children with disabilities, students experiencing homelessness, children in foster care, and migratory students:

PWCS took into consideration research and to address the disparate impacts of the pandemic, PWCS designed a prioritized resource allocation process to provide additional resources, supports, and services to schools based on student groups most likely to experience learning loss. PWCS also used available data:

  • SOL pass rates by subject and test – PWCS and Virginia
  • An analysis of the data for both PWCS and Virginia
  • Course/grade level marks (grades) by student group
  • Early literacy – Virginia Kindergarten Readiness Program (VKRP)
  • English Learner performance - Progress in Lexia Core5 and PowerUp as well as ACCESS
  • Attendance and engagement
  • Three-year division SAT average best score

Priority indicators were identified to ensure distribution to schools based on greatest needs:

  • Percentage of economically disadvantaged students
  • Percentage of students with disabilities
  • Percentage of English Learners
  • Mobility rate for students
  • Turnover rate for professional educators
  • COVID-19 case rate by school and ZIP code
  • Percent of students who are chronically absent
  • Student academic performance – grades (middle and high school)
  • Early literacy achievement (elementary school)
A. Provide a detailed description of how the LEA used or will use the funds it reserves to implement evidence-based interventions to address learning loss:

Based on available qualitative and quantitative data, the division developed a plan to address Unfinished Learning utilizing the latest identified research-based strategies such as high-quality, High-Dosage Tutoring (Kraft & Goldstein, 2020), extended learning time, accelerated learning, layered curriculum, and updated unit guides, which include pre-requisite knowledge and skills.

To effectively address Unfinished Learning, the division recommended that the primary and best instructional model for the 2021-22 and 2022-23 school years is five days per week of in-person instruction. The division is also offering a virtual-only model and continues to offer nontraditional programs to meet individual student needs.

PWCS identified core values that guided our plan:

  • Best instructional practices that will result in academic achievement for all students;
  • Integrity and fidelity of services, learning process, targeted support, and monitoring of the effectiveness of the plan; and
  • Equity in the distribution of funding, support, and human resources provided to schools.

Based on key findings of impacts on learning since March 2020, PWCS has identified priority areas of focus:

  • Mathematics
  • Early literacy
  • English language arts
  • Science
  • Academic, social, and communication development for students with disabilities
  • Academic and social language development for English Learners
  • Social, emotional, and mental health

Approaches used:

  • Focus on the Instructional Core
    • English language arts (ELA) textbooks and core materials are provided to all schools;
    • Hands-on science experiments, resources, and materials are provided to all schools to support inquiry-based science instruction;
    • Professional learning to implement Instructional Rounds across all schools;
    • One teaching assistant for every 500 students for focus and priority schools; and
    • One math specialist to support staff, per school for schools that received prioritized funding.
  • Equitable access to rigorous, high-quality, culturally relevant curriculum
    • Curriculum units in Canvas aligned to student learning needs, background, and interest (includes technology) provided to all schools;
    • Common assessments and universal screeners for curriculum units and academic growth/progress;
    • Lexia Core5 for individualized adaptive acceleration for all students at all reading levels including advanced learners, struggling readers, students with disabilities, and English Learners (Pre-K-5);
    • Lexia PowerUp for individualized adaptive literacy acceleration for all students at all reading levels including advanced learners, struggling readers, students with disabilities, and English Learners (Grades 6-12);
    • Fifteen instructional coaching positions are shared among schools that received focused or prioritized funding;
    • Per-pupil funding for High-Dosage Tutoring is provided to all schools based on student need; and
    • Adoption of SAFARI Montage as the division’s Learning Object Repository, which upon completion, will provide all schools with a universal library containing SOL-aligned resources and division curriculum materials.
  • Acceleration of Learning Through High-Dosage Tutoring, Needed Interventions, and Extended/Expanded Learning
    • Per-pupil funding for extended/expanded learning at identified schools receiving focused or prioritized supports, to include before school, after school, cocurricular, and/or extracurricular activities/opportunities;
    • One full-time teaching assistant position for schools that received focused or prioritized funding (one per every 500 students);
    • Per-pupil funding for High-Dosage Tutoring is available to all schools (based on individual student need); and
    • Virtual tutoring services are provided to all students with unlimited access to tutors in all core subject areas during the school day, after school, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and 365 days a year.
  • High-Quality, Just in Time Professional Learning
    • Instructional Core best practices;
    • Instructional Rounds protocol Culturally Responsive Instruction;
    • School culture and student and family reengagement;
    • Best practices for English Learners, special education students, and advanced learners;
    • Quarterly training for administrators to support the use of an at-risk index to identify the students who are most in need of services; and
    • Additional professional learning for focus and priority schools based on ongoing student academic assessment data throughout the school year.
  • Reengagement of Families
    • Monthly parent engagement series designed for English Learner families to inform parents of division opportunities, school program offerings, academic, and social and emotional supports to supplement the student experience;
    • Family engagement support through home visits on weekends and evenings by trained staff;
    • Individual post-secondary planning support outside of school hours;
    • Office of Student Services in-person and on-demand Parent Learning Series;
    • Provide Special Education Parent Resource Center events;
    • Parent liaisons for schools with impacted attendance rates and lower enrollment rates because of the pandemic; and
    • Community-based case management through collaboration with local agencies for mental health and basic needs (food, shelter, clothing).
School supports provided as a result of the prioritization index
Universal Supports

