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Open Letter to Political Campaigns
August 10, 2015

To all political campaigns:

I am writing this open letter in response to recent inquiries.

Prince William County Public Schools has a long-standing policy of prohibiting the distribution of partisan political materials during the school day and at school-sponsored activities, including athletic events. It is intended to allow our students to benefit from their school experience free from the conflict, competition, and distortion that can be associated with heated political campaigns. Students should always be the focus of school-related events, without concern that they are serving as an enticement to attract crowds for other purposes.   

PWCS applies this policy uniformly and without exception, and asks that it be respected by all campaigns and candidates. Thank you for putting the needs of PWCS students ahead of partisan interests.

Keith Imon
Associate Superintendent for Communications and Technology Services
October is United Way Month
Contributions can benefit schools through SPARK, a United Way agency.

October 1, 2015

As United Way Month kicks off, PWCS invites you to join others who give to the United Way Campaign. Past contributions have funded a multitude of service organizations, providing much-needed services, including shelter and emergency assistance, crisis intervention programs, care for terminally ill patients, family counseling, legal aid for the elderly, training for persons with severe handicaps, youth programs, and medical and dental care. Last year, PWCS employees contributed more than $106,000 to various organizations through the United Way Campaign.

SPARK, the Education Foundation for PWCS, receives thousands of dollars thanks to donations made through the United Way. This money helps the Foundation continue to offer educational assistance to students and teachers through the Innovative Grants program, Dr. Edward L. Kelly Memorial Scholarship, and other special projects.

Those interested in giving to SPARK this year may designate code 8167 on their United Way pledge forms. Federal government employees may also donate dollars toward local education by contributing to SPARK via the Combined Charitable Campaign; designate code 84495 to have your money make a difference for education in Prince William County.

With the generous support of Shawn’s Smokehouse BBQ, Potbelly Sandwich Shop, and Chick-fil-A adding to the PWCS effort, SPARK looks forward to the most successful campaign yet.

PWCS staff may click here to contribute online.
Friend of FLAVA Award for Superintendent Walts
Dr. Walts receives acclaim for his commitment to foreign language education.

October 8, 2015

More than 800 world language educators from throughout the state congratulated PWCS Superintendent of Schools Dr. Steven L. Walts, recipient of the 2015 Friend of FLAVA (Foreign Language Association of Virginia) award. For 104 years, the organization has represented world language educators from kindergarten through college level across Virginia. The Friend of FLAVA award is given to an individual "who has made a significant contribution in building a strong foundation of support for foreign language education."

At the awards banquet, Dr. Walts was recognized for his belief in valuing the cultural and linguistic diversity of students, staff, and parents of the Prince William County community. Over the past decade he has promoted the preservation of home or heritage languages and setting goals to employ bilingual and multilingual teachers for all classrooms using Visiting International Faculty as one source. He also saw the expansion of elementary language study within the International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programmes; the integration of international perspectives in the curriculum and programs for all students; and encourages the offering of a wide variety of language options that reflect critical 21st century needs in preparing our students to be competitive global citizens in the world market place. 
Admission Application Deadline for “TJ” Approaching
October 8, 2015
Applications for admission to Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology (TJHSST) must be submitted by Friday, October 16 at 4 p.m. Eighth-grade students applying to TJHSST from Prince William County Public Schools are asked to contact their school counseling office if they plan to apply.
Residents of Prince William County are eligible to attend this regional Governor’s School, which is located in Fairfax County. To be eligible for admission to TJHSST, students must be enrolled in Algebra 1 or a higher level mathematics course in eighth grade. Additional information regarding the TJHSST admissions process is available on their website
Students exploring TJHSST should also consider attending the open house for the Governor’s School @ Innovation Park on November 7 or December 5. Check for details.
There are no exceptions to the application deadline. Applications submitted after October 16 at 4 p.m. will not be accepted.
School Zone Lights Go High-Tech
October 7, 2015

PWCS has been recognized for using innovative technology to save time and money, and improve the driving experience for everyone in school zones. The journal for the International Municipal Signal Association featured Prince William County Public Schools in a recent issue, noting that the School Division installed programmable time clocks to enable staff to monitor the schedules for flashing lights in school zones.

In the past, Facilities Services had to send someone to every school zone light to manually make adjustments and to turn off the light when school was not in session. With the programmable clocks, when schools are closed, the flashing lights can be turned off countywide with the flip of a switch. The same applies to certain school breaks, including holidays, summer vacation, and summer school schedules.
Day of Fun, Food, and Family Support for Siblings of Children with Disabilities October 12
October 7, 2015

Brothers and sisters, age 8–11 years old, can come to a workshop and share the challenges and joys of having a sibling who has a disability. Sibshops, a PWCS and the Arc of Greater Prince William-sponsored event, will be held on Monday, October 12, from 10 a.m.–2 p.m. at The Arc of Greater Prince William 13505 Hillendale Drive, Woodbridge.
Sibshops is a celebration of the many contributions made by brothers and sisters of kids with special needs. Preregistration is required and the cost is $5 per child/$10 family max. Find the registration forms and flyers on the Parent Resource Center Event Calendar or at the links below. For additional information or contact the PWCS Office of Special Education Parent Resource Center at 703.791.8845 or

Flyer in EnglishRegistration form in English
Flyer in ArabicRegistration form in Arabic
Flyer in Korean, Registration form in Korean
Flyer in SpanishRegistration form in Spanish
Flyer in UrduRegistration form in Urdu
Flyer in VietnameseRegistration form in Vietnamese

School Calendar Reminders for October and November
Please note the following dates on the PWCS calendar that occur in October and November: 

October 6, 2015
Schools will be closed for students on Monday, October 12 for a teacher professional development/workday.
Schools will be closed for students on Monday, November 2 for a teacher workday.
All schools will also be closed Tuesday, November 3. Elementary schools will hold parent/teacher conferences and middle and high school teachers will have a teacher professional development/workday.
All schools and administrative offices will be closed on Wednesday, November 11 in observance of the Veterans Day holiday.
Schools will be closed Wednesday, November 25 to begin the Thanksgiving holiday. All schools and offices will be closed for Thanksgiving break on Thursday, November 26, and Friday, November 27.
See the full Prince William County Public School 2015–16 Annual School Calendar.
PWCS Specialty Program Prepares Students for High-Demand Jobs That Keep America Safe; Schools Put Dads into the Classroom Picture; and Students Connect with Nature
Get the stories from Potomac Board Member Betty Covington in the latest edition of Board Briefs.

