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‘Survivor’ TV show contestant coming to Benton Middle School to introduce girls to STEM


Photo by Flickr user chicagowen


On March 16, 2017, Benton Middle School will host an event, which will introduce approximately 400 middle school girls and their guardians to STEM Careers. Our 3rd Annual “Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day” STEM event will convey “The Value of Women and Girls in society as Bold, Beautiful, and Innovative people.”  

Celebrity Guest; Rebekah “Becky” Lee, from the CBS TV Series Survivor: Cook Islands contestant, 2nd runner up, and activist, will be featured at the event along with other leading STEM professionals who will be conducting interactive session to drive awareness of STEM careers and educational opportunities  in the following categories: (more…)

‘Name the new elementary school the Betty D. Covington Elementary School’

Betty Covington and Tim Singstock, 2015

From Tim Singstock, of Montclair:

The community has engaged in debate over naming the new elementary school under construction in the Potomac Shores Community. Prince William County is blessed to have two wonderful choices for the school naming: Betty Covington and John Harper.

I met Mr. Harper and his wife at the 2016 NAACP dinner in Quantico. As an Army veteran and son of a Vietnam Veteran, I honor Mr. Harper’s military and combat service. (more…)

‘Only two’ big names discussed for Potomac Shores elementary school


From Prince William County Public Schools: 

Suggested names for the new “Potomac Shores” Elementary School presented to the School Board on February 1 include famous Americans, U.S. Presidents, and local educators and activists. The names were submitted online to the Office of Planning and Financial Services or offered at the School Board Naming Committee public meeting on January 30, held at Potomac High School.

The School Board is scheduled to vote on its choice at its next regular meeting on February 15. Criteria for naming of school facilities and buildings are described in Regulation 854-1.

“Potomac Shores” Elementary School is scheduled to open this fall. The school is located in the Potomac Magisterial District at 2500 River Heritage Parkway, Dumfries.

Naming committee members for “Potomac Shores” are School Board Chairman Ryan Sawyers, Loree Williams (Woodbridge), and Justin Wilk (Potomac).


Updated: New parkway elementary school site a threat to parkland, say conservationists


Photo by Flickr user Prince William Public Library

From Prince William Conservation Alliance: 

Community Meeting
Tuesday, February 7, 4 to 6pm at Prince William Conservation Alliance, 2241F Tackett’s Mill Drive, Woodbridge

Planning Commission Vote
Wednesday, February 15, 7pm at McCoart Government Center, Board Chambers

Originally proposed to replace part of Chinn Parkland, this school is now slated for a site adjacent to Chinn Park, along PW Parkway between Kenwood Drive and Trowbridge Drive.

While this new site is preferable, concerns about impacts to Chinn Parkland and the surrounding community remain.

As currently proposed, damages to the adjacent parkland would be noteworthy. Despite significant impervious surfaces and highly erodible soils, no on-site retention of stormwater is planned, creating a situation that would devastate the creek.

Serious watershed impacts would extend far beyond the borders of the development site.


Larrimore on school recess cry: ‘I’m not going to let it go’

Photo by Mike Beaty

Barbara Larrimore sent out a rallying cry for parents to come to the Prince William County Public Schools headquarters on Jan. 27, 2017 to press school leaders for more recess in public schools.

From Larrimore: 
“I thought it went really well.  The ten speakers that I had were well rounded and eloquent.  My mind keeps on shifting to Natalie Sposatos testimony of “motion changes emotion”, was a powerful moment for me.  I did not take any photos because I had my three children with me but Mike Beaty did.  I have enclosed the site here, you may use any pictures you like, just tag him for credit.  I have also attached the link for the edited ten speakers from that night.  
The American Heart Association and Shape America came to speak which was a great new perspective to be hearing from! Moms who have joined the campaign recently did so from the testimony of an All Pediatrics nurse  I hope that people at home were watching and listening, and have been contacting their school board members about their feelings.  I plan to keep showing up at the school board meetings to let them know I’m not going to let it go!”  


Delta’s annual MLK Oratorical contest produces winners

2017 MLK Abdullah Usufzai  -  Ronald Reagan Middle School__ WINNER


Norman Jones III, a senior at Stonewall Jackson High School took home first place in Prince William County Alumnae Chapter Delta Sigma Theta’s annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Youth Oratorical Contest for the third consecutive year. Jones a passionate and posed speaker has also spoken before the Department of Justice and the Prince William County School Board.

