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Renaming of Hampton Middle School dubbed ‘historic’ event, Godwin name stripped from building

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The sign that hangs on the front of George M. Hampton Middle School looks as if it has always been there.

The silver-lettered sign against a brick background uses the same lettering as a sign that once hung there until this summer, noting the school had originally been named after Mills E. Godwin, a former Virginia Governor who was once a segregationist but later reformed, and became a champion of public education.

All signs of Godwin had been wiped away from the school building by Thursday night when 400 people gathered in the gymnasium to re-dedicate the school after long-time Dale City resident, philanthropist, and retired Army Lt. Colonel Dr. George M. Hampton.

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School Board leaders billed the ceremony as a “historic event,” with School Board Chairman Ryan Sawyers saying the [Prince William County] School Board “made a mistake” when they named this school after Godwin. It is progressive thinking that led to the renaming of the school, he added.

Hampton said the school dedication in his honor is “the most significant event in his lifetime.” He also spoke about the lengthy process undertaken by the community to rename the school in his honor, which included several public meetings, and lengthy School Board meetings that drew residents who spoke for and against the renaming of Godwin Middle School.

A new high school dedicated this week was named after retired Virginia State Senator Charles “Chuck” Colgan, and a new elementary school was named after fallen Prince William County Firefighter Kyle Wilson. Hampton’s name was considered for both new buildings but was not selected.

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Instead, a March compromise among School Board members led to Wilson’s name going up at the newly constructed elementary school and Hampton’s name replacing Godwin’s at what was the first middle school to open in Dale City, in 1976.

“I lost the first time, and I won the second time,” said Hampton, as he recounted the steps of the renaming process during Thursday’s night’s re-dedication ceremony. “I was happy to accept the compromise.”

A video was shown to the crowd that also recounted the story of the naming process. Still images of the proceedings, regional media reports, and black and white photos from the 1960s depicting blacks barred from public schools during massive resistance were all tied together by two songs: Sam Cooke’s “A Change is Gonna Come,” and singer John Legend and rapper Common’s song “Glory.” The video depicted School Board leaders as political heroes upon reaching the compromise to rename the school.

“That sums up everything,” said Neabsco District School Board member Diane Ralston, who represents parents, students, teachers, and staff at Hampton Middle on the Prince William County School Board.

 

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Hampton Middle School Principal Jehovanni Mitchell hosted the ceremony, guiding elected officials, parents, teachers, students, and visitors from the Phi Lamda Lamda Chapter of Hampton’s Omega Psi Phi Fraternity through school. She outlined the changes needed to transform what Prince William County School Board Superintendent Steven Walts called “the other school” into Hampton Middle.

The school traded the “Governors” mascot, chosen because Mills E. Godwin was a two-term Virginia Governor, for the “Huskies.” The new school logo is now painted in the gym and in hallways, as well as printed on new t-shirts, sweatshirts, and other apparel that was sold at the re-dedication ceremony.

Residents remarked on the interior school of the school, noting rooms appeared brighter, and hallways and classrooms appeared cleaner than they had been when the school had the Godwin moniker.

School officials spent an estimated $265,700 to change the name of the and to make improvements to the building. A total of $66,000 was paid for new athletic uniforms, $60,000 on painting new murals in the gyms and hallways, $25,000 to repaint and reseal the gym floor, $23,000 to replace handicapped signage at the building, and $20,000 for miscellaneous expenses.

The estimated cost is lower than an April report from a School official that said that the renaming could cost as much as $500,000

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School officials have been busy this week at dedication ceremonies. On Monday, leaders opened the county’s 12th high school, Colgan High School — the first school in the county to include a swimming pool, and one of the costliest schools ever built in the state at $111 million.

The new Kyle Wilson Elementary was dedicated Tuesday as the county’s 59th elementary school. The school has 850 seats, and will provide overcrowding relief for nearby Ashland, Coles, and Rosa Parks elementary schools.

Prince William County Public Schools students head back to class for the first day of school on Monday, Aug. 29, 2016, to begin the 2016-17 school year.

News
Aquatics center inside Colgan High School to open September 10

Students and residents will have a new place to swim starting September 10 when the ribbon is cut on the new indoor Prince William County Aquatics Center.