October 6, 2015

Division’s Advisory Committee Meetings for October
October 5, 2015

The following Advisory Committees or Councils will hold regularly scheduled meetings in October.
Meetings are open to the appointed members and the agendas, presentations, and minutes are available to inform the general public. Space limitations may make it difficult to open meetings beyond the membership. If you have questions, please contact the appropriate office.
• CTE (Career and Technical Education) Advisory Council, on October 7, 4:30–7 p.m., (KLC 1204). See the CTE Advisory Council Web page. Contact the CTE program at 703.791.7297 for assistance.

• Gifted Education Advisory Council, on October 20, 7–9 p.m., (KLC 2011). See the Gifted Education Advisory Council Web page. Contact the Gifted program at 703.791.7400 for assistance.

• Safe Schools Advisory Council, on October 5, 6:30 p.m., (KLC 1011)
See the Safe Schools Advisory Council Web page (click on “Meetings”). Contact Risk Management and Security Services at 703.791.7206 for assistance.

• Special Education Advisory Committee, on October 20, 7–9 p.m., at the Kelly Leadership Center (KLC 1101). Citizens interested in attending a meeting or seeing the meeting schedule are asked to visit the Special Education Advisory Program Web page or call 703.791.7287 for additional information.

• Superintendent’s Advisory Council on Instruction, on October 8, 7–9 p.m., (KLC 1101). See the Superintendent’s Advisory Council on Instruction Web page.

All meetings are held at the Kelly Leadership Center (KLC), located at 14715 Bristow Road in Manassas. Check the specific web pages to confirm dates and details. Check with building staff on site for questions about meeting room location. 
October School Board Meeting Schedule
October 5, 2015
The October public meetings of the Prince William County School Board will be held at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, October 7 and October 21 in the School Board Meeting Room, 14715 Bristow Road, Manassas. View School Board meeting agendas online and find additional information on the School Board webpage. Agenda items and materials are subject to change up to the time of the meetings.
In addition, disciplinary hearings are tentatively scheduled on October 14 and 28. If needed, members School Board Chairman At-Large Milton C. Johns, Betty D. Covington (Potomac), and Loree Y. Williams (Woodbridge) will convene on October 14 to review up to four cases. If needed Lillie G. Jessie (Occoquan), Alyson A. Satterwhite (Gainesville), and Gil Trenum (Brentsville) will convene on October 28.
October 7
5 p.m.              Dinner
6 p.m.              Closed Session Meeting
7 p.m.              Public Meeting
October 21
5 p.m.              Dinner
6 p.m.              Closed Session Meeting
7 p.m.              Public Meeting          
October 14 (tentative)
5 p.m.              Dinner
6 p.m.              Disciplinary Hearing
October 28 (tentative)
5 p.m.              Dinner
6 p.m.              Disciplinary Hearing
Anyone may attend public meetings, which are streamed live on and broadcast live on PWCS-TV, available on Comcast Channel 18 and Verizon Channel 36. Past meetings are also available for viewing on-demand at
Individuals who wish to address the School Board during Public Comment Time may notify the Board Clerk in advance in writing at P.O. Box 389, Manassas, VA 20108; by phone at 703.791.8709; or by email at by noon on the day of the meeting. Individuals may also sign up in the School Board Meeting Room prior to 6:55 p.m. on the evening of the meeting.
Staffing Update October 5, 2015

Web announcement #135


Staffing Update October 5, 2015

The following administrative appointments have been announced. Congratulations to these outstanding educators.

Damon Cerrone, Supervisor of SACC, has been appointed principal at Piney Branch Elementary School effective October 19.

Paula Williams, CEIS Specialist at Westgate Elementary, has been appointed acting assistant principal at West Gate Elementary effective October 1.

Loree Williams Named Vice Chairman of Joint Board for the Governor's School @Innovation Park
October 2, 2015

Loree Y. Williams, Woodbridge District representative, has been named vice chairman of the Joint Board of the Governor’s School @ Innovation Park.

The Governor’s School @ Innovation Park is the 19th Academic Year Regional Governor's School in the state of Virginia, offering selected juniors and seniors from Manassas City, Manassas Park, and Prince William County School Divisions an advanced and intensive program in STEM — science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. 

Williams is a graduate of George Mason University with a B.A. in Integrative Studies with Specialization in Conflict Resolution and Peace Studies. She was elected to the School Board in November 2013 to fill the remaining two years of the term for the Woodbridge seat.
Saturday at the Park Event Offers Hands-On Discovery: Free & Open to All
October 2, 2015

Saturday at the Park is a hands-on discovery and exploration event at Manassas National Battlefield Park. Activities will include: bird watching, nature journaling, TRACK trail hikes, dip netting to investigate what lives in the water, and water chemistry testing to determine water quality.