At the middle school level, first place was awarded to Abdullah Usufzai, a 7th grader at Ronald Reagan Middle School. (more…)

Stafford County eyes redistricting overcrowded high schools

From Stafford County Public Schools:

The Stafford School Board is examining a variety of options, including redistricting, to address the increasing current and projected enrollment of students in the division.

The increasing number of students at Colonial Forge High School is of particular concern at this time. A Community Input and Information Session is scheduled on Thursday, January 26, 2017 (more…)

O’Hanlon selected to fill vacant seat on school board

ohanlon swearing in

From Manassas City Public Schools:

O’Hanlon Selected to Fill Vacant Seat on School Board

The School Board of the City of Manassas unanimously voted on January 4, 2017 to appoint Peter B. O’Hanlon to serve as its newest member. O’Hanlon was appointed to fill the vacant seat previously held by Pamela J. Sebesky, who resigned effective December 31 to serve on the City Council for the City of Manassas. O’Hanlon will serve until November 2017 when a special election is held to fill the remaining year of Sebesky’s original term (December 31, 2018). (more…)

NOVA, GW to host Academic Pathways to Technology Careers forum



Discover a myriad of careers available in the information technology industry at Northern Virginia Community College’s Woodbridge Campus open forum, Academic Pathways to Technology Careers on Saturday, Jan. 28, from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m., at 2645 College Drive in Woodbridge.

In partnership with The George Washington University (GW), NOVA-Woodbridge will host an interactive workshop for those interested in exploring a career in information systems technology, integrated information, science and/or technology. Faculty and staff from GW and NOVA-Woodbridge, along with industry partners from the Telos Corporation, International Monetary Fund (IMF), Institute for Defense Analysis, Booz Allen Hamilton and Women in Technology & Enterprise will present information on the skills and qualifications required for new hires in the field. Attendees will also have the opportunity to network with representatives from each organization in addition to speaking with NOVA and GW admissions and financial aid departments. 

During the Fall 2016 semester, NOVA first partnered with GW to offer two bachelor’s degree completion programs in Cybersecurity andIntegrated Information, Science and Technology (IIST) at the Woodbridge Campus. The collaborative effort to form a 2-plus-2 transfer agreement between NOVA and GW has been established to detail the required set of courses to be completed at NOVA in order for students to transfer to GW.  Students who successfully complete an associate degree in IT or Cybersecurity or 60 credit hours of suitable coursework, can transfer to GW with a junior standing.  

Academic Pathways to Technology Careers forum is open to the public and will be held in the Black Box Theatre of NOVA-Woodbridge Arts & Sciences Building (WAS). Parking is free in any B lot on campus. Lunch will be provided for all registered guest. To register, please visit Registration will be accepted through Jan. 27.

‘The school division can and has purchased land for schools with nor need for BOCS involvement’

colgan high school

Lillie Jessie, the Occoquan District School Board representative, penned a post for Potomac Local last week that we titled ‘Instead of giving us money,…provide land needed to build new schools.’

We lifted the words for the headline straight from Jessie’s text. And then we started wondering: Is it always up to the Prince William County Board of Supervisors (BOCS) to purchase land, or designate a site on which the Independent School Board should build a new school?

From Prince William County Public Schools spokesman Phil Kavits: (more…)

‘Computer-brain interfaces can revolutionize the way that disabled individuals can go about their everyday lives’


Interfacing Brains to Electronics will be discussed by bioengineering professor Nathalia Peixoto at 7 p.m. Jan. 12 as part of Galileo’s Science Café, hosted by George Mason University’s Science and Technology Campus.

New breakthroughs in computer-brain interfaces can revolutionize the way that disabled individuals can go about their everyday lives. Our ability to see, hear, move, and think is controlled by neurons in our body that communicate by transmitting electrical signals. Scientists are using the electrical properties of nerves, in conjunction with the power of modern computers, to develop computer-brain interface technologies.

While this may sound like science fiction, our neural engineering laboratory is electrically stimulating and recording activity from neurons, developing retinal implants for blind people, and leveraging augmented reality to help people with disabilities.

Date: January 12, 2017

Location: Hylton Performing Arts Center, 10960 George Mason Circle, Manassas, Virginia

6 p.m.: Doors open, food and beverages available
7-7:30 p.m.: Scientific Discussion
7:30-7:45 p.m.: Q&A
7:45-8:30 p.m.: Meet the Scientist and Networking Reception

RSVP to attend.

Baldwin Elementary School clean-up effort ‘extensive’

baldwin1 (1)

The new Baldwin Elementary School in Manassas closed its doors Tuesday and will be closed again Wednesday due to a pipe burst.

