For the first time, Prince William County’s School Board will provide budget guidance to Schools Superintendent Dr. Steven Walts.
The elected board will tell Walts of key items they would like to see funded as well as areas that could be cut to help make up for a coming $11 million shortfall in the fiscal year 2016 schools operating budget.
The move comes as the Prince William County Board of Supervisors directed officials to create a budget based on a 1.3% growth rate in the average real estate property tax bill, not the 4% tax growth rate as was approved last year. Since the county gives 57% of its entire budget to the school division, the lower rate means fewer tax fewer resources for county schools.
On the chopping block cutting full-day kindergarten for non-Title 1 schools, something that’s been the norm for the past 10 years. Slashing transportation funding for high school and middle school specialty programs, which provides buses for students to attend classes at selected school sites across the county that provide a student’s specialty program like arts, math, and sciences, is also on the table.
The resolution also calls for halting some $52 million in capital improvements to schools that were to take place this year. Things like renewal of six elementary schools in eastern Prince William, HVAC repairs and replacement, window replacement, and energy infrastructure improvements are all on the list.
The Board is expected to tell Walts to find ways to continue to fund class size reduction plans, as well as to find a way to fund a salary step increase for schools employees.
“If we want to do these two things which we told the Board of Supervisors are priorities for us, we’re going to have to look at other areas to cut, said School Board Chairman Milton C. Johns, who proposed the new budget guidance measure.
Johns called this a “watershed year” for the school division as it looks to make up an overall $20 million shortfall, with the $11 million deficit included following the county’s 1.3% tax bill growth.
“I hate this. We’ve pushed off orders for replacement buses. We’ve pushed off technology upgrades. But we’re going to have to make some tough decisions – and it’s not just $11 million one time, its $11 million each year over the course of the next five years,” said Gainesville School Board representative Allison Satterwhite.
The stalled technology upgrades Satterwhite mentioned were supposed to cost $4.5 million and included upgrades to phone systems, computer servers, and interactive projectors.
The School Board is scheduled to meet at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 4. The Board also expects to hear from Dr. Walts at that meeting about the state of the upcoming budget.
- Historic Manassas, Inc.
- Address: 9431 West Street, Manassas, Virginia
- Phone: 703-361-6599
- Website: http://visitmanassas.org/
Historic Downtown Manassas is putting on the Soup for First Friday February.
On Feb. 6 from 6 to 9 p.m., city restaurants are pairing up with downtown merchants to offer a soup for sampling. Five-dollar wristbands allow participants to sample the soups from each location and vote to name a champion of the “Souper Bowl.”
A list of participating merchants for Manassas First Friday is available at visitmanassas.org.
Inspired by the success of the monthly event concept held in other localities, First Friday in Historic Downtown was created by the Historic Manassas, Inc. promotions committee to enhance tourism and entertainment offerings in the City of Manassas. The initial First Friday event was held in February 2014 and has grown and evolved. Some months feature roving musicians and caricature artists, while other months feature sidewalk art or special foods, like this month.
Now that Prince William schools will start classes prior to Labor Day, Manassas schools will do the same.
Here’s the latest in a press release from the city’s schools office:
On Tuesday, January 13, 2015, the School Board approved a revised 2015-16 calendar that now includes an August 31, 2015 start date for students.
Virginia law typically prohibits school divisions from starting prior to Labor Day. However, the Virginia Board of Education waives the requirement if a school board certifies that it meets one of the good cause requirements set forth in the code. Recently Prince William County Schools (PWCS), adopted a start date prior to Labor Day for 2015-2016 by meeting exemptions as indicated in the Code of Virginia.
The decision by PWCS now enables Manassas City Public Schools (MCPS) to meet one of the “good cause” options of Section 22.1-79.1 of the Code of Virginia, which states “if a school division is entirely surrounded by a school division that has an opening date prior to Labor Day in the school year for which the waiver is sought, such school division may open schools on the same opening date as the surrounding school division”. Therefore, the previously approved MCPS school year calendar for 2015-2016 has been amended to include a pre-Labor Day start (August 31, 2015) for students.
Please note that this change still fulfills the 180-day requirement for students with the last day of school now listed as June 16, 2016.
Ilka Chavez resigned her seat on the Manassas City School Board last night.
The school board member was first elected to the position in 2012 and was to complete her term in 2016. Chavez said her decision to step down was a personal one that “is in the best interest of her family.”
Her resignation leaves an open seat on the Manassas City School Board. The school division office posted a press release with more details:
Chavez has been a member of the School Board since July 2012. During her tenure, she has served on the Academic Committee, Educational Support Committee, Personnel Committee, and the ESOL Advisory Committee. Chavez has also been deeply involved in the Virginia School Boards Association.