• On: Saturday, October 10, from 10 a.m.–3 p.m.
• At: the Brownsville Picnic Area off of Groveton Road in Manassas
• Bring: Bottled water, bug spray and old shoes that can get muddy

This event is made possible by a $6,000 National Park Service Cost Share Grant and is sponsored by: The National Park Service, SPARK, and the PWCS Office of Student Learning. Volunteers are needed; both adult and high school students (at least 16 years old). If you are interested in volunteering, please email Juana Giessell Aguilar at or 703.754.1861 ext. 1010.

Saturday in the Park flyer
Library Dedication Will Honor Betty D. Covington
September 30, 2015

A gathering of friends, colleagues, and members of the School Board will honor Betty D. Covington (Potomac) at Dumfries Elementary School on October 19 at 4:30 p.m. The occasion will mark the dedication of the school library named for Covington.

Covington has served Prince William County Public Schools for 54 years in the roles of classroom teacher, assistant principal, principal, and School Board member. She spent nine of her eleven years as a teacher at Dumfries Elementary School and served as principal there from 1997–2003.  

RSVP to Barbara Payne at or call 703.791.8356.

Celebrating Community Connections at "Ferlazzo" Elementary School
The School Division's 59th elementary school set to open in September 2016.

September 30, 2015

The threat of rain didn't dampen the spirits of those who had gathered for the ceremonial groundbreaking of the "Ferlazzo" Elementary School. On Tuesday morning Principal Felicia Norwood welcomed a group of community members and dignitaries, including the daughter of the original owner of the property Kathleen Ferlazzo, to the site where a new school community will be built.

Norwood is a veteran educator. She began her career in Prince William County Public Schools as a teacher at Leesylvania Elementary School; served as an assistant principal at Mullen and Henderson Elementary Schools; and was principal of Featherstone Elementary for six years before her appointment as principal of what is known as the “Ferlazzo” Elementary School.

"I am excited and honored to be named the principal of what will be a dynamic school. The "Ferlazzo" site school will be a positive learning environment where creativity and technology are immersed in high academic standards—a school where STEAM will ignite unlimited possibilities for all students” she said.

During his remarks, School Board Chairman At-Large Milton C. Johns pointed out the differences between groundbreakings. "Each site that our School Division acquires brings its own unique set of challenges. The Kilby Elementary replacement school, which is now under construction, required an estimated 100,000 yards of dirt to be brought onto the site; Ferlazzo, in contrast, requires that we cut 55,000 yards of dirt.  As you look around where you are now standing, you are approximately 10 feet lower than when site work on the property started... We rarely, if ever, have a piece of land that does not pose a unique challenge."

Music Teacher Jon Wilson and a group of his Coles Elementary students sang several songs.

Other officials attending included School Board Chairman At-Large Miton C. Johns, Vice Chairman Alyson A. Satterwhite (Gainesville), and members Betty D. Covington (Potomac), Lillie G. Jessie (Occoquan), and Dr. Michael Otaigbe (Coles); County Supervisors Chairman At-Large Corey Stewart and Vice Chairman Maureen Caddigan (Potomac), John Jenkins (Neabsco), Michael May (Occoquan), and Martin Nohe (Coles); Virginia House of Delegates member Michael Futrell (2nd District); and Brianna Sewell, representing Congressman Gerry Connolly.

Hylton Planetarium Presents Laser Light Shows in October
September 30, 2015

Your choice of laser light shows in October will entertain you with spooky lights and sounds or with the pulsating images and music of the band Metallica.  

Fright Light shows will send chills up your spine or perhaps you will keep your eyes closed and only sneak a peek at fun renditions like Purple People Eater. Or experience the music of Metallica — tempos, instrumentals, themes, and sound are joined with laser lights of the same caliber and style. Your pulse will pound as the music fills both your ears and eyes.

The Irene V. Hylton Planetarium presents laser music and light shows Friday nights in October on the following dates:
October 16:
6 p.m. — Fright Light (family friendly)
7:30 p.m. — Laser Metallica
9 p.m. — Fright Light (loud and scary)
October 23:
6 p.m. — Fright Light (family friendly)
7:30 p.m. — Laser Metallica
9 p.m. — Fright Light (loud and scary)
October 30:
6 p.m. — Fright Light (family friendly)
7:30 p.m. — Laser Metallica
9 p.m. — Fright Light (loud and scary)

Theatrical lighting, stage effects, the darkness of the planetarium and the SkyLase laser system set to music from various artists such as Michael Jackson, Garbage, Weird Al Yankovic. All 9 p.m. shows will be much louder than the earlier shows so they may not be suitable for everyone. Tickets are $10 at the door. Please bring exact change.

Seating is limited to the first 65 people each show so come early! Park in the main lot and enter the building through door #1. Hylton High School, 14051 Spriggs Road, Woodbridge, VA 22193.  Email Tony Kilgore at with questions.
Moo-ving Mobile Milking Machine
Mullen Elementary students get up-close look at source of milk.

September 30, 2015
When the Mobile Dairy Classroom pulled up to Mullen Elementary School on Wednesday, assistant Principal Pamela Delgado knew everyone would be delighted. Field trips are a great tool for teachers, and they enrich a student's educational experience with memorable lessons; this one only required a few steps out the door.

What seems like just a fun diversion for students was actually a presentation filled with lessons in math, science, nutrition, and agriculture.

Watch the video and share the fun.

