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Committee Members Wanted in Search for 2 New School Names


HAYMARKET, Va. – What’s in a name? The answer to that question will be up to a select group of people who will serve on one of two committees that will be tasked with coming up with the names for two of Prince William County’s newest schools.

Both in the west end and now known as Haymarket Drive Elementary School for its location on a street of the same name, and the K-8th grade school on Aden Road next to Brentsville High School, will need permanent names.

Prince William County school officials are opening up the naming process to anyone who wants to serve on the committees, and has put out a public requests for name ideas from the community.

More in a press release from the school division:

The Prince William County School Board is seeking eligible volunteers to serve on School Naming Committees for the schools currently under construction in Haymarket and Nokesville. Both schools are scheduled to open in September 2014. Specific attendance areas for the two new elementary schools have not been determined.

Those who are interested and eligible to serve on the School Naming Committees should submit their name, address, telephone number, email address, and role (e.g., teacher, parent, resident, etc.) to the Western Elementary School Office at 703.791.7234 or ferrellm@pwcs.edu. Please specify Haymarket or Nokesville committee. Membership on each committee is limited to 20 individuals.

The proposed School Naming Committees will be submitted by the Associate Superintendent for Western Elementary Schools to the School Board for approval on December 4, 2013.

Eligibility for “Haymarket Elementary School” Naming Committee

Any resident of the attendance areas for Alvey, Buckland Mills, Gravely, Mountain View, Piney Branch, or Tyler Elementary School is invited to submit his or her name for consideration prior to November 8, 2013.

Eligibility for “Nokesville K-8 School” Naming Committee

Any resident of the attendance areas for Nokesville, Bennett, or Loch Lomond Elementary School or Stonewall, Parkside, or Marsteller Middle School is invited to submit his or her name for consideration prior to November 8, 2013.

SAT Scores Up Amid ‘Teaching to the Test’ Fears

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

PRINCE WILLIAM COUNTY, Va. – The College Board reports that high school seniors in Prince William County have improved their SAT scores by eight points from last year and outperformed the national average in critical reading skills.

While this is a positive indication of student improvement, some worry that it may also bring to light a heavy reliance on standardized testing.

In the report that was released Sept. 26, an uplifting picture was painted of well-performing schools in Prince William County.

Some highlights of the report include:

• Battlefield, Brentsville, and Osbourn Park—scored higher than the state and national averages in all three subject areas; math, writing and critical reading.

• Patriot High School exceeded the state and national averages in math and writing

• Forest Park, Hylton, Patriot, Stonewall Jackson, and Woodbridge High Schools exceeded the national averages in critical reading.

• Brentsville and Woodbridge High schools—increased their averages in all three subject areas.

• Osbourn Park High School increased their averages in critical reading and writing, and maintained their average in math.

• Woodbridge High School achieved a 17-point increase in critical reading and a 12-point increase in math.

Prince William County Schools spokeswoman, Irene Cromer said in the press release that the overall improvement of scores and high-turnout of seniors for the SAT show the school’s commitment to preparing students for college.

James “Jim” Livingston, president of the Prince William Education Association, says  that it is important to note that the ability of Prince William County schools to have significant gains in some areas more than others should be viewed as an opportunity to make further improvements.

“I think there are some positive signs in the rising test scores, but I think there are some very definite opportunities in (the scores) as well,” says Livingston.

He says part of the biggest challenge for schools is providing the resources needed to create a world-class learning environment.

“We want children to succeed and in light of sequestration, the budget cuts within state government and the lack of funding at the local level, it comes increasingly difficult,” says Livingston. “We have the largest class sizes in the state and it’s difficult for teachers to really spend quality time with students when they’ve got 35 or more students in a classroom at the secondary level or more than 25 in a classroom at the elementary level.”

According to Livingston, the SAT’s have been long used in college admissions along with other criteria, whereas state mandated tests, such as the SOLs, are used solely on their own to rank student achievement or performance.

“SAT scores are traditionally used in conjunction with other evidence to help guide colleges and universities in making admissions decisions,” says Livingston. “The reality is state mandated tests were not designed to measure a students’ abilities or a teachers’ effectiveness and their overuse is giving misleading information as well as making test publishers wealthy at taxpayer expense.”

