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Schools

Catholic High School Race Supports Students with Intellectual Disabilities

(Submitted photo)

This Saturday, Nov. 22, Saint John Paul the Great Catholic High School near Dumfries will host their 4th annual JP5K Run/Walk for Options. The race, which will take place on the school campus and the surrounding neighborhood, is being hosted to raise funds for the school’s Options program, which provides educational opportunities for students with intellectual disabilities.

“[This race] supports our Options program, which currently serves about six students with intellectual impairments,” said Jennifer Cole, Director of Admissions and Marketing for Saint John Paul the Great Catholic High School. 

Last year the race had about 600 participants, and they’re hoping for a similar turnout this year. In last year’s run, the school raised several thousands to help fund the Options program.

“It’s really important to us that families know that there is a Catholic school that has a program that can meet the needs of students with these disabilities, because it’s not something that has traditionally been very available,” said Cole of the importance of such a program in the community, noting that children from all faith backgrounds are accepted.

The goal of this program is to give students a place where they can contribute to the educational community, spending part of their time with an individualized curriculum, and another part of their day spent with other students in the classroom.

“We have a program where they spend part of their day in the classroom – it’s a very individualized program and they’re learning at the level that is appropriate for each one of them. And the other part of the day, our Options students are in our mainstream classrooms with ‘buddies’…these are students that are like mentors,” said Cole.

Runners for the race can register on the race website, or the day of at the race, from 6:30 to 7:30 a.m. The address for the campus is 17700 Dominican Drive in Dumfries.

Forest Park’s Marching Bruin Band Performs at Disney World

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Members of the Forest Park High School “Marching Bruin Band” became stars of their own Disney show on Nov. 2 when they entertained resort guests at the Magic Kingdom Park. The group traveled from Woodbridge to the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida to take part in the Disney Performing Arts program.

The marching band, under the direction of Donald Magee, entertained hundreds of Magic Kingdom Park guests as they marched through Frontierland and around Cinderella Castle onto Main Street, U.S.A. before the “Festival of Fantasy Parade.”

This was the group’s fifth visit to the resort with the Disney Performing Arts program.

In addition to their performance, the students participated in the Disney Performing Arts “You’re Instrumental Workshop,” where they learned how to get the most of their rehearsals and honed their sight-reading skills under the guidance of an experienced Disney Teaching Artist.

Dance, vocal and instrumental ensembles from all around the world apply to perform each year as a part of Disney Performing Arts at both the Disneyland Resort in California and the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida. Once selected, they are given the opportunity to perform at the resort for an international audience of theme park guests. Millions of performers have graced the stages of the Disney Parks in the more than 25-year history of the program.

Hylton, Osbourn Park Students Reassigned to 12th High School

(Photo: Prince William County Public Schools)

New boundaries please Department of Justice

 

Prince William County Schools released their new boundary plan for the 12th High School created in cooperation the United States Department of Justice (D.O.J.).

Should the School Board decide to implement the new Alternative Boundary Plan, the D.O.J. has indicated to PWCS that their agency would not object nor would they pursue legal action.

D.O.J. Input

 

The previous boundary plan was called into question by the Civil Rights Division of the D.O.J. for failing to provide similar demographic diversity that as seen in neighboring schools. The D.O.J. also felt that the boundary map carved out “island” neighborhoods excluded from the new boundaries.

However, this new plan, entitled the “Alternative Boundary Plan” satisfies the D.O.J. It creates a more racially diverse student body and provides a more equitable distribution of economically disadvantaged and Limited English Proficiency (LEP) students throughout mid-county schools.

According to Supervisor of Planning, Dr. Matthew Cartlidge, the Alternative Boundary Plan takes into consideration guidance from the D.O.J. as well as community input.

“[The D.O.J] were given all emails that were sent to staff regarding the 12th High School. As we were collaborating with them, we continued to provide feedback about the history of neighborhood assignments,” Cartlidge said.

 

Differences Between the Plans

 

Cartlidge listed what he believed to be key differences between the Alternative Boundary Plan and the last recent revision, Administrative Recommendation Version 1.2.

