October 3, 2018
Posted on 10/05/2018
Board Briefs Meeting Summary

School Board Meeting of October 3, 2018

View the agenda on the Electronic School Board web page.
Watch the School Board meeting on PWCS-TV.

Positively PWCS:

Each School Board meeting begins with presentations about the good things that our schools are accomplishing. These presentations are intended to focus on how we are preparing our students academically and socially for success in college and careers. 

  • Presentation by Ms. Jehovanni Mitchell, principal of George Hampton Middle School, and Nicholas Casis, student of Hampton Middle School, sharing how community partners Pi Lambda Lambda chapter of Omega Psi Phi fraternity, Youth in Action Network, 100 Black Men of Greater Washington, D.C., and SunTrust Bank, collaborated on a project to donate 250 backpacks full of school supplies to the middle school. 

The School Board Approved: 

Student Matters:

  • Annabel Bergeron, alternate student representative, spoke on behalf of Sasan Faraj as he was unable to attend the meeting. 

  • Annabel shared that Sasan recently visited Battlefield High School's SCA, at which the primary topic of discussion was mental health. The students discussed the problem of trying to be the best, instead of trying to do your best. The students concluded that they are in favor of finding a way to make counselors and suicide prevention programs more accessible to students.

  • Annabel also shared that the first Student Representative Town Hall will be held at Patriot High School on October 11 from 6-8 p.m. The topics of discussion will be student safety, mental health, and educational environment. 

Citizen's Comment Time:

Citizens addressed the School Board on the following topics: 

  • Concerns regarding of the Development Impact Statements and rezoning that were originally on the agenda; 
  • Upcoming Red Ribbon Week activities; 
  • School counselor ratios; 
  • Crumb turf field concerns; 
  • Diabetes regulations 757-6;
  • Highlight collaboration between PWCS and Community Services Board for Red Ribbon Week and the upcoming community event, "Substance Use, Abuse, and Addition: What every guardian needs to know" on October 22, at 7 p.m., at Colgan High School; and
  • Red Ribbon Week art contest.

Staff Presentation Topics: 

Superintendent's Time:

  • I am extremely proud to announce that 100 percent of our schools earned accreditation. Our students, teachers, support staff, and school leaders can be proud of the hard work they have done to improve academic achievement. Past results allowed us to direct additional educational efforts to the schools and subjects where they were needed most, and that has benefited student learning.

  • We have more good news regarding academic achievement. We were notified earlier this week that 92.1 percent of students in the Class of 2018 graduated on time. Our on-time graduation rate has risen every year for the past 11 years.

    • This kind of success can only be achieved because of the important work that begins in our elementary schools, continues through our middle schools, and culminates in our high schools.

    • On behalf of the administrative leadership team, I thank and congratulate our more than 11,500 employees for their outstanding work, as we all strive together to Provide a World-Class Education.

  • October is Bullying Prevention Month, which reminds us that bullying has no place in our schools. Here in PWCS, we work together with students, employees, and parents to encourage positive behaviors and continue to implement programs to eliminate bullying. Please visit the Office of Student Services website to learn more.

  • The School Board approved a resolution earlier tonight noting the upcoming observance of National Red Ribbon Week. We ask everyone to work with their school to help share information on drug abuse prevention and to wear red on Red Ribbon Day, October 23.

    • Now, let’s watch a brief public service announcement on Red Ribbon Week.

  • It’s the time of year to learn about the middle school specialty programs we offer, which help students acquire in-depth knowledge in their areas of special interest. Information sessions will be held on both October 8th and 9th, beginning at 7 p.m. at the Kelly Leadership Center. Specialty areas include math and science, world languages, and the International Baccalaureate Middle Years Programme.

  • I had the pleasure of attending the graduation of three students in the Prince William County Juvenile Detention Center. Principal Lisa Gray, along with the education staff at the Detention Center, helped these students complete graduation requirements through both online and direct instruction so that they can move forward to become productive and contributing citizens.

  • I have good news about a 2013 Stonewall Jackson High School graduate, Valeria Lora. She was recently named a Career Success Star by the Virginia Department of Education.

    • This is a new initiative that features former students from around Virginia who have used the academic and technical skills and knowledge they gained through Career and Technical Education programs to achieve success.