He says these scores only provide a “snapshot” of a student’s learning abilities and fears that the country has become increasingly dependent on test scores rather than actual knowledge retention.

“One can’t help but wonder if students might perform better on SAT tests if less time was spent in school on other standardized testing and more time spent on teaching and learning.”

Timothy Healey, associate superintendent for student learning and accountability for Prince William County Public Schools. As a former high school english teacher for Osbourn High School, he agrees that when people discuss the issue of “teaching to a test” they are usually referring to the state mandated standardized tests rather than the SAT.

He says that the critical reading and writing skills required by the SAT tests were aligned well with the classroom material.

“I think if you examine what the SAT is all about from an English or language arts standpoint, it fits well with the overall skills that we want our students to be comfortable with,” says Healey.

However, Healey says he does believe that 11th grade teachers may undergo additional pressure because they are often dedicating a large amount of time to help prepare students for both the SOLs and SATs.

Additionally, Healey says the schools do a number of things to prepare students for the SAT, such as starting early practice by means of the PSAT.

“All 10th and 11th graders take the PSAT test and the College Board will say that students that are able to take that multiple times, score higher on the SAT tests,” says Healey. “We also provide free SAT prep-material through the College Board that is accessible to all high school students.”

Woodbridge High School Teacher Selected for Marine Corps Museum

The Marine Corps Heritage Foundation has appointed James Bish, a distinguished US History teacher at Woodbridge High School, as the National Museum of the Marine Corps (NMMC) 2013 Teacher-in-Residence. Bish has taught at Woodbridge High School for 25 years, during which he also served as Social Studies Department Chair for 12 years. He has taught Advanced Placement US History, Advanced Placement US Government, Twentieth Century US History, US and Virginia History, and Prince William County History.

Bish, a National Board Certified Teacher, has won numerous awards for excellence, including being twice named the school’s Educator of the Year and being honored as American History Teacher of the Year by the Daughters of the American Revolution Bill of Rights Chapter. He has authored many scholarly articles that have been published in journals including the Oregon Genealogical Society Quarterly and the Journal of Historic Prince William.

Bish is the fifth resident teacher for the National Museum of the Marine Corps. His responsibilities include creating curriculum for children, developing educational opportunities in conjunction with Museum educators, and serving as the liaison between the Museum and schools across the region. To learn more about the NMMC’s Education Program, visit www.usmcmuseum.org and click on “Education.”

Bish will serve for one year in the fully-funded position, which is made possible through grants from the William Randolph Hearst Foundation and The Sloan Foundation to the museum’s education program.

“It is an honor to be associated with the Marine Corps through this partnership at the museum,” said Ken Bassett, director of Student Learning for Prince William County Public Schools. “The contributions the Corps has made to our nation and to our local community are deeply respected in Prince William County and the museum is truly a world-class facility for telling the story of the US Marine Corps.”

NOVA Woodbridge Campus Opens Largest Academic Building in 23 Years

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[Photo: Uriah Kiser]

WOODBRIDGE,Va. – As sunlight from the large windows pour into his classroom in the newest building on campus, Zack Jackson teaches students how to draw.

The 20 students in his class at Northern Virginia Community College’s (NOVA) Woodbridge Campus are working on a visual study where, from behind easels, they draw objects and shapes that sit on a table in the middle of the floor.

It’s a large classroom with wide open space and plenty of room room to learn.

“A room like this is perfect for what we are doing, and drawing,” said Jackson. “I teach another lecture class, but I like this because I’m able to have this kind of space, and it helps me teach the students how express themselves through their art.”

The art classroom is one of several new areas in the new Woodbridge Arts and Sciences Building on campus — affectionately known by students and staff as “Phase III.” College officials officially opened the new 84,000 square foot building on Thursday.

Inside are seven computer classrooms, a theater, 60-seat lecture hall, art gallery and two studios, a graphics design studio, three science labs, photography classrooms, offices, food service and dining areas, study halls and, if that weren’t enough, it will serve as the new home of the campus’ library. It’s the first major addition to the campus since the adjacent Phase II, now known as the Seefeldt Building after long-serving Prince William Board of Supervisors Chairman Kathleen Seefeldt — opened its doors in 1990.