   •   The neighborhoods north of Prince William Parkway (State Route 294), which are currently assigned to Benton Middle School, will remain assigned to Osbourn Park High School, rather than being reassigned to the 12th High School, now under construction. These include the Bacon Race, Cannon Bluff, River Falls, Coventry Glen, and Reids Prospect areas

 •   The neighborhoods of Ridgefield Village and Queensdale, which are currently assigned to Osbourn Park High School, are now proposed for reassignment to the 12th High School.

   •   The neighborhoods of Smalls Crossing, Victory Ridge, White Oak Estates, Websters Landing and the eastern section of Trentdale, which are currently assigned to Hylton High School, are now proposed for reassignment to the 12th High School.

In regard to feeder schools, the new plan would take some students from both Benton and Beville middle schools.

Demographics

 

The plan satisfies the demographic requirements .of the U.S. Government by more equitably distributing minority students who attend public high school in mid-Prince William County.

The PWCS Office of Facilities Services estimated that 45.7 percent of the population at the 12th High School will be members of a racial minority, 12.8 percent will be economically disadvantaged and 2.9 percent will be Limited English Proficient.

These new demographics are more similar to that of nearby Osbourn Park High School, which will be at 53.6 percent minority, 25.2 percent economically disadvantaged and 9 percent LEP.

Moreover, should the Alternative Boundary Plan be accepted, it would not radically alter the demographic makeup of surrounding schools, which was also important to the D.O.J.

Osborn Park’s demographics would not significantly change. The school would see only a 2.6 percent increase in minority students, a 5.1 percent increase in economically disadvantaged students and a 2.3 percent increase in LEP students.

PWCS estimates Hylton High School will be at 74.8 percent minority students after the 12th High School opens. However, it will also only see a small percentage increase over its previous demographic numbers. Hylton will receive 3.7 percent more minority students; 3.8 percent more economically disadvantaged students; and 0.9 percent more LEP students.

There is not a significant difference in demographics at Brentsville, Forest Park or Patriot High School, which are schools that will be minimally affected by these boundary changes.

Balancing Enrollments

 

The opening of the 12th High School helps alleviate overcrowding at Osbourn Park, Hylton and Brentsville District high school and to a lesser extent, Forest Park and Patriot high schools.

In the school year 2016-17, Osbourn Park will open with an estimated enrollment at 87.8 percent capacity, in comparison to 121.2 percent capacity without the new school opening.

Comparative percentages for the other schools are as follows: Hylton 102.2% v. 119.2%; Brentsville 104.3% v. 123.7%; Forest Park 103.3% v. 108.9%; and Patriot 138.8% v. 133.7%.

The 12th High School will open in 2016 at 77.7 percent capacity, but that will increase to 101.7 percent in 2018-19 when it has a senior class. By 2018-19 school year, it will already be at 101.7 capacity.

One reason the plan does not do more to help alleviate overcrowding at Patriot and Battlefield high schools is that a 13th high school is planned to alleviate overcrowding in Western Prince William Schools. Also, the 12th High School is located in mid-county.

Editor’s note: This story was written by Bristow Beat as part of a news sharing relationship with Potomac Local. Click here to read the full story.

Greek Orgs Tackle Education in Prince William

greek-education-forum

Slower growth would give schools time to catch up, panel says

 

This past weekend, the Virginia Leadership Institute hosted a forum at the Northern Virginia Community College Woodbridge campus to examine the state of education policy in Prince William County.

The October 18 forum, “Divinely Standing For Scholarship: The State of Education Policy In Prince William,” panel included vocational and community leaders in education who represent the nine historically Black Greek Letter Organizations.

The panelists focused on school overcrowding, the recent drop in full accreditation for some county schools, the achievement gap among ethnic communities, minority parent involvement, and testing measurements. The members of the Prince William County chapter of the Virginia Leadership Institute planned, coordinated and hosted the Forum.

Among the many solutions discussed, the panel supported a slower County development strategy that allowed the school system to catch up with population growth, a more robust initiative to hire teachers that reflect the cultural diversity of the student body, a plan to build greater awareness about available local scholarships, and a better method to inform parents of expected academic standards for incoming kindergarten students.