To support all students at all schools including advanced and gifted learners:

  • Per pupil funding for high-dosage tutoring
  • English language arts textbooks and core materials
  • Professional learning for plan commitments and best practices
  • Common assessment resources
  • Lexia Core5 and PowerUp
  • Science textbooks and core materials
  • Hands-on science kits and materials for experiments
Focused Academic Supports

All universal supports plus the following to support identified students at the identified schools:

  • Per pupil funding for expanded/extended learning opportunities
  • Funding for at least one teacher assistant per school (1 per every 500 students)
  • Additional professional learning and coaching based on student and teacher needs
Prioritized Academic Supports

All universal and all focused supports plus the following to support identified students at the identified schools:

  • Additional per-pupil funding for expanded/extended learning opportunities
  • On-site instructional coach
  • One math specialist
  • Parent liaison/parent engagement specialist support
Divisionwide Supports
  • Graduation Academy – The Student Management and Alternative Programs Department (SMAPD) provided a graduation academy to support the school division’s efforts for on-time graduation for our high school students.
  • S.T.A.R. Program (S.T.A.R.) – The Student Tutoring and Remediation Program was created by SMAPD, as an early intervention, to assist students with staying on pace academically in English and mathematics. The S.T.A.R. program offered four evening virtual sessions, with certified teachers, where students (grades 8-12) received support to master current standards. During the winter break, the S.T.A.R. program offered week-long boot camps in English and mathematics as part of our efforts to close learning gaps.
  • Summer School K-8 – In addition to remedial supports in language arts and mathematics, SMAPD, in collaboration with Prince William County’s Department of Parks and Recreation and Office of Tourism, integrated place-based learning opportunities to support the division’s efforts of improvement in the areas of science and history. Additionally, social and emotional learning activities were embedded in the summer school day to address the pandemic-related social and emotional impact.
  • English Learners’ Academy – The Department of Student Opportunity and Multilingual Services hosted an English Learner summer academy, providing high school students with opportunities to access credit recovery classes such as English 9 and 10, Algebra I, Geometry, and Algebra Functions and Discrete Applications (AFDA).
  • Lexia PowerUp and Core5 – As part of the division’s efforts to support students’ literacy development, PWCS provided every K-12 student with a Lexia account, supporting core areas needed for reading comprehension, reading fluency, oral language, word study, writing, and grammar.
  • Parent Engagement Events for Families of Vulnerable Populations - The Department of Student Opportunity and Multilingual Services, in collaboration with the Special Education Department, offered monthly virtual events to support parents and their students during the school year. Sessions were focused on addressing topics such as Canvas parent pointers, social-emotional support, literacy, math, health and wellness, specialty programs, and return-to-school plans. They continue to take place with the support of interpreters and translators who provided access to families of multilingual learners. Additionally, the Office of Student Services launched the “Parent Learning Series,” to meet the needs of parents. Sessions were offered to all PWCS families and topics ranged from social-emotional support to post-secondary planning.

B. Describe how the LEA produces evidence of the effectiveness of evidence-based learning loss interventions employed

Common assessments and monitoring of quarterly data, including grades and common assessments, are occurring. PWCS has examined available formal and informal district data to inform our efforts and needed support for students. Tools such as MasteryConnect, Lexia PowerUp, and Core5, as well as administrative data from online learning platforms, equip teachers and support staff with information that can help identify students who have disengaged from instruction.