“It has been 23 years since the Woodbridge Campus added a major, comprehensive academic building. During that time enrollment has grown to over 11,000 students,” said NOVA Woodbridge Provost Dr. Sam Hill. “Do you see a pattern? An academic building is added each time the Woodbridge Campus enrollment doubles.”

By 2028, the campus that now houses 11,000 students is expected to grow by an 20,000. A total of four new buildings will be needed to accommodate the campus’ growth.

Recent smaller additions to the campus over the past 10 years also include an bookstore and a heating and air conditioning training center. Officials will seek LEED Certification for the new Arts and Sciences building as it is complete with two green roof, a cistern to collect rain water, and a geothermal heating and cooling system — a first for NOVA, Virginia’s largest institution of higher learning.

The building opened one year later than originally planned due to permit approvals at the state level, said Hill.

Also on Thursday, college officials broke ground for a new Workforce Development Center that will also sit on the Woodbridge Campus. With 50,000 square feet of space, training rooms, testing facilities, and event space, it will be NOVA’s only center dedicated to working with area businesses to develop skilled workers in computer science and technology.

“When you consider what’s happening at Marine Corps Base Quantico and Fort Belvoir, as well the information assurance network security needs in the business and healthcare arenas, it is clear what cyber security should be one of the focal areas in the workforce development areas.” said Hill.

Construction on the workforce center will begin in November and is expected to be complete in Fall 2o15.

The newly opened arts and sciences building connects with the Seefeldt Building and is the next phase of a larger expansion plan for the campus. Hill is working with local and state leaders to find $400,000 for a still unfunded study to examine the possibility of adding a community sports, recreation, and aquatics center to the campus.

Schools Across Prince William Honor 9/11 Victims

PRINCE WILLIAM COUNTY, Va. – In Prince William County Public Schools and offices across the county Wednesday, students and employees observed a moment of silence to honor and remember those who lost their lives in a Pennsylvania field, at the Pentagon, and in the twin towers of the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. Our school community is united in recognizing the courage of those who risked their lives to save innocent victims.

“Their heroic acts remind us all of the compassion, bravery, and sacrifice that is part of the fabric that makes America strong. Our thoughts and gratitude are with those in uniform who defend our country every day,” said Superintendent Steven Walts.

Parkside Middle recognized Patriot Day by declaring a Red, White, and Blue Spirit Day. Students and teachers wore the patriotic colors, and Parkside faculty and staff sponsored a jeans drive, each donating $1 or more to “Wear Jeans on Wednesday” spirit day. All money collected will be donated to the local fire and rescue department in honor of 9/11 – Patriot Day. The language arts classes have joined with Scholastic and their campaign, “I Will make a Difference” that honors the day. Students created cards for a bulletin board that displayed ways they were making a difference on Patriot’s Day.

Swans Creek Elementary held a Patriotic Sing-Along, and Girl Scout Troop 404 Color Guard participated in the observance of Patriot Day.

A group of second- and fourth-grade students at Pattie Elementary School led the entire school in singing “God Bless the USA,” under the direction of Music Teacher Wendy Frampton-Holly.

Renovations, Stafford High School Construction Mark Start of New Year

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Students head back to class in Stafford County Public Schools on Sept. 3, 2013. [Submitted photo]

STAFFORD COUNTY, Va. – Stafford County welcomed back 27,186 to class on Tuesday, marking an end to summer recess and the start of the 2013-14 school year.

The new school year brings some changes to the school division. Students who attend Grafton Village Elementary School are now being taught at Stafford Middle School while renovations are made to Grafton.

A renovation to Stafford Elementary School is complete and students were moved back into classrooms there after attending classes last year at Stafford Middle School.

Summer also marked the start of construction of a new Stafford Senior High School. County officials approved the school last spring, and it will replace the current building that dates back to 1971.

Also new this year is a Bring Your Own Technology initiative, said schools spokeswoman Valerie Cottongim. Students, with their teacher’s permission, to carry with devices like iPads and tablet computers.