The facility includes a 500,000-gallon competition swimming pool with a moveable bulkhead for multiple meet configurations, a 50,000 gallon, zero-depth leisure pool, and a 150-foot long 20-foot high water slide.

The swim center located inside the newly built $111 million Colgan High School — one of the most costly high schools ever built in the state — will be open to the community seven days a week and be will be used by students. Getting students acquainted with the pool — children who otherwise not be acclimated to the water at home — is a core mission of the swim facility.

After the school year begins on August 2 and the pool opens for business two weeks later, second-grade students will come to the aquatics facility on a field trips to learn about water safety as part of the many educational programs planned at the pool.

“We’re not teaching them how to swim, but we are providing some instruction for safety in and around the water, and maybe someday that will save a life,” said Prince William Aquatics Center Manager Allen Dunn.

Drowning is the second-leading cause of the death for children under the age of 14. Black children are statistically more likely to drown than whites, officials added. 

The pool will be used as a field trip site for students who do not attend Colgan High School. Physical education students at Colgan will use the pool as part of their curriculum.

Nine Prince William County Public Schools will have daily swim team practices here, as well as two U.S. Swim teams. Teams from area homeowners associations will also use the facility. Dunn has already scheduled three conference meets and two regional swim meets at the facility.

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A raised spectator spanning the length of the competition pool allows for extensive views of the indoor center. With an occupancy of 465 people, the facility is slightly larger than the indoor pool at the Freedom Aquatics and Fitness Center just outside Manassas, said Dunn.

The depth of the competition pool at the aquatics center ranges from four feet in the shallows to 12 and a half feet on the deep end. When not in use by swim teams, residents will be able to use the pool for activities ranging from swimming lessons, water aerobics, to scuba diving training.

Not only is the size of the facility impressive, but so is the “state-of-the-art” equipment used in the pump room to keep the pool clean. Ultra-violet light is used to disinfect the water during the filtration process, before its sent back to the pool.

“You’ll notice the air in here is pretty clear, low humidity, and you don’t have that strong chlorine smell you usually associate with other indoor swimming facilities, because of UV light and lower amount of chlorine we use…” said Dunn.

The doors to the aquatic center will open at 9:30 a.m. on September 10, and recreational swimming in both pools and use of the waterslide will be free. School officials hope residents will come and get aquatinted the new facility and then return in the following days as paying customers.

The pool will be open for public use from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on weekends, and 6 to 10 a.m., and 4 to 9 p.m. on weekdays.

Weekday evening hours will start at 6 p.m. beginning in November and last until the end of the high school swimming season.

Daily admission to the aquatics center will cost $5 for ages 3 to 15, $7 for ages 16 to 59, $5 for those 60 and older, and $15 for a family pass.

A 20 visit pass costs $75 for ages 3 to 15, $112.50 for those aged 16 to 15, and $75 for those over 60.

A one-month membership to the facility will cost $45 for those aged 3 to 15, $67.50 for those aged 16 to 59, $45 for those over 60, and $115 for a family.

A 12-month membership to the facility costs $273 for ages 3 to 15, $409.50 for those between the ages of 16 and 59, $273 for those over 60, and $819 for a family.

A separate entrance for the aquatics center at the rear of the school building will allow the public to come and go without entering the main section of Colgan High School. Inside the facility, doors will be locked preventing public access to the school. This will make it easier for the public to use the facility while keeping the students inside the school buying more secure, said Dunn.

The Prince William Aquatics Facility joins the Freedom Aquatic and Fitness Center, and the Chinn and Sharon Baucom Dale City Rec Center both in Dale City as public swimming facilities in the county. The facility is also the first and only swimming pool at a public school in Prince William County.

The Prince William Aqutics Facility is located at 13719 Dumfries Road near Woodbridge.

News
Simons will not be interim replacement for Trenum on School Board

And then there were two. 

Gil Trenum told us this morning that Kim Simons is no longer in the running to temporarily replace him on the Prince William County School Board. 

Simons withdrew her name from the list citing what she called defamatory accusations by Prince William County School Board Chairman Ryan Sawyers made in a press release August 4, claiming Simons, an accountant, has a client in the pornography industry. A political blog also claimed Simons boasted about having a customer in the porn business. 