PWCS On-Time Graduation Rate Reaches New High of 91.4%
Student subgroups make big gains, significantly out-performing statewide results

September 29, 2015
A record number of Prince William County Public School students graduated on time last school year. The new on-time graduation rate of 91.4 percent for students who entered high school in the fall of  2011 and graduated in 2015 continues a steady climb from 83 percent seven years ago, and again outpaces statewide results.
PWCS continued to close the gap in performance of student subgroups, showing solid increases from last year and significantly outperforming results from across the Commonwealth.
  • Graduation rate for black students increased from 89.2% in 2014 to 91.2% in 2015, compared with 86% percent statewide;
  • Graduation rate for Hispanic students increased from 84.2% in 2014 to 85.0% in 2015; the VA rate is 84%.
  • Graduation rate for economically disadvantaged students increased from 85.2% in 2014 to 87% in 2015; and
  • Graduation rate for students who were “Limited English Proficient” at any time in high school increased from 81.6% in 2014 to  84.3% in 2015.
“Once again we have cause for celebration," said PWCS Superintendent, Dr. Steve Walts, who noted that 51 percent of all students earned advanced studies diplomas, up from 47 percent in 2014.
Only three PWCS high schools now trail the VA on-time graduation rate, with all three closing the gap. Gar-Field High School led the upward climb, with an on-time graduation rate increasing by more than three points over 2014, to a new level of 85.3%.
"Gar-Field’s gains reinforce what can be accomplished through hard work and dedication," added Walts. "They reinforce our commitment to continuous improvement for every student and every school.”  
Details for Schools:
  • Seven of 11 PWCS high schools showed increases in on-time graduation rates.
  • Eight of 11 PWCS high schools had graduation rates higher than the state average.
  • Once again, all PWCS high schools met the graduation benchmark required for full accreditation (Graduation and Completion Index). ​
MinuteClinic Brings the Care You Need to Your Neighborhood
September 28, 2015
PWCS welcomes CVS MinuteClinic as a health services partner to help keep you and your family on track to good health!
You want to make the best choice for you and your family.

You may already know how convenient MinuteClinic is:
  • Open 7 days a week, including evenings and weekends
  • No appointment necessary
  • Located in select CVS/pharmacy® stores, including 3 right within our district and several others close by
  • Plus, MinuteClinic accepts most insurance plans
You might not know that MinuteClinic offers a broad range of services to keep you and your family healthy. In addition to diagnosing and treating illnesses, injuries and skin conditions, they also provide all kinds of wellness services, including vaccinations, physicals, screenings and monitoring for chronic conditions.

MinuteClinic family nurse practitioners and physician assistants provide services for both adults and children, 18 months and older. And they can send a summary of your visit to your primary care provider, with your permission. If you don't have a primary care provider, they can provide a listing of local physicians accepting new patients in your area.
Check out MinuteClinic for your families’ health care needs.
Farmer's Bounty is Kids' Delight
Farm-to-Schools program provides a tasty in-season lesson.

September 28, 2015

Check out how fresh corn on the cob, delivered to schools from Virginia farms, provided a tasty vegetable for student lunches and a fun learning experience for students around the School Division. Watch the fun as Alvey Elementary School second-graders shucked corn and learned about the seasonality of food products, the importance of supporting local agriculture, and the benefits associated with reducing transportation cost and protecting farms and farmland in our communities. 

All-County Chorus Prepares for Concert
September 28, 2015
Hundreds of choral students from middle and high schools across the county are practicing for the upcoming All County Chorus event on October 23 and 24 at Patriot High School. The event will challenge select singers as they rehearse new music with guest conductors.
The All County Chorus represents the best of the Prince William County Public Schools’ (PWCS) choral music programs, as participants audition for their place in each group. At the middle school level, chorus teachers audition their own students and select top vocalists to represent their schools. High school students participated in a Divisionwide audition process just weeks after the school year began.
This year’s conductors bring a wealth of choral music experience to the students. Dr. Mac Lambert, Choral Director for Langley High School in Fairfax County Public Schools, will conduct the Senior Mixed Choir, Elaine Stanford, Music Specialist for Loudoun County Public Schools, will conduct the Senior Treble Choir, and Chris Fox, Director of Choruses and Musical Theatre for Bonnie Branch Middle School in Howard County, Maryland, will conduct the Middle School Mixed Choir.  
The All County Choral event concert will begin at 1 p.m. on October 24 beginning with the Middle School Mixed Choir followed by performances of the Treble Choir and then the Senior Mixed Choir. All performances are free and open to the public and will be held in the Patriot High School auditorium.
Volunteers Needed for “Ferlazzo” Elementary School Boundary Planning Committee
Get involved with elementary school boundary recommendations.

September 24, 2015

The Office of Facilities Services for Prince William County Public Schools seeks local community members and/or parents or legal guardians of students who attend Ashland, Bel Air, Coles, Enterprise, King, McAuliffe, Minnieville, Montclair, or Rosa Parks Elementary Schools to join the “Ferlazzo” Elementary School Boundary Planning Committee. Committee meetings will occur once a week during evenings from early November through mid-December.

The objective of the committee is to develop the proposed boundary recommendation that results from the opening of “Ferlazzo” Elementary School in 2016 for the School Board’s consideration.

Committee membership is limited. Selection preference will be given to local community members and parents/guardians who are directly impacted by the opening of the new elementary school, as well as to local leaders, such as PTO/PTA officers and school advisory council members.

The Office of Facilities Services will work closely with the committee to develop boundary change proposals. The duties of committee members will include evaluating student enrollment, demographic, bus transportation, and real estate data in order to prepare well-informed elementary school boundary recommendations for the School Board’s consideration.

In addition to its regular meetings, the boundary committee will also attend two community meetings where the general public is asked to review the committee’s boundary proposals and to provide feedback on each plan’s perceived strengths and weaknesses. The first is scheduled for Monday, November 23 at 7 p.m. in the Hylton High School auditorium. The second community meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, December 8 at 7 p.m. in the Hylton High School auditorium.