Stafford schools hired 229 new teachers over the summer to work in the division’s 30 school buildings and Head Start program.

A total of 197 school buses were on the roads in Stafford County ferrying students to and from school on Tuesday, said Cottongim.

Weems Shows Off New School Uniforms, A Gift from Ellen DeGeneres


MANASSAS, Va. – Last year, Weems Elementary School in Manassas received a donation from the Ellen DeGeneres Show and Shutterfly to promote the new uniform initiative at the school.

On the first day of school Tuesday, students at Weems walked the red carpet showing off those new uniforms to proud teachers, parents and community members.

“For several years we have been modeling school pride by wearing our colors,” said Principal David Rupert. “Last year, with the support of the PTO, school board, and parents we adopted a uniform policy.”

Students displaying red, khaki, black, navy and white filled the halls, classrooms and cafeteria of Weems. Along with the uniforms, children wore all different types of shoes, hair accessories and even belts showing off a lot of personal style.

Weems is the only elementary in Manassas with a uniform. Implementing the school uniform was decision made last year at the school.

The $50,000 donation allowed all the students to receive two uniforms free of charge. Principal Rupert said around 100 students still need to pick up their uniforms from the school, but overall the student body was showing “Wildcat Pride.”

“It made my heart flutter to see them all today,” said Rupert. “The kids seem to really enjoy it. They feel and look good!”

The Wildcat is the school mascot. Weems Elementary is home to 685 students and is one of five elementary schools in Manassas.


Summer Break Ends, Students Return to Class

Potomac Senior High School Principal Michael Wright, 53, direcots a student to her next class on the first day of school. [Photo: Uriah Kiser / Potomac Local News]


Potomac Senior High School Principal Michael Wright, 53, direcots a student to her next class on the first day of school. [Photo: Uriah Kiser / Potomac Local News]

Potomac Senior High School Principal Michael Wright, 53, directs a student to her next class on the first day of school. [Photo: Uriah Kiser / Potomac Local News]

Back to School 2013

PRINCE WILLIAM COUNTY, Va. – With first-day schedules in hand, students at Potomac Senior High School spilled into a newly renovated locker bay, dubbed “The Panther’s Den,” trying to find their way to class.

“Let’s go, let’s go,” shouted a security guard herding students through the hallway. “We’re the best in the county bringing out the best of each other!”

For some 1,700 Potomac Panthers students and staff, it was the first day back to school Tuesday. They, along with other public schools in Prince William, Stafford counties, and the Greater Manassas area went back to class after a long summer break.

At Potomac High, this year marks the completion of a major 3-year renovation to the 32-year-old school that brought the addition of 30 new classrooms, the conversion of old outdoor courtyards to a new culinary arts center, a newly expanded gymnasium — now the largest of any high school in Prince William County, a new turf football field, and a newly renovated dining hall and cafeteria.

While enrollment numbers at the high school remain below capacity, that is expected to change. Construction has just begun nearby on a new neighborhood, Potomac Shores, where some 4,000 homes and a new town center will be built along the Potomac River.

“We expect our enrollment to increase to as many as 2,300 once Potomac Shores is built,” said Principal Michael Wright, 53, who is returning to the school for a second year as it’s top administrator. “We’re not at capacity yet, but we’re pretty sure we’ll get there.”

At the end of first block (students attend classes on block schedules with each block spanning 1 hour 30 minutes), 15-year-old Destiny sat in Ancient World History Class. When the bell rung at 10 a.m., her next stop was not another class — its was lunch.

“I’d like to have a later lunchtime so it’s more on schedule of when I normally eat,” she said.

About half of the 31 students in the class were headed to lunch. The other half to their next class.

Awaiting those headed to the cafeteria was a smorgasbord of spaghetti, chicken, mixed vegetables, french bread pizza, rolls, rice, and a self-service salad bar.

“Lunch is a major undertaking,” said Prince William County Public Schools Superintendent Steven L. Walts, who was visiting the school on opening day. “We can move 450 students through this cafeteria in 30 minutes.”

While academics are paramount here, some students like 14-year-old Elijah had extracurricular activities on the brain.