The panel also stressed the need to use creative methods to engage parents who might work long hours or several jobs throughout the week, such as phone conference-calls and weekend meetings.

“Today’s forum provided a great dialogue on the state of education policy in Prince William County,” said Virginia Leadership Institute founder and CEO Krysta Jones. “The nine represented fraternity and sorority organizations are doing great work in the community; this forum further demonstrated their commitment to work together, with local government, to improve an already solid education system.”

“Prince William County is a great place to live and raise children, however, there are some challenges that our school system faces,” said forum moderator and Member of the Virginia State Board of Social Services D.J. Jordan. “Rapid growth and development has put a tremendous strain on our schools, and overcrowded classrooms are making it difficult for our teachers to try to improve achievement gaps.”

Jordan continued, “Because of our reputation as one of the top ten wealthiest counties in America, it is easy to forget about the family challenges of the 37 percent of our students who are economically disadvantaged. Education provides a pathway out of poverty, so we must make sure that every child has an opportunity for a quality education here in Prince William County.”

The nine historically Black fraternity and sorority organizations are often referred to as “The Divine Nine”.

On the panel, NVCC Manassas campus Dean of Students Mark Kidd represented Phi Beta Sigma; local teacher and Army veteran Steve Blakely represented Omega Psi Phi; federal government worker and Kappa Alpha Psi

Fraternity Guide Right Mentoring Program Vice Chairman Robe’rt Palmer represented Kappa Alpha Psi; local teacher and owner of The Educated Babysitter, LLC in Alexandria Tracy Smith Houston represented Sigma Gamma Rho; local special education teacher Brenda Bowden represented Zeta Phi Beta; consultant and author Melvin Brown II represented Alpha Phi Alpha; Occoquan School Board Member Lillie Jessie represented Delta Sigma Theta; NVCC Woodbridge campus professor Cedric Howard represented Iota Phi Theta; and local elementary school principal Marlene Coleman represented Alpha Kappa Alpha.

In addition to School Board Member Jessie, Woodbridge School Board Member Loree Williams and Gainesville School Board Member Alyson Satterwhite were in attendance.

The Virginia Leadership Institute (VLI) aims to empower the African-American community to engage local and state government through training, mentoring, and networking opportunities. To learn more about VLI, visit virginialead.org

Growing American National University Campus to Offer Cyber Security, Business Degrees

american national univertisy, anu, school, college, degree, manassas

Students at American National University Northern Virginia Center in Manassas, Virginia.

School took early root in Virginia, expanded to 5 states

 

American National University’s Northern Virginia Center opened its doors in Manassas in February, and it is the university’s 31st and newest campus.

Doug Earhart, a retired Army Officer, has been working in higher education since his retirement. In 2009, Earhart was the Director of Financial Aid and eventually became a Dean at a large university before becoming the Director of the Northern Virginia Center of ANU. Earhart has seen the Manassas location grow from a few employees into a “viable campus,” complete with courses, faculty, and educational resources.

American National University has a long-standing tradition of higher education excellence in the Commonwealth dating back to 1886 when it began as a local business school in Roanoke, Virginia. It expanded quickly into a national business school and developed multiple campuses within the state, including in the cities of Charlottesville, Danville, Harrisonburg, and Lynchburg. Eventually, it expanded into West Virginia, Kentucky, Ohio, Indiana and Tennessee.  Since its expansion, American National University has added on various academic and medical programs including its highly acclaimed Medical Assistant Associates (MAA) Degree. 

ANU’s MAA program is one of the few in the region fully accredited by the Commission of Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP).

The Manassas center offers an English as a Second Language (ESL) program at its English Language Institute, including preparation for the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). In addition, the Northern Virginia Center offers the MAA program as well as Pharmacy Technician and Medical Coding and Billing diplomas.  Next year the campus will expand its academic programs to include bachelor degrees in Cybersecurity and Business Administration.

The Northern Virginia Center has developed valuable educational programs that caters to both international and local students. Earhart said that many students have come from embassies to learn English at the Northern Virginia Center and upon completion, they can have a “seamless” transition into an academic program.

