Prince William County Public Schools

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    School Board Meeting of May 19, 2021

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

    The School Board Approved:

    • Submitting to VSBA the attached legislative positions (PDF) for inclusion in the 2022 VSBA Legislative Positions Handbook;
    • The award of a contract for the Bennett Elementary School addition and renovation to the lowest responsive and responsible bidder (PDF), V.F. Pavone Construction Company, in the total amount of $9,961,000;
    • The award of a contract for the Kelly Leadership Center first floor renovation to the lowest responsive and responsible bidder (PDF), Trinity Group Construction, in the total amount of $329,688;
    • The award of a contract for the roof replacement at Battlefield High School to the lowest responsive and responsible bidder (PDF), Northeast Contracting Corporation, in the total amount of $3,379,032;
    • The award of a contract for the roof replacement at Freedom High School to the lowest responsive and responsible bidder (PDF), CHU Contracting, Inc., in the total amount of $3,395,000;
    • The COVID-19 One-Time Supplemental Grant for Preschools (PDF);
    • The Head Start Program Cost of Living Allowance Application (PDF);
    • The Head Start Carryover Request (PDF) for funds unused due to COVID-19 related issues;
    • The attached resolution (PDF) allowing the Office of Facilities Services to begin construction of projects associated with the sale of Virginia Public School Authority (VPSA) 2021 series bonds;
    • The award of a contract for special education assessment and testing materials to the only source available to provide the required materials, Jigsaw Learning LLC/Teachtown in the amount of $472,995 (see Jigsaw Basic License Quote (PDF) and Jigsaw Social Skills Quote (PDF));
    • The School Board meeting minutes (PDF) for May 5, 2021;
    • The May 11 Board Poll authorizing the Board Chairman At-Large to send a letter (PDF) to the Honorable Ralph Northam requesting a waiver or modification of the current social distancing requirement applicable to outdoor graduation ceremonies for the reasons stated therein; and
    • The proposed Equity Statement (PDF) from the Superintendent's Advisory Council on Equity.

    Citizens addressed the School Board on the following topics:

    • The Equity Statement from the Superintendent's Advisory Council on Equity

    Student Matters:

    • Accomplishments of the 2020-21 school year
    • Experiences of being a Student Representative to the School Board

    Superintendent's Time:

    • Even during a pandemic, our School Division continues to earn accolades. The quick shift to virtual learning has created many new challenges for teachers across the country, but PWCS educators continue to rise to the top. The National Association of Music Merchants Foundation has recognized Prince William County Public Schools as one of the Best Communities for Music Education in the nation. This is the second year in a row PWCS earned this recognition for demonstrating an exceptionally high commitment and access to music education. Congratulations to Ed Stephenson, supervisor of the arts, and all PWCS educators contributing to music education in our Division. Speaking of the arts, I enjoyed multiple dance concerts and the Philharmonic Orchestra at the Colgan Center for the Fine Arts and Performing Arts recently.
    • During Teacher Appreciation Week, which is even more important recognition during a pandemic, I had the opportunity to visit Kyle Wilson Elementary School to participate in many fun games and activities honoring our teachers. I also had a small treat from the ice cream truck.
    • I also attended the 2021 Henderson Elementary School Cultural Night, which was held virtually, due to the pandemic. It was great to experience Henderson's recognition and celebration of the diverse cultures within our community.
    • Last Friday I had the chance to visit Rippon Middle School to talk to our students and staff members about their work and dedication during the pandemic. The facility improvements made there have made a significant, positive difference. I almost didn't recognize the front façade of the school!
    • I have completed my service on the NOVA-Manassas/Woodbridge Advisory Council for Northern Virginia Community College. I recently attended my last meeting, held virtually due to the pandemic, with the council, and I would like to recognize the enormous growth in the programs offered to our students by NOVA over the past 16 years. I would also like to give a shout out to Dr. Sam Hill, campus provost for the Woodbridge campus, for his support of Prince William County Public School students. It is appreciated.
    • Last week I attended the Forest Park High School Family, Career, and Community Leaders of America second annual Police Appreciation Dinner. The dinner recognizes the school's security team and local police officers. I enjoyed seeing and talking to our students and local law enforcement and had the chance to meet our new police chief, Peter Newsham. During the pandemic, I am grateful that our students were able to participate together in an in-person event to support our law enforcement.
    • I also enjoyed a trip down memory lane as the Superintendent's Administrative Support Advisory Council held a virtual and socially distanced tribute. They shared many stories about my tenure as superintendent, and I truly appreciate their kindness.
    • Last weekend I was invited to attend the production of the Little Mermaid Junior at Cedar Point Elementary School. It was great to once again enjoy the talents of our students on stage, in-person. Congratulations to Director Amy LaFleur and the talented students on this amazing production.
    • Effective May 28, and thereafter, the Governor's most recent executive order removes all requirements and constraints related to school graduations, fine arts performances, recreational sports, and social gatherings, such as proms, other awards ceremonies, school picnics, etc. Specific information about these events will come directly from each school.
    • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends schools continue to use the COVID-19 prevention strategies outlined in the current version of CDC's Operational Strategy for K-12 Schools for at least the remainder of the 2020-21 academic school year.
    • The CDC will update its guidance for schools in the coming weeks, which can inform school planning for the 2021-22 academic year.
    • The Governor's Office Executive Order FAQ clarifies in Executive Oder 79 that the requirement to wear masks on school property is specific to indoor settings. It states that school policy regarding masks remains unchanged. This is consistent with CDC guidelines which state that schools should continue with all current mitigation strategies through the end of the school year despite updated guidance for fully vaccinated people. As has been the case, while outside on school property, students, teachers, staff, and visitors who are fully vaccinated can remove their masks. If individuals are not fully vaccinated, they must wear a mask unless they can maintain at least six feet of distance. While inside on school property, students, teachers, staff, and visitors must wear a mask regardless of vaccination status.
    • As elementary students are not eligible for vaccines and cannot consistently maintain six feet of distance while on playgrounds, face coverings remain required for recess.
    • In closing, I would like to recognize that this year has been exceptionally challenging for our students, families, and our employees. Since August, our employees have overcome an ever-changing environment for learning while implementing new tools for teaching in a matter of weeks, in what would normally take months or even years. At the beginning of the pandemic, we eliminated the cost-of-living adjustment for employees due to the economic uncertainty. The School Board and I made a commitment to revisit this cut. As the economic picture has improved, and to make up for the loss of the cost of living adjustment for the current school year, and to thank all employees for the extra work this year both in-person, hybrid, and virtual - I will be bringing a plan for a one-time pandemic pay adjustment. I will bring the details to the next School Board meeting with the intent for final approval at the subsequent meeting.
    • Thank you and stay safe and healthy.