    • Valeria studied cosmetology and realized her dream when she opened her own business in 2017. Please see the School Division website for details on her progress from student to business owner.

  • Gina Bellamy, school health services coordinator, has been appointed by Governor Northam to serve on the Governor’s Foundation for Healthy Youth. The Foundation promotes active, nutritious, and tobacco-free living, and addresses obesity in youth through grants for classroom-based prevention programs.
  • Congratulations to the recipients of the Outstanding New Teacher of the Year Awards. Ashley Dunnaway, first grade teacher at Minnieville Elementary, won the award at the elementary school level. The high school Outstanding New Teacher of the Year is Kaleigh Doan, a French teacher at Hylton High School.

  • Stonewall and Rippon Middle Schools have been selected to receive grants of $5,000 each from The American Dairy Association North East, in partnership with the Washington Redskins and Fuel Up to Play 60. The grants expand nutrition services and encourage 60 minutes of physical activity every day. The funds will support a School Division initiative called “Breakfast After the Bell,” which enables students to grab breakfast from kiosks in the hallway if they missed early breakfast.
  • There's one other thing that I want to bring up. This may seem incredibly early, but every year we have a lot of focus on the budget, which runs everything throughout the course of the school year. Although we won't be discussing this as a Board for several more meetings, I would like to just name some priorities that I would like the Board to give some serious thought to.
  • In the Code of Virginia, it is incumbent upon me as the Superintendent to present a budget of what I believe the school system needs. That becomes the Superintendent's proposed budget which then moves on to the School Board and the School Board can accept “as is” or modify what is in that budget; then it becomes the School Board's budget; then it becomes the School Board's budget, and then it goes on to the Board of Supervisors.
  • I'm giving the Board time to mull this over in the couple of months before we start this process.
  • I would be focusing the budget on these main priorities:

    1. Mental health, including legislative initiatives that promote staffing improvements and state funding for those professionals who help with mental health.

    2. Expansion of Career and Technical Education programs.

    3. Class size reduction is something that's still very important to parents, kids, and to teachers. At the elementary level, I think we're in pretty good condition but there's certainly a number of middle school and high school classes where, if you're a teacher and you have 33 students in your room versus 25, it makes a big difference on the kind of interaction and feedback that you can give. We are trying to continue with class size reduction and see if we can do a little bit more at the secondary level.

    4. Maintain our current pre-kindergarten programs. We have a substantial five-year grant that goes away at the end of this year and it would be my hope that we could continue to have those classes.

    5. I have only a few samples of the fistful of surveys and articles that have been published nationwide about teacher salaries. We often call it teacher salaries, but the board has a long-standing tradition of working to make sure all of our employees get fair raises each year, and it's been very difficult with a decade-long recession. It is my hope, and again it's a little premature, to be able to offer to propose to the Board a step increase as well as a cost-of-living increase, which would be the first time in close to a decade that we'd be able to do that too.

Policies:

First Readings - No action is required on first readings.

  • Deletion of Policy 104.01 (PDF), "Orientation and Training of New Prince William County School Board Members"; 
  • Adoption of Policy 124 (PDF), "Student Representatives to the School Board";
  • Adoption of Policy 131 (PDF), "Annual Organizational Meeting," and deletion of former Policy 121, "Organizational Meeting"; and
  • Adoption of Policy 132 (PDF), "Regular, Special, and Closed Meetings," and deletion of former Policy 131, "Regular, Special, and Closed Meetings."

School Board Meeting Information:

Individuals who wish to address the School Board under Citizens’ Time should notify the Board Clerk in writing at P.O. Box 389, Manassas, VA 20108; by phone at 703.791.8709; or by email at pwcsclerk@pwcs.edu prior to noon on the day of the Board meeting and will be placed on the list of speakers. Or, individuals may also sign onto the list of speakers maintained at the entrance to the School Board meeting room at the beginning of a regular Board meeting, but prior to 6:55 p.m. on the evening of the meeting. Please provide your name, address, phone number, and topic you would like to speak about. Any deviation from these procedures shall be at the discretion of the Chairman. All speakers must provide the School Board Clerk with their address and phone number in order to verify their residency and permit the Clerk to contact them if necessary. Upon request, the Clerk will not release to the public the address and phone number of the speaker.