“I’m looking forward to joining ROTC,” he said. “Pretty much everyone in my family has served in the military, so it’s what I want to do.”

The school has a Navy Junior Officers Reserve Training Corps program.

From the renovations, student scheduling, preparing lunches, to transporting students here by bus, thousands of preparations went into making the first day of school at Potomac Senior High School, and at 92 other schools in Prince William County a success.

Schools spokeswoman Irene Cromer distributed facts and figures about the school division — the second largest in the state behind Fairfax County — prior to opening day:

* Expecting more than 85,000 new students in our 93 schools; continue to be Virginia’s second largest School Division

*Hired approximately 600 new teachers

*173,657 job applications were received this past year, including 66,495 teacher applications

*Approximately 10,000,000 square feet of building space cleaned

*School additions at the following schools increased student capacity by 2,100

Potomac High School

Benton, Parkside, and Potomac Middle Schools

Penn, West Gate, Sinclair, Sudley, Mullen, Loch Lomond, and River Oaks Elementary Schools

*Over 11,000 new computers installed, with over 45,000 on the PWCS network

*Over 300 new interactive whiteboards installed, resulting in two-thirds of our schools now having 100% of their classrooms with this technology

*Self-supporting Imaging Center is prepared to handle over 4,500 print jobs with almost 18 million impressions (based on last year)

*Information Technology Help Desk is prepared to assist with approximately 88,000 calls (based on last year)

*Over 12,000 students attended summer school for remediation, enrichment, extended school year, and high school academic programs

*Over 13,300 staff at all levels participated in 848 professional development courses this summer, in preparation for the new school year

On the first day of school:

*15,000 breakfasts and 53,500 lunches will be served

*825 buses will transport about 63,000 students

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[Photo: Uriah Kiser / Potomac Local News]

NOVA to Offer Homeland Security Degree

Northern Virginia Community College is offering a new associate degree that focuses on homeland security.

The new Homeland Security Specialization degree falls under NOVA’s Administration of Justice Program.

The Administration of Justice Program provides a broad foundation to prepare students to enter criminal justice or security administration fields. Current law enforcement personnel use the program for professional advancement.

The Homeland Security Specialization degree is designed to prepare students for entry level positions in homeland security and provide a pathway to specialized careers in such areas as cybersecurity, border security or emergency preparedness. Online job searches indicate a large job market with heavy demand in the Northern Virginia region.

Students will earn college credit for courses in Homeland Security and Nuclear Detection, Principles of Emergency Management, Crime Analysis and Intelligence, Police Response to Critical Incidents, Transportation and Border Security, Terrorism Response Planning, and more. Some courses offer FEMA certifications in vital national security areas.

The full program is available at NOVA’s campuses in Annandale, Manassas and Woodbridge, as well as online through the Extended Learning Institute. Some courses in the program will be offered at the Alexandria campus. To learn more, search NOVA’s Catalog for “homeland security” or contact Assistant Dean Jo Ann Short at jshort@nvcc.edu.

The program begins during the fall semester that starts Aug. 21. Students can register now at NVCC.edu.

Prince William Schools Release Bus Schedules for 2013-14 School Year

(Photo: Prince William County Public Schools)

PRINCE WILLIAM COUNTY, Va. – Prince William County schools have put their bus schedules for the 2013-14 school year online.

The school division has a website dedicated to providing school bus information, including time the bus arrives, the street on which the bus picks up, as well as express bus service that is provided for students in specialty programs. Copies of the school bus schedule have also been placed in the mail and will be sent to parents, according to school officials. 

School begins in Prince William County on Tuesday, Sept. 3.


Quantico Teachers Spared Furloughs

Quantico Middle High School [Photo: Quantico Sentry]

QUANTICO, Va. – Teachers and students at Quantico will head back to class Tuesday without looming furlough days.

Quantico Middle High School has been spared the brunt of federal sequestration that had teachers eyeing mandatory furloughs of up to one day per week. Those furloughs would have kept students outside of the classroom.

Several other schools like  Quantico, including a school at Dhalgren’s Naval Surface Warfare Center in Virginia, and DoD schools in 11 other states, have been spared the cutbacks. The Department of Defense’s Education Activity Office that oversees the schools did not respond to several requests for comment on this story.

