Prince William County Public Schools

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  • January 20, 2016

    School Board Meeting January 20, 2016

    Select this link to view the agenda on the Electronic School Board webpage.
    Select this link to view the School Board meeting on PWCS-TV.

    Public Hearing:

    Citizens addressed the School Board about the attendance boundary area for the "Ferlazzo" Elementary School in Woodbridge.

    The School Board Approved:

    • January 31‒February 6 as School Principals Week;
    • The School Board meeting minutes for January 6;
    • The boundary plan 4a prepared by the Ferlazzo Boundary Planning Committee, permitting rising fifth grade students and students of active duty military families to remain at their current school if they provide their own transportation;
    • The textbooks recommended by the World Languages Textbook Adoption committee; and
    • The closure of all schools on March 1 due to the Presidential Primary.

    Citizens' Comment Time:

    Citizens addressed the School Board on the following topics:

    • Employee sick leave policy;
    • Extra half-hour added to the teachers' workday;
    • Security at Pennington Traditional School and all Prince William County Public Schools;
    • Closing schools on Election Day;
    • Classified staff and administrators who work while school is closed for bad weather;
    • Homework guidelines;
    • Payment to middle school teachers that are required to be at after-school activities;
    • Recognition of educational support staff who assist the schools, teachers, and parents; and
    • Equal educational support for all students.


    Mr. John Wallingford, director of Financial Services, and Mrs. Deborah Sparks, director of Benefits and Retirement Services, gave a presentation on salaries and benefits in comparison to other local school divisions.

    Superintendent's Time:

    Dr. Steven L. Walts, Superintendent of Schools made the following comments:

    • Threatening graffiti has been reported at three of our high schools. Such threats are always taken very seriously. Police investigations are continuing in all cases. Rest assured that safety and security is our first priority. School administration and security staff work collaboratively with the police, and always with the great support of Chief Hudson. While police continue to believe that these threats are not credible, they are very disruptive to the school day and are not considered a joke. Anyone who is found responsible will be subject to school disciplinary and legal action. Monday night's Town Hall Meeting did provide us with some good ideas that we will consider at the school-level and in our future communications. In particular, stressing the importance of students, parents, and school staff being part of the problem-solving process. It is extremely important for our students to feel safe at school. And we want to remind them that they too have a role to play in their safety. Anytime students see or hear something out of the ordinary or suspect danger, they need to be reminded by their parents to tell an adult…be it a school resource officer, teacher, counselor, principal, or the police. If you "See Something… Say Something." It is critically important for parents to talk with their children about the serious nature of making threatening statements. In fact, one student has already been arrested for doing so this year. Monitoring this situation is a team effort. We will continue to work with the police and thank them for their great level of support this year and always. You have our commitment to do our best to keep parents and the community updated regarding any school threats. And you also have our commitment that school officials and staff and the police are doing everything they can to keep our schools safe.
    • Thanks to the students and staff of Glenkirk Elementary School for their smooth precautionary evacuation, and to Marsteller Middle School staff for adjusting their schedule to accommodate the Glenkirk students.
    • Nearly 1300 parents attended the Parent Summit, the biggest attendance ever. You can see recorded sessions and PowerPoint presentations by going to the link from the Parents tab on the School Division's home page.
    • A robotics team of five students at Forest Park will be competing in an out-of-this-world international ZERO Robotics competition at MIT. They will be using technology to control a ball inside the International Space Station. We are all wishing the best to these students and their coach Rachelle Carlson.
    • Paul Rischard, who teaches Russian at Hylton, recently won a national award for excellence in teaching in U.S. secondary schools. The award was presented by the American Association of Teachers of Slavic and East European Languages.
    • The Martin Luther King Day Oratorical competition was held on Monday. Congratulations to the student winners and to the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority on another memorable event. Vice Chairman Lillie Jessie was the founder and first chairperson of the Youth Oratorical Contest 26 years ago. On behalf of the School Division, I thank you for creating this opportunity. We are proud of the students who participated and their speeches were eloquent. Congratulations to all. Please see the story posted to our PWCS home page for their names and schools. Special thanks and congratulations to the coordinators and coaches who encouraged these students.
    • Gar-Field High School recently held a ceremony honoring the 2015 graduates from the International Baccalaureate Programme and the Class of 2015 stands out - taking the second- most IB exams and being the second-highest performers in the school's history.
    • January 31 to February 6 is Virginia School Principals Week. This is a time to honor and thank our principals who are among the greatest educational leaders in the Commonwealth.
    • Last year's Division-wide survey showed that our teachers and teacher assistants had 91 percent overall satisfaction with their teaching, learning, and working environment. Similarly, parents reported a high overall satisfaction level of 92 percent. This year's Division-wide survey is underway. The survey has been distributed to parents. Your feedback is very important to us. Please respond by January 29.
    • There is severe weather predicted for this Friday and Saturday. Please stay tuned for weather announcements by monitoring and all school websites. You can also look for them on our PWCS Facebook and Twitter sites, and on PWCS-TV. Messages will also go out through E-news, email, and the My PWCS mobile App. I remind everyone that all weather decisions are made putting safety first. I want to remind parents that even when schools are open, you have the option of keeping your children home if you believe that weather conditions make it unsafe. Students will receive an excused absence if a parent sends a note explaining that they stayed home for safety reasons and be given opportunities to make up assignments.
    • PWCS recognizes the dedication and hard work of all of our School Board members. An invitation goes out to our communities and schools to recognize and celebrate the work of their School Board representative and Chairman, especially during the coming month of February, since it marks the annual observance of School Board Appreciation Month.
    The following topics were raised by School Board members for Board discussion and possible action:
    • That the School Board form a transparency committee that reviews all items in the School Division that involve transparency with the citizens of Prince William County.
    • At the request of the School Board, Dr. Jennifer Cassata, director of Accountability, presented information about the process and plans for a teacher contract survey. Click Teacher contract survey to view PowerPoint presented to the Board.

    Volume 11, Number 9 - Publication date: February 3, 2016

    Information and Public meetings of the School Board are broadcast on (Select "Video on Demand"), Comcast Channel 18, and Verizon Channel 36.

    School Board Meeting Information

    School Board meetings are held in the School Board Meeting Room at 14715 Bristow Road, Manassas. Citizens who wish to address the School Board under Citizens' Comment Time may notify the Board Clerk in writing, by phone, or by email prior to noon on the day of the meeting.

    Please include your address, phone number, and topic of discussion. Your contact information will not be shared with the public.

    Clerk to the School Board, P.O. Box 389, Manassas, VA 20108
    Phone: 703-791-8709 - Email:

    Citizens may also sign up to speak prior to 6:55 p.m. on the day of the meeting.

    Closed Sessions start at 6 p.m. and are followed by public sessions, which start at 7 p.m.