Prince William County Public Schools

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  • February 5, 2020

    Board Brief Banner

    School Board Meeting of January 22, 2020

    View the agenda on the Electronic School Board webpage.
    Watch the School Board meeting on PWCS-TV.

    Positively PWCS:

    Each School Board meeting begins with presentations about the good things that our schools are accomplishing. These presentations are intended to focus on how we are preparing our students academically and socially for success in college and careers.

    • Matthew Phythian, principal, Netia Elam, instructional technology coach, and Jordan Crandall, science teacher, presented their vision and examples of students implementing the one-to-one technology program at Bull Run Middle School.

    The School Board Approved:

    Citizens addressed the School Board on the following topics:

    • Rare disease awareness and the recognition of Rare Disease Day on February 29;
    • Allocation of funds to daylighting in high schools;
    • Woodbridge High School concerns;
    • Athletic trainer job duties;
    • Creating mission statements for the School Board and administration that specifically address student equity;
    • Fossil-free and net-zero schools;
    • Energy and sustainability concerns and suggestions for improvement;
    • Boundary processes; and
    • Patriot High School discrimination concerns.

    Student Matters:

    • School lunch costs for students;
    • Implementation of food sharing programs;
    • Overview of the four committees established by the student senate and their focus areas;
    • Tahera Hamidi, student representative, is focusing on student decriminalization;
    • Ben Kim, student representative, is focusing on mental health and later start times; and
    • Eliana Black, alternative student representative, is focusing on equal opportunities for students in special education programs.

    Superintendent's Time:

    • Presentation of the Fiscal Year 2021 budget to the School Board. View more
    • Congratulations to Hamish Brewer, principal of Fred Lynn Middle School. Mr. Brewer was selected as the Omega U Principal of the Year. He received this recognition last Saturday as part of the Omega U Black History Month Program. The Fred Lynn steppers performed during this event, and we have invited them to our next School Board meeting in recognition of Black History Month.
    • Congratulations to C.D. Hylton High School orchestra teacher, Dennis Brown, who has been inducted into the Virginia Band and Orchestra Directors Hall of Fame. This is a very prestigious honor bestowed on few people in our state.
    • Kudos to Kyle Thaller, a junior at Patriot High School, who is one of only 29 students selected to serve this semester as a page on Capitol Hill.
    • Prince William County Public Schools has been awarded a grant for Praxis Assistance to Support Racial Diversity among provisionally licensed teachers seeking full licensure in Virginia. The grant amount is $10,000. Alvey Elementary School also received a $10,000 grant to develop a robotics curriculum for students with autism.
    • I would like to thank our partners at Walmart, who have been generous partners to PWCS in many ways, including supporting programs through SPARK. Last week, the Walmart Information Security Team graciously hosted members of our PWCS Information Technology team at their Bentonville, Arkansas Headquarters to share best practices and collaborate on solutions to information security challenges. They also provided ideas for engaging students in careers in infosec. The team at Walmart shared how impressed they were by PWCS IT and information security, and as they said, they have the same problems we do - just a difference in scale and budget!
    • During last month's School Board meeting, Ben Kim, student representative, expressed interest in changing school start times. As a result of his interest, and a few others, we are beginning to assess the best way to explore this topic within our school division. The Board will continue to be updated at appropriate times.
    • This week is National School Counseling Week, which is sponsored by the American School Counselor Association, and is set aside to honor and promote the work that school counselors do. School counselors deliver preventive social and emotional programming, and connect students and families with resources and support. They are actively committed to helping students explore their abilities and strengths as part of career awareness and development, and work with students to set academic goals. We value them as an integral part of the World-Class education we provide in Prince William County Public Schools.
    • I would like to note that February is School Board Appreciation Month. Our students and schools have sent their appreciation through the various displays of artwork, cards, and gifts you see here tonight in the Board Room. I send my sincere thanks and appreciation to each of our School Board members for the work you do on behalf of our students, staff, and schools.
    • As many of you know, I have had the opportunity to engage with our students, their parents, staff, and community members on Twitter. Earlier you heard from Jana Monaco, the mother of three students who attended our schools. I met Ms. Monaco through Twitter, when she shared with me a heartbreaking story about her son, Stephen, who was diagnosed with isovaleric acidemia, a rare metabolic disorder affecting one in 250,000 people in the United States. She has dedicated her time to advocating for the expansion of newborn screenings and has been very successful. She has also worked to spread the word about Rare Disease Day, which is February 29, and was recognized earlier tonight through a resolution.
    • Lastly, a reminder regarding Woodbridge High School concerns. As I mentioned at the previous Board Meeting, I assure you that we take this matter very seriously. The School Board retained an outside law firm to investigate those concerns and the investigation is ongoing. We thank everyone for their patience as we ensure proper due process for all involved.


    First Readings-No action is required on first readings.