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News
First black man elected in Prince William County to be honored with elementary school

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Harper and Covington [Photo: Prince William County Public Schools]

Editors note: This is the second in a series of two stories about Betty Covington and John Harper, for which Covington-Harper Elementary School is named.

John Harper didn’t plan to retire in Prince William County.

While living in Dale City in 1979, the 23-year Army veteran was given a choice of transfer to Pennsylvania to help train the National Guard, or retire. After serving 18 years as an artillery man and the last five years of his career as a logistician, Harper chose the latter.

On August 24, the county school division will dedicate a new elementary school partially in his honor. The new school, Covington-Harper Elementary School at Potomac Shores, is named after Betty Covington and Harper, two retirees who both served on the first elected school board in Prince William County in 1995.

Both honorees served Prince William County on the school board, in its public schools, and Harper in the county government. He was the first black man to be elected to county office, and he was the first black man to head a department in the county government.

Harper’s story, like Covington’s, begins in rural North Carolina. His family lived as sharecroppers in a farm in Goldsboro where they grew everything from tobacco, corn, to cotton. (more…)

News
Longtime educator, school board member readies to open elementary school bearing her name

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Harper and Covington [Photo: Prince William County Public Schools]

Editors note: This is the first in a series of two stories about Betty Covington and John Harper, for which Covington-Harper Elementary School is named.

Betty Covington is looking forward to the opening of a new elementary school that will bear her name.

Covington-Harper Elementary School will be the 62nd elementary school in Prince William County when it opens this fall. A ribbon-cutting ceremony is scheduled for Thursday, August 24.

The elementary school located at 2500 River Heritage Boulevard near Dumfries is named after both Covington, a longtime county educator and school board member, and John Harper, Jr. the first African-American man to serve in elected county office, and the first to head county government department.

The new building is the third structure in the county to bear Covington’s name. The gymnasium at R. Dean Kilby Elementary School in Woodbridge, where she was principal for 19 years is named after her. The library at Dumfries Elementary School, where she taught and was later principal, is also named for her.

“I’ve been honored before, and I appreciate all of it,” said Covington. (more…)

Time is running out for summer reading, but it’s not too late

Time is running out, but it’s not too late!

Explore Summer Reading 2017

With school just around the corner, it is time to dust off those thinking caps and get ready to learn. But don’t do it alone, stop by your closest Prince William Public Library branch and score some fun prizes while getting back in the groove.

In less than six visits (YES, six visits), you will have the opportunity to win some amazing food coupons, free books and be entered to win a brand-new flip laptop (for kids) or a Beats Pill by Dre® (for young adults).  Either visit pwcgov.org/summerreading or head on over to any Prince William Public Library branch to sign up. Once you have your passport (for kids) or punch card (for young adults), just tell us what you’re reading each time you visit the library and watch the stamps and punches roll in.

Don’t worry, adults, because you can participate in Explore Summer Reading, too! You don’t even have to register. Whenever you come into the library, fill out an entry form with the name of a book you’ve read. We will hold a drawing for a Target gift card at each of our eleven branches each week for all nine weeks of summer reading. (more…)

News
NOVA launches weekend college program

From Northern Virginia Community College:

Beginning in the fall 2017 semester, Northern Virginia Community College students can advance their career at a much faster pace through NOVA’s Express Weekend and Evening College @ the Woodbridge Campus.

NOVA Express Weekend and Evening College @ The Woodbridge Campus enables students to take an entire semester of classes needed to earn a degree or certification, all outside of standard business hours. Adult learners who are busy balancing full-time jobs and family responsibilities can enroll in a 12-credit schedule, selecting from a wide variety of classes, including NOVA’s new business degree.

This new, innovative approach to accommodate the busy schedules of NOVA students offers flexible, hybrid (half classroom learning & half online) courses at 9 a.m. and/or 11 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, and after 6 p.m. on weekday evenings. Students can finish a semester in only 14 weeks, instead of the usual 16 and also receive support, advising and instruction from NOVA faculty and staff. (more…)

News
Everest College goes non-profit, changes name

WOODBRIDGE — A career college in Woodbridge is changing its name.

