April 4, 2018
Posted on 04/05/2018
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School Board Meeting April 4, 2018 

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 School Board Approved:

  • The 2018–19 Perkins Local Plan and Budget for Career and Technical Education;
  • April 16–20 as Public Schools Volunteer Week;
  • April 22–28 as Administrative Professionals Week;
  • April 30–May 4 as School Food and Nutrition Services Employee Recognition Week;
  • May as Jewish-American Heritage Month and Asian Pacific American Heritage Month;
  • May 15–June 15 as National Tourette Syndrome Awareness Month;
  • A contract award to Dori Foods, Inc., to provide and deliver various grocery items to various PWCS school sites;
  • The 2018–19 Local Special Education Annual Plan;
  • The February payrolls;
  • The School Board minutes for the work session on March 14 and the School Board meeting on March 22;
  • The appointment of Mrs. Lillie Jessie, Vice Chairman, to serve as representative and Mr. Trenum, Brentsville District, to serve as the alternate to the PWCS Internal Audit Committee for 2018; and
  • To designate the method of nomination and voting for Interim Chairman to be: 1) Upon the chair stating that nominations are open, a School Board member may move adoption of a debatable but not amendable motion to appoint a named individual to the position. 2) If the motion first moved is not adopted, a similar motion naming another individual will be in order, and the process will be repeated until such a motion is adopted.

Student Matters:

Kate Arnold, Student Representative, congratulated the School Board on approving the 2018 end-of-year spending agreement and the 2019 budget. She thanked the Board for adding more school social workers and counselors and for allocating a portion of funding to enhance security measures in schools. Arnold spoke about the Coles District Student Safety Panel, which was hosted at Colgan High School. This panel, composed of security professionals, policy makers, and mental health professionals, answered questions that parents had about school safety from these different perspectives. She also participated on a panel hosted by the Activate Prince William group that answered questions about student safety. 

Citizens’ Comment Time:

Citizens addressed the School Board on the following topics:

  • PWCS support of the American Heart Association (presentation of a plaque to Dr. Walts);
  • Ronald Reagan Middle School;
  • Special education;
  • Identifying problems in the school system;
  • New turf field at Woodbridge High School;
  • Speech language pathologists;
  • Month of the military child;
  • Budget and salaries; and
  • BOCS and the tax rate.

Superintendent’s Time:

Dr. Steven L. Walts, Superintendent of Schools, made the following comments:
Let’s start, as we’ve done recently, with a brief update on my progress in achieving the goals the School Board established for me. (Select link to view PowerPoints and the Superintendent’s goals.) 

