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Stafford students will head back to class before Labor Day starting in 2019

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Stafford teachers like the idea of a pre-Labor Day school start. Parents are mixed.

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A new plan outlines new library, renovations at Ferry Farm Elementary School. And it’s got the attention of its would-be funders, Stafford’s Supervisors.

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Suspect in Round Elementary gun threat eludes police  

MANASSAS — Police have yet to locate a man who they suspect called 911 and told authorities he was near George C. Round Elementary School, armed with a gun.

That 911 call about 1 p.m. Tuesday sparked a system-wide lockdown of all Manassas City Public Schools as police swarmed the area outside Round Elementary. No gunman was ever seen.  Police pinged the cell phone used to call 911 to a location near Round Elementary, however, the cell phone has also not been found.

No one was injured.

There is a stepped-up police presence at all city schools today as a precaution, said city spokeswoman Patty Prince.

The lockdown was lifted late Tuesday afternoon and all students had been taken home by 7 p.m., Prince told us today.

Police suspect that the man who claimed to be armed outside the elementary schools is the suspect they’re looking for, said Prince.

While it’s not the city’s school division’s police to lockdown all schools when there is a threat of a gunman at one campus, officials did so on Tuesday due to the “unknown” circumstances surrounding the situation, added Prince.

City police today continue their search for a suspect in the case.

Updated June 8, 2018

From Manassas police: 

On June 5, the Manassas City Police Department’s Investigative Services Division began conducting an investigation into the report of a male subject with a gun near a Manassas City Public School. Detectives identified and interviewed a subject in connection to this case and have determined there is no longer a threat to school safety related to this incident.

‘All Stafford County Public Schools are closed today, June 4, 2018’

From an email: 

All Stafford County Public Schools are closed today, June 4, 2018.  Employees are on Code 2 with liberal leave in effect.

Administrative offices will open at 10:00 a.m. Due to the heavy rain, most of the roads are passable; however, there are two roads that are impassable. They include Bells Hill and Holly Corner Roads.  The recommendation from the Virginia Department of Transportation and the Sheriff’s Office is to not allow heavy equipment on the two roads for fear of collapse. 

VDOT will reassess the roads at 7:30 am.  We apologize for the late notice.  Thank you for your patience in this matter.

Commencement 2018 is a cause to celebrate Prince William County Public Schools

Congratulations to the nearly 6,000 new graduates of Prince William County Public Schools. We’ve watched you learn and grow into amazing young adults. You have reason to be proud. And our community can take pride in the School Division that gave you the promising start to bright futures.

New grads who began their education in PWCS had the benefit of full-day kindergarten. The early exposure to reading, writing, and literacy sparked the unmistakable glimmer of discovery on the faces of thousands of kindergarteners. 

Surprisingly, even some better-funded Virginia School Divisions don’t offer universal full-day kindergarten. But in PWCS, that investment lit the flame of lifetime learning that now burns in our graduates. Take pride in that, as well as in our commitment to expanding educational opportunities for preschoolers. 

Whatever our grads’ future directions, their PWCS journey introduced them to science, technology, engineering, the arts, and mathematics. Our commitment to STEAM supports robotics programs at every school. So many new grads were on teams that won regional and even international acclaim, building valuable knowledge and skills along the way.

Thanks to exposure to biotechnology, engineering, IT, or other STEAM areas, some grads are likely to become tomorrow’s tech entrepreneurs or to study for careers in medicine, engineering, and cyber technology.

Other new grads will be future educators, military leaders, linguists, diplomats, public servants, visual and performing artists, or pursue great careers not yet envisioned.

Through PWCS Career and Technical Education, many graduates built valuable skills in areas as varied as welding, culinary arts, cabinet making, and cybersecurity. Whether heading directly to the workforce or to further education, these grads are future-ready. Be proud.

Want more points of pride? Consider this: In 2008, just 83.3% of PWCS students graduated high school on-time. We’ve increased that every year since. Our 2017 on-time graduation rate was 91.8%, far above national levels, and even that of well-funded Fairfax County Schools. Had the rate remained at 2008 levels, about 500 fewer students would have earned diplomas this year.

Our increased numbers of grads are also reaching higher. This year, PWCS earned national honors for helping all students—especially those from previously underrepresented groups—take and succeed in rigorous AP, Cambridge, or International Baccalaureate classes.

Nationally, 20% of grads pass these advanced courses. All PWCS high schools beat that, with their grads achieving between 20.2% and 50.7% advanced program success. Many PWCS grads got a further boost by earning college credits in high school. Reason for pride? You bet.

Thinking “our schools could still do better.” You’re right. 

As in districts nationwide, the performance of PWCS students from some demographic groups lags behind overall populations on certain measures. We’re committed to changing that, and have made progress.