“Mrs. Chavez has served the citizens of the City of Manassas and the children of Manassas City Public Schools well for the last two and a half years,” said Tim Demeria, Board Chairman. “She is a true public servant and an advocate for children, so I know she will remain involved in our City. On behalf of the Board, I would like to thank her for her contributions and we wish her well.”
Chavez’s resignation now means that there is an opening to serve on the School Board. The Board has 45 days to fill the vacancy with a provisional appointment. City of Manassas residents interested in being considered for appointment by the School Board should send letters of interested and a brief resume to the school Board, Attention: Clerk of the Board, 8700 Centreville Road, Suite 400, Manassas VA 20110. Letters of interest must be received in the Clerk’s office by 4:30 pm on February 2nd.
Candidates will have the opportunity to present their qualifications to the School Board at a Public Hearing to be held on February 17th at 7:00 pm. (and February 18th, if necessary) at the School Board’s administrative office.
The appointee will serve until November 2015 when a special election is held to fill the remaining year of Chavez’s original term.
In December, City of Manassas resident Mark Johnson had an idea for the #SayIWont video contest put on by Grammy Award winner Lecrae Moore and Reach Records. The video contest asked participants to make a 15 second video showing how “you’re not scared to be different.” Mark’s video featured members of the Manassas City Police Department.
Mark Johnson had the idea, in light of current happenings in other areas of the country, to show a positive relationship between the Manassas City Police Department and a City resident. His video shows him coming into MCPD Roll Call and encouraging the officers about to go out in the field.
Mark went to Osbourn High School in the City of Manassas. After a rocky start, including being expelled from school, Mark went back to Osbourn to finish high school with an advanced diploma. When asked why he chose the Manassas City Police Department to feature in his video, Mark said he remembered the great conversations he had in high school with Officer Cahill and he used that contact to make the video happen.
On Dec. 12, while attending the Manassas City Police Department holiday luncheon, Mark received a phone call from Reach Records saying he had won the national video contest and had won a trip to New York City to accompany Lecrae Moore to a Brooklyn Nets game.
“We are honored that Mark chose the MCPD to feature in his video,” said Chief Doug Keen from the Manassas City Police Department. “Mark Johnson’s video sheds a positive light on relationships with police officers and those relationships are something we want to promote in the City of Manassas. We congratulate Mark on his award winning video.”
Johnson traveled to New York City in December.
Winning artwork to be featured on light poles in Manassas
Have you seen the banners that hang on the light poles in the Historic Downtown area of the City of Manassas and in other cities? If you are an artist or aspiring to be one, the art you create could be hanging on one of those light poles.
Historic Manassas, Inc. and the City of Manassas have launched an art contest to fill the banners in Historic Downtown with original pieces of art. The contest will be juried so that one artist will be awarded a grand prize of $1000 and there will also be “people’s choice award” of $500. The contest deadline has been extended to Feb. 1, 2015.
This contest is part of an effort to promote art and tourism in the City of Manassas. The winning 50 pieces will be featured on the light pole banners and in a walking tour brochure that includes information on the piece and the artist. Information about the contest can be found at visitmanassas.org/banner-art-project.
Prince William County Public Schools issued an apology for not delaying school start times in the county, due to weather and road conditions.
According to Kara Tilgner, Information Specialist for the public schools, the county did not delay because the projection of up to 6 inches of snowfall came too late in the morning.
We apologize for the weather-related complications this morning. Multiple PWCS staff were on duty monitoring the weather and roads throughout the night and into the early-morning hours. Based upon this information, we decided to keep schools open. At that point in time, multiple weather forecasts only called for a small accumulation of snow—up to one inch. The national weather forecast changed at 7:01 a.m. to 2–4 inches of snow, and again at9:03 a.m. bringing the forecast up to 4–6 inches. Unfortunately, this was logistically too late to reverse course on the decision.
In order to provide SACC services and to give the needed time to VDOT and our own PWCS crews to plow roads and parking lots, there won’t be an early release. The School Division will close on-time; however, all after school and evening activities are canceled including Night School, GED, and Adult Education classes. SACC will close at 5 p.m.
Thank you for your patience. We sincerely apologize for the difficulties caused by the weather this morning. ?
Tim Singstock, a lifelong Prince William County resident and former officer in the Army, is running to be the next Prince William County Public School Board Chairman.
His announcement comes the same week current School Board Chairman Milton C. Johns decided not to seek reelection.
Singstock lives in Montclair with his family and currently works as a self-employed tax accountant. He attended the county’s public schools while growing up.
“I grew up right here in Prince William County, and I went to Prince William County public schools. I went to Virginia Tech on an Army ROTC scholarship and then served as an officer in the United States Army for five years,” Singstock said.
In addition to his work in the military and tax accounting, Singstock also worked as a defense contractor and project manager assisting the Marine Corps.
For Singstock, the position was one he has been considering for a long time.