Virginia Senator Mark Warner praised the decision to keep children in the classroom and teachers working.

“This is phenomenal news for military families, students and teachers at our base schools at Dahlgren and Quantico, who should not have to suffer because of Congress’ inability to get its fiscal act together,” said Warner in a press release. “Furloughing classroom teachers and shuttering entire schools right at the start of a new school year would have put unreasonable pressures on our military families, and imposed even more challenges on these educators. Our nation’s fiscal situation requires shared sacrifice, but our service members and our military families already bear the brunt of that sacrifice every day.”

Quantico Middle High School has just over 300 students enrolled on its campus. It made national headlines in 2011 when First Lady Michelle Obama came to the school as a commencement speaker for the graduating class.

Chick-fil-A Giving Free Sandwich in Exchange for School Supply Donations

Road delineator posts erected in the drive-through lane at the Chick-fil-A restaurant in Woodbridge forces drivers to circle the building before they can enter the lane to order food from their vehicles.

PRINCE WILLIAM COUNTY, Va. – Through the month of August, participating Chick-fil-A restaurants in Prince William County will give a free chicken sandwich to each guest who donates $5 or more of school supplies for students-in-need.

No receipt is necessary. Simply bring $5 worth of supplies to the restaurant and receive your sandwich.

All supplies will go to students in Prince William county Public Schools (PWCS). Chick-fil-A is an official PWCS business partner with a representative serving on the board of SPARK, the Education Foundation for Prince William County Public Schools.

For information on SPARK or business partnerships, contact the Office of Community and Business Engagement at 703.791.8002.

Forest Park High School Holding New Student Orientation

(Photo: Prince William County Public Schools)

PRINCE WILLIAM COUNTY, Va. – On August 16 at Forest Park High School, the Office of Student Services will host its annual Back to School Symposium, “Strengthening Connections: Illuminating the Journey to Student Success.”

The program is designed for school counselors, school social workers, school nurses, school psychologists, attendance officers, and teachers from the educational component of SACC.

The program will provide effective services, interventions and strategies for working with students and families. The keynote presenter is Corban Addison, author of “A Walk in the Sun,” the story of the quest to understand human trafficking.

Registration and breakfast begin at 7:30 a.m. There will be three breakout sessions provided.

Reduced School Lunch Applications Online

PRINCE WILLIAM COUNTY, Va. – Parents of Prince William County Public School students wishing to apply for free and reduced-price meals can complete and submit their application online. The process can help families avoid delays they may encounter by mailing in an application, and will ensure that applications are complete because applicants will be prompted to submit all of the necessary information required.

To apply online, go to pwcs.menus.schoolfusion.us, click on the “Meal Applications” button on the left side of the page and select the English or Spanish version. All information transmitted will be kept confidential and made available only to the Office of School Food and Nutrition Services.

Parents still have the option of completing the traditional paper application. Families with students who were registered in Prince William County Public Schools by the end of July 2013 will receive an application packet in the mail. Families with students who registered after that date will need to secure an application from their local school.

Applications may also be obtained at the Kelly Leadership Center located at 14715 Bristow Road in Manassas.

If you have questions regarding the application process, contact the Office of School Food and Nutrition Services at 703.791.7314.

School Quality Concerns Tackled at Manassas Council Meeting

MANASSAS, Va. – On Monday, the Manassas City Council took the usual weekly meeting on the road to Baldwin Elementary School to address citizens concerns.

About 40 area residents turned out to listen to the state of the school system, town renovations and other council business. Representatives from several town offices attended the meeting and answered questions along with the City Councilmen.

Clearly, the most popular topic of the evening: the state of the school system. Parents posed questions on everything from the safety of the aging Baldwin school to the readiness of students moving from the five elementary schools into Mayfield Middle School.

Dr. Catherine Magouryk began the question and answer session by giving the audience a rundown of the many activities going on within the school system including the expansion of Osborn High School by 2014, the new Baldwin Elementary School ball fields and magnet building planned for 2016, the repair of the track and parking lot at Metz Elementary, and new leadership at almost every school in the district.