Every school conducts Instructional Rounds to monitor instructional practices and student progress. Subject area specialists have conducted 1,758 classroom visits to evaluate the impacts of evidence-based interventions and support; providing coaching and assistance, model lessons, and monitoring the progress of students. As part of the division’s strategic plan, these rounds have been extended to all schools with professional learning and division leadership support.

C. Amount of ARP ESSER funds to address learning loss

$60,996,269.61

Section 6: Other Uses of Funds

Section 2001(e)(2) of the ARP Act permits LEAs to use the ARP ESSER III funds not reserved to address learning loss to address needs arising from or exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Generally, allowable ESSER activities must meet the guidelines below.

  • The use of funds must be intended to prevent, prepare for, or respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, including its impact on the social, emotional, mental health, and academic needs of students;
  • The use of funds must fall under one of the authorized uses of ESSER funds; and
  • The use of funds must be permissible under the Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards (Uniform Guidance, 2 CFR Part 200). In particular, the use of funds must be deemed necessary and reasonable for the performance of the ESSER award.

A. Describe how the LEA used or will use funds to support teacher and staff retention and recruitment strategies

PWCS prioritized ARP ESSER funding to support teacher and staff retention and recruitment strategies. In an effort to retain teachers, additional non-exempt support positions were approved. Teaching assistant (TA) positions were placed in classrooms to assist teachers with small group instruction and meeting IEP goals. Providing additional human resources was intended to address the teacher workload with the goal of fostering a positive and supportive work environment and retaining teachers. Teachers play a critical role in providing social and emotional learning support for students in addition to their typical teaching responsibilities. Parent liaison positions were added to the budget to serve as a connection between the school and the community. Parent liaison positions are not only a resource to families but a resource to support teachers providing social-emotional learning. The additional support is intended to assist with teacher retention. Professional growth and learning opportunities for employees is a key retention strategy. The division added instructional coaching positions using ARP ESSER funds to support teachers in the classrooms and to facilitate professional development. The Department of Human Resources added a coordinator position to target the recruitment and retention of classified employees. In addition, clinic assistant positions were added to support students and administrative tasks related to health services. Through this effort, new support employees were recruited to the division, and school nurses were retained.

  1. Total FTEs hired with ARP ESSER funds: 134
  2. Plan to retain staff hired with ARP ESSER funds after September 30, 2024

PWCS intends to retain as many staff as fiscally possible that were hired with ARP ESSER funds after September 30, 2023. The request to include positions in the locally funded portion of the FY 2024 budget has been shared for consideration. If PWCS cannot fund additional positions with local funding, HR will prioritize staff for placement in vacated positions within the existing adopted budget.

B. Describe the extent to which the LEA used or will use ARP ESSER funds to implement prevention and mitigation strategies in order to continuously and safely operate schools for in-person learning

COVID Mitigation – Contact tracing, and support service for teachers and other staff shortages.

C. If the LEA used or will use ARP ESSER funds for HVAC, renovation, or other capital projects, describe each project, including whether the LEAs has requested and received approval for the project

PWCS requested approval for additional school buses, to aid in social distancing.

D. If the LEA used or will use ARP ESSER funds for uses other than those listed above, describe below:

  1. Mental health – stipends for social and emotional support coaches and materials for students' and staff’s well-being.

    Social-Emotional Support Services
    • Prepare resources for school administrators to support positive staff culture and well-being;
    • Prepare teacher lesson plans, and online social and emotional learning library for students in grades K-12;
    • Social Emotional Learning Curriculum;
    • Social/emotional learning coaches
    • Staff training for identification of mental health concerns and implementation of supportive strategies;
    • Grief and Loss Groups/Short-term and Long-term individual counseling;
    • Direct staff access to counseling and referral to long-term emotional support resources; and
    • Divisionwide student support teams to identify and case manage students with emotional needs that have impacted learning.
  2. Grant Support Staffing – Full-time staff for implementation and management of grant award to include monitoring funding, eligibility of expenses, reimbursement process, and audit support.