The Northern Virginia Center’s medical assistant program began on Sep. 15. One student, Earhart said, was a single mom, working at a fast food restaurant when she chose to attend ANU. The student had to make a “hard decision” to go, but now with medical assistant coursework under her belt she will graduate and go on to find a job and a limitless futures said Earhart.

“Another student had faced significant life challenges but after enrolling in that same program, she now has plenty of options and can essentially start over.  The people who are ‘perfect’ for ANU are those who may be “lost…[or] unemployed” and have General Education Development (GEDs) that are not allowing them to reach their full potential. On average, the students at the center are in their late 20s and 30s, with some exceptions,” said Earhart.

Earhart believes American National University stands apart from other colleges and universities in the area by their CAAHEP  accredited programs, by offering internships and by placing students into careers. Unlike at many other colleges and universities, at the center, career placement is not only a “nice thing to do” it is something that Earhart regards as both his and the university’s “responsibility” to find students good jobs that “directly correlate” with their degrees.  The university’s success is ultimately measured by this factor.

Lastly, Earhart explained that there is much more focus on career training than on socializing the students. Career training is the main goal of the school and so far, that and ANU’s crucial formula has resulted in great “success” for the Northern Virginia Center.  Finally, Earhart added “students do have fun while learning” and urged anyone looking for more information to check out ANU on Facebook or at an.edu.

Forum to Examine Education in Prince William

A U.S. Marine for more than 20 years, Alan Roach teaches government at Potomac Middle School in Woodbridge. [Photo: Uriah Kiser / Potomac Local News]

Growth continues to be a challenge in Prince William County, organizer says

 

On Saturday, October 18, 2014, Virginia Leadership Institute (VLI) will host a forum that will examine the state of education policy in Prince William County. The panelists are vocational and community leaders in education who represent the nine historically Black Greek letter organizations.

The forum is entitled “Divinely Standing For Scholarship: The State of Education Policy In Prince William” and will take place at the Northern Virginia Community College, Woodbridge campus, in the Lakeside Theatre from 4 p.m. until 6 p.m. The recent drop in full accreditation, overcrowded schools, the achievement gap, minority parent involvement, testing measurements, and other similar topics will be debated during the forum.

“The Virginia Leadership Institute is excited to host a substantive dialogue about the current state of education in Prince William County, and the County’s vision for the future,” said Virginia Leadership Institute founder and CEO Krysta Jones. “As the County experiences rapid growth, education continues to be a major challenge for many families around Prince William. This forum will not only analyze some of those challenges, but provide possible solutions that could be initiated by the County school system and the community.”

The event, which will include a light dinner, is free and open to the public. Confirmed panelists include a sitting Prince William School Board Member, a local NVCC professor and dean, a Prince William Schools System teacher, as well as a childcare small business owner.

The nine historically Black fraternity and sorority organizations are often referred to as “The Divine Nine” and include the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, and Iota Phi Theta Fraternity.

It’s Too Hot Outside This 1st Day of School for Outdoor Activities

082711 Brooke Point High School

STAFFORD COUNTY, Va. – It’s the first day of school and already some activities are already canceled. 

This is what SCPS posted to their Facebook page: 

 All Outdoor Activities Canceled at Stafford Schools for Tuesday, September 2 All outside activities at all Stafford County Schools have been canceled due to heat index/temperatures. This includes elementary school recess, all physical education classes, and middle and high school after-school athletic and after-school activities. High School games will be rescheduled and afternoon and evening practices may be moved indoors. Please contact the individual school with any questions regarding rescheduling or practices.

At 1:30 p.m., the temperature in Stafford County was 90 degrees with scattered thunderstorms in the forecast, according to the National Weather Service. I’ll be hot again tomorrow with highs in the upper 80s. 

Stafford County Parents Greeted by New Security System at Schools

It’s the first day of school across the area today. For nearly everyone — especially those with children — summer has come to a close.

Students in Stafford County are going back to school today, and the school division wants parents to know their child is a bit safer thanks to precautions put in place at the front door of the school. 