“All of the staff is excited to welcome students back in the fall,” Magouryk said. “Staff members have been working all summer to prepare for the upcoming year.”

Dorothy Adkins began the question and answer session of the meeting by voicing her family’s concerns with long-term substitute teachers who do not meet the needs of the students.

Adkins has two boys at Baldwin Elementary and her younger child spent half of his Kindergarten year with a substitute. Her older son has special needs and requires an aid during the school day.

“Our house is on the market. We love the City of Manassas, but the decline of the city schools has forced our family to seek a new location,” Adkins told the council.

Mayor Hal Parrish answered Adkins comments by urging parents to talk to school personnel about their concerns. Magouryk said she has “complete confidence” in the school system and would trust her grandson’s education to Baldwin Elementary.

At the end of the evening few questions were answered and parents felt little confidence in the answers given by the Council and Dr. Magouryk.

“I have heard the same comments from the council before,” said Dorothy Adkins. “It’s hard to have faith in a school system that I had to sue to get my son the daily support he needs.”

Osbourn Park Teacher Headed to Library of Congress

Experiencing the thrill of seeing original historical documents and artifacts—called primary sources—and exploring with experts the millions of digitized documents maintained in the Library of Congress are two reasons that compelled Osbourn Park Social Studies Teacher Jennifer Buffa to successfully seek entry into one of the summer institutes offered by the Library of Congress.

She is one of those selected from a pool of over 500 applicants for a weeklong program on teaching with primary sources.

Buffa will take back to her colleagues and students new strategies to make history come alive. Details are provided in a news release from the Library of Congress.

Participants in the program will learn effective practices for using primary sources in the classroom while enjoying access to millions of digitized records on the library’s website.

Buffa will be encouraged to take back to the classroom what she learns at the training once it’s complete.

-Information from Prince William County Public Schools and Library of Congress

Top Grads at Freedom High School Volunteers

WOODBRIDGE, Va. – Freedom High School in Woodbridge recently featured their 2013 valedictorian and salutatorian.

More in a press release from the school:

Sumaia Tabassum, Valedictorian

Sumaia Tabassum is generous with her knowledge and her time. A wise manager of her schedule and priorities, Tabassum managed to tutor other students in math and was still able to complete her high school career with a GPA of 4.525. This year, she acted as Student Ambassador to rising freshmen and was an official speaker about transitioning to high school. She is also a dedicated volunteer at Sentara Northern Virginia Medical Center, Leesylvania State Park, and at the Biotechnical Lab at Northern Virginia Community College. Sumaia Tabassum is graduating first in her class with a Grade Point Average of 4.525

Extracurricular Activities:

Future Business Leaders of America

Today’s Students Tomorrow’s Teachers

Ladies of Quality

Student Ambassador

Academic Honors:

National Honor Society, president

AP Scholar with Honors

Summa cum Laude

Center for Environmental and Natural Sciences Honors Medal

Community Involvement:

Math tutor

Sentara Potomac Hospital volunteer

Leesylvania State Park volunteer

Biotechnical Lab at Northern Virginia Community College volunteer

College Plans:

This fall Tabassum will attend the College of William and Mary on a full scholarship.



Aminatta Tejan Kamara, Salutatorian

Aminatta Kamara is a student with many varied interests. She attended Freedom High School’s Center for Environmental and Natural Sciences specialty program, is a dedicated hospital volunteer, a force to be reckoned with in forensics, and a spirited cheerleader. She completed her high school career with a grade point average of 4.291.

Extracurricular Activities:

Cheerleading, MVP award winner

Forensics, District and Regional award winner

2013 Virginia State Forensics

Academic Honors:

National Honor Society, treasurer

Summa cum Laude

Science Fair Winner, Chemistry

Regional Science Fair Participant, Chemistry

Center for Environmental and Natural Sciences Honors Medal

AP Scholar with Distinction Award

Community Involvement:

Junior Auxiliary at Sentara Medical Center

College Plans:

This fall Kamara will head to Williamsburg to attend the College of William and Mary.


Top Woodbridge Senior High Grads Hail from Lake Ridge Schools

LAKE RIDGE, Va. – Woodbridge Senior High School had to valedtictorians this year, as well as a salutatorian.