D. Amount of ARP ESSER funds for the uses above (A. through D.)

$26,934,348.91

Section 7: Budget

Category Description Learning Loss Y/N Budget Amount Obligated Amount Spent Amount Remaining
Other COVID Mitigation – Contact tracing and PPE. Support service for teachers and other staff shortages. No $3,824,897.34 $3,824,897.34 $3,760,729.22 $64,168.12
Other Capital Expenses – Additional school buses to aid in social distancing No $4,838,783.00 $4,838,783.00 $4,838,783.00 $0.00
Other Mental Health – social and emotional support coaches and materials for students and staff’s well-being No $13,409,691.15 $13,409,691.15 $2,879,892.46 $10,529,798.69
Other Interpretation services – Translation Radio Receiver No $300,000.00 $300,000.00 $300,000.00 $0.00
Other Grant Support Staffing – Full-time staff for implementation and management of grant award No $4,560,977.42 $4,560,977.42 $3,444,671.56 $1,116,305.86
Other English Language Learning Materials K-12 Yes $10,884,245.78 $10,884,245.78 $10,868,786.08 $15,459.70
Other High-Quality Tutoring Support Software – Supplemental Learning Software subscriptions Yes $3,492,689.59 $3,492,689.59 $2,505,187.45 $987,502.14
Other High-Quality Tutoring Personnel and Materials to support unfinished learning Yes $17,124,478.09 $17,081,518.07 $5,133,103.30 $11,991,374.79
Professional Development Teacher mentor coaching Yes $9,755,903.06 $9,755,903.06 $1,379,353.97 $8,376,549.09
Other Parent Liaison school supports for family engagement Yes $1,690,105.59 $1,690,105.59 $601,724.39 $1,088,381.20
Other Staffing and materials to support Virtual / Remote Learning Yes $8,545,403.99 $8,525,960.85 $8,520,631.54 $24,772.45
Other Learning manipulatives Yes $2,027,706,66 $2,027,706.66 $988,305.74 $1,039,400.92
Other Assessment and testing Yes $2,375,736.85 $2,375,736.85 $375,736.85 $2,000,000.00
Professional Development Professional learning on instructional best practices and achievement data and needs Yes $5,000,000.00 $5,000,000.00 $0.00 $5,000,000.00
Direct Support to Families for Tutoring Refugee Support Services and Materials Yes $100,000.00 $100,000.00 $0.00 $100,000.00

Appendix A1 – Stakeholder Input

Feedback on the spending of ARPA ESSER funding was initially collected via a survey and two public hearings held in June 2021 (June 15, 2021, and June 22, 2021). 

Reviews of Appendix B and Appendix C are conducted at each six-month interval, as previously noted and submitted to VDOE.

Notification to stakeholders from June 2021

Dear PWCS Families, Staff Members and Community,

PWCS is a recipient of the American Rescue Plan Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (‘‘ARP ESSER’’) Fund, under section 2001 of the American Rescue Plan ("ARP") Act of 2021. PWCS is seeking community input into the development of the plan for these funds to support students and schools, and your input via this brief survey by June 18 is appreciated. Details on current fall learning plans are available on the PWCS website.

Additionally, a public meeting will be held on Tuesday, June 15 at 6 p.m. at the Kelly Leadership Center and virtually as an opportunity to hear your input. To register to speak in-person or virtually please sign-up here. Speakers will be provided two minutes and asked to speak to only to the topic. The meeting will be broadcast via pwcstv.com and locally on Comcast Channel 18 or Verizon FIOS Channel 36.

Please note that the ARP ESSER fund has limitations and rules from both the federal government and the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) restricting its use to only specific allowable costs. These details are still being finalized by VDOE but are generally restricted to use in responding to the educational disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

It is anticipated that one or more School Board members may attend this meeting, either in person or electronically, as permitted under the authority granted by the General Assembly on April 22, 2020, through Amendment 28 to House Bill 29.

Thank you for your input.

