Prince William County Public Schools

PWCS Menu and Options
  • Division-wide challenge encourages schools to practice energy conservation

    To continue the focus on energy conservation throughout Prince William County Public Schools (PWCS), the PWCS Energy and Sustainability team hosts the Energy Challenge each year. Students and staff, whether working as individuals, classes, clubs, or teams, are encouraged to help grow the culture of sustainability in the Division by completing a certain number of energy-saving tasks. Registered participants also qualify and can earn a $1,800 rebate.

    During the 2020-21 school year, 68 schools received this rebate based on their participation, and they were encouraged to use these funds to further their own sustainability efforts. The Green Team at Neabsco Elementary School, for example, used their funds from this past school year to build six raised garden beds, or "grade gardens," in their central courtyard.

    "Prior to [the pandemic], we had the students do a biodiversity audit at the school grounds, and they found we had very little plant diversity," said Mary Wang, English for speakers of other languages teacher and sustainability coordinator at Neabsco Elementary. "There wasn't anything to attract birds or any type of pollinators, so that became our first goal."

    With one garden designated per grade level, the hope is that students and staff will turn their maintenance of these gardens into learning opportunities. Students will learn about the components of the garden, such as the compost and perennials, while practicing different types of responsibility.

    "Neabsco Elementary School is really big on integrative learning. I also believe that an experience today provides inspiration tomorrow," said Wang. "We're always looking for ways to teach kids life skills and life responsibility. Their work can remain constructive while doing so like pulling weeds or watering plants."

    As the gardens continue to grow, the Green Team hopes that more learning opportunities will grow with it. There are plans for more projects within the courtyard, such as having the gardens also function as sensory beds for students with autism, and they do seem possible, thanks to the start from the Energy Challenge.

    "We would love [our sustainability projects] to become a community thing," said Wang "There's not answers to everything yet, so we think this has been and is a great way to bring everyone together."

    Specific details regarding the Energy Challenge for the 2021-22 school year are forthcoming. Updates will be posted to the Energy Challenge webpage.

    Schools that received the Energy Challenge rebates for the 2020-21 school year:

    Alvey Elementary School
    Battlefield High School
    Bel Air Elementary School
    Belmont Elementary School
    Benton Middle School
    Brentsville High School
    Bristow Run Elementary School
    Buckland Mills Elementary School
    Bull Run Middle School
    Cedar Point Elementary School
    Chris Yung Elementary School
    Coles Elementary School
    Charles J. Colgan High School
    Covington-Harper Elementary School
    Ellis Elementary School
    Enterprise Elementary School
    Featherstone Elementary School
    Fitzgerald Elementary School
    Forest Park High School
    Fred M. Lynn Middle School
    Freedom High School
    Gainesville Middle School
    Gar-Field High School
    Glenkirk Elementary School
    Graham Park Middle School
    Gravely Elementary School
    Hampton Middle School
    Haymarket Elementary School
    Henderson Elementary School
    C.D. Hylton High School
    Independence Nontraditional School
    Jenkins Elementary School
    Kerrydale Elementary School
    Kilby Elementary School
    Kyle R. Wilson Elementary School
    Lake Ridge Middle School
    Loch Lomond Elementary School
    Marshall Elementary School
    Marstellar Middle School
    Marumsco Hills Elementary School
    Mary Williams Elementary School
    McAuliffe Elementary School
    Minnieville Elementary School
    Mountain View Elementary School
    Mullen Elementary School
    Neabsco Elementary School
    Occoquan Elementary School
    Parkside Middle School
    Patriot High School
    Pattie Elementary School
    Pennington Traditional School
    Piney Branch Elementary School
    Potomac View Elementary School
    River Oaks Elementary School
    Rockledge Elementary School
    Rosa Parks Elementary School
    Sinclair Elementary School
    Springwoods Elementary School
    Sudley Elementary School
    T. Clay Wood Elementary School
    Triangle Elementary School
    Tyler Elementary School
    Unity Braxton Middle School
    Unity Reed High School
    Victory Elementary School
    Woodbridge High School
    Woodbridge Middle School
    Yorkshire Elementary School