On SAT scores, our Hispanic students beat national averages by 77 points. Black PWCS students beat the nation by 84 points, and Virginia by 57. Meanwhile, on-time graduation among black PWCS students is better than the overall student rate. 

English learners have made big leaps too. The need for better programs to meet their needs once prompted a federal lawsuit. PWCS implemented improvements that now make us a model for other districts. With more than 120 languages spoken in our schools, both our latest grads and continuing students reaped real rewards.   

So, congratulations to the class of 2018, and to the thousands of teachers, administrators, and support staff who helped make their commencement the start of something great. We’re proud of all of you.

We’ll be working even harder to make the education of future students truly World-Class. There will be plenty of reasons for pride at graduations to come.

Exclusive with Stafford Chairman Meg Bohmke on Ferry Farm: Expect renovations, not rebuild

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In the wake of trust issues, Prince William schools urged to overhaul personnel improvement process, hire an ombudsman

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Bull Run Rotary Club awards scholarships to employed CTE students

The Rotary Club of Bull Run recognized five outstanding students from the Greater Manassas area, awarding each with $1,500 in scholarship funds.

Here are the awardees as listed in a press release:

Quinyatta Manning, of Osbourn Park High School

CTE: Auto Tech

Hobbies:   Horseback riding and working on race cars

Employee: Virginia Tire and Auto of Bristow since 2016

Job: General Service Mechanic

Major Job Tasks: Tires, Changing oil, pulling check engine codes

His employer, Blake Blankenship, says “She is a hard worker. She is never late and always works hard in and around the shop. ”

Teacher: Joe Pattarozzi, the Automotive instructor says, “I am the automotive instructor at Osbourn Park High School where Quinyatta has been a student of mine for the past 2 years. During this time, she has displayed a good understanding of the course content, but more importantly, she has shown a greater desire to learn.  She started working at Virginia Tire and Auto last year and has since committed to attending Ohio Technical College after graduation.  She is a very polite and respectful young lady. It has been a true pleasure to have her as a student.”

Quinyatta wrote in her essay:

“The experience I obtained in this program enabled me to get my current job in the automotive field getting real-world experience in my area of study.  My Auto Tech teacher has really pushed me to give my all in this program, and, as a result, I have succeeded far past my expectations, and I am looking forward to continuing to strive in this field.  By being completely hands-on and obtaining the foundational skills that are necessary to be successful in many aspects of the field I am pursuing, I feel that not only am I prepared technically, but I am prepared academically as well.  I have always been interested in cars.  I consider myself to be one outside-of- the-box person and one who has the passion and drive to move mountains in the field.”

College: Go to School in the Automotive Field and work with Racecars

Mother –Le-Neeka

Grandmother – Rhonda


OPHS. Principal- Mr. Neil Beech

Guidance – Mr. Ronald Robinson

Automotive Instructor- Mr. Joe Pattarozzi

 Employer-VA Tire and Auto – Mr. Blake Blankenship

George Riley, of Osbourn High School

CTE: Auto Technology

Extracurricular Activities: Lacrosse grades 3-11, Represented Auto Tech at Career Days at Baldwin Elementary School, Participated in the Auto Tech Competition at NOVA for OHS, member of the Knights of Columbus, member of Conquest which is a Catholic youth organization

Employee: Olde Town Auto Repair

Job: Apprentice Technician/Shop hand

Major Job Tasks: Sweeping floors, mopping, re-patching tires, assisting the tech when needed

His employer is Robert Smith, says, “George is a committed employee and has shown great work ethic since day one. George knows what his responsibilities are and completes the task at hand. He has a commitment to the shop that cannot be hidden.  I am very confident that any scholarship given to George will be put to good use. George will no doubt succeed in college if he puts in half the effort that he puts in at work.”

Teacher: Mr. Keith Riley says “George has been in my class for two years now and has been nothing but a stand-up student.  George has the kind of attitude that every teacher wants in a student.  He shows up early and stays late.  His grades reflect this terrific effort.  George has shown something that nobody else does, that is a passion for the work he does and the people he works with.”

CTE Administrator: Mr. Paul Steiner says “George is an exceptional student at Osbourn High School that has distinguished himself in the Automotive Technology Program.  George has earned Dual Enrollment Credit in the Automotive Technology Program through NVCC while maintaining an “A” average in the course.  George excels in both the theory and practical skills portion of the course.  In fact George has performed repairs and maintenance on my personal vehicle more than once.”

