September 4, 2019
Posted on 09/06/2019

Board Briefs Meeting Summary
School Board Meeting of September 4, 2019

View the agenda on the Electronic School Board webpage.
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.

  • John Windley, director of facilities services, highlighted the major projects that his department completed over the 10-week summer break.

The School Board Approved: 

Citizen Comments:

Citizens addressed the School Board on the following topics:

  • An award as presented on behalf of the American Heart Association;
  • Code of Behavior;
  • School Board budget;
  • John D. Jenkins Elementary School;
  • Sedimentation of pond/stream on Old Bridge near John D. Jenkins Elementary School;
  • Stonewall Jackson High School resolution;
  • A staffing plan policy proposal;
  • Site of the 14th High School;
  • Anti-bullying programs;
  • Goals for the new school year; and
  • The proposed Battlefield turf field.

Staff Presentation Topics:

Superintendent's Time:

  • hope everyone had a fun, restful, and relaxing summer break with families and friends.
  • Although it does slow down a little bit during the summer, we still had several events, activities, and celebrations.
  • I had the pleasure of attending the English Learner Summer High School Program Ceremony of Completion, followed by the Adult Education and Summer School Graduation. Both ceremonies celebrated and recognized the many students overcoming a number of challenges to reach their goals. I am proud of each one of these students and wish them the best in the future.
  • I was also excited to receive an invitation to the 29th Annual Manassas African-American Heritage Festival, coordinated by retired PWCS principal, Brenda Lewis. The Festival featured delicious food, outstanding entertainment, and a classic car show.  I visited with many of our students and their parents, elected officials, and the many different fraternities, sororities, and other community organizations who provide school supplies and other valuable support to our schools, including mentoring.
  • One of the greatest highlights of the past few weeks was the ribbon-cutting and dedication ceremony of the John D. Jenkins Elementary School. More than 300 people attended the event, which not only celebrated the opening of a new school, but also dedicated the story room to Ernestine Jenkins. It was truly one of the most meaningful events in my educational career, and a milestone for PWCS.
  • This morning, I had the pleasure of welcoming Virginia First Lady Pamela Northam to Prince William County Schools. The first lady visited two schools during her Back-to-School tour. Students at Fitzgerald Elementary School impressed the First Lady while teaching her how to fly a drone. At Washington Reid, the First Lady interacted with our preschool students before reading them a book about a good bee. We appreciate her visit and her advocacy for early childhood education.
  • Now, as has been my tradition at the first School Board meeting of the year, I am pleased to present the Top 10 reasons to be excited for the start of the school year.
  • Number 10 – As we highlighted earlier this evening during Positively PWCS – we have numerous new facilities, renovations, and additions to celebrate. I also want to highlight the outstanding custodial and facility staff who cleaned and prepared 11 million square footage of facilities for day one – and our schools look great!
  • Number 9 – Transportation. Our transportation staff worked incredibly hard all summer to make day one as smooth as possible. Day one we had an eligible ridership of 73,351 students. With more than 699 buses on the road, driving 3,750 routes, covering nearly 80,000 miles each day! And through great teamwork between our Human Resources and Transportation staff – we have 697 drivers, 180 bus attendants, 135 substitutes, and another 19 drivers in training.
  • Number 8 – Technology Improvements. We have a number of technology improvements this summer. First, I am excited to announce we refreshed more than 6,500 computer devices in our schools – and by this fall every classroom in PWCS, including trailers, will have an interactive whiteboard. We also upgraded every school to a Voice Over IP phone network. Our HR and IT team launched electronic contracts for all staff and a new online performance management system. And, perhaps something I am most excited about as a parent, we launched credit card acceptance for some fees and programs, including planetarium tickets. We have already received more than $100K in fees through credit cards –and the ability to use credit cards for other fees will be coming this school year.   
  • Number 7 – The Hub. One of the largest projects this summer was the launch of The Hub. This launch involved every teacher, school administrator, many of our central office departments, and our students. The Hub is our new cloud-based student information system. The Hub will serve as the go-to source for parents, students, teachers, and administrators for all kinds of information including schedules, grades, attendance, bus schedules, and messaging. To prepare the system, our IT department had to move 20 years of student data for more than 280,000 students, involving 21 million records of data. Our Directors of Counseling worked throughout the summer using The Hub to ensure every student was scheduled. The Hub had more than 500,000 logins during its first week, and over 50,000 emails have been sent through The Hub by teachers to students and parents. Stay-tuned because it is just the beginning of future improvements enabled by The Hub.
  • Number 6 – Food Services. Children learn best when they are well nourished and ready to learn. Our award-winning Food Services team on day-one, and every day, serves nearly 10,000 breakfasts and 50,000 lunches. This takes a well-run logistics operation to ensure the shelves are stocked each morning and an army of food services staff who are up well before the sun to freshly prepare these meals for our students every day. 
  • Number 5 – Mental Health and Well-being Support. As we announced early this summer, I was pleased to add 53 additional school counselors; as well as additional psychologists and social workers, and to have a full-time nurse at every school. We are also working to launch a new anonymous reporting app later this school year that will allow students, parents, and staff to submit secure & anonymous safety concerns to help identify and intervene upon at-risk individuals before they hurt themselves or others.
  • Number 4 – Our Community. We are starting this year with the best school budget in a decade, thanks to the unanimous support of the School Board and the Board of County Supervisors, with the assistance of our state delegation in securing additional funding from Richmond. This enabled us to provide our teachers and staff a 4.8% pay raise effective at the start of this school year. Additionally, our community continued to support our students through their generous support of our SPARK Education Foundation, including raising more than $100K through the 26th Annual Tee Off for Education Golf Classic at Old Hickory Golf Club. As a reminder to our teachers, the first submission deadline for this year’s Innovative Grants is September 15. The application can be found on the SPARK website.
  • Number 3 – Our Parents and Guardians. PWCS could not be the World-Class School Division it is without our parents and guardians. I want to personally thank them for what they do each and every day for our schools. This includes our PTO and PTAs, our Booster parents, and our Watch-Dogs, and other parent and guardian volunteers. The engagement of parents in our schools is crucial and thank you for your partnership.
  • Number 2 – Our Teachers and Administrators.  We have the greatest teachers and administrators – and this summer our Human Resources department, working with our principals and other leaders, hired 1049 new staff – including 882 new teachers and administrators. At Connect, I had the pleasure of speaking with our new teachers, some of whom are experienced teachers but new to PWCS, and some are new to both teaching and PWCS, and I was truly impressed by their enthusiasm and positivity. I also know we have a returning staff that is World-Class – that is demonstrated through the double digit increases on the SOLs achieved last school year by our English Learner and Special Education students. 
  • And lastly – Number 1 – clearly has to be Our Students. At over 91,600 strong, this is the largest student body in PWCS history. The strength of our Division lies is our incredible diversity – our students from Pre-K through our adult learners. Every day I engage with our students my energy is restored and my hope for our future is reaffirmed.
  • I want to thank our students for their incredible work ethic, their kindness, and their positive attitude. They are what make PWCS truly World-Class.
  • We have so much to celebrate on day one! I want to thank everyone for the outstanding and positive partnership it took to get things off to such a great start.
  • I will end my remarks this evening with a short video recapping day one.

Policies:

First Readings-No action is required on first readings.