“There is nothing illegal in Kim Simons’ actions… But there is no getting around the question of whether or not this is appropriate for someone applying to be on the School Board,” the blog stated. 

Simons said the action of the School Board Chairman created a hostile environment, and that the allegations are false. 

“Chairman Sawyers, acting in his official capacity, has chosen to attack me and question my morality, causing unnecessary stress on my family,” Simons penned in her letter. 

Simons is one of three people Trenum, a Naval Commander, named to be his temporary replacement on the School Board while he is deployed to Djibouti, Africa this year. 

“I am extremely disappointed. Ms. Simons has given many hours of her personal time over the past several years working to make Prince William County Schools a better place for our students and our teachers. I am very appreciative of the time that we worked together and look forward to working with her again after I return,” stated Trenum in an email to Potomac Local.

Christopher Park and Shawn Brann remain in the running to replace Trenum. Park has a background in government property management while Brann works as a senior technical writer working on federal government contracts. 

The Virginia Attorney General’s Office last week opined that the School Board must name a temporary replacement for Trenum during his absence, and return the seat to him upon his return from duty.

Trenum is set to deploy to Africa this month. He will hold a special town hall meeting at 7 p.m. Tuesday, August 9, 2016, at Marsteller Middle School to discuss his upcoming deployment, as well as answer constituent questions.

Marsteller Middle School is located at 14000 Sudley Manor Drive in Bristow.

News
Here are the people Trenum wants to temporarily replace him on the Prince William School Board

Updated

Kim Simons withdrew her name from consideration to temporarily fill Gil Trenum’s seat on the Prince William County School Board. 

An earlier version of this post showed Simon’s resume. It was removed. 

Original post

Gil Trenum says he’ll stay the course and continue advocating for school leaders to choose one of three handpicked interim successors for him.

Trenum, the Brenstville District representative on the Prince William County School Board, is a Naval Commander by day and will deploy for Djibouti, Africa this month for one year. 

Until yesterday, the Prince William County School Board sought legal advice from the state’s Attorney General’s Office on how to proceed to temporarily fill Trenum’s seat. Word came from that office that it is required by law to fill the seat with whomever the Board chooses, and then give back the seat to Trenum when he returns from duty.

Here’s a letter we received this morning from Trenum: 

Today State Senator Scott Surovell (D) posted an informal opinion on an online newsletter from the Office of the Attorney General, Mark Herring (D) that is inconsistent with the legal advice given to me by the non-partisan Privileges & Elections Attorneys from the Division of Legislative Services. This opinion has still not been officially provided to the School Board.  My actions and statements in fact have been based entirely on the independent legal advice I received from the Division of Legislative Services. The fact that the Attorney General does not agree with their independent opinion is not my issue to resolve.  An Attorney General’s opinion is not law, it is just an opinion, however we must move forward from here.

My position remains the same; I still feel that for the Brentsville District to have the most consistent and effective representation that the temporary appointment should come from someone with whom I have already developed a good working relationship.  From the beginning I sought to leave partisanship out of this decision by selecting three volunteers who are not past or present members of any local party committee.  I selected parents I knew had been dedicated to the schools for years in various volunteer positions and who have extensive budget committee experience.  They are all individuals who have consistently put students and teachers first.  I would be proud to continue to work with any of these three citizens. 

I’m not asking for anything more than the support of my fellow Board members during this stressful time.  By choosing from one of the three individuals whose resumes I provided to the entire board, we can ensure there will be an easy transition and a positive working relationship.  The Attorney General’s opinion allows for that and it is a wise course of action for the Brentsville District that I have represented for 3 consecutive terms.

By supporting my wishes, the Board will also be respecting the wishes of the Brentsville District citizens who have been vocal about their support of my temporary replacement suggestions.  I hope that the School Board will see that decision is the best for all involve

Here are the resumes of the three people Trenum wishes to fill his seat on an interim basis: 

Download the PDF file .

Download the PDF file .

News
Prince William School Board must appoint interim replacement for deploying Naval Officer

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The Prince Willaim County School Board must decide who will become a temporary replacement for one of its eight members.

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Brentsville District representative Gil Trenum, a Naval Commander, will deploy for duty to Djibouti, Africa this month. It’s the first time “in many years” Trenum has been deployed, he told the School Board in July, adding that the Navy gave him only a short notice to pack his bags.