Persons interested in volunteering to serve on the boundary planning committee are requested to complete the “Ferlazzo” ES Committee Volunteer Sign-up Form. Those without web access may volunteer by calling 703.791.7312. Please be prepared to provide your name, address, telephone number, email address, and any community experience. The deadline to volunteer is Friday, October 23.

View information regarding boundary change policies and regulations. If you have questions, please contact Dr. Matthew Cartlidge, Supervisor of Planning, at or by phone at 703.791.7312. 
View Latest Presentation on Options for 13th High School
Facilities Services updated information provided at September 23 community meeting.

September 24, 2015

The second of two community meetings on the location and design of the 13th high school was held at Patriot High School on September 23. Following a presentation by David Beavers, supervisor of Facilities Services, residents had an opportunity to make comments and ask questions. Beavers noted that there were slight changes in his presentation from that given on September 14 at Battlefield High School. View the September 23 presentation. Slide 16 of the presentation is new.

The two sites under consideration are a proffered high school site of 85 acres included in the Stone Haven rezoning application and the proposed Rollins Ford Park, a 69-acre site. The two building design prototypes being considered are Battlefield/Freedom High School and Patriot High School.

The 13th high school will likely serve some students from areas currently assigned to Patriot, Battlefield, and Stonewall Jackson High Schools. The school is slated to open in 2020.

If you have questions, please contact David Beavers, Supervisor of Planning and Financial Services, at 703.791.7312
Hylton High School Auditorium Open Again

September 23, 2015

Great news: The air quality in the Hylton High School auditorium got a clean bill of health from safety experts, allowing the reopening of the space to community groups this past weekend; student use is also resuming. 


The auditorium had been closed since an August 4 roof fire sparked by a contractor’s repair work. The brief fire caused heavy smoke and the need for extensive clean-up in the auditorium. That work is now done. Tests show that airborne pollutants in the auditorium are well below established industry thresholds for safe and acceptable indoor air quality. In fact, air in the auditorium stacks up well against air quality elsewhere in the building. There may be some remaining odors from cleaning products, but that should pass now that the room is back in use.


Special thanks to PWCS Facilities Services for helping get the auditorium back to healthy, usable condition. And thanks to the Hylton High School community for its patience and understanding during the closing.   

Pattie Celebrates 37 Years Inspiring Students
In a low-key anniversary celebration, officials and students honor school’s history of teaching and learning.

September 22, 2015

School Board Member Mrs. Betty Covington (Potomac) and Pattie Elementary Principal Kirsten FisherLeading up to the 40th anniversary celebration, Principal Kirsten Fisher recently held a birthday party at Pattie Elementary School to teach students about the school’s history.  School Board member Betty D. Covington and Board of County Supervisor Vice Chairman Maureen S. Caddigan, both representatives of the Potomac Magisterial District, joined students and staff to celebrate.

“We plan to make the 40th anniversary a huge event,” Fisher said. “There is no time better than now to start planning and to get the word out. We hope to see our former students, teachers, and principals come for that event three years from now.”

Pattie Elementary Principal Kirsten Fisher and County Supervisors Vice Chair Maureen Caddigan with teachers.This year, enrollment is about 700. Pattie Elementary has earned the School Division’s highest distinction as a School of Excellence eight times.

The Pattie Elementary School building opened in 1978 to replace Washington-Reid Elementary school located across the road. Pattie Elementary was named in honor of John F. Pattie, Sr., a former school board member and community leader in Dumfries. One year after Pattie opened, the surrounding area had expanded so quickly that Washington-Reid Elementary was reopened to accommodate the kindergarten and first grade students. Washington-Reid was renamed as an annex to Pattie Elementary. Since 1979, students in second-through-fifth-grades have continued to attend school in the main Pattie building.

Washington-Reid Elementary was built in 1950. The school was named for Marian Washington, an advocate for school-age children, and Marjorie Reid, who donated the land. Until 1978, Washington-Reid Elementary housed students in kindergarten through fifth grade.
Pattie Elementary SchoolWashington-Reid Annex of Pattie Elementary School
Educators’ Symposiums Highlight Global Society
September 23, 2015

Teachers and others who are interested are invited to join the PWCS Global Learning Office in discovering world religions. A series of programs is planned to help educators understand and teach the many facets of diverse cultures, supporting Virginia Standards of Learning and the PWCS Strategic Plan.

The first symposium of the season explores Buddhism. Those who attend on October 2 will participate in interactive discovery about traditions and ceremonies of the families who attend Theravada Buddhist Temple. A traditional Laos dinner will be offered.

PWCS teachers interested in attending should register through the Professional Learning Catalog. Teachers receive recertification points for attending. For more information, contact Maria Burgos-Singleton at

What is Nontraditional Education? PWCS to Look at Best Practices at November 3 Conference
September 21, 2015

This year’s keynote is Michelle Gay, founder of Safe and Sound: A Sandy Hook Initiative. 

The Fifth Annual Nontraditional Education Conference on Tuesday, November 3 will bring together educators and support professionals from New Directions Alternative Education Center, New Dominion Alternative Center, PACE East/Independent Hill, PACE West, Juvenile Detention Center, and the PWCS Office of Student Management and
Alternative Programs as well as educators from surrounding school divisions.
The keynote speaker this year will be Michelle Gay, mother, former teacher, and now founder of Safe and Sound: A Sandy Hook Initiative, an organization working to improve safety and security in U.S. schools.
The conference will emphasize program and research-based best practices, effective models of collaboration, strategies for differentiated instruction, and collegial networking. The conference will be held at PACE West School, located at 14490 John Marshall Highway in Gainesville, from 7:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Additional presentations by central office content specialists will provide sessions that address authentic assessment and SOL preparation.