Everest College, located at 14555 Potomac Mills Road at Potomac Festival shopping center near Potomac Mills mall, offers courses in dental and medical assisting, as well as a medical administrative assistant program.The school’s new name will be Altierus Career College.

More in a press release:

Everest Institute-Chesapeake and Everest College-Woodbridge are changing their names to Altierus Career College. The new name, effective August 8, reflects the college’s updated and expanded offerings in high-demand medical and trade industries, including efforts to ensure that students are well-matched with career choices and develop the soft skills local employers value most.

The Chesapeake and Woodbridge campuses were acquired by Zenith Education Group nearly two and a half years ago and immediately transitioned to non-profit status. Since then, the soon-to-be Altierus campus has undergone many changes geared toward the ultimate vision of becoming a third pathway for nontraditional students for whom community colleges and for-profit schools have not worked, including helping students to develop many of the “soft skills” employers say they value most. Changes include: (more…)

News
Groundbreaking planned for new Moncure Elementary School

STAFFORD — We’ve been talking about a new Moncure Elementary School in North Stafford since 2011.

Now it looks like it’s going to happen.

From a press release:

Stafford County Public Schools and Board of Supervisors are scheduled to attend a groundbreaking ceremony for Anne E. Moncure Elementary School. Contractors will break ground on building the new school in the coming weeks.

School officials, staff and Board of Supervisors will mark the occasion at the site of the new school. The construction project is expected to cost $29,942,000. The school is expected to open in the fall of 2019.

The design of the new Anne E. Moncure Elementary School supports the SCPS C5W vision, which focuses on: communication, collaboration, creativity, critical thinking, citizenship, and wellness. The abundant interior transparency will create a strong sense of community connections for students, staff, and parents. The exterior transparency connects Moncure’s community of learners to the natural setting that exists on the site. (more…)

Traffic
Should there be a speed zone in front of Colgan High School?

A study of school speed zones will be conducted ahead of a public hearing on an effort to slow traffic in front of the new Colgan High School.

Prince William County schools officials want to erect flashing signs near the school on both the north and southbound sides of the highway. When flashing, the signs would require drivers to slow from 55 mph to 35 mph on school days between 7 and 8 a.m. and 1:40 to 2:40 p.m.

Nohe called for to the review to see if the signs are warranted and asked the county’s transportation department director for a list of other comparable high schools on heavily traveled roads with school speed zones in place.

“If we’re going to set a precedent here, we need to know if there are going to be ramifications,” said Nohe.

Potomac Senior High School off Route 1 in Woodbridge and Battlefield High School off Route 15 near Haymarket do not have flashing school signs on those major thoroughfares. Both schools are located on side streets Panther Pride Drive and Graduation Drive, respectively.

Colgan High School sits on busy Route 234, a vital link between Interstates 95 and 66 in Prince William County. The road carries 33,000 cars a day, and 3,000 cars per day on weekdays while school is in session.

The date and time for the public hearing have not been set.

News
Student turns down $150,000, earns scholarship to dream school

WOODBRIDGE — A Woodbridge high school student turned down $150,000 in scholarship money to a prestigious school only to end up with more cash to attend the school of her dreams.

Shekinah Reese, 17, is a straight-A student who in June graduated Woodbridge Senior High School in Lake Ridge. She was captain of her high school dance team, a member of the track and field team, and attended Metropolitan School of the Arts for nine years to train in various levels of dance. She was also selected for the Center for the Fine and Performing Arts specialty program at Woodbridge Senior High School.

Reese has always had a love for film and TV, and the urge to study in the field. She took part in a high school summer program at Ithaca College in New York in 2016 for field production to earn college credit. There she had the opportunity to create a 15-minute documentary film about Ithaca’s downtown and its locals.

Afterward, impressed with her work, the college offered her more than $150,000 in tuition aid to attend the school. Reese was thrilled, but deep down she knew she was looking for something more.

