March 7, 2018
Posted on 03/09/2018

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School Board Meeting March 7, 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:

  • March as Brain Injury Awareness Month;
  • April as Child Abuse Prevention Month; Mathematics and Statistics Awareness Month; and National School Library Month;
  • April 16–20 as Transportation Employees Week;
  • May as National Physical Fitness and Sports Month;
  • Contracts awarded to Taft Construction, Inc., for an addition of an activity room at Old Bridge Elementary School and for renovation and an addition at Marshall Elementary School;
  • Contracts awarded to R. J. Crowley, Inc., for renovations at Minnieville Elementary School and for the renovation of the existing building and an addition for a walk-in freezer at Montclair Elementary School;
  • Contract awarded to KGS Construction Services, Inc., for roof recovery at Beville Middle School;
  • Contract awarded to Northeast Contracting Corporation, for roof  recovery at Parkside Middle School;
  • Contract awarded to J & K Contracting, Inc., for roof walkway replacements at Enterprise, King, Pattie, and Rockledge Elementary Schools;
  • Contract awarded to The LandTek Group, Inc., for synthetic turf athletic field system at Freedom High School;
  • Payrolls for the month of January;
  • Street easements on Vint Hill Road project that include Cedar Point Elementary and Patriot High Schools;
  • School Board Disciplinary Hearing minutes for February 14 and School Board meeting minutes for February 2;
  • The Development Impact Statement to Prince William County Government about the impact the Ray’s Regarde applicant will have on the School Division by allowing rezoning for 325 residential units;
  • The Development Impact Statement to Prince William County Government about the impact the Reserve at Long Forest applicant will have on the School Division by allowing rezoning for 120 residential units;
  • The Development Impact Statement to Prince William County Government about the impact the Reserve at Long Forest applicant will have on the School Division by allowing rezoning for nine residential units; and
  • The Development Impact Statement to Prince William County Government about the impact the Woodborne Preserve applicant will have on the School Division by allowing rezoning for 132 residential units;

Student Matters:

Kate Arnold, Student Representative, gave an update on the Potomac District town hall meeting. The discussions were about the budget, mental health, infrastructure, and student safety. 

  • Ms. Arnold said as far as student conversations on safety, to avoid exposing student vulnerabilities in a public way that may pose a threat to our students, that she would be passing on these insights and possible solutions to Dr. Walts, the School Board, and administrators privately.
  • Ms. Arnold said there are free steps that can be taken toward breaking down and opening doors to talk about mental health issues in the classroom. She said she would be willing to share her findings with administrators and teachers that may help with eliminating the stigma surrounding mental health. She said she would like to share with them the many conversations with students on this topic.
  • Tiffany Ha, a senior at Woodbridge High School, is in the student spotlight for being selected as the Virginia statewide winner of the 2017–18 Letters about Literature competition.
  • Ms. Arnold encouraged students to email her and attend the town hall meetings. She reminded students that the applications for student representative for the 2018–19 school year are due by March 12.

Zaki Panjsheeri, Alternate Student Representative, stated that some students may feel they are up against the wall and that the system is fighting against them, so they become apathetic or unenthusiastic. It is believed that a remedy for this would be a rational discussion and by having town hall meetings. This gives students an outlet to voice their concerns and an opportunity to be heard. 

Magin Sanchez, Alternate Student Representative, reminded everyone that March 5–11 is National Foreign Language Week and how important it is to celebrate the diversity in the languages spoken by our students and the languages offered through our classroom instruction. He also spoke about the passion of some of the students who spoke at the town hall meeting last week. 

Citizens’ Comment Time:

Citizens addressed the School Board on the following topics:

  • Principal at Reagan Middle School;
  • Upgrades for Woodbridge High School;
  • Exchange students;
  • Step increases and the budget;
  • Pre-K funding and Washington-Reid School;
  • School Safety and security;
  • Active shooter drills;
  • School counselors;
  • Bullying prevention; and
  • Out of school suspensions for students. 

Staff Presentation Topic:

Food Services payment and debt. Click to see PowerPoint overview. 