Prince William County Public Schools

Invitations and Executive Cabinet Member MRP for stakeholder feedback

  • Special Education Parent Teacher Association– Denise Huebner
  • Superintendent’s Advisory Council for Equity – Denise Huebner
  • Prince William Education Association – Donna Eagle
  • Virginia PE – Donna Eagle
  • NAACP – Carolyn Custard
  • Safe Schools Advisory Council– Jarcelynn Hart
  • VOICE – Matt Guilfoyle
  • Gifted Education Advisory Committee – Rita Goss
  • Superintendent's Advisory Council on Instruction – Rita Goss
  • Superintendent's Advisory Council on Sustainability – Al Ciarochi
  • All PWCS employees – Communications Department

ESSER Feedback Form Comment Themes (see ESSER COMMENTS grouped for full list)

Initial Themes
  • Teacher/staff Pay/bonus compensation – 10 pages of comments
  • Support all students (theme of “equality” rather than “equity”) – about ½ page of comments
  • Equity – about 1 ½ pages of comments
  • Mental health support for teachers/staff – about ½ page of comments
  • Focus on academics/interventions and core content to close gaps – about 5 pages of comments
  • Safety/facilities/ventilation/improving older facilities (catch-all category) – about 10 pages of comments
  • Reduce Class Sizes – about 5 pages of comments
  • Special Education – about 5 pages of comments
  • English Learner support – about 1 page of comments
  • LGBTQ awareness – just a few comments
  • No concurrent teaching – about 2 pages of comments
  • Resources for school libraries – about 2 pages of comments
  • Supplies for teachers/schools/students – about ½ page of comments
  • Telework option – one comment
  • Internet access/technology general – about 6 pages of comments
  • Issues with technology – about 2 pages of comments
  • Mental health/emotional needs/support – about 9 pages of comments
  • Other health – about 1 page of comments
  • Differentiation for students who are not behind – about 1 ½ pages of comments
  • Year-round school – about ½ page of comments
  • No Critical Race Theory – about 2 pages of comments
  • Physical activity/sports – about 1 page of comments
  • Professional development/training – about 1 ½ pages of comments
  • Vaccination related – about 2 pages of comments
  • Focus on full-time in person with no restrictions – about 5 pages of comments
  • Provide tutoring – about 3 pages of comments
  • After-school programs/extended day – about 3 pages of comments
  • Food/meals – about 2 ½ pages of comments
  • Summer school – about ½ page of comments
  • Parent training – about ½ page of comments
  • Virtual learning options/online learning – about 3 pages of comments
  • COVID testing and other mitigation comments – about 1 ½ pages of comments
  • General praise – 2 comments
  • Teaching Assistants/Aides – about 2 ½ pages of comments
  • Additional staff – about 2 pages of comments
  • Focus on STEAM (including arts) – about 1 page of comments
  • Provide support to families – about 1 page of comments
  • Reject money or give to parents directly – about ½ page of comments (12 comments)
  • General/multifaceted staff comments – 6 comments (but long)
  • General/multifaceted parent comments – 19 comments (but long)
  • Use money wisely – about ½ page of comments

Summary of Task Force Recommendations: School Leaders, Teachers, Central Office Staff.

  1. The primary instructional model should be 5 days a week of in-person learning.
    • Safety mitigation strategies will be included as practical for providing this model.
    • If all students are expected to return for all 5 days, then some current mitigation strategies would need to be modified, such as the distancing between students.
  2. Virtual enrollment opportunities will be limited based on need.
    • Clear criteria should be published for parents for how students can qualify for virtual learning enrollment.
    • Requests for virtual enrollment will be considered through an application process (no fee) similar to Homebound Education eligibility requirements or Transfer Request Forms (e.g., documented medical, social-emotional need).
    • Parents should be provided with an application window in May 2021 for full-time virtual requests.
    • There should be limited access to virtual enrollment after this time except for new students.
    • Parents will have to commit to the year for the all-virtual placement.
    • Attendance and participation requirements will be clarified in a separate all virtual regulation.
    • Consider increasing the PWCS class size maximum number for virtual classes, but to not exceed state requirements.
  3. All-virtual schooling options should be the first consideration for full-time virtual students.
    • The No. 1 recommendation is to create an all-virtual school that would instruct all students across the division that require the all-virtual learning option.  If the enrollment number for students who require the all-virtual option is too large (larger than a current typical in-person school), then the recommendation would be to divide the all-virtual school into multiple all-virtual schools organized by area (for example, eastern, central, western). Each would have their own necessary staffing.
    • The No. 2 recommendation for all-virtual learning is a center-based program or clusters of all-virtual classes attached to current schools, like summer school or special education programs. This would only need instructional staff to support and would use the attached school's staffing and resources otherwise.
  4. Concurrent instruction should not be an instructional model to be used on a regular basis with teachers and students.
    • This recommendation is based on overwhelming feedback from administrators and educators.
    • Concurrent instruction may be provided for students during unique situations only, such as during a quarantine.
    • Students that need an all-virtual setting for medical reasons should use the all-virtual classroom model.
    If concurrent instruction is selected as a model to be used on a regular basis, we recommend the following:
    • Teachers providing concurrent instruction will receive an additional stipend consistently and fairly implemented across the division, for example, like the additional class supplement currently being used in the secondary levels.
    • All virtual students should be grouped together in the same class(es).
    • Updated attendance and participation requirements will be clarified in the attendance regulation.
    • Use the mandated state requirement for instructional time to determine the amount of concurrent learning instruction per subject.
    • Consider the impact of regular concurrent learning on all staff, not just the homeroom teacher. For instance, encore, special education, ESOL, reading, etc. would all also have to be doing concurrent instruction for all those classes.
    • Students will be held to their decision for all-virtual or in-person for the entire school year.
  5. Other considerations:
    • The bell schedules and bus schedules will need to be updated to address any double-run routes. This will need to be clarified on whether the school day is shorter like this year or like the typical amount of time.
    • School Age Child Care (SACC) will need to be reinstated to its before and after-school model to provide the necessary space in the building for those schools.
    • There should be a comprehensive review with each central office department to resolve current staffing or instructional equity concerns such as the current gap of in-person services with gifted instruction in some schools.