Trenum named three potential replacements — any one of which would serve in his place on an interim basis — that the School Board needs to approve. To date, the School Board has not approved any of Trenum’s handpicked temporary replacements — proxies he would confer with about School Board matters during his deployment.

Instead, the School Board waited for an unofficial opinion on the matter that arrived Thursday from the Office of Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring, that states the School Board is legally required to fill the seat, and then return the seat to Trenum when he returns from service. The unofficial opinion comes not from Herring but from G. Timothy Oksman, who works in the Attorney General’s office. 

On Thursday, Republican lawmakers gathered outside Prince William County Public Schools to put pressure on the School Board to appoint one of the three candidates picked by Trenum.

“…I believe that the School Board should, in good faith, follow the good tradition of appointing someone that Gil feels will look after the constituents that elected him,” said Virginia Delegate Scott Lingamfelter (R, Prince William – Fauquier).

“The School Board needs to be respectful of Gil Trenum, a man who had the guts to put on a uniform. His family is sacrificing, he’s going to Africa for a year, this needs to be respectful of him, and it also needs to be respectful of the constituents who live in his district,” said Virginia Delegate Tim Hugo [R-Fairfax, Prince William].

Trenum has served on the School Board for the past eight years and is popular in the Brentsville District. He won his last election in 2015 with 98% of the vote and no opponents. In 2011, he beat out two opponents winning nearly half of the votes in the district.

Prince William County School Board Chairman Ryan Sawyers today blamed the very legislators who spoke in support of Trenum for the delay in appointing an interim replacement.

“Some of these same elected officials are members of the legislative body that drafted and adopted the statutory language that has caused the ambiguity the school board is now forced to resolve. It was their legislative body, the Virginia General Assembly, which adopted a statute that applies only to constitutional officers, not school board members, thus creating the current confusion,” stated Sawyers in an email to Potomac Local.

In 2002, Virginia’s Attorney General found that a naval reservist did not have to relinquish his office when called to duty. Two years later, Virginia’s Attorney General opined that an Army Reservist and a member of a county Board of Supervisors did not have to relinquish his seat when called to duty.

Virginia State Senator Scott Surovell (D-Fairfax, Prince William) requested the unofficial opinion from the Attorney General’s office.

“I requested an opinion because there was clear disagreement within the county what the correct mode of procedure was when this situation arises…I thought the [unofficial] Attorney General opinion provides clarity ought to proceed, or if it should proceed… and we now have an answer to what the process is and it’s now up to the Prince William County School Board to decide how to exercise their authority,” said Surovell.

Trenum did not attend Thursday’s press conference. He was at Andrews Air Force Base preparing for his upcoming deployment, said Anderson. No Democrats holding local or state legislative office were invited to the press conference, he added. 

Trenum stated will miss the celebrations of his 25th wedding anniversary and son’s graduation from college. 

“No matter where I am, I want people to know that you will still have access to me via email. Although, I do love to visit our schools and meet with parents, students, and teachers, 90% of my works helping constituents is done via email,” Trenum told the School Board. 

The Prince William County School Board is scheduled to meet next on Sept. 7, 2016.

News
Suzanne Seaberg replaces Purdy on Manassas School Board

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From Manassas City Public Schools: 

On Monday July 11th, The School Board of the City of Manassas voted unanimously to appoint Suzanne W. Seaberg as its newest member. Mrs. Seaberg will be sworn in at 12:15 p.m. today at the Prince William County Courthouse, and her term effective immediately. Her appointment follows the resignation of Board Member Ellen M. Purdy.  

Please read the following announcement for more information about the appointment: http://www.mcpsva.org/pages/Manassas_City_Public_Schools/News/School_Board_Names_Seaberg_to_

 

From the press release: 

Seaberg’s involvement in Manassas City Public Schools (MCPS) has been extensive, including serving as President of the Jennie Dean Elementary and Metz Middle Parent Teacher Associations (PTA), as well as Vice President of the Mayfield Intermediate PTA. Additionally, she has served as chairperson for the division’s Gifted and Talented Advisory Committee, Vice-Chair of the MCPS Safe Schools Advisory Council, and is a founding member of the Mayfield and Metz Band Boosters.

