PWCS student picking produce in a grocery store

Dear PWCS Families, Employees, and Community,

A big congratulations to the Explorer Program of the PWCS Special Education Department and Todos Neighborhood Supermarket, winners of the Prince William Chamber of Commerce 2024 Business Award for Innovative Practice Partnership of the Year. The Explore program is designed for students with disabilities aged 18-22 years old pursuing an Applied Studies Diploma. Explorers spend most of their day engaged in work-based learning activities that provide opportunities for hands-on exploration of their career interests and preferences.

The recognition highlights one of the many amazing partnerships PWCS Special Education Department has with our local business community. I invite you to join us and meet more of the businesses and community partners supporting our commitment to postsecondary success, at the annual Transition Fair, Saturday, March 16 at Colgan High School from 9 a.m.- 4 p.m.

On Wednesday evening, we shared Quarter 2 academic data with the School Board. Two key takeaways I wish to highlight include the improvement in our chronic absenteeism numbers based on this time last year and the data-driven work of PWCS.

Student attendance is the foundation of teaching and learning. Because of the importance of attendance, our Strategic Plan sets a goal of a 5% decrease in students who are chronically absent each year. Last year at this time, chronic absenteeism was reported at 25%. Currently, we are reporting 17%. This is a noteworthy improvement, and we thank all our families for their partnership in improving our students’ attendance.

Our data-driven work is also producing results, as our elementary reading levels for grades 2-5 have improved by 3%, compared to last year, and have grown an average of 13% since the beginning of this school year. I appreciate the dedicated work of our teachers and staff in improving literacy.

Before closing, I would like to share that our School Board is seeking two student representatives for the 2024-25 school year. Student representatives are non-voting members who serve a crucial role in amplifying the voices and perspectives of our student body. Interested candidates may find more information at our School Board Representative Application Process website, and will need to fill out a School Board Representative Application by Tuesday, April 2.

Enjoy the weekend.

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