Fall 2021 Recommendations - Middle Level Task Force Group

Our core beliefs around this plan:
  • We are still in a pandemic. This plan represents a temporary solution for next year, not for long-term virtual instructional models. A separate conversation around long-term virtual models for some students at the middle level is important to begin.
  • Clear and tight communication around options and deadlines to families is critical.
    • We suggest a June 4 deadline for first-semester commitment. This will give our counseling directors adequate time to make master schedule adjustments.
    • We suggest a December 17 deadline for second-semester commitment.
    • Due to the need for concrete information about staffing and scheduling, this commitment should be firm.
    • In-person students are fully in-person students. Virtual students are fully virtual students. There will be no bouncing back and forth between models for convenience.
  • We understand that some students require a virtual environment during a pandemic. We consider 5 days of in-person instruction to be the most effective model of instruction to meet the needs of most students.
  • Our kids are our kids. We expect the majority will eventually return to our buildings as pandemic conditions continue to improve and vaccinations become more widely available for our student age group. We do not want to consider centralized or cluster solutions for virtual students for the 2021-2022 school year.
  • Principals are best positioned to work together to find creative solutions where needed after numbers become official.
Bell schedules:
  • Middle schools can return to their 2019-20 bell schedules for both in-person and virtual learners.
  • Transportation may impact bell schedules depending on their required mitigation.
What will the 5-day, in-person option look like?
  • We do not know mitigation expectations yet. We will plan for relative normalcy and adjust as protocols and mitigation measures are communicated by the state, local health district, and/or school division.
    • Physical distancing requirements in classrooms may impact scheduling.
What will the fully virtual option look like?
  • All courses taught at the middle level can be provided virtually. We recognize that the experience of in-person and virtual learners may vary greatly in certain encore and fine arts courses.
  • Synchronous/asynchronous time requirements should be based on best practice research and be developmentally appropriate for the different ages of our students.
  • Virtual students will be expected to have their cameras on. This leads to more connection between peers and more direct feedback during instruction for instructors.
  • Virtual sections will be embedded in our normal bell schedules. Virtual students will follow the same bell schedule as in-person students.
  • Virtual class sizes may be larger than our typical class sizes depending on overall numbers and in-class size mitigation requirements. All class size guidelines and SOA requirements that apply to in-person classes apply to virtual and/or hybrid classes.
What will concurrent learning look like?
  • To ensure the highest quality experience for virtual and in-person learners, concurrent learning will be a last resort and will only be used if no other solutions exist.
  • We believe teachers who teach concurrent sections should be given additional compensation.
  • Concurrent Sections must be approved by the level associate.

High School Return to Learn Task Force Recommendations

April 26, 2021

The primary instructional model for all students is in-person learning.