Here’s more in a press release:

In an effort to increase the security of its schools and facilities, Stafford County Public Schools is installing a video intercom entry system at each of its 30 schools and 4 operating sites.

The system, called AIPHONE, will be installed at the main school entrance and allow the main entrance doors to be locked during the school day and still permit visitors to enter (all exterior school doors are locked during the school day).  Visitors will push a button on an intercom located on the wall by the main front door of the school.  A security camera at the door will allow a school staff member to view the visitor on a screen inside the building.  The visitor will be asked for identification and the reason of the visit.

Once the visitor is approved by the staff member, an electronic door lock will be released so that the visitor may enter the building.  As is current practice, upon entry into the school, visitors will sign-in at the office and obtain a visitor’s badge. A photo identification card (driver’s license, state ID card or military ID) is required to sign-in.  In the event school staff believes the person requesting entry is a danger to the students or staff, entry into the building will not be allowed.

Installation of this system is taking place this summer for the majority of schools and facilities.  Several schools will have the system installed in 2015 and 2016 as part of ongoing or planned construction projects.  

SCPS asks for the cooperation of all parents and school visitors as this security enhancement is implemented.  We encouraged parents to visit their child’s school prior to the school year to become familiar with this new security feature.  

Woodbridge Schools Win Community Learning Center Grants

WOODBRIDGE, Va. – More help is coming for economically disadvantaged students at schools in Woodbridge.

Three schools – Mills Godwin and Fred M. Lynn middle schools, and Freedom High School – will awarded grants from the Virginia Department of Edudcation for their 21st Century Community Learning Centers.

The programs allow children and their parents to participate in reading and math learning on evenings and weekends. There are about 140 community learning center programs at schools across the state.

Here’s more from the Virginia Department of Education:

The Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) is awarding 47 new grants to fund 21st-Century Community Learning Centers across the commonwealth. The competitive grants, ranging from $50,000 to $200,000, will allow school divisions, faith-based organizations and community groups to provide tutoring, enrichment activities that complement regular academic programs, literacy and other educational services to the students and their families.

In addition, VDOE continues funding of 52 programs that received initial grants in 2012 and 2013. The 21st-Century Community Learning Centers program is authorized under Title IV, Part B, of the federal Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA).

 Applicants were encouraged to consult with parents, community groups, businesses, arts and cultural organizations and other youth development agencies to develop successful applications and programs before school, after school, Saturdays and during school breaks and summer vacation.

So, have these programs helped children?

A recently authored report on the VDOE’s website has some mixed findings. For children in third through eighth grades in the reading component of the program, “the proficiency and standardized SOL scaled  score analyses showed that there was no statistically significant impact of 21st CCLC  participation on statewide reading assessments.”

But scores showed improvement in the same age ranges for children in the math programs. 

 

Schools Must Enroll Unaccompanied Immigrant Children without Vaccinations: Memo

(Photo: Prince William County Public Schools)

 Some Prince William residents have expressed concern over a Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) memo requiring that unaccompanied alien children be enrolled in school even without receiving immunization.

Written on July 25, and disseminated to all Virginia public school divisions, the memo states that children without citizenship, living on their own or with others in the community are considered homeless students if they have no fixed address or are staying in a temporary placement.

While most of the unaccompanied minors to have recently entered the country are being educated at private facilities paid for by the Federal Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), this memo details how to process those students outside of that system.

What Does the Memo Say About Enrolling Unaccompanied Minors?

The memo includes this statement explaining that homeless children must be enrolled and that the school division must provide them with assistance in getting them the necessary immunizations.

School divisions must immediately enroll homeless students and coordinate the provision of services to homeless students with relevant local social services agencies and other agencies and programs providing services to such students, and with other school divisions. In addition, division superintendents cannot exclude from school attendance those homeless children who do not provide the requisite health or immunization information required of other students.  School divisions must immediately refer the student to the school division liaison required to assist the student in obtaining necessary physical examinations or proof of completion of immunizations.

Read full memo here 

The Response from Prince William County Schools

Prince William County School Director of Communication Services Phil Kavits said the district is not seeing an increase in its immigrant population.