PWCS staff should register through the Professional Learning Catalog using code OPD 730.2 (SRN 201535007300201), "PWCS Nontraditional Education Conference." Educators from school divisions outside PWCS, should contact the Office of Student Management and Alternative Programs at 703.791.8577 to RSVP.
Got a Plan for Life Beyond High School?—Consider Options at Mason’s Forum for Students with Disabilities
September 21, 2015

Have you thought about the transition from school to adult life? What additional training might be available for you? What educational opportunities are available in two- and four-year colleges and universities? What career exploration and experiences should you be participating in now to prepare for your future?

If you are a student with disabilities, or a parent, guardian, or professional who works with students who have special needs, you may want to attend the Future Quest Forum on Saturday, November 14, from 8 a.m.–3 p.m. at George Mason University’s Johnson Center, 4400 University Drive in Fairfax. Future Quest is a college and career forum for students with disabilities, their families, and educators. Participants can learn about educational and career opportunities for life after high school. Speakers, workshops, and displays will cover all aspects of transition from school to the real world including the college application process, financial aid, strategies for college success, career planning, and career opportunities.

Visit the Future Quest 2015 website at for additional information.
Changing Perception of Career Pathways
Gar-Field offers acclaimed IB career program to connect core disciplines with popular elective courses.
September 17, 2015
Gar-Field High School’s signature International Baccalaureate Programme now has a companion program for students aiming to specialize in a career and technical education (CTE) pathway.
Gar-Field recently became fully authorized to offer the International Baccalaureate Career-Related Programme (IBCP) to students interested in pursuing certification in Project Lead the Way Pathways, Marine Corps Junior ROTC, Teachers for Tomorrow, and over 10 different career clusters offered through the Virginia Department of Education. 
 “The IB Career-Related Programme will help us reach an even broader student population by allowing students with passion in various CTE fields an earlier opportunity to specialize in a particular chosen career field,” says Gar-Field Principal, Dr. Cherif Sadki. 
These two components are bridged by a set of specially designed IBCP core requirements that include second language development, service learning, an Approaches to Learning course, and a reflective project in students’ chosen career pathway.
“Receiving our authorization is a shared achievement. I am encouraged with the dialogue and potential for authentic interdisciplinary learning and application. To me, it is one more way an IB education helps break down walls of communication and perception, and ensures that are students are college-and-career ready,” says Bassett.
Michelle Schneider is the coordinator of the IBCP, which is offered to students in grades 11 and 12. Gar-Field High School is the seventh school authorized to offer the IBCP in Virginia, 75th in the United States, and 103rd globally. 
Staffing Update September 18, 2015
The following administrative appointments and transfers have been announced. Congratulations to these outstanding individuals.

Dr. Sharon Woodson, AP at Sinclair, has been appointed principal of Sinclair effective September 25.
Billy Childress, previously a math teacher at Patriot High School has been appointed administrative intern there.
Janice Herritt, currently principal of Piney Branch, has been appointed principal of McAuliffe, effective October 19. She will replace current principal Cindy West, who is retiring.
Ivania Perez-Sieiro, teacher on administrative assignment, has been appointed as administrative intern at Vaughan.
Fall Health Events Listing
Get out and enjoy fall by participating in an outdoor event. The following are family-friendly events hosted by Prince William County Public Schools.
If you have an additional school-sponsored event that is open to the community, please send information to Check back often for updates.

Potomac High School Community Day
Event Date: Saturday, September 19, 2015
Event Time: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Bring the whole family and support local school and community vendors and enjoy a day full of fun with FREE activities for all ages. Activities include farm animal petting zoo, bouncy house, dunk tank, face painting and more!

Potomac High School is located at 3401 Panther Pride Drive, Dumfries. 

Healthy Living Festival
Event Date: Saturday, September 26, 2015
Event Time: 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Helath screenings, Zumba, food, kids activities, and much more. Door prizes too! 13412 Jefferson Davis Highway, Woodbridge. See flyer.

Stonewall Middle School 5K Walk/Run on Friday, October 2
At Stonewall Middle the entire student body, staff, will participate; and parents are invited to walk Run 5K for the American Heart and Lung association. Find details on the flyer linked to the Stonewall Middle School webpage under announcements.


Blue Jay 5K and Hero Mile

Event Date: Saturday, October 31, 2015

Come dressed as your favorite hero and join us for the Pennington Blue Jay 5K and Hero Mile. Costumes are encouraged but not required. Register now for a morning of fun and celebration. Proceeds from the race will go to support the Prince William County Police Survivors Fund and the technology fund for the students attending Philip Michael Pennington School.

Register online at
Thomas Jefferson High School Application Packets Available September 21
September 17, 2015
Online and paper applications for admission to the Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology (TJHSST) for the class of 2020 will be available beginning September 21. TJHSST is the regional Governor’s School located in Fairfax County. Residents of Prince William County are eligible to attend.
Students interested in applying should contact their school counselor for applications and additional information. The deadline to apply is October 16.
Some important dates to remember:
September 29 —Information Session at 6:30 p.m.
Benton Middle School
                             7411 Hoadly Road, Manassas, VA 20112
October 6 —      Information Session at 6 p.m.
                             Reagan Middle School
                             15801 Tanning House Place, Haymarket, VA 20169
October 8 —      Information Session at 6:30 p.m.
                            Benton Middle School
                            7411 Hoadly Road, Manassas, VA 20112
 October 16 —   Absolute deadline for submission of (online and paper) applications to schools or admissions office. No late applications will be accepted for any reason.
December 5 —   Admissions Test
Semifinalists will be notified January 15, 2016. Visit the TJHSST website for more details.
Students in grades 7–10 should also consider attending an open house for the Governor’s School @ Innovation Park on November 7 or December 5. 
Fifth-Graders and Parents Invited to Discover PWCS Specialty Programs--A Characteristic of World-Class Schools
September 15, 2015

Learn about the broad range of opportunities available to PWCS middle school students at the upcoming Middle School Specialty Programs general information sessions. Representatives of specialty programs will be on hand at the Kelly Leadership Center October 12 and 13 from 7–9 p.m. to answer your questions and provide detailed information about their respective programs at both meetings.