George wrote in his essay: “Career and Technical Education has prepared me in many ways including helping me get a job in the automotive field.  Without CTE I would honestly be aimless.  I most likely would not have the job that I have now. The CTE classes that I had under my belt helped me significantly in getting the job because it was experience.  Most people my age do not get the opportunity that I have had so for that I am grateful. Everybody has a place in life, some people are meant to be doctors and lawyers and some are meant to be carpenters and constructions works.  But in the end CTE is there to help those who want work but do not need a formal education.  I want to work with my hands for the rest of my life and CTE has helped me take the first step”

College: NVCC Alexandria Campus

Major in Automotive Technology and participate in GM/ASEP program, His ultimate goal is to own his own auto repair business

George’s Guests:

Mother –Mrs. Jeanne Riley

Father-Mr. Terry Riley

OHS Principal- Mr. Joseph Gabalski

CTE- TeacherMr. Keith Riley

CTE supervisor-Mr. Paul Steiner

Employer at Olde Town Auto Repair – Robert Smith

Klara Van Wamelen, of Manassas Park High School

CTE: Intro to Hospitality, Tourism, and Recreation but I’ve taken Sports Entertainment Marketing, Advanced Web and Graphics Design, Accounting, and Economics and Personal Finance

Extracurricular Activities: Student Government President, Yearbook Intercession spread editor, Medical Club Social Media Team Leader

Clubs: Future Business Leaders of America member, BETA Club Member, National Honor Society Member

Employee: Mathnasium in Manassas and Centreville since September 2017

Job: Math Instructor

Major Job Tasks: Effective communication with guests, controlling the flow of restaurant. Acting with a sense of urgency and providing a great atmosphere

His employer, Punam Patel says, “Aside from Klara’s superior mathematical knowledge and understand. What sets her apart from others is her attention to detail, motivation, compassion and patience to work with students of all different backgrounds and abilities, She’s able to read a student’s body language, put them at ease and help them through  topics they are having a hard time understand.  This is a skill not many students at her level possess. These soft skills will serve her well as she pursues her technical studies at Virginia Tech in the fall.”

Teacher: Ms. Faten Hammad-Hallaq says, “Klara is a very strong student. She is talented, hardworking, and detailed oriented.”

Klara wrote in her essay:

“I had known since a young age that math, art, and science were my three favorite subjects. But that was I had, vague ideas of my interest juxtaposed by the strong passion for them.  It wasn’t until my Career and Technical Education classes that I was given tangible hope and direction for a career that matched all my interests and educated me in ways of how I can actually better the world using them. My CTE classes introduced me to all the possibilities of careers I’ll love doing, exposed me to the realities of life as well as adulthood, and built my confidence and foundation to pursue my passions.  Career and Technical Education irreversibly shaped and prepared me to achieve the future I desire.”

College: Virginia Tech and

Major in Computational Data Analytics

Klara’s Guests:

Mother- Santie Van Wamelen

Father- Paul Van Wamelen

MPSH Acting Principal: Mr. Charles Forest 

Teacher: Faten Hammad-Hallaq

Supervisor at Mathnasium – Punam Patel

Sergio Bollera Zamora, of Stonewall Jackson High School

CTE: Education and Training

Extracurricular President of Peer Diversity, School representative for Healthy Communities Healthy Youth, Member of Educators rising, Member of the Student Activities Leadership Council

Employer: Red Lobster Restaurant

Job: Host

Major Job Tasks: Lead host, certified trainer, specializes in customer service and hospitality, proficient in the computer and tablet that runs the restaurant.

Her supervisor, Sandy Meisler, says, “Sergio is an amazing employee. He is guest oriented and a team player.  He is respectful to our guest, staff and management.  He is always willing to help with any job task.  More important he is a leader to his peers and takes the initiative to do a task without being asked and makes everybody’s job easier. Sergio is a true asset to our company and a joy to work with.”

Teacher: Mrs. Betsy Orndoff-Sayers says, “Sergio excels inside and outside the classroom! He uses skills honed in the classroom in his job as a host at Red Lobster.  He is great with people.  His CTE classes have helped him realize that he wants to become a teacher.  He embodies the traits of what our youth need to see: caring, compassion, motivated, dedicated and diversity.  He is a role model for our school.”

Sergio wrote in his essay:

“Career and technical education has prepared me for the future by building and enhancing new skills throughout my years in the class.  These networking opportunities have allowed me to work in my intended career path of education.  The Teachers for Tomorrow program has helped me build very strong public speaking abilities.  The guidance my teacher has provided within her class given me the confidence and the skills to effectively convey any point when speaking in front of a crowd  It was in the classroom that I was given the opportunity to work for PWC schools as an intern during the summer of 2017. Working for the county has opened many paths for me to achieve my goal in becoming the next generation of teachers.  All of the amazing opportunities I owe to being in the Teachers for Tomorrow program.  It has given me the resources to grow and achieve my goals for the present and the future.”