The school recently provided the three students:

Co-Valedictorian, Caroline Flood

The lesson Caroline Flood learned in high school and wants to share with others is “Procrastinating in sending college applications is never a good idea.” Humor aside, Caroline is a dedicated student who hopes to carry on the family tradition with a career in medicine.

Extracurricular Activities:

Varsity Crew


Class of 2013 Treasurer


Academic Achievements and Honors:

Spanish Honor Society

National Honor Society

AP Scholar with Distinction

Pre-AP English 10 Student of the Year

Principle of Engineering Student of the Year

AP Statistics Student of the Year

Summa cum Laude

Community Involvement:

Girl Scouts

Church Nursery Volunteer

Confirmation Retreat Volunteer

Sentara Northern Virginia Medical Center, Emergency Room Volunteer

PWCS Schools Attended:

Lake Ridge Elementary School

Lake Ridge Middle School

College Plans:

Caroline will attend the University of Virginia in Charlottesville. She is considering a math/science-related major, most likely chemistry.




Co-Valedictorian, Christian Passos 

Extracurricular Activities:

Varsity Swim Team, Captain

Varsity Crew Team

Scholastic Bowl Team

Academic Achievements and Honors:

National Honor Society

AP Scholar with Distinction

Principal’s Honor Roll

AP Chemistry Student of the Year

University of Virginia Rodman Scholar

Community Involvement:

Recreational Soccer, Team captain

Swim Coach, Ridgewood Barracudas

PWCS Schools Attended:

Lake Ridge Elementary School

Lake Ridge Middle School

College Plans:

Passos will attend the University of Virginia as a Rodman Scholar. His intends to pursue a degree in biomedical engineering

Salutatorian, Christopher Scheller 



Christopher Scheller’s grandfather inspired him to pursue a career in the financial services industry. As a present, he bought Christopher some stock in a company four years ago, and since then, Christopher has been trading stocks and mutual funds and has become the family investing advisor.

Extracurricular Activities:

Varsity Swim Team, Captain

Varsity Tennis Team, Captain

Academic Achievements and Honors:

National French Honor Society: Vice-President

National Honor Society

Advanced Placement Scholars Program

Project Lead the Way Program

Summa cum Laude

Pamplin College of Business Freshmen Merit Scholarship

President’s Award for Educational Excellence

Governor’s Early College Scholars Program

Scholar Athlete Award

Outstanding AP Government Student

Outstanding Civil Engineering and Architecture Student

Outstanding AP US History Student Award

AP Scholar with Distinction Award

Academic Letter

Outstanding Pre-AP French III Student

Outstanding Health and PE I Student

Community Involvement:

Usher, Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic Church

Swim Coach, Ridgewood Barracudas

French Tutor

PWCS Schools Attended:

Antietam Elementary School

Lake Ridge Middle School

College Plans:

Scheller will attend the Pamplin School of Business at Virginia Tech to study finance.

Rising 6th Grade Students Need Tdap

(Photo: Prince William County Public Schools)

PRINCE WILLIAM COUNTY, Va. – School officials in Prince William County say get the shot.

In a press release, rising 6th graders and their parents were told they must have a Tdap booster shot — which prevents against tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis.

More in the press release:

Parents are reminded that students entering sixth grade in Prince William County Public Schools this fall must present proof that they have had a tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis (Tdap) booster shot within the past five years. By state law, without proof of this immunization, children will not be able to enroll in school for the 2013–14 school year.

If the last Tdap booster shot was administered more than five years from the beginning of the upcoming school year, this immunization must be administered over the summer. The booster shot may be listed as T, Td, Dtap, and/or Tdap. Parents are urged to call their child’s doctor or local health department if they have questions.

Shots may be obtained from a doctor, military clinic, or the Prince William County Health Department. Documentation should be taken to your child’s middle school or Central Registration.

The Prince William County Health District may be reached at the following locations and telephone numbers: 9301 Lee Avenue, Manassas, VA 20110, 703.792.6300, and 4001 Prince William Parkway, Ste. 101, Woodbridge, VA 22191, 703-792-7300.

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