News
Are high school graduates ready for the workforce? Virginia education officials are coming to Manassas to find out.

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Virginia education officials will come to Manassas Thursday to discuss changes to the state’s core high school curriculum, 

More from Manassas City Public Schools spokeswoman Erin Gibson:

Good afternoon,

Osbourn High School (Fine Arts Commons)  will serve as host for a state Board of Education public hearing on Thursday, July 14 at 6:30 p.m. The purpose of the hearing is to gather input on projects being developed at the state level to better prepare students academically with the expectations of higher education and employers from all sectors. The community is strongly encouraged to attend. Please help spread the word!

http://www.mcpsva.org/pages/Manassas_City_Public_Schools/News/MCPS_to_Host_State_Public_Hear

News
Fitzgerald math teacher recognized as ‘Learning Hero’

From email: 

Local Fitzgerald Elementary School Math Specialist Christine Gault has been recognized as a DreamBox Learning Hero for delivering excellence in education and student success. Christine is one of 10 educators and 10 administrators across the US and Canada selected from more than 100 applicants. Would you be interested in writing about this recognition or profiling Christine?

Fitzgerald has a high percentage of children from low-income families and serves a high ELL population. Many of the students have limited math exposure and vocabulary, but in Christine’s role, she sees that adaptive learning platforms gives students the opportunity to be exposed to quality math instruction and practice at home.

Christine has been teaching for 16 years, 7 of those years have been spent at Fitzgerald. 

 

The DreamBox Learning Heroes are:

–          JoAnna Roberto, superintendent of education – Area 1, District School Board of Niagara, St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada

–          Aubree Short, math/tech curriculum specialist, Tulare City School District, Tulare, California

–          Staisey Hodge, math instructional facilitator, Pine Forest Elementary, Pulaski County Special School District, Maumelle, Arkansas

–          Dr. Bernard Frost, district mathematics coach, Spartanburg School District 7, Spartanburg, South Carolina

–          Paul Baez, principal, Rees Elementary School, Alief Independent School District, Houston, Texas

–          Debbie Luther, instructional coach, Witch Hazel Elementary, Hillsboro School District 1J, Hillsboro, Oregon

–          Dr. Tara Nattrass, director of elementary education, Cabarrus County Schools, Cabarrus, North Carolina

–          Beth Engman, teaching and learning specialist for state and federal programs, Anoka-Hennepin School District 11, Anoka, Minnesota

–          Dr. John Keller, director of eLearning, Metropolitan School District of Warren Township, Indianapolis, Indiana

–          Denise Trakas, K-5 mathematics program coordinator, Washoe County School District, Reno, Nevada

–          Lisa Pearson, founder and president, Accomplished Learning Centre, Langley, British Columbia, Canada

–          Patrick Forster, technology coordinator, Olander Elementary School, Poudre School District, Fort Collins, Colorado

–          Martha Powers, teacher and assistant principal, Pocahontas Middle School, Powhatan County Public Schools, Powhatan, Virginia

–          Allison Vincent, teacher, Forest Park Elementary School, Kannapolis City Schools, Kannapolis, North Carolina

–          Maria DiBello, teacher, Calvert Elementary School, Calvert County Public Schools, Prince Frederick, Maryland

–          Amy Fuqua, teacher, Linden Elementary School, Oak Ridge Schools, Oak Ridge, Tennessee

–          Christine Gault, Title 1 math specialist, Fitzgerald Elementary School, Prince William County Public Schools, Woodbridge, Virginia

–          Anna Wiley, math interventionist, DeKalb County Central United School District, Waterloo, Indiana

–          Amy Crisp, blended learning teacher, Johnnycake Corners Elementary School, Olentangy Local School District, Galena, Ohio

–          Laurie Crossman, teacher, Cople Elementary School, Westmoreland County Public Schools, Hague, Virginia

News
Manassas Park participating in summer food service program

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Submitted by Manassas Park Public Schools:

Manassas Park City Schools, in partnership with the Manassas Park Community Center, is participating in the Summer Food Service Program. Meals will be provided to all children without charge and are the same for all children regardless of race, color, national origin, sex, age or disability, and there will be no discrimination in the course of the meal service. Meals will be provided at the site and times as follows:

Locations: Manassas Park Community Center 99 Adams Street Manassas Park, VA 20111

Manassas Park Middle School 8202 Euclid Avenue Manassas Park, VA 20111

Dates and Times: Mon-Fri between the dates of June 27th – August 5th Breakfast 09:00am – 10:00am Lunch 11:30am – 1:00pm Note: We will be closed Monday, July 4th.