He explained that public schools are prohibited from tracking a child’s immigration status; thereby, “consequently, we have no number or estimate of registrants related to the recent increase in unaccompanied minors crossing the Border.”

However, he added that, “PWCS is not currently anticipating any significant new influx or recent immigrants, whether documents or undocumented.”

Kavits agreed to look into whether PWCS will provide any specific plans to ensure that students have or get the required immunizations when they start school. He explained that the immunization issues are something the school division routinely deals with for all students. 

Read more about this story on BristowBeat.com.

New Principals Named to Stafford Schools

STAFFORD COUNTY, Va. – Stafford school officials announced the appointment of several new key positions inside the public school system:

Allen Hicks was appointed as the assistant principal at Hampton Oaks Elementary. He is currently a teacher at the school.

Nicole Ochs was appointed assistant principal at Conway Elementary School. She currently teaches second grade in Joshua Tree, Calif.

Laura Sullivan was appointed assistant principal at Brooke Point High School. She currently serves as a principal intern at Mountain View High School.

Rebecca Wardlow was appointed principal at Winding Creek Elementary School. She currently serves as the assistant principal at Anthony Burns Elementary School.

Carrie Neeley was appointed as the Chief Elementary Officer. She currently serves as principal at Stony Point Elementary School in Albemarle County, Va.

David White was appointed as the Chief Secondary Officer. He currently serves as the supervisor of Career and Technology Education and as acting assistant superintendent of secondary education.

Dallek Tapped to Lead Forest Park High School While Permanent Principal Sought

PRINCE WILLIAM COUNTY, Va. – He spent 20 years Gar-Field High School in Woodbridge.

Now, long-time principal Roger Dallek has been called back out of semi-retirement to help neighboring Forest Park High School near Dumfries as that school finds a permanent principal.

Former Forest Park Principal Eric Brent, who served as the school’s top administrator from 2006 to 2014 and was awarded Prince William County’s Principal of the Year in 2009, recently accepted another job with Fairfax County Public schools.

Dallek will spend the summer overseeing administrative tasks for the school like hiring new teachers, a bookkeeper, and new coaches for the upcoming school year. He does not, however, expect to be the principal at the start of the school year come Sept. 2.

Dallek says his permanent replacement should be someone who is community minded and someone who likes to work with people.

“They need somebody with vision. I can remember when I first interviewed for Gar-Field…I said you gotta have a vision for what you want this school in this community to be 25 years down the road, not just now but years down the road,” said Dallek.

Because Forest Park specializes in information technology, having someone who can implement the curriculum effectively is also important, he adds.

Dallek went into semi-retirement when he left Gar-Field seven years ago. Since then he’s worked at various schools in Prince William on a temporary basis under the system’s Retirement Opportunity Program.

Over the next few weeks, Dallek will be focused on a few upcoming key events at Forest Park: a new teacher orientation, freshman orientation, and planning a back to school night for parents and teachers.

Kaine Pushes for More Funding for Career Training for Students Bypassing Traditional College Path

MANASSAS, Va. – Megan Devine says she was never one of those “rich kids” who didn’t have to worry about paying for college.

The 28-year-old is a research assistant at George Mason University put herself through school in her home state of Illinois, and did well by finishing her required undergraduate coursework by the end of her junior year. Though she finished work for her undergraduate degree during her junior year she still had to take elective classes her senior year.

“I was told, specifically, I was not allowed to graduate because my school needed my tuition money,” said Devine.

She’s now working doing research at George Mason University for the Department of Defense and living in Northern Virginia with her husband. But she could have moved from college faster, she says, if she had access to advanced placement (AP) courses when she was still in high school.

The courses could have given her dual enrollment, allowing her to get college credit for work completed in high school.

Virginia Sen. Timothy M. Kaine is pushing for more funding that would allow more students to take college-level courses sooner by pushing forward a new bill called Educating Tomorrow’s Workforce Act. It would allow more government funding from the Perkins Career and Educational Act of 2006 to be used for job training, and to create more governor’s career and technical academies.

Now, says Kaine, Perkins money can only be used purchase equipment.

If his bill is passed, more teachers would be trained with the money, and a high-quality curriculum for career education would be developed to be used as a model for other schools.