Note that an application is required to participate in the International Baccalaureate Middle Years Programme, the Mathematics and Science Programs, World Languages, and Traditional Schools even when the program location is in the student’s base school.

If a program receives applications for more students than the program can accept or the school can house, a lottery is held to select program participants. Under conditions of extreme overcrowding of a given school, a program may be open only to students within the school’s boundary and may be closed to all transfer students. Additionally, other programs may be filled through lottery if necessary due to capacity.

The application deadline is February 1, 2016 for most PWCS schools.
It's Never Too Early to Plan; College Fair Set for October 15

August 11, 2015

All seniors and juniors and their parents are strongly encouraged to attend one of the college fairs scheduled this fall to explore post-graduation options. Representatives from various colleges, universities, technical schools, and the military will attend.

The Western Prince William County Regional College Fair will be held at Osbourn High School, located at 9005 Tudor Lane in Manassas, on Monday, September 28 from 6-8 p.m.

The Eastern Prince William County Regional College Fair will be held on Thursday, October 15 from 6-8 p.m. at Hylton High School, 14051 Spriggs Road, Woodbridge.
Save time and pre-register for the event at Note that registration and filling out the online form is optional.

MyLunchMoney is Now MySchoolBucks, a System for Prepayment of School Meals
August 28, 2015
Parents are reminded that their MyLunchMoney accounts for school meals have transitioned to  User names and passwords for existing accounts remain the same. MySchoolBucks is a convenient online prepayment option for school meal purchases. recently upgraded all of their current customers to, including all account balances, meal history, profile details, Smart Pay settings, and payment methods. No other changes are anticipated with this transition to the new format.

Transaction fees charged by MySchoolBucks will remain the same at $1.95. The ability to review account balances, receive email reminders for low balance, and set spending limits is free of charge.  Cash and checks will continue to be accepted as prepayments in the cafeteria for meals or a la carte purchases. 
Free and reduced-price meals are available to students whose household qualified under federal standards. Parents/guardians must apply for these benefits each year. Applications are available at school offices, online at, or by calling 703.791.7314.
It's Never Too Late -- Registration Starts August 17 for Fall Adult Education, GED Prep, or ESOL Classes
August 17, 2015

Has it been a long time since you entered a classroom? Need some help boosting your basic reading, math, or writing skills, preparing for the General Educational Development Test (GED Test), or learning to speak English? Come study with adults like yourself to achieve your career and life goals. PWCS has adult education classes beginning in September and October for residents of Prince William County, Manassas City, and Manassas Park.

Adult Basic Education and the GED program classes are for individuals 18 years of age and over and provide instruction in reading, math, and/or writing skills at the ninth grade level or above.

English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) program classes are for individuals 18 years of age and over who speak a native language other than English.

(See links above to access the flyers for specific class tuition, dates, and locations.)

For additional information, visit the PWCS Adult Education website, email, or call 703.791.7357.
Applications Available for Families Eligible for Free and Reduced Meals
August 14, 2015

Parents of Prince William County Public School students wishing to apply for free and reduced-price meals can complete and submit their application online. The process can help families avoid delays they may encounter by mailing in an application, and will ensure that applications are complete because applicants will be prompted to submit all of the necessary information required.
Apply now for Meal Applications online.

Links to the online application in English and Spanish are also on the left navigation of School Food Services Web site at All information transmitted will be kept confidential and made available only to the Office of School Food and Nutrition Services.
Parents still have the option of completing the traditional paper application. Families with students who were registered in Prince William County Public Schools by the end of July 2015 will receive an application packet via mail or email. Families with students who registered after that date will need to secure an application from their local school. Applications may also be obtained at the Kelly Leadership Center located at 14715 Bristow Road, Manassas.
If you have questions regarding the application process, contact the Office of School Food and Nutrition Services at 703.791.7314.
Have a Question? Answers May be Here
August 11, 2015
From cell phones to dress codes, from homework to field trips, check out School Division regulations if you have questions.
From electronic devices to dress codes, homework to field trips, honor rolls to course credits, if you’ve got a question on these—or have other questions—consider looking at School Division regulations.
All regulations and policies of Prince William County Public Schools are available on the School Division website, Both can be searched by topic or number on the home page by choosing “Policies & Regulations” from the left-side navigation menu. Paper copies of PWCS policies and regulations are also kept in the School Board Clerk’s Office located in the Edward L. Kelly Leadership Center, at 14715 Bristow Road, Manassas, Virginia.
One of the primary functions of the Prince William County School Board is the development of policies for the operation of the School Division. These policies cover instruction, administration, personnel, students, and other areas. 
Optional Student Accident Insurance Available Online
August 11, 2015

Many parents without insurance coverage worry about protecting their children in the event of an illness or injury. Optional student accident insurance is an inexpensive way to provide medical coverage in such events. Student accident insurance is not just for those without health insurance. Optional student accident insurance is a secondary level of coverage for those students who are already covered under a parent or guardian’s primary insurance plan. In such cases, optional student accident insurance may cover expenses not paid for by the primary insurance plan such as co-pays and other out-of-pocket expenses.

Student accident insurance is available for purchase at a group rate with two plans offered through the School Division for the 2015–16 school year.