College: Longwood University

Major: Education    

Sergio’s Guests:

Mother–Mireya Zamora

Sister — Grecia Bollera

SJHS Principal — Dr. Richard Nichols

Teacher — Mrs. Betsy Orndoff-Sayers

Employer, Red Lobster — Sandy Meisler

Chase Barker-Cassell, of Brentsville District High School

CTE: FACS: Family and Consumer Science, Independent Living

Extracurricular Activities: Basketball and Track

Employer: Glory Days Grill in Stone Ridge, VA


Major Job Tasks: Ensure all food is sent out to our time standards.  Is prepared correctly and presentation is perfect.  Chase is the last set of eyes to approve food before it reaches the guest.

His supervisor, Kathleen Huff, says, “Chase is an exemplary employee.  He shows up on time and with a great attitude.  He is a great team player and always has the “How can I help” approach.  Chase’s role as expo is extremely fast paced and high pressure. The level of maturity along with his calm and collected demeanor he brings is very impressive.”

Teacher: Mrs. Elaine Salisbury says, “Chase has been working from a very young age.  He is graduating early, in August 2018 instead of 2019.  He works 30-38 hours a week and still able to keep up his grades.  He has learned to take risks in doing a new thing with students of all ages and abilities in FACS this year.”

Chase wrote in his essay:

“I have been working since I was fifteen years of age.  I started at a small cycling studio as a desk assistant then continued onto the restaurant corporation.  I started off as a dishwasher at Twisted Cork. I am now employed at Glory Days Grill of Stone Ridge. As an Expo, I am required to decorate and add topping to all foods as they are handed to me.  One of the things Mrs. Salisbury has taught me is the importance of plate presentation. She showed me how to centered food on plates and make sure the outside edges are clean so the focus is on what you are serving and everything looks nice, neat and presentable, which is what my job requires me to do today. My CTE class has also helped me with my cutting skills. I briefly learned how to properly cut and hand a knife so I will not get hurt.  My CTE class has taught and advanced skills that I use every day at my job.  These ones I named are only a few, others include working with different people, cooperation, correct temperatures for cooking meats, and many others!”

College: Wants to graduate from Penn State

Chase’s Guests: 

His Father

BDSH principal – Ms. Katherine Meints

Family and Consumer Science Teacher Mrs. Elaine Salisbury

Employer, Glory Days Grill: Kathleen Huff

To be eligible for the annual scholarship, students must be a senior enroled in the schools’ career technical education program at Osbourn Park High School, Osbourn High School, Stonewall Jackson High School, Brentsville District High School or Manassas Park High School.

Awardees must have also been employed between October 1, 201,7 and April 1, 2018, an outstanding employee, and in good standing at their School

Seminar examined area private, homeschool options for parents

WOODBRIDGE — An open seminar was held Saturday for parents curious about homeschooling and private school options.

Christ Chapel Academy and held a “School Options” seminar at the Woodbridge church, to representatives from various homeschool, private school, and extracurricular educational programs.

Some of the groups represented will include

  • John Paul the Great
  • WHEAT Homeschool
  • Animated Child
  • Capital Baptist Co-op
  • Classical Conversations
  • NVHAA Homeschool Athletics
  • Christ Chapel Academy
  • Mathnasium
  • K-12 Virginia Virtual Academy

Parents who choose to homeschool their children do it for a variety of reasons, to include safety,

“Public school forces children to become adults too quickly. Homeschooling gives parents and children an option to focus the learning and mastery,” said Shavaun Jackson, a parent. “Another very important reason for homeschool is child safety and quality of life.”

“For me, I think the over testing culture and children not being free to learn in the way that they’re made with curriculum tailor-made for them,” said parent Tatana Whetstone, of Lake Ridge.

The event was Saturday, May 19 from 1pm-3pm at Christ Chapel, located at 13909 Smoketown Road.

Manassas officials huddle to find school funding solution as residents face massive tax increases starting in 2020

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Mary G. Porter Traditional School’s PROBOTS win tournament

From an email received May 9: 

Mary G. Porter Traditional School’s PROBOTS capped off a fantastic season with the tournament win, the Excellence Award and Robot Skills award at the VEX Virginia State Championship in Doswell, VA Feb. 17-18.
These wins earned the team a bid to the 2018 VEX World Championship where battling hard, the PROBOTS, Joshua Lim, Christopher Arraya, Justin Iber, Lukyan Sukhavchevski and Lily Stohlman, all eighth graders, earned third place honors for top Robot Skills in the World – Middle School Division, and also brought home the Think Award for their outstanding autonomous programming, and engineering notebook.”
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