The pipe burst at about 2 a.m. Tuesday, according to school officials. The temperature at Washington Regan National Airport at that time was 17 degrees

Here’s a statement from Manassas City Public Schools Executive Director of Finance & Operations Andy Hawkins:

Early this morning we were notified that a water pipe had broken at Baldwin Elementary School and water was flowing from the ceiling on the 3rd floor extended learning area down to the second and first floors which house K through 3rd-grade classrooms.

Our Maintenance team and the custodial teams from both Osbourn High School and Baldwin responded. We also contacted an outside vendor (A-1 Flood Tech) to assist us in in the remediation effort.

A review of our security camera footage documented that at approximately 10:15 last evening water started leaking from an Outside Air Unit. This unit circulates fresh air throughout the building.


Baldwin Elementary School students get another day off Wednesday


Baldwin Elementary School closed today due to a burst water pipe. The brand new school opened just before Christmas.

We emailed Manassas City schools spokeswoman Al Radford about the closure for tomorrow.

Potomac Local to Manassas Schools: “Do you have any photos of the Baldwin damage? Cost repair estimate? Also, can you tell us how something like this happened in a brand new facility? “

Manassas City Public Schools spokeswoman Al Radford: “No pictures…and not sure of total cost of repairs at this point.  I am copying Andy Hawkins, Director of Finance and Operations…Mr. Hawkins is gathering information from the staff regarding everything that has been done and will provide an update to the School Board at the meeting tonight if you are able to view it.”

‘A capital improvement of $10.5 million for a single, primarily white high school in the west’

The Edward L. Kelly Leadership Center is the headquarters for the Prince William County Public School System [Photo: Prince William County Public Schools]

From a letter from Prince William County School Board Chairman Ryan Sawyers, Vice Chair Lillie Jessie, and Loree Williams to the United States Department of Justice



“Of current concern to the undersigned members of the [Prince William County School Board] PWCSB is a recent gambit in which the [Prince William County Board of Supervisors] PWCBOCS offered previously-unappropriated funds to the PWCSB for the express purpose of selecting a more expensive and opulent design for a new high school to be built in the predominantly white western portion of the County, which it would then match with an equal amount to be



generally used in the predominantly minority eastern part of the County.

In other words, a capital improvement of $10.5 million for a single, primarily white high school in the west, along with $10.5 million to be used at dozens of predominantly black/Hispanic elementary schools in the east. Potential funding for predominately minority schools was made contingent upon the approval of a more extravagant model for



the new high school in the predominately white portion of the county.

The anticipated enrollment of the new high school in the west is 2,500, which represents $4,200/per student, while the combined attendance of elementary schools in the east is approximately 21,000, meaning that $500/per student has been made available in the primarily minority schools. This proposal was unfortunately accepted by the PWCSB on January 4, 2017, by a vote of 5-3 (with the undersigned providing the three votes against).”


Reaction from elected officials in Prince Willaim County: 

‘No school for Baldwin Elementary School students today…because of standing water in the building due to frozen pipes and no heat’


From Almeta (Al.) Radford Director, of Public Communications, Manassas City Public Schools

There will be no school for Baldwin Elementary School students today, Tuesday, January 10th, because of standing water in the building due to frozen pipes and no heat. A clean-up crew is on site to remove the water.

We will provide an update regarding the status of the building later today.  We appreciate the flexibility and understanding of Baldwin parents as this matter is addressed.

‘If you believe that our testing culture has gotten out of control and that we need to meet the basic needs of movement and play for young children then please…attend the Pep Rally’

The Edward L. Kelly Leadership Center is the headquarters for the Prince William County Public School System [Photo: Prince William County Public Schools]


I am writing to tell you about an exciting event happening at the [Prince William County] School Board meeting on January 27, 2017, at 7:00 p.m. My name is Barbara Larrimore and I have three young children; two of which are attending Lake Ridge Elementary School. Through watching and volunteering at the school, hours of research, and calling other counties and highly ranked schools in the state of Virginia, that PWC is not allowing best practices for our youngest citizens. 

American Academy of Pediatrics states that children need 60 minutes of physical activity a day.  Half of our children’s waking hours are spent at school so they should be getting 30 minutes of physical activity a day (recess or P.E.).  On most days, out of the 6.5 hours, they spend in school, my children will only get 15 minutes of physical activity. This is a staggeringly low number for my exuberant five and eight-year-old.
Please, if you believe that our testing culture has gotten out of control and that we need to meet the basic needs of movement and play for young children then please…attend the Pep Rally for more recess on January 27, 2017, at 7:00 p.m. at the school board meeting!  Feel free to share this with your family and friends. 