Summer meals will also be provided in Prince William County and Manassas.

News
Angela Owens is new principal at Woodbridge Middle School

Angela Owens will become principal of Woodbridge Middle School on July 1, according to a staffing update from Prince William County Public Schools. 

Owens will leave her job as principal at Gravely Elementary School near Haymarket for the new potion. Skyles Calhoun is the current principal at Woodbridge Middle School. 

This was posted to Gravely Elementary School’s website:

Dear Gravely Community,
Congratulations to Mrs. Angela Owens, on her acceptance of a principalship at Woodbridge Middle School!        
 “I am so very happy to have spent 3 years here at Gravely.  I will carry with me,  Once a Seadog, Always a         Seadog.” 

We will be interviewing for the position in the next few weeks.  We will notify the community as soon as the new appointment has been made.        
Thank you.

Owens’ bio from the Gravely site: 

I  came to Prince William County in 2000 as a teacher at Graham Park Middle School.  I was named an Assistant Principal in July 2004. After serving two years as an Asst. Principal at Montclair Elementary,  I started as the proud Assistant to the Principal at Woodbridge Middle in 2006.

As a military spouse for over 26 years, I have been in the teaching field since 1986 teaching in North Carolina, Georgia, Nuernberg, Germany, Nebraska, and Virginia in grades 4-8 and adults. 

I received a BS in Elementary Education from South Carolina State University in 1986 and a Master’s Degree from George Mason University in Education Leadership in 2006.

I am a proud mom of three children in Prince William County Schools. My oldest daughter is now teaching 4th grade in Prince William County Schools.

My belief is to build character through personalization and as a collaborative leader, allowing staff, students, families and the community the opportunity to embrace the vision of hope, caring, and love in an inclusive environment where ALL have the skills, experiences, and confidence to achieve SUCCESS in school,  our world class school division, and society. 

 

News
Want to serve on the Manassas City School Board?

Submitted by Manassas City Public Schools: 

…The School Board of the City of Manassas will appoint a School Board Member to fill the vacancy created by the resignation of Ellen M. Purdy. The appointee will serve until December 31, 2016. City of Manassas residents interested in being considered for appointment by the School Board should send letters of interest and a brief resume to the School Board, Attention: Clerk of the Board (mailing address: P.O. Box 520, Manassas, VA 20108) (street address: 8700 Centreville Road, Suite 400, Manassas, VA 20110).

The documents must be submitted to the Clerk’s Office no later than 5:00 P.M. on June 28, 2016. Interviews are scheduled to be held on July 11, 2016.

Questions regarding the submission of documents for the vacancy should be directed to Lee Miller, Clerk of the Board at 571-377-6008. The School Board members serve the City of Manassas and exercise the duties and powers as provided in School Board Policy Section BBA: Powers and Duties.

News
Colgan given private tour of his namesake high school

Senator Charles Colgan toured the newest high school in Prince William County this week.

The $110 million is the school is named after the retired 90-year-old senator, will include the county’s first in-school swimming pool and aquatics facility, and will open in September.

From Prince William County Public Schools: 

Former Virginia Senator Charles Colgan declared Prince William County’s 12th high school “a treasure,” following a sneak-preview tour of the school that will bear his name. The Charles J Colgan Sr. High School will be dedicated August 22 and open for classes a week later.

Senator Colgan toured the school June 15. With construction nearing completion, furniture and equipment are arriving daily. He was joined by School Board members, Ryan Sawyers (Chairman), Alyson Satterwhite (Gainesville), and Lillie Jessie (Vice-Chair, Occoquan).

No members of the press attended the tour.

“We did not promote this as a media event, as it was intended to give Senator Colgan an opportunity for an informal first visit.”
— Prince William County Public Schools spokesman Phil Kavits.

School officials said they announced the tour on the school division’s website June 1. 

The tour was given just days before the School Board was set to vote on a new, more expensive design for the county’s 13th high school, and to take a vote to rescind a controversial move to hold the contract of a school principal involved in a lawsuit with School Board Chairman Ryan Sawyers. 