“What I found when I was governor is, once you put [the education model] out there, people want to achieve the high quality status,” said Kaine.

The Senator came to George Mason University’s Prince William Campus on Wednesday to discuss his bill. He was joined by several students and professionals in the technical and education fields.

Finding talented workers is critical for BAE Systems, a global engineering firm that specializes in defense and cyber intelligence. The firm has a large presence throughout Virginia.

BAE Director of Space Products and Processing Ian A. McDonald said he’s seen quality talent from outside the non-traditional classroom.

“There are a lot of kids out there that shouldn’t go onto a four year college, shouldn’t take on that debt, but should be getting that training…they have an aptitude that’s different,” McDonald told Kaine.

Many of his employees have graduated from technical schools or picked up necessary skills while on the job.

Kaine expects little pushback from traditional four-year schools and graduate programs for his bill.

“For the past 25 years we’ve had a model to push everyone to go to traditional four-year schools but now they don’t have the buildings to house everyone, so it’s best to encourage to go variety of programs,” said Kaine.

The Senator added he was able to complete his undergraduate degree in just three years instead of four. Not having to take a 4th year of classes was a tremendous financial help for his parents, he added.

Mallory, Quinn Appointed New Roles at Stafford Schools

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STAFFORD, Va. – At their meeting on Tuesday, June 24, 2014, the Stafford County School Board approved the appointment of Cessy Mallory as the assistant principal in charge of athletics and activities at Stafford High School.  She began her career as a professional educator in 2002 teaching special education classes in Prince William County.

She is currently a health and physical education teacher and department chair at Mountain View High School.  Ms. Mallory has been with Stafford County Schools for nine years and in addition to her current duties as department chair, she has served as a principal intern and managed responsibilities for attendance, in school suspension, expanded recognition opportunities for students and has served as an interim activities director.

Ms. Mallory holds a bachelor’s of science degree in sociology and pre-law from Longwood University.  She also earned a master’s of science degree in physical education from Pittsburg State University and a master’s of education in educational leadership from Virginia Commonwealth University.

Also during this meeting, the School Board approved the appointment of Dr. Christopher Quinn to the position of Director of Instructional Services.  Dr. Quinn has been a part of the Stafford Schools community since 2005 and will maintain his role as a major contributor to the school division’s instructional leadership.

“We appreciate Dr. Quinn’s great knowledge of learning strategies and will rely on his considerable talents and experience as we continue to move the school division forward to even greater success in the area of instructional services,” stated Superintendent Bruce Benson.

Dr. Quinn earned his bachelor of arts degree in history and master’s degree in secondary education from Augusta State University in Georgia.  He is a proud graduate of the State University of New York at Buffalo where he earned a Ph.D. in educational leadership.

 

Phone, Internet Problems Disrupt Tests

(Photo: Prince William County Public Schools)

PRINCE WILLIAM COUNTY, Va. — Prince William County Public Schools is asking for your patience as the school system is having difficulty with their phone and internet lines today.

The problems have disrupted some testing taking place today.

Here’s the latest in a statement from the school system:

Verizon is reporting trouble with a key circuit, resulting in sporadic problems with email, Web sites, and Internet connections at our schools and facilities Divisionwide.

It is uncertain whether messages are being sent or received in a timely manner. In addition, the problems are also interfering with some SOL testing, thought the extent is not known.

We ask the public’s patience as Verizon works to resolve the issues.

Culinary, IT Programs Popular at Woodbridge’s Stratford University

Elected officials attend a luncheon at Stratford University in Woodbridge to learn more about the school's degree programs. [Uriah Kiser / Potomac Local News]

Elected officials attend a luncheon at Stratford University in Woodbridge to learn more about the school’s degree programs. [Uriah Kiser / Potomac Local News]

WOODBRIDGE, Va. – Derrick Wood knows barbeque, but he honed his culinary and business skills at a private university in Woodbridge.

Owner of Devine Barbeque in Motion, and a Dumfries Town Councilman, Wood received his Bachelors Degree from Stratford University in 2011. He continued on at the for-profit college to obtain his MBA in hospitality management.