Unless indicated otherwise, the School Division plans for a return to our primary instructional model of in person for the 2021-22 school year. Requests for virtual learning will be considered but not guaranteed. Such requests are based on a student’s previous performance in the virtual environment, available space, staffing constraints, and availability of instructional personnel. Current CDC and State guidelines will be followed.

Note: Virtual Prince William and virtual instructional models have been very successful in our Division. It is an effective means for students to master content and provides them with viable options for their course selections as appropriate. That option will be maintained, but the reality is the simultaneous teaching model employed during the pandemic is not sustainable.

Considerations:
  • Principals and instructional leaders believe the most effective model to address the continuing impact of COVID on specific student groups is in-person learning.
  • In-person learning for most of our students ensures an equitable and reliable method of instructional delivery, making consistent and measurable assessment and mastery available for every PWCS student.
  • Going forward, we must consider the impact that isolation from peers and teachers has had on students over the last several months.
    • Students have been isolated or in separate groups, which potentially created a developmental vacuum socially, emotionally, and academically for at least some students.
  • Best practices governing in-person learning differ markedly from those governing virtual instruction – observational data of virtual students this year include – some students opted not to participate, not to answer questions, and not to complete assignments in a manner whereby the teacher can provide critical and time-sensitive feedback.
    • It is recommended that simultaneous instruction be limited to optimize environments for students who are learning through in-person and virtual instruction.
Examples:
  • Language acquisition (World Language, English Learners)
    • Virtual learning is time lost for some social interaction amongst peers, resulting in lost opportunities for language acquisition.
    • Virtual learning reduces opportunities for both formal group work and spontaneous peer interaction in the room.
  • Students who wish to enroll in a virtual-only instructional model must know that it may not replicate this year’s instructional model due to logistical limitations inherent in virtual learning:
    • Content restrictions (manipulatives/labs/handheld items/supplies)

Virtual Instruction Recommendations:

  • A 100% virtual option could consist of a combination of instructional delivery models with simultaneous instruction not necessarily provided by the base school grade level teacher. This could include Virtual PW, Virtual VA, and other Virtual options provided in PWCS, potentially including OSMAP programs and/or INTs.
  • It is important to note that scheduling Issues would arise at multiple levels.
  • Virtual enrollment will be limited and based on need and staffing availability.
  • Parents would apply for the 2021-22 school year by May 28 through an online form (demonstrating documented medical, social-emotional need).
  • Some elective courses requiring specialized equipment, skills, and/or competencies (HS CTE courses/Performing Arts) may not have a virtual option.
  • Principals at those levels would work through those situations on a case-by-case basis.

Note: Differentiation in the classroom is more challenging in a virtual setting.

  • Although teachers can effectively deliver differentiated instruction in both the virtual and in-person learning environment, lower levels of student engagement and participation in the virtual setting result in less data for teachers to accurately deliver differentiated materials and strategies aimed at improving student achievement.
    • Assessment and growth producing feedback of student performance may not necessarily be timely and summative assessments may not accurately represent student mastery.

Example:

  • In music classes at the secondary level, the focus would change in a virtual setting from an ensemble model to a sectional or individual model.
    • Sections of these classes may include students from multiple schools and match available students with resources.
  • Through an advisement process parents will select a long-term learning option/preference.
    • Considerations:
      • Previous performance in a virtual environment.
      • An adequate support network is available at home.
    • Recommendation: Publish criteria for the selection of virtual learning enrollment and what that environment looks like at each level (ES, MS, HS).

Advisement Recommendations/Registrations:

  • Create a screening process like Homebound Education, which outlines eligibility requirements, or utilize Transfer Request Forms (documented medical, social-emotional need).
  • Students who have not previously been successful in a virtual-only environment would be encouraged to examine other options.
  • Parents will acknowledge the expectation to assist, monitor, and provide support for their virtual student.
  • Parent/Student would acknowledge the expectation to keep the camera on at all times with active participation by the student.
  • Note for all virtual participants: Not all instruction may be simultaneous. A simultaneous instructional model should only be used when all other instructional models are no longer an option.

Example:

  • Effectiveness of instruction and assessment is inhibited by dual instructional modality management.
  • Resources are not always equitable.
  • Many courses may contain specific challenges that can only be addressed in person.