High school students who live off Hoadly Road and Route 234 will attend Colgan High School. The school will be home for students in the school division’s fine and performing arts program.

Colgan retired from the Virginia Senate in January as the longest-serving state senator in the commonwealth.

News
Exclusive: Racial slur painted on rock outside Forest Park High School during graduation week

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Update: Comment from Prince William County Public Schools spokesman Phil Kavits: 

Here’s what I know. on Tuesday morning, it was discovered that the senior rock at Forest Park High School had been vandalized with racial graffiti. The graffiti was covered with paint, and the school began investigating.

The following day a student and her parent painted over the rock in a white primer base coat, and school colors were to be subsequently painted over that. However, Wednesday night the rock was vandalized again. It was painted over with a metallic gold paint with the word “Better?”

This all remains under investigation anyone found responsible will face appropriate disciplinary consequences.

Original post

Someone painted a racial slur on a spirit rock outside Forest Park High School.

The rock sits at the entrance of the school, located near Dumfries. Teachers and administrators arriving at school Tuesday morning noticed the “N” word had been painted on the rock.

Before the slurs appeared, the rock had been painted for the graduating class of 2016. A picture of the school mascot, a bruin, paw prints, and “2016” was painted on the front of the rock.

The school administration took action after discovering the racial slur, were told, and the rock was painted black.

When teachers and administrators arrived at school this morning, the rock had been painted gold with the word “better?” on it. It is not known who painted the rock gold.

The school’s administration is looking at surveillance video trying to identify who originally painted the racial slur that appeared on the rock Tuesday.

We’ve reached out to the Prince William County Public School Administration office for comment. We’ll update this post once we hear from them.

Forest Park High School will hold a graduation ceremony for seniors at 2 p.m. Friday, June 10, 2016.

Manassas schools will serve breakfast, lunch as part of summer food program

Manassas City Public Schools is participating in the Summer Food Service Program. Meals will be provided to all children without charge and are the same for all children regardless of race, color, national origin, sex, age or disability, and there will be no discrimination in the course of the meal service.

Meals will be provided, at a first come, first serve basis, at the sites and times as follows:

  • Haydon Elementary School –9075 Park Avenue, Manassas, VA 20110

July 25 – August 12, 2016

Breakfast:  8:30 a.m. – 9:00 a.m.

Lunch: 12:00 p.m. – 12:45 p.m.

  • Baldwin Elementary School – 9705 South Main Street, Manassas, VA 20110

July 25 – August 12, 2016

Breakfast:  8:30 a.m. – 9:00 a.m.

Lunch: 12:00 p.m. – 12:45 p.m.

  • Weems Elementary School – 8750 Weems Road, Manassas, VA 20110

July 25 – August 12, 2016

Breakfast:  8:30 a.m. – 9:00 a.m.

Lunch: 12:00 p.m. – 12:45 p.m.

  • Round Elementary School – 10100 Hastings Drive, Manassas, VA 20110

July 25 – August 12, 2016

Breakfast:  8:30 a.m. – 9:00 a.m.

Lunch: 12:00 p.m. – 12:45 p.m.

  • Dean Elementary School – 9601 Prince William Street, Manassas, VA 20110

July 25 – August 12, 2016

Breakfast:  8:30 a.m. – 9:00 a.m.

Lunch: 12:00 p.m. – 12:45 p.m.

  • Metz Middle School – 9950 Wellington Road, Manassas, VA  20110

July 25 – August 12, 2016

Breakfast:  8:30 a.m. – 9:00 a.m.

Lunch: 12:00 p.m. – 12:45 p.m.

News
Stafford appoints new school board member after abrupt resignation

The Stafford County School Board appointed a new member to represent the Griffis-Widewater District following the abrupt resignation of Emily Fallon, who was elected to the position in November 2015.

More in a press release:

On May 31, 2016, the Stafford County School Board appointed Melissa Y. Ayres to represent the Griffis-Widewater District as the area’s School Board member.

The appointment was due to the resignation of the previous Griffis-Widewater School Board member. Ms. Ayres will serve in this role until the outcome of the November 8, 2016,

Special Election as set forth in the Writ of Election entered by the Stafford County Circuit Court. Nine applicants submitted interest in serving and four candidates were interviewed on Tuesday evening.