“Elon has always been my dream school. They have a state-of-the-art School of Communications that reflects the education and standards that I’m seeking,” she said. (more…)

News
End of trailer classrooms on the horizon at Springwoods Elementary

LAKE RIDGE — Teachers and staff at Springwoods Elementary School in Lake Ridge are buzzing about an upcoming addition to the school building.

A total of 13 new classrooms and an activity room will be added to the school building in 2019. When complete, the $11.9 million renovations will allow 329 more students to attend classes at the school.

School staff recently took to Twitter to announce that some parents might see some movement of trailers on school property this summer, but it’s not related to the upcoming work:

Springwoods Elementary has seven trailers, also called learning cottages. When the new addition is complete, all of the trailers are expected to be removed.

The school located at 3815 Marquis Place in Lake Ridge opened in 1985 and currently holds 593 students. Prince Wiliam County has 128 trailer classrooms at its 60 elementary schools.



Explore summer reading at your Prince William Public Library: Young Adults

 

Free food, prizes, and events all summer long!

How it Works:

Explore Summer Reading is happening now until August 19. A couple of weeks ago we talked about summer reading for kids, infants through students entering 5th grade.

Today it’s all about the teens! Young adults (entering grades 6 – 12), come to any library branch to register and pick up a Punch Card, and we’ll give you your first punch. Then each time you visit the library, tell us what you’re reading and we’ll punch your card. At your second visit, we’ll give you a free food coupon. And at your sixth visit, more free food!

Grand Prizes

But wait, there’s more! We’re giving away a $100 prize at each of our 11 branches, plus one grand prize, a Beats™ Pill+. Each visit counts as an entry into the drawings, and you can earn punches for up to nine visits. Plus, write a book review and enter it on our Explore Summer Reading website, www.pwcgov.org/summerreading, and earn extra entries! You might also find your book review published to our Goodreads page, www.pwcgov.org/goodreads.

Weekly Challenges and Events

Come in each week of summer reading and complete the weekly challenge for the chance to win additional prizes. Then put your smartphone down and come to a free event, such as a cartooning workshop, art class, cooking demo, magic workshop, reptile show, laser tag party, and much more. For the full lineup, pick up a copy of Explore magazine at any library or visit our events page at www.pwcgov.org/library/events.

Then pick your smartphone back up and tag us #PWPLSsummer on social media. Find us on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. Tag us and we might repost! (more…)

‘I was horrified to see the hands raised in opposition to adding gender identity and sexual orientation to the non-discrimination policy for students and employees’

From an email: 

I attended the June 21 PWCS School Board meeting looking for inspiration at a time of opportunity for our County to demonstrate its values. A vote against non-discrimination is a vote for discrimination. I was horrified to see the hands raised in opposition of adding gender identity and sexual orientation to the Non-Discrimination Policy for students and employees. 
I feel pity for the opposing members that history will record their objection to protecting vulnerable students and employees, and that their legacies will be tainted by a burning and panicked hatred of Chairman Sawyers, a leader who has shown courage and foresight amidst an onslaught of outrageous attacks. 
 
Sincerely,
 
Erika Bukva
Prince William County

Traffic
Interstate 95 Southbound paving begins in Stafford County

I-95 southbound will be reduced to a single lane overnight from north of Exit 133/Route 17 to the Rappahannock River bridge on Monday ? Thursday evenings this week

Fredericksburg– A pavement repair project will close two Interstate 95 southbound lanes overnight in Stafford County on several evenings over the next two weeks between the Route 17 overpass and the Rappahannock River bridge.

Rutting has developed in the vehicle wheel path of the left and center lane of I-95 southbound between the Route 17 overpass and Rappahannock River bridge. Milling the pavement and adding new asphalt is needed to correct the rutting. (more…)

News
Spotted mountain lion slows dismissal at Chris Yung Elementary

From Prince William schools: 

“About 3:20 p.m. today, Chris Yung Elementary School was placed in secure-the-building status because a mountain lion was spotted near the school.