Now working as employee at the school, another hat he wears, Wood has found its his mission to tell the community about the work being done at Stratford, and about how its program set him up for success.

“It challenged me early on to sit down and do the business plan, to learn how to the research methods and to learn how to do the fact check,” said Wood.

Wood, and a small handful of other elected officials came to an open house at Stratford University’s Potomac Mills location at 14349 Gideon Drive in Woodbridge on Thursday. The list of elected officials included Virginia House Delegate Micheal Futrell, Prince William County School Board member Betty Covington, Dumfries Town Councilwoman Helen Reynolds, and Wood

While there, they took a tour of the three-story academic building where students take courses in business administration, culinary management, and information technology.

Director of Career Services Peter Bartell says the school prides itself on its 70% employment placement rate for graduates, helping them find jobs after they complete their classes. While the school’s culinary programs are its most popular, there is a strong demand for their IT graduates, as well, in places like offices to vacation resorts.

“I think I’m going to have someone who is going to hire some if my culinary graduates and they end up hiring my IT people,” said Bartell.

One of the drawbacks for his placement efforts can students, such as the ones who graduate from the school’s culinary program, who themselves choose to work in the field.

Stratford has six campuses in Virginia including its Woodbridge center, a campus in Baltimore, and a center abroad in New Delhi, India.

Crane Keeps Watch over Nokesville K-8 School

051814 craneNOKESVILLE, Va. – The annual Nokesville Day draws many natives for a day food and fun. This bird, which was keeping watch over the new Nokesville kindergarten through eighth grade school, is not one of those natives.

Chris Connell, of Locust Grove, Va., saw the bird while with her husband and daughter when they were leaving the Nokesville Day festival. They came to see her 12-year-old son drive a tractor in the annual parade.

Afterward while on the way back to their parked car outside the new K-8 school on Aden Road, they saw the large bird.

“We didn’t think it was a real bird at first,” said Connell. “I started taking pictures and the bird let us get really close to it.”

The bird appears to be a Sandhill Crane, which can be found year-round in Cuba, and in parts of the western U.S. when it migrates. But rarely in Virginia.

“I hear the most likely scenario is that it is a pet that escaped from a nearby farm, although it could be wild,” said Kim Hosen, director of the Prince William Conservation Alliance. “I heard a story about a previous sighting where everyone was excited but the bird turned out to be tame. However, it could be a wild bird, Sandhill Cranes are rare but have been seen in [Northern Virginia], including at the Occoquan Bay Refuge.”

Connell said the bird seemed to be at home at the school, almost as it was keeping watch over the grounds. The crane began pecking at a glass door at the front entrance of the school after he saw his reflection in it.

Since the crane took such a liking to the new school building that will open in September, perhaps school officials will take notice.

“Maybe the school could use the bird as a mascot for the school,” said Connell.

Updated: Kids OK, Woman Charged in School Bus Accident

(Photo: Prince William County Public Schools)

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Police have charged Alma L Davila, 24, of Lorton, with failure to maintain control of her vehicle in connection with the school bus crash.

All of the children that were on board the bus, including the ones that reported minor injuries, are now OK, said Prince William police spokesman Jonathan Perok.

10 a.m. 

New information from Prince William police indicates some children onboard the bus involved in this morning’s crash were injured. We don’t know the severity of the injuries, but we’ll work to bring you more details and will post them here as soon as we have them.

Tuesday, May 13, 9:30 a.m. 

WOODBRIDGE, Va. – A school bus with 35 students onboard crashed this morning in Woodbridge.

None of the students onboard were injured, though police could not provide immediate information on whether or not the occupants of any of the other vehicles involved suffered injuries.

The crash happened just before 7 a.m. near the intersection of Prince William Parkway an Minnieville Road. The “transfer” bus was taking children from various locations in Prince William County to Hylton High School in Woodbridge, brining transfer students to class who live outside the defined boundaries for Hylton High School.

“At this stage of the game, the priority is making sure everyone is OK, gathering all the final facts, and getting all of the other information back out,” said Prince William County Public Schools spokesman Phil Kavits.

 

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