Division-wide Preparations:

  • CDC and State guidance adjustments will be incorporated and adhered to as needed going forward.
  • Ongoing mitigation and other related protocol will be evaluated to ensure consistency.
  • Transportation schedules, bell schedules, and other operational tasks must be finalized.
  • Determinations about before and after-school programs must be made.
  • All COVID-related leave of absence ends.
  • All employees report to work locations as normal.
  • Update bell schedules and bus schedules to address any double-run routes.
  • Reinstate School Age Child Care (SACC) to its before and after school model.
  • Activity buses or alternative transportation may be needed for remediation programs to be successful.

Possibilities:

  • At the HS level, virtual-only could end up being part of a teacher’s regular class assignment (process to be worked out for the selection of those staff).
  • Virtual students would/should be grouped together in the same section/class.
  • An additional stipend could be considered for those who teach simultaneously and would encourage staff to support the model as best they can and compensate them for additional work.
  • Simultaneous instruction would be used as a stopgap (student or teacher quarantined, or health-related situation in a specific school).

Virtual Instruction Recommendations:

  • A 100% virtual option could consist of a combination of instructional delivery models with simultaneous instruction not necessarily provided by the base school grade level teacher. This could include Virtual Prince William, Virtual Virginia, and other virtual options provided in PWCS, potentially including OSMAP programs and/or INTs.
  • It is important to note that scheduling Issues would arise at multiple levels.
  • Virtual enrollment will be limited and based on need and staffing availability.
  • Parents would apply for the 2021-22 school year by May 28 through an online form (demonstrating documented medical, social-emotional need).
  • Some elective courses requiring specialized equipment, skills, and/or competencies (HS CTE courses/Performing Arts) may not have a virtual option.
  • Principals at those levels would work through those situations on a case-by-case basis.

Note: Differentiation in the classroom is more challenging in a virtual setting.

  • Although teachers can effectively deliver differentiated instruction in both the virtual and in-person learning environment, lower levels of student engagement and participation in the virtual setting result in less data for teachers to accurately deliver differentiated materials and strategies aimed at improving student achievement.
    • Assessment and growth producing feedback of student performance may not necessarily be timely and summative assessments may not accurately represent student mastery.

Example:

  • In music classes at the secondary level the focus would change, in a virtual setting, from an ensemble model to a sectional or individual model.
    • Sections of these classes may include students from multiple schools and match available students with resources.
  • Through an advisement process parents will select a long-term learning option/preference.
    • Considerations:
      • Previous performance in a virtual environment.
      • An adequate support network is available at home.
    • Recommendation: Publish criteria for selection of virtual learning enrollment and what that environment looks like at each level (ES, MS, HS).
Advisement Recommendations/Registrations:
  • Create screening process like Homebound Education, which outlines eligibility requirements, or utilize Transfer Request Forms (documented medical, social-emotional need).
  • Students who have not previously been successful in a virtual-only environment would be encouraged to examine other options.
  • Parents will acknowledge the expectation to assist, monitor, and provide support for their virtual student.
  • Parent /Student would acknowledge the expectation to keep camera on at all times with active participation by the student.
  • Note for all virtual participants: Not all instruction may be simultaneous. A simultaneous instructional model should only be used when all other instructional models are no longer an option.

Example:

  • Effectiveness of instruction and assessment is inhibited by dual instructional modality management.
  • Resources are not always equitable.
  • Many courses may contain specific challenges that can only be addressed in person.
Division-wide Preparations:
  • CDC and State guidance adjustments will be incorporated and adhered to as needed going forward.
  • Ongoing mitigation and other related protocol will be evaluated to ensure consistency.
  • Transportation schedules, bell schedules, and other operational tasks must be finalized.
  • Determinations about before and after-school programs must be made.
  • All COVID-related leave of absence ends.
  • All employees report to work locations as normal.
  • Update bell schedules and bus schedules to address any double run routes.
  • Reinstate School Age Child Care (SACC) to its before and after-school model.
  • Activity buses or alternative transportation may be needed for remediation programs to be successful.
Possibilities:
  • At the HS level, virtual-only could end up being part of a teacher’s regular class assignment (process to be worked out for selection of those staff).
  • Virtual students would/should be grouped together in the same section/class.
  • An additional stipend could be considered for those who teach simultaneously and would encourage staff to support the model as best they can and compensate them for additional work.
  • Simultaneous instruction would be used as a stopgap (student or teacher quarantined, or health related situation in a specific school).