Group of elementary school students lined by in front of school buses

Dear PWCS Families, Employees, and Community,

Across the county, staff are preparing for our students’ return to school on August 21. Last week, PWCS hosted our Excellence and Equity in Education Leadership Conference, bringing together over 1,000 PWCS leaders to inspire innovation, engage in learning, and focus for the exciting year ahead. PWCS graduate and current Prince William County Poet Laureate, Michelle Garcia, inspired PWCS leaders and educators with her phenomenal live performance about the value of a PWCS tassel (watch video).

I am excited to share that due to our new school start times and staffing initiatives, we are anticipating only single-run bus routes for the start of the school year. This should enable less late arrivals and departures; however, typical back to school challenges will exist in the first few weeks as drivers and families get acclimated to their new bus routes. Bus schedules are available now in ParentVUE and StudentVUE. Please remember, parents/guardians will need to complete the Back to School Packet with important emergency information before accessing class and bus information. Class schedules will be released for elementary schools this evening and for middle and high schools on the evening of August 16.

I encourage you to review your student’s school start time and download the Here Comes the Bus mobile app (available August 14) that allows you to track your student’s bus in real-time. If you have questions about your child’s bus route, please contact transportation. Also, check the schedule the day before school starts, as changes to bus stops and times may occur up until the first day of school to accommodate the most efficient bus routes.

As the first day of school approaches, I want to reaffirm our commitment to student and staff safety as our top priority. As part of our ongoing multi-layered security protocol, PWCS will implement safety screening technology on a staggered basis to all middle and high schools, including traditional and nontraditional schools, starting in mid-September. Students at these schools may see the devices in place on the first day; however, they will not be in use during the first two weeks of school as students and staff will be learning routines and adjusting to the new school year. Each school will share further details including the specific start date for security screening implementation at their school.

In fulfilling our Commitment 3: Family and Community Engagement, you can expect frequent communication from the division and schools throughout the school year by emails and texts sent through SchoolStatus. We will also share information via The Scoop! newsletter, and on PWCS’ official social media channels (PWCS Facebook, PWCS X, PWCS Instagram, PWCS YouTube). Look for information from your school and child’s teachers regarding their plan to communicate with you. We look forward to a collaborative partnership.

I am excited to welcome all PWCS educators back next week as we prepare for an outstanding school year ahead.

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