Prince William County Public Schools

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  • November 16, 2021

    Board Briefs Banner

    School Board Meeting of November 16, 2021

    View the agenda on the Electronic School Board webpage.

    Watch the School Board meeting on PWCS-TV.

    The School Board Approved:

    Citizens addressed the School Board on the following topics:

    • Culturally responsive teaching and critical race theory
    • Effects on students from COVID-19
    • Site-based management
    • America Recycles Day (PDF) and reusable water bottles
    • Workloads for teachers
    • Health mitigation practices

    Student Representative Matters:

    • Students voting and participating in the community
    • Homecoming and school spirit
    • Importance of using kind words online and in-person

    Superintendent's Time:

    • This week, as Prince William County Public Schools (PSWCS) recognizes American Education Week, I would like to thank our teachers, support staff, administrators, and substitute educators for their dedication to our students, schools, and communities. I recognize the diligence, resilience, and commitment you have demonstrated through this difficult pandemic, and I appreciate your efforts.
    • I continue to listen to the feedback from our staff members and I would like to assure our teachers that I am aware of concerns expressed regarding missed planning time to cover the classroom of a colleague. We are currently looking into this matter, and, at the December 1 Board meeting, we will share our findings.
    • I want to take this opportunity to recognize Schenell Agee, our library media programs and research supervisor, for earning the Virginia Council on Economic Education 2021 Virginia Outstanding Economic Educator of the Year award. Ms. Agee is recognized as a strong proponent of equitable access to high-quality materials for student learning and literacy and for her efforts in advancing economics and personal finance education through reading.
    • This evening, Dr. Jennifer Cassata, director of research, accountability, and strategic planning, will provide a data summary (PDF) of academic achievement for the first quarter of this school year.
    • Before she begins, I would like to share some key data takeaways.
    • First, as we shared earlier this year, it is clear the pandemic interrupted learning and, as you are aware, we have developed a comprehensive Unfinished Learning Plan with targeted academic and wellbeing supports for students.
    • In this first quarter grade report, you will see that we have serious learning challenges facing our students. Unfortunately, we are not surprised by the results. As a matter of fact, we anticipated these results as we shared when we presented our Unfinished Learning Plan. We were aware of the gaps and anticipated the first quarter data results would further demonstrate the struggles of the pandemic.
    • It is important to note that while comparisons are typically made year-over-year, due to the impact of the pandemic we cannot compare these results to last year. Given the return to in-person learning of more than 97 percent of students, versus last year when most students were virtual, a comparison would not be appropriate.
    • The results of the first quarter demonstrate the importance of accelerating our work to the greatest extent possible, especially in the area of math, which is the area where we saw the greatest impact in the State of the Schools Report shared earlier this school year.
    • This year, students in grades three-eight took the Virginia Growth Assessment in reading and mathematics to measure growth during the school year. Individual student score reports will be provided with details of how students performed on each test item, but the growth assessments do not include a passing or failing score. The growth assessments focus on identifying skills students learned and skills that may require additional support this school year.
    • These assessments have clearly shown that there is considerable support necessary in mathematics, with students scoring a 45 percent proficiency rate. This is comparable to the results we saw in SOL data from the prior year.
    • Additionally, first quarter reporting also shows that our virtual students continue to face challenges to learning at a higher rate than in-person learners. We will target this student population to ensure they are receiving the necessary supports as a component of the Unfinished Learning Plan.
    • Lastly, the first quarter data report also shows that our English learners and our students with disabilities continue to experience greater academic challenges in comparison to their peers. Implementation of targeted supports has begun, and I believe the results of these efforts will manifest over multiple years.
    • Our staff and students are working hard to regain ground lost during the pandemic, but it is also clear that there is a considerable amount of work to do.
    • We are committed to staying the course, ensuring acceleration of learning through high-dosage tutoring, needed interventions, and extended/expanded learning opportunities. As I stated earlier, recovery will take considerable time.
    • I am optimistic that our teachers and students will demonstrate progress throughout this school year and the years ahead as we know this is a multi-year process.
    • At this time, I would like to invite Dr. Jennifer Cassata to share a brief presentation with the data from the first quarter reporting period.
    • Thank you, Dr. Cassata. Mr. Chairman this completes the Superintendent's Report for this evening.

    Board Matters:

    • VSBA Academy Awards