December 13, 2017
Posted on 12/14/2017
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School Board Meeting December 13, 2017

Select this link to view the agenda on the Electronic School Board web page.

Select this link to watch the School Board meeting on PWCS-TV. 

The Glenkirk Elementary School Singing Knights performed a medley of holiday songs.

The Woodbridge High School Varsity Football Team was recognized for their outstanding season and for winning the Class 6 Region C Football Title. 

The School Board Approved:

  • Amending the previously approved 2018 Legislative Priorities to include residential rezoning and proffers;
  • Authorization to the School Board Chairman to sign the International Baccalaureate World School Career-related Programme Statement of Acceptance for Stonewall Jackson High School;
  • The construction contracts for building additions at Benton Middle School, and Antietam, Lake Ridge, and Springwoods Elementary Schools;
  • The contract to Calico Industrial Supply, LLC, to provide cafeteria smallwares;
  • The request from Dominion Energy Virginia for an easement at Potomac High School on Panther Pride Drive, to allow the adjacent owners to tie into public utilities;
  • The School Board meeting minutes for November 29; and
  • The recommended textbooks made by the History and Social Science Textbook Adoption Committee.

Student Matters:

  • Kate Arnold, Student Representative, shared her idea about holding student town hall meetings to discuss different student issues and topics. Miss Arnold said town hall meetings would help her represent the student voices accurately from the dais. The meetings would be open to all students. Parents would be welcome to attend the meetings but students would be the only speakers. Miss Arnold stated that she would welcome feedback on this idea before proceeding, and that students don’t need to wait for a town hall meeting to reach out to her.
  • Zaki Panjsheeri, Alternate Student Representative, said that students are concerned and enthused about their government. Mr. Panjsheeri stated that the student representatives’ main ambition is to consider and suggest new ideas from the students’ perspective.
  • Magin Sanchez, Alternate Student Representative, expressed his appreciation for the opportunity to represent the student body. He stated that education is not just a pathway to a career, but a pathway to life. Mr. Sanchez is eager to hear from all students across the county, not just from his community.

Presentations:

  • Mr. Don Richardson, Chairman of the Infrastructure Task Force, gave a presentation regarding the Task Force’s recommendation for improvements to elementary school facilities.
  • First reading of Policies 648.01, “Activity Participation Before Testing Days,” and deletion of Policy 406.01, “Inspections.” (No action is required on first readings).  

Citizens’ Comments:

Citizens addressed the School Board on the following topics:

  • Elementary schools’ strings programs;
  • The CIP and upgrades for Woodbridge High School; and
  • Student transportation issues and bus routes.

Superintendent’s Time:

Dr. Steven L. Walts, Superintendent of Schools, made the following announcements: 

  • Our Parent Summit is scheduled for Saturday, January 6, from 8–11:30 a.m., at Hylton High School. Parents and guardians of eighth-graders and high school students should register in advance. Just search for Parent Summit on pwcs.edu or on high school websites.
  • On December 20, Battlefield High School students will visit Sinclair Elementary School to donate computers and provide training to 30 families. It’s part of the Virginia STAR program that lets high school students work on donated computers to gain valuable technology skills that can lead to industry certifications and employment. It also brings real educational benefits to the students and families who get the computers.
  • Nine Battlefield High School student teams are competing in the CyberPatriot cyber security challenge this year. Participating students must find and fix vulnerabilities in software and networks. Our team 1619 is currently tied for second place in Virginia.
  • Most of what I talk about in Superintendent’s Time includes student, staff, and school accomplishments. Sometimes people wonder why I emphasize our successes over the challenges. So, I hope this next item shows how the two go hand-in-hand.
  • When Belmont Elementary School’s 2015–16 Standards of Learning test results came back, they told us we had a lot of work to do to improve teaching and learning in several areas. For example, the pass rate in science was only 43 percent. So, we turned that challenge into an opportunity and a commitment to doing better.
  • We used instructional coaches and professional development to help our teachers and staff. Together, they used hands-on projects and other creative teaching techniques to better engage students, and helped them use data to see where they needed extra work.
  • Up on the screen is a poster we just presented at a state education conference that highlights “Signs of Success.” The poster shows what happened when Belmont got its 2016–17 SOL results. In one year, the math pass rate was up by 12 points, reading by 13, and history by 17. Science had shown the weakest performance a year earlier, so teachers gave it special emphasis in the classroom. The resulting 38-point jump in the pass rate is nothing short of fantastic. This isn’t just about the test results. It highlights the real teaching improvements that made a difference in student learning.
  • Congratulations to all the teachers, coaches, administrators, and staff who made this possible . . . and to the students who are the real success stories.
  • I show you this tonight, because we know we can always do better.  And no, we don’t make a big public fuss when results show us where we need to improve. Instead, we redouble our commitment and work on getting better.
  • Congratulations to Belmont Elementary School for showing us what we accomplish when we all work together. They are a real “Sign of Success.”
  • Elsewhere, robotics competitions are in full swing. We had 32 middle and 32 high school VEX teams compete at Osbourn Park on December 2, and Woodbridge High School will host the largest VEX tournament in Virginia on December 16. Fifty middle and 50 high school teams will battle for spots in the VEX State Tournament.
  • Seven teams from five elementary schools represented PWCS at the Virginia-DC FIRST LEGO League State Championship. Congratulations to Old Bridge, Alvey, Henderson, Marshall, and Penn Elementary Schools.
  • I ask all employees, parents, and students in grades 3–12 to provide important feedback by taking our annual survey. It is tailored to specific stakeholder groups. Please look for it and respond between January 9 and 29.
  • I would like to congratulate two long-time employees on their retirement. Warren “Dee” Thompson is retiring after serving 29 years in the Office of Facilities Services. Darlene Faltz worked more than 20 years in the Department for Human Resources, and has more than 30 years of service in public education. Best wishes to Dee and Darlene.
  • In closing, as the winter break nears, I wish everyone a wonderful and safe holiday season, and best wishes for the New Year. 

Volume 13, Number 8 – Publication Date: December 14,2017