This action is precautionary and staff and students are safe. Teachers will walk students to their buses at dismissal at 3:50 p.m. One bus will be loaded at a time. Parents are asked to come pick up their children if they are walkers.  

Updates will be placed on the school website, https://chrisyunges.pwcs.edu/

News
Governor signs anti-bullying bill into law at Forest Park High School

From a press release from the Office of  Delegate Eileen Filler-Corn: 

“On Tuesday, June 6, Governor Terry McAuliffe signed HB 1709 at Forest Park High School in Woodbridge. 

This law will require the policies and procedures prohibiting bullying that are contained in each school board’s code of student conduct to direct the principal to notify the parent of any student involved in an alleged incident of bullying of the status of any investigation within five school days of the allegation.”

From Prince William County Public Schools: 

“Senator Jeremy McPike (District 29) and Delegate Eileen Filler-Corn (District 41) bill sponsors, flanked the Governor as he signed Senate Bill 1117 and House Bill 1709.

McPike’s bill, SB 1117, requires school counselors to receive training in trauma, suicide, and substance abuse when renewing licensure from the state. Forest Park High School was selected as the site for the ceremony because it is well known for its annual Suicide Awareness Walk led by students, many of whom experienced a loss or knew someone who has.

Filler-Corn’s bill, HB 1709, requires School Boards to adopt policies to inform parents when a child is involved in bullying, either as a victim or perpetrator.”

From the Office of Sen. Jeremy McPike: 

“The Governor signed Delegate Filler-Corn’s bullying bill and Senator McPike’s suicide bill at Forest Park HS yesterday because of the ongoing work the FPHS students do on suicide prevention. This year was the third year… students organized the Suicide Awareness Walk along Spriggs Road. Senator McPike suggested Forest Park to give these students, as well as the advocates at Payton’s Project and the David J Cobb Foundation, the opportunity to witness the signing and meet the Governor.” 


‘Explore Summer Reading program is all about celebrating the joy of reading for fun’

Ah, Summer! It’s time for flip-flops, popsicles, lazy days at the pool, and a break from school. It’s also time for Summer reading at your public library! We’re talking prizes for reading, fun weekly challenges and tons of events and activities all Summer long. And it’s all free, of course!

Before we get into the details, let’s talk about why Summer reading is so important to school-age students. Maybe you’ve heard of the “Summer slide”? It’s the learning loss that happens during the summer when kids and teens don’t read or participate in educational activities. But don’t worry, because public library Summer reading programs help combat Summer slide. Research shows that children who are engaged in Summer reading programs perform better academically when they return to school in the Fall. And the best part is that your kids and young adults get a quality experience at no cost. (more…)

News
340 Prince William School buses will get missing safety feature

Prince William County must have 340 school buses retrofitted.

The brake interlock system was missing from these buses sold to the school division after March 24, 2011. The interlock stops accidental engagement of the bus’ transmission by requiring the driver to step on the brake before releasing the bus’ parking brake.

The manufacturers of the identified buses will pay the entire cost of the retrofit process, according to Prince William County Public Schools spokeswoman Irene Cromer.

The work will be done over the summer and will not affect service to county school children.

The brake interlock system does not impact the safe operation of the vehicle.

“Thomas Built Buses was recently made aware of this issue by Sonny Merryman, Inc., the Thomas dealer. All three OEMs selling large buses into the Commonwealth of Virginia are experiencing the same issue on buses built after February of 2011 when the specification was enacted. This issue does not impact the operation of the vehicle. Sonny Merryman, Inc. and Thomas Built Buses are working to ensure all buses in question are in compliance with the Commonwealth’s requirement.” stated Nicholas Smith, a Thomas bus spokesman via email to Potomac Local.

Statewide, some 4,000 buses are in need of the retrofit.

News
Archery grows in popularity in county elementary schools

Archery is growing in popularity in Prince William County Public Schools.

Rosa Parks Elementary School in Dale City sent home letters to parents late last month notifying them of the archery program that will be offered during the school’s physical education classes, as well as giving them the opportunity to opt out their child from the program.

Here’s a portion of the letter: (more…)

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