October 17, 2018
Posted on 10/19/2018

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School Board Meeting of October 17, 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.

  • Ms. Ramona Richardson, a kindergarten teacher at Coles Elementary School, gave a presentation on the use of a grant from SPARK to fund participation in a global service project with the organization e-NABLE, to use 3D printers to create prosthetic hands. 

The School Board Approved: 

Citizen Comments:

Citizens addressed the School Board on the following topics: 

  • October as "Energy Action Month";
  • Regulation regarding Citizen's Time; 
  • "Freedom from Workplace Bullies" week; 
  • PSAT; 
  • Woodbridge and Stonewall High Schools crumb turf fields; 
  • Teacher pay; and
  • Red Ribbon Week.

Student Matters:

  • Sasan Faraj, student representative, discussed his visit with Colgan High School's SCA and his experience hosting Student Town Hall at Patriot High School. 
  • Safety was the primary topic of discussion with Colgan's SCA. Students expressed a desire for better emergency preparedness, and suggested more fire drills and lock down drills occur during less practiced times such as lunch. 
  • The Town Hall meeting held at Patriot High School also focused on safety. At the meeting, students explained that having an interactive school security team not only makes them feel safer, but also helps create a more positive education environment in general. 
  • Sasan thanked the Superintendent for including mental health as one of his budget priorities, as this has been an important topic among the student groups he has visited. 
  • Sasan plans to visit Woodbridge and Potomac high schools later this month. 
  • Anabel Bergeron, alternate student representative, spoke on her visit to The Nokesville School. She recently met with students in 6th through 8th grade to discuss her role as a student representative and how students can be more involved in their school community. 

Superintendent's Time:

  • I am proud to share that the October 10th edition of the Prince William Times published an editorial commending Prince William County Public Schools for our on-time graduation rate. I would like to thank the Prince William Times and read a few excerpts from the article:
    • Graduation rates in 2018 remain on the upswing for area schools. At a time when good news seems harder to come by, this is worth celebrating.
    • The report defines “on-time” graduation as entering ninth-graders graduating four years after they start.
    • Prince William County also saw graduation rates rise for the 11th straight year. The county’s rate of 92.1 percent also beat the state rate.
    • The graduation rates of all student groups, including black, Hispanic, white, Asian, economically disadvantaged, English learners and students with disabilities also surpassed the state averages.
    • Prince William’s graduation rate rose nearly 9 percent in the last decade.
    • When taking into account the challenges faced by many schools, including overcrowding and teacher shortages, the fact that such a high percentage of kids are staying in school and earning their diplomas is good news.
    • Earning a high school diploma has become an absolute necessity. Students who lack one are denied many of the most basic opportunities. They cannot enlist in the military and can be shut out of even minimum wage jobs.
    • Finishing high school successfully also opens the doors to career advancement and further educational opportunities down the road.
    • Just as important is the impact an educated citizenry has on society as a whole. High school graduates who have a good foundation on how and why things work are far more likely to take an interest in and have a positive influence in the community.
    • In the end, in a public-school setting, we all want to know we are getting value for our investment. These positive graduation rate numbers are a relatively good indicator of money well spent.
    • Well done, students, teachers, administrators, and staff.
  • Moving into another area of good news, eight PWCS teachers are among only 556 in the nation recognized as a W!se Foundation Gold Star Teacher.
    • To be considered, a teacher must have achieved a 93 percent passing rate in at least one class on either the Fall 2017 or Spring 2018 W!se financial literacy certification test.
    • Congratulations to Diana Bohurslov, from Battlefield High School; Claudia Swint and Kendra Wilkins from Forest Park High; Jill Cahill, Robin Ethridge, and Sharon Hardy from Patriot High; and Jesse DeStacy and Michele Karnbach from Woodbridge High.
  • I recently had the honor of participating in a Career Day event at Woodbridge High School that was sponsored by the Army Junior Reserve Officers' Training Corps. I commend the cadets on this event. Cadets showed enthusiasm for learning about many careers, including that of Superintendent of Schools.
  • Tonight, I also want to provide an update on the progress of implementing the recommendations highlighted last May in the Comprehensive Review of Special Education. This is and will continue to be a top budgetary priority.
    • This report was shared with the Board and included recommendations in 24 areas.
    • I am very pleased tonight to announce that under the leadership of Associate Superintendent Rita Goss and Director of Special Education Dr. Michelle Roper, intensive work has already begun in addressing many of the recommendations of the report.
    • For example, two of the recommendations focused on communication devices and assistive technology. Specifically, the recommendation was made to hire an additional assistive technology professional. I have authorized this new position immediately in the current budget. Just this week, we have made great progress and we are already seeking candidates for such a position.
    • We held our Regional School Funding harmless this year (2018-19) by adding an additional $3 million from local fund to special education. I intend to offset this next year's state reduction in special education funding, as well. 
    • As I work with Dr. Roper and Ms. Goss and our school teams—and in alignment with my Superintendent goals for this year—I will continue to highlight our work in this area at future Board meetings.
  • Finally, I attended the Potomac Health Foundation's annual celebration today.
    • The foundation gives large amounts of money to help various groups including Prince William County Public Schools. They support many of the projects in our School Division as well as provide support to students and their families.
    • I would like to give a shout out to Wayne Mallard who serves on their board of directors, and again say thank you to the Potomac Health Foundation for all of their contributions to our community.

Policies:

First Readings - No action is required on first readings.

  • Deletion of Policy 131.02 (PDF), "Opening Ceremonies for School Board Meetings";
  • Adoption of Policy 133 (PDF), "School Board Hearing Procedure" and deletion of Policy 131.01, "School Board Hearing Procedure";
  • Adoption of Policy 135 (PDF), "Procedures for Nomination and Election When Action by the School Board as a Body is Required"; and
  • Revision of Policy 136 (PDF), "Voting."

There was discussion of revisions to Policy 134 (PDF), "Citizen Participation" and deletion of former Policy 133, "Citizen Comment" and Regulation 133.1, "Procedures for Citizen Participation." A first reading on the topic will be scheduled for the next School Board meeting.

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.