Dr. McDade

Dear PWCS Families, Employees, and Community,

On Wednesday night, the School Board formally authorized the four-year lease of the Evolv weapons detection systems for implementation at all secondary schools and nontraditional schools for the 2023-24 school year. This is a critical next step toward our multi-layered security protocol to “deter, detect, and defend.” An implementation committee will be created and tasked with obtaining the equipment, staff training, and installment plan. Throughout August and September, equipment installation will occur in all 35 secondary schools and nontraditional schools. This is a necessary step to keep our children and staff safe.

Also on Wednesday, the School Board heard a proposal for a four-bell school start schedule for elementary schools for the 2023-24 school year. This has been an incredibly challenging year for transportation, which has been a source of frustration for families and schools. I know that our families depend on PWCS to ensure students are in school on time for learning. In the spirit of continuous improvement, we have conducted a comprehensive assessment of our transportation system to determine the root cause of the logistical challenges that go beyond staffing shortages.

Our dedicated bus drivers and transportation department have been working incredibly hard to meet the needs of our students despite challenges that include national bus driver shortages and exceedingly complicated coordination caused, in part, by numerous bell times. Reducing the number of bell times at the elementary level, which is 85% of our routes, would significantly improve the consistency and reliability of transportation to and from school for all routes, both elementary and secondary. To learn more about the 2023-24 school year changes and the new four-bell school start schedule, please visit our website.

Next week, we will be sharing information with parents and guardians about a new report from the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) called the Student Assessment Summary. This report is part of Virginia’s new Visualization and Analytics Solution (VVAAS) that helps track the longitudinal achievement of students. VDOE’s purpose for sharing this report is to provide families with an overview of their child’s Standards of Learning (SOL) performance over time and to provide details about where your student’s performance was in comparison to other students who took the same assessments. Once the report becomes available, it will be accessible in ParentVUE.

Also, next week is Teacher Appreciation Week, and I cannot think of any profession more deserving of appreciation than our outstanding teachers. I want to recognize the commitment, dedication, and excellence our PWCS teachers bring to the classroom every day and their vital importance to our instructional core. I am grateful to the many teachers who genuinely cared about and invested in me, and I want all teachers to know that you are the key to creating thriving futures for our students. Make it a point to show your appreciation to your child’s teachers on National Teacher Day, Tuesday, May 9, and all throughout Teacher Appreciation Week.

On May 10, PWCS will also recognize National School Nurse Day. Our nurses are often first responders for medical conditions in our schools: checking for fevers, soothing tummy aches, bandaging cuts, icing bumps and bruises, and administering critical medication. The nursing staff of PWCS provides our staff and students with care, in every sense of the word. I appreciate our school nurse heroes for their service and commitment to providing a healthy, compassionate, and positive climate for our students to thrive.

As we enter the season for SOL tests, certification exams, specialty program assessments, and end-of-year evaluations, every school day becomes imperative for preparation, review, and reassessment. Together, we can ensure our students end the year strong and with a proud sense of accomplishment.

Dr. McDade signature
LaTanya D. McDade, Ed.D.
Prince William County Public Schools