Markel Insurance has a $50,000 maximum coverage limit. For more information or to enroll in the plan offered by Markel Insurance, call 877.444.5014 or visit

VML Insurance Programs costs less and has a $25,000 maximum coverage limit. For more information or to enroll in the plan offered by VML Insurance Programs, call 800.727.7642 or visit

PWCS does not provide accident coverage for students but offers the optional insurance for purchase from external companies as a way to help parents recover medical costs.

Dumfries Elementary School Playground Refreshed
June 4, 2015
Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.'s Omicron Chi Omega Chapter played the role of guardian angel to the Dumfries Elementary School community recently. As part of the "Environmental Ownership Initiative, 1908 Playground Project" the school had aspects of its playground restored, refreshed, and renewed. A dedication and ribbon cutting took place on Saturday, May 16 to celebrate the outcome.
Middle School Students Strike Gold, Silver, and Bronze on National Spanish Exam
June 17, 2015

A standard of excellence is sometimes measured by exceeding one’s “personal best.” Benton Middle School teacher Marie Maxson and Pennington Traditional School Spanish teacher Lida Lowe challenge their students to strive for more than the best grade on their school tests. As a result, their students compete successfully against students from around the country on the National Spanish Examinations.

The National Spanish Examinations for grades 6–12 offer students who are studying Spanish as a second language a chance to practice language skills while measuring their achievement and proficiency against national standards.
“Attaining a medal or honorable mention for any student on the National Spanish Examinations is very prestigious,” said Kevin Cessna-Buscemi, national director of the exams. “The exams are the largest of their kind in the United States,” he said.

The National Exam program is designed to recognize achievement in the study of the Spanish language; promote proficiency in interpretive communication in the Spanish language; assess the national standards as they pertain to learning Spanish; and stimulate further interest in the teaching and learning of Spanish.

The awards and students are as follows:
Gold Award
Julian Cumba, Benton Middle School
Edithe Drummer, Pennington Traditional School
Samantha Niño, Pennington Traditional School
Silver Award
Melanie Hupp, Benton Middle School
Elias Rios, Pennington Traditional School
Jaclyn Wilkens, Benton Middle School
Bronze Award 
Ethan Aristanto, Pennington Traditional School
Jennifer Cardona, Pennington Traditional School
Mohammed Faadil, Pennington Traditional School
Jalkah Fierro, Pennington Traditional School
Fyzah Islam, Pennington Traditional School
Joaquin Luna, Benton Middle School
Brock MacGregor, Benton Middle School
Jillian Maxson, Benton Middle School
Ian McCarthy, Benton Middle School
Sophia Navia Munoz, Pennington Traditional School
Ashley Perez, Pennington Traditional School
Swathi Varma, Pennington Traditional School
Gabrielle Williams, Pennington Traditional School
Premios de Excelencia (Honorable Mention)
Benton Middle School
Lillian Cai
Bailey Case
Katherine Cinnamon
Josue Cumba
Jackson Davis
Anna Fenn
David Grinstead
Jack Henshaw
Austin Koehler
Lillian Krajewski
Arianna Mariotti
Hannah Marquardt
Zita Mohr
Megan Patton
Armando Ramos
Rayna Reid
Hannah Stanley
Nahdiri Sullivan
Christopher Taylor
Santiago Valderrama
Pennington Traditional School
Presley Abreu
Aya Alarab
Delaney Dunnigan
Renee Hebert
Alexeis Kirnos
McKenna Morehouse
Patrick Morton
Jackie Nguyen
Isaac Owusu-Appiah
Fahad Rahu
Angelica Rivera
Omar Saadi
Yusra Salih
Zachary Shaffer
Deevena Sista
Nicholas Villacorte
You can find the full listing of awards at
Tdap Immunization Required for Sixth Graders
June 10, 2015
Parents are reminded that students entering sixth grade in Prince William County Public Schools this fall must present proof that they have had a tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis (Tdap) booster shot within the past five years. By state law, without proof of this immunization, children will not be able to enroll in school for the 2015–16 school year.
If the last Tdap booster shot was administered more than five years from the beginning of the upcoming school year, this immunization must be administered over the summer. The booster shot may be listed as T, Td, Dtap, and/or Tdap. Parents are urged to call their child’s doctor or local health district if they have questions.
Shots may be obtained from a doctor, military clinic, or the Prince William County Health District. Documentation should be taken to your child’s middle school or Central Registration.
The Prince William County Health District may be reached at the following locations and telephone numbers: 9301 Lee Avenue, Manassas, VA 20110, 703.792.6301, and 4001 Prince William Parkway, Ste. 101, Woodbridge, VA 22192, 703.792.7300.
Plan Now for Next Year—Optional Student Accident Insurance Available Online
June 10, 2015

Many parents without insurance coverage worry about protecting their children in the event of an illness or injury. Optional student accident insurance is an inexpensive way to provide medical coverage in such events. Student accident insurance is not just for those without health insurance. Optional student accident insurance is a secondary level of coverage for those students who are already covered under a parent or guardian’s primary insurance plan. In such cases, optional student accident insurance may cover expenses not paid for by the primary insurance plan such as co-pays and other out-of-pocket expenses.

Student accident insurance is available for purchase at a group rate with two plans offered through the School Division for the 2015–16 school year. Both plans begin on or after July 1.
  • Markel Insurance has a $50,000 maximum coverage limit. For more information or to enroll in the plan offered by Markel Insurance, call 877.444.5014 or visit
  • VML Insurance Programs costs less and has a $25,000 maximum coverage limit. For more information or to enroll in the plan offered by VML Insurance Programs, call 800.727.7642 or visit
PWCS does not provide accident coverage for students but offers the optional insurance for purchase from external companies as a way to help parents recover medical costs.

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