September 9, 2022

Dear PWCS Families, Employees, and Community,

The safety of our students and staff is our highest priority, and I recognize it is top of mind for many given recent national events. Last spring, we hired an external consultant, specializing in safety and security, who completed an audit of several of our schools. We have reviewed and are implementing recommendations from this audit to bolster the safety and security of our school buildings.

In addition to implementing security audit recommendations, at Wednesday’s School Board meeting, I announced that, effective this year, we are fully funding a full-time security assistant at every elementary school including Pennington and Porter Traditional Schools, and The Nokesville School.

The security assistant will provide school support ensuring compliance with key security protocols including regular perimeter checks, monitoring entry, and other safety measures. The new positions are in addition to the seven Community Safety Officers (CSOs) that support our elementary schools. As a reminder, through our Memorandum of Understanding with the Prince William County Police Department (see MOU), our middle and high schools are supported by School Resource Officers, in addition to security assistants, security specialists, and security officers.

One of the four key commitments in our Strategic Plan is Organizational Coherence, and its key focus is ensuring that all PWCS schools operate in a manner that is both adequate and equitable. Adequacy is like a launchpad where every school has the same base level of support, and equity is delivering resources beyond the baseline that meet the unique needs of individual students and staff.

To honor this commitment to our schools, we are establishing the PWCS Equitable Budgeting Task Force. This group of 25 stakeholders representing parents, students, teachers, principals, and central office staff will be co-led by John Wallingford, chief financial officer, and Dr. Lucretia Brown, chief equity officer. This committee will convene to review emerging practices in fiscal adequacy for K-12 school systems and make recommendations to inform the future of budgeting in PWCS.

At our School Board meeting, I also had the privilege of acknowledging the historic accomplishments of Brentsville District High School’s Tiger Turf Program. This past summer, current and former PWCS students participated in the first ever all-female volunteer grounds crew for the Little League Softball World Series. Additionally, this October, the Tiger Turf Program will be preparing the NFL field for the Carolina Panthers. This accomplishment highlights the importance of CTE classes as well as how these programs help prepare students for thriving futures in their post-secondary journeys.

While we have occasion to celebrate the historic accomplishments of today and look toward the promise of tomorrow, it is our duty to reflect on and learn from the lessons of our past.

On September 11, our country observes Patriot Day, a day of reflecting on the devastating event impacting our proud nation 21 years ago, a day of remembering the beautiful lives of those who were taken from us too soon, and a day to memorialize the triumphant heroism of the brave first-responders and the courageous actions of our fellow citizens who made the ultimate sacrifice so that others may live. On Sunday, I encourage you all to join me and those across the nation in a moment of silence at 8:46 a.m. (Eastern Daylight Time) so that we may never forget.