Game on! Satterwhite says Prince William School Board special meeting is happening

Alyson Satterwhite says there will be a special meeting of the Prince William County School Board on Wednesday night.

The Gainesville District School Board representative called the meeting last week, but then Board Chairman Ryan Sawyers reportedly canceled the meeting.

The Board is expected to discuss the Prince William County Board of Supervisor’s offer to give the schools $21 million in additional funds if the School Board decides to build a larger building capable of housing more students at the site of the planned 13th high school in Bristow.

“Our agenda is not very full so unless we take a long time on board matters, or unless there is a lot of citiznen comments, I think there will be because of everything that is happening, we’ll get started right after the regular meeting,” said Satterwhite.

The special meeting is slated to take about a half hour, she added.

The regular School Board meeting is set to begin at 7 p.m. Wednesday, January 4, at the Prince William County Public Schools Kelly Leadership Center located 14715 Bristow Road. 

‘Instead of giving us money,…provide land needed to build new schools’

Lillie Jessie, of Lake Ridge, will run to represent the Board’s Occoquan District. She greeted the public as a candidate for the first time Sunday, July 15, 2012. (Photo: Uriah Kiser/

Rarely does either of us (Lillie Jessie and Loree Williams) write about School Board matters but this constant misleading impression that certain members of the Prince William County School Board (SB) are turning away money offered to reduce overcrowding of our schools by the Board of County Supervisors (BOCS) has forced us to speak out.

The fact is, Mrs. Jenine Lawson, of the Brentsville District and Mr. Pete Candland, of the Gainsville District have decided to give the school system approximately $21,000,000 million of your taxpayers’ money but only if $10.6 million of it is used to help fund a redesigned of the new 13th high school in Mrs. Lawson’s district. The cost of this newly redesigned school would be $160 million. By the way, this does not include millions of dollars in operating cost.

Keep in mind that it was at the request of Mr. Gil Trenum that the original design for the Battlefield model was granted by the SB, a design he and Mrs. Lawson now no longer want. They and their constituents now preferred the Patriot Model. 

Since Mr. Trenum was unable to bring the Patriot Model back to the floor for a vote (Roberts Rule of Order), he came back to the board with a new design called the “Hybrid” which was the Patriot in disguise

Mrs. Satterwhite, of the Gainsville district, cited research that children learned better in schools that had light and windows. That rationale was difficult to defend when Mrs. Jessie reminded her that the two local high schools that achieved a national ranking, Osbourn Park, and Battlefield, had few windows and that one of this was, in fact, the Battlefield design they no longer wanted

Their agenda item failed to get the votes needed for the second time. This time they also cited overcrowding as an issue and renamed the same $160,000,000 model the “PRICE” model (same Patriot Model in disguise).

Since according to Roberts Rules neither Mr. Trenun nor Mrs. Satterwhite could bring this vote up again, a newly elected board member Mr. Willie Deutsch was enlisted to try a third time. Again they used overcrowding as a concern and that per pupil this $160 million school was inexpensive. This third attempt failed to pass also.

They have now found themselves out of options at the school board level and are trying to acquire a new vote for the same agenda item under the BOCS. This time the disguise is “We want to reduce overcrowding county-wide…Give us our redesign; we will pay for the additional debt service cost and in return, we will give you $10.6 million as a goodwill gesture…but only if we get what we want.” This is now the “fourth attempt.

First and foremost, you the public taxpayers, need to know that the cost for this school has skyrocketed because of delays and actions by Mrs. Lawson. This school is not scheduled to be completed until 2021 because of the following delays:

The first delay took place when Mrs. Lawson replaced Mr. Covington on the BOCS. The delay made sense since she needed time to get acclimated.

The next delays came as a result of Mrs. Lawson because she did not like the proffered deal from Stonehaven. The continued negotiations dragged on and on until Stonehaven pull its offer off the table. This resulted in a loss of revenue for the land, roads, and sewage. We lost approximately $50 million.

The above loss combined with inflation resulted in the cost for the school skyrocketing from $125,000,000 to $160 million. Millions of dollars (double digit) in operating cost is not a part of this.

Keep in mind several members of the BOCS, were appalled at the cost of Colgan High School ($110 million). They even discuss the cost of a $125,000 Steinway piano. 

They, and certain SB members, especially, Mr. Willie Deutsh, expressed outrage when the cost to update George Hampton Middle was approximately $500,000. Never mind that Dr. Hampton settled for an old school, allowing the new school to be named after Kyle Wilson at the cost of $28 million.


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