“School board chairman specifically is something that I’ve been interested in for quite a while and I was contemplating, down the road – maybe in 2019 – perhaps running for the position. So, I was delighted to learn that the opportunity would come sooner in 2015,” he said.
“I feel that my generation has an obligation to ensure that today, these kids are prepared to run America in the twenty-first century,” he said of his motivation to run for the seat, continuing, “I want to serve the community I grew up in.”
He has already received endorsement for his candidacy from Johns, who will complete his term next year.
Potomac Supervisor Maureen Caddigan will also endorse Singstock.
For Singstock, there are two major concerns that need to be addressed by the school board – school safety and classroom size.
“The [first] issue I’m concerned about, is that I want to make sure that we continue to provide a safe and healthy learning environment for our kids. And so the work that I do as a parent and volunteer on the Safe School Advisory Council has kind of given me a passion for school safety,” Singstock said.
One important issue he seeks to address during his campaign is growing classroom sizes, which have been talked about as a major issue in the Prince William County Public School system for several years.
“Another issue that I hear, as I talk to teachers and I talk to parents, [is] that everyone is concerned about crowding, and we have schools above 100 percent capacity. Part of that needs to be addressed by the Board of County Supervisors because the development decisions that they make have an impact on classroom size. But on the School Board side, I think it’s a budget issue,” he said.
For him, these issues can both be addressed with good management and living within the allotted county and state education budgets.
“I would like to try and take the resources that the tax payers of Prince William County and Virginia give us, live within the parameters of those resources, and then focus those resources to the greatest extent on the classroom. And I think that’s how we as a school board can begin to address the issue of crowded classrooms,” Singstock said.
The official launch for Singstock’s campaign will kick off in January. Voters will head to the polls on Nov. 3, 2015.
Party was held at school division headquarters
A Prince William County Schools employee came to an office birthday party dressed in a toga.
The party was held during work hours on Nov. 21 inside the Prince William County Schools headquarters, the Edward L. Kelly Leadership Center. An unidentified male employee wore a bed sheet fashioned in a toga and wore with gym clothes underneath the sheet, said Prince William County Public Schools spokeswoman Irene Cromer. She added the dress was inappropriate for a party held at the schools’ offices during work hours.
“Those responsible are being held accountable, ” said Cromer, who did not know how long the unidentified toga-wearing male has worked for the school division.
The party was held by the student services department at the leadership center. Carolyn Custard, the former principal at C.D. Hylton High School and current director of the Student Services department and was at the party.
“While brief celebrations of employee birthdays are a common practice in the American workplace, as it is in Prince William County Public Schools as one way to boost morale, the event in question clearly reflects poor judgment.
No one was injured during the party. It is unclear if the unidentified toga-wearer had been exercising prior to arriving at the party, said Cromer.
The Edward L. Kelly Leadership Center at 14715 Bristow Road houses the school division’s central offices. The division also has offices at nearby Independent Hill at 14800 Joplin Road.
Prince William hit hardest by cost of living funding cuts, says Senator
Prince William County officials told legislators cuts to the county’s school system have taken a toll over the last five years.
In total, Prince William Schools have lost $48.6 million in education funding from state sources, said Tracy Gordon, assistant to the county executive. Most of the cuts have been from raises provided to attract qualified teachers to work and live in the area, known as “cost to compete” or cost of living adjustments.
State Senator George Barker (D-Fairfax, Prince William) noted cost to compete cuts have been widespread in areas like Winchester and Fredericksburg, but the $11.6 million removed from Prince William’s school budget accounts for a third of all total cost of competing cuts in the state.
“Is there a realistic shot of getting this money back this year?” asked Prince William County Board of Supervisors Chairman Corey Stewart, At-large.
“The sad reality is we’re hunting $500 million in the out years [of the state budget],” said Delegate Scott Lingamfelter (R-Fauquier, Prince William). “We’ll help the county the best we can. But we remain in a difficult climate. It would be improper for any of us to sit at this table to say we’ll go back, and find that pot of money, and bring it back to you.”
Lingamfelter said, “cost to compete” is a “sound” idea and has helped many teachers move to Northern Virginia, an area with much higher property values than other portions of the state.
At the meeting, Virginia legislators did their best to impress upon Prince William leaders that money is tight and that they shouldn’t expect any new or additional funding following January’s General Assembly session in Richmond. Compounding the problem is sales taxes are lower than expected, meaning people are spending less.
Officials have also looked at eliminating a statewide tax relief on vehicles to ease the burden on state residents. But Lingamfelter warned such a cut would leave localities looking for new sources of funding.
“If they got rid of the car tax relief guess what you would be doing here? Raising taxes,” he said.
*This story has been corrected
The Prince William County School Board voted 7-1 to accept the new boundary plans for the 12th high school, including several amendments. Click here for the full story from our news partner Bristow Beat.
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.
Prince William County Schools has announced the schedule for the half-day early dismissal for schools on Wednesday, Nov. 26.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.