Superintendent’s Time:

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

  • Let me start off by expressing my personal gratitude, and the appreciation of the entire School Division, to all the people who worked so hard to prepare our schools for last week's amazing wind storm, and afterward, to get them ready for students. While most of us were hunkering down, our facilities team was monitoring the impact on schools. As soon as they could, they swung into action to deal with power outages, downed trees, and a variety of other challenges. They took the lead in making it possible for us to open with only a two-hour delay on Monday. So please show your appreciation for the facilities team and ground crews, under the direction of Mr. John Windley; as well as for Supply Services, Information Technology, Food Services, school custodians, Communications staff, and all others who put in tremendous effort to make sure the winds did not blow our schools off track.
  • March is Brain Injury Awareness Month.  Prince William County Public Schools is a leader in concussion awareness training. Our model of parent and athlete training has been implemented in many other school divisions across the state. For a compelling look at that issue, I encourage you to watch our video, “Chloe’s Story,” about the experience of one of our own student athletes. It is used in concussion training. You can see it on the PWCS YouTube site.
  • A reminder to our high school students looking for summer jobs: The Division offers two job fairs. The first will be on Monday, March 19, at Woodbridge High School. The other is Wednesday, March 21 at Stonewall Jackson High School. Students must complete an online application before the job fair and bring a copy of that application with them. Visit the Human Resources web page at www.pwcs.edu for information.
  • Congratulations to Gar-Field High School junior, Alan Menchaca. Alan scored in the top 2.5 percent among our area’s Hispanic and Latino students taking the PSAT National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test. He is now able to apply for special acknowledgement by the College Board’s National Hispanic Recognition Program. That’s a great pathway to possible scholarships.
  • I attended the Educators Rising Leadership Conference and competitive events last weekend at Hylton High School. Ed Rising is part of co-curricular programs for students interested in education-related careers. There are 10 clubs in our high schools. I was very impressed by the future-educators from 10 Virginia school districts and 30 high schools who took part in conference activities.
  • Congratulations to Denyse Carroll, our Division Robotics and STEM Initiative Specialist, who was named one of Prince William Living Magazine’s Most Influential Women of 2018. Denyse has worked tirelessly to bring robotics and team success to all of our schools. I’ve heard that students were responsible for nominating her for this honor, and that says a lot about her contributions.
  • I will now report on progress in advancing several goals that the School Board established for me.  See PowerPoint. I will continue to update the School Board on the accomplishments of these goals.

PowerPoint:
SLIDE 2 - I've already worked with staff to provide a few reports, so now we’re introducing a score card that shows a red check for the indicators we’ve reported on.  And it adds a P for continuing work in progress. When those indicators appear in white, it means I’m talking about them tonight.

SLIDE 3 - Looking first at Performance Standard 1, dealing with Mission and Vision. I'm well on the way to meeting indicator 1.3, on keeping Board members informed. So far, this year, we’ve put out more than 310 communications to Board members. Brief items cover everything from staff and school accomplishments, to notifications of serious incidents and challenges.  More detailed updates have informed you about legislative priorities, efforts to enhance staff cultural awareness and sensitivity, and progress on school improvement plans. So, we’re on track with this objective.

SLIDE 4 - For indicator 1.7, I have already visited 45 schools and Division facilities, with many more scheduled. I'm confident in getting to all of them by the end of the School Year.  And I have been seeing evidence of solid safety and operations practices at each one of them. I’ll report on those in my evaluation.

SLIDE 5 - Moving to the Standard on Instructional Leadership. One indicator focuses on my work with the Superintendent’s Staff toward developing and implementing school improvement targets.

SLIDE 6 - You can see the steps that have already been taken. The associates are working closely with principals to follow progress, and identify examples of success. And we’ll be seeing the outcomes as test results come out.

SLIDE 7 - Now, jumping down to Performance Standard 6, on professionalism; Indicator 6.6 is about encouraging our staff to spread their expertise through publications and at least three presentations at state and national conferences.  We are far ahead on that one.  This year so far, our records show PWCS staff members presenting for at least 13 different state and national conferences. Topics include: how to increase students’ success, as they take increasingly advanced courses; project-based school counseling; assisting English Learners with every aspect of the curriculum; enhancing Division websites; and keeping students safe from human trafficking. When you have a staff as talented as ours, colleagues are eager to learn about what they're doing.

SLIDE 8 - And finally, in the rundown of my objectives tonight--indicator 6.8. I've been privileged to participate in two of the three Region Four Superintendent's meetings held so far this year. I missed one because of a Code Red, but I plan to attend all of the remaining ones. 

SLIDE 9 - So that wraps up my progress report on objectives, but you will be hearing more in coming meetings.

Volume 13, Number 12 – Publication date: March 9