  • Slide 1 - You’ll recall that items with red check marks have been reported previously, and that the “P” means the associated work remains in progress. A white check is the subject of tonight’s update. 
  • Slide 2 - Let’s look at Planning and Assessment goals that are central to our continuous improvement efforts. Indicator 2.7 is all about improving performance at schools that did not reach full accreditation the last time around. We’re using constant monitoring to determine needs and assistance, and instructional coaching to assist our teachers.
  • Slide 3 - We discuss details of how specific schools in this group are doing at every Superintendent’s staff meeting. That allows us to identify what’s going right, and to make sure we prioritize help from the Student Learning and Accountability team to the schools and levels that need it most. Since our instructional coaches are a big part of the assistance equation, the Accountability and Professional Learning offices have assessed the contributions of coaching through an extensive report and ongoing study. Student learning results, observation, changes to teacher practice, and direct feedback yield some valuable findings: “Implementation Fidelity” continues to improve, meaning that coaches are helping staff develop the skills, and deliver the best practices, that lead to better student learning and understanding. Teachers feel supported by the coaches, and many credit them with helping to achieve tangible classroom successes. The assessment also produced key recommendations for improvements. They include continuing to build knowledge, skills, and teacher-team efficacy; and making refinements to the training and support that coaches get.  And we are following through. This is all part of the “plan– do–study– act,” cycle established by, and in alignment with our strategic plan. 
  • End of Slides - This is not a once-and-done sort of thing. It is a process that continues, but it has us on the road to solid improvement in student performance, and to the accreditation status that goes with it.
  • Moving on, let me remind everyone that student success is made possible by the outstanding work of our great teachers and staff. I am thrilled to report that Ashland Elementary School Principal Andy Jacks was surprised at school earlier today with the announcement that he’s been named the National Distinguished Principal for Virginia. The Virginia Association of Elementary School Principals chooses the honoree for our state. Ashland students and staff were excited to be part of the surprise announcement. If you want to know what Mr. Jacks did to earn this award, just ask anyone from Ashland. You can look at the school’s presentations to the School Board, its social media sites, or check out some of Mr. Jack’s many conference presentations. You will quickly find that excellence is a great description for what’s happening at Ashland. And that Mr. Jack’s leadership as principal means the honor is richly deserved.
  • Some more great news from the National School Boards Association. Prince William County Public Schools is the recipient of the organization’s Magna Award. It’s one of only six presented to large school divisions nationwide. Our award recognizes successful strategic efforts to boost the number and percentage of our students who take and pass advanced coursework. Our “Advanced Programs for All Initiative” is honored for breaking down barriers to enrollment and success, especially among demographic groups who are often under-represented in advanced programs in other School Divisions.
  • Battlefield and Gar-Field High Schools’ budding entrepreneurs recently brought home honors from the Distributive Education Clubs Conference: 13 Battlefield High students are state finalists, advancing to the international competition, while 15 others were honored with certificates for their business proficiency. Gar-Field High School received a Gold Re-certification for its school-based spirit wear business.
  • Both Battlefield High School and Ronald Reagan Middle School teams did extremely well in the recent Virginia state archery tournament. Reagan won its second consecutive state championships in two categories. Battlefield won its first-ever Virginia championship in one category. Individual students performed tremendously as well, and will be joining the teams at nationals in May. Check out pwcs.edu for more on our amazing archers.
  • Congratulations to Simran Patibanda. The Graham Park Middle School eight-grader won the 40th annual Prince William County Spelling Bee.
  • Another success story is Colgan High School’s Hannah Spragg. She won first place in the “Children’s Literature Pre-K” category at the recent Educator’s Rising competitive event.
  • Congratulations to Anya Mischel. The Reagan Middle School student won the Grand Prize in the Middle Division of the Prince William-Manassas Regional Science Fair. Anya’s winning project was titled, “A Microcosm of the Cosmos.”
  • I was fortunate to attend both the middle and high school science fairs back in March, as well as the March 12 Student Leadership conference. And I’ve had the privilege of joining School of Excellence celebrations for Osbourn Park, T Clay Wood, Penn, Porter, Rosa Parks, Enterprise, Battlefield, Forest Park, Bel Air, Tyler, Pennington, Marsteller, and Old Bridge.
  • Our Division website recently featured Ms. Nicole Clarke, a third-grade teacher from Old Bridge Elementary School. Ms. Clarke had just picked up her William C. Lowry Mathematics Elementary Educator of the Year Award from the Virginia Council of Teachers of Mathematics.
  • Congratulations, also, to Patriot High School, for being named a “Project Lead the Way” Distinguished School. It is noted for providing access to trans-formative learning opportunities.
  • And finally, I had a great time at the March “Introduce A Girl to STEAM” event at Benton Middle School. It featured amazing opportunities to see the use of science, technology, arts, engineering, and math in all kinds of fields, from law enforcement, to health care and cyber security. I know that many young women were inspired to explore STEAM in their future. Special thanks to Mr. Gary Simms, the staff of Benton Middle School, and all the volunteers who made this great event possible. 

Public Hearing:  Citizens addressed the School Board on the appointment of an Interim Chairman to the Prince William County School Board.