“The Board is so pleased to have Ms. Ayres join us as the representative of the Griffis-Widewater District,” said School Board Chair Holly Hazard. “The Board was impressed with the credentials and commitment to the school community of each of the applicants. Ms. Ayres’ deliberative approach to decision-making and her military and business backgrounds will serve her well as she transitions into this important community position.”

Ms. Ayres is a resident of Stonebridge at Widewater subdivision and her daughter attends Widewater Elementary School. She is employed at Quality Technology Inc., headquartered in Largo, Maryland, and serves in the United States Marine Corps Reserves. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Marymount University in Arlington, Virginia, and a Master’s of Business Administration from the University of Phoenix in Tucson, Arizona.

In her letter of interest for the position, Ms. Ayres stated, “It is very important for Stafford to continue to have a strong school system to help its constituents and leaders address many of our social and economic issues. As a parent and a professional, I am eager to address this broad range of children’s issues with my skills of the Stafford School Board.”

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Prince William School Board to vote on 13th high school design — again

13th hybrid design

The Prince William County School Board will again vote on what model it will use for the 13th high school.

The $125 million school is slated to be built in the western portion of the county, to open in 2021, and relieve overcrowding at Battlefield, Patriot, and Stonewall Jackson High School. School officials haven’t’ said where the school will be built.

Unlike other schools built on land proffered by developers, there is no such proffered land this time around. A school site proffered by the developers of the now dead Stonehaven development off Linton Hall Road is no longer on the table. Last fall, school board officials ur 

Last year, Prince William County officials offered to use a 69-acre site slated for Rollins Ford Park off Vint Hill Road to be used instead as a school site. School officials have not said if this plan is still being discussed. Unlike last year, an urgency from school administration staff to select a floor plan to use to make sure the school would open on time is no longer there following the Stonehaven site being taken off the table and the school divsiion being allotted more time to acquire land for the new school, said said Coles District School Board member Willie Deutsch.

The school division needs 80 acres to build its high school. If it must buy more land at Rollins Ford or a new site altogether, there are fears the price tag could rise to $140 million, according to Occoquan District School Board member Lilly Jessie.

Colgan High School opening this fall cost $110 million, to include the cost of the county’s first aquatics facility located inside a school, and is the second-most expensive high school ever to be built in the state.

The Prince William County School Board last fall voted to save money use a 20-year-old floor plan modeled after Battlefield High School instead of a newer floor plan used at Patriot High School. However, following an election in November, a majority of new members now sit on the Board and will vote on whether or not to use a hybrid model mash-up of the Patriot and Battlefield models.

“Things are always examined after an election on any legislative body, so there is no shocker there are new votes for this on the Board,” said Deutsch, who brought the school floor plan discussion back to the School Board.

The hybrid model, called the PRICE (Patriot Redesign Increasing Capacity Effectively), is the brainchild of Bresntsville School Board member Gill Trenum who argued last fall for the design. The PRICE model will cost $9.5 million than the Battlefield model, but will have 500 more seats.

“These seats were talking about are the cheapest 500 seats we can build in this County,’ said Potomac District School Board member Justin Wilk.

The school division plans to renovate at Antietam, Springwoods, and Lake Ridge elementary schools in the Occoquan District for about $11 million each, netting a total of 312 new seats in each school. Planned renovations at Rippon Middle School and Belmont and Henderson elementary schools will cost between $7 and $ 9 million per school and net a total of 168, 240, and 240 new seats, respectively.

School officials argue for a larger 13th high school as the school is expected to be full to student capacity when it opens. If the 13th high school and 14th high school (slated to be built on east side of the county) both open with 2,000 seats, the school division will still be short some 2,000 high school seats by the year 2025, said Deutsch.

One change from the PRICE model dicussed last year by Trenum vs. the one under discussion today — the school auditorium. Under the new plan, the new school would be built with a larger audiutorum containing 1,200 seats as opposed to the 800 seats in last fall’s proposal.

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Bear spotted at Tyler Elementary School

(Photo: Prince William County Public Schools)

What would you do if you saw a bear outside your school? Here’s what Prince William County Public Schools did today:

 


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