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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

Manassas Park participating in summer food service program

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.

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. 


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.

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.

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

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.

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.”

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

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.

Bear spotted at Tyler Elementary School

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


WJPN is on the air: John Paul The Great Catholic High School launches FM radio station

John Paul The Great Catholic High School is on the air.

The school near Dumfries debuted a new low-power FM radio station 106.3 WJPN. The radio station will be used to broadcast classes, community information, and to simulcast the EWTN Catholic Radio Network.

“The sky is really the limit as to what we can with it,” said Jennifer Cole, director of enrollment and communications at the school.

A three-minute interview of the Principal Sister Mary Jordan Hoover recorded by two 11th grade students using an iPad was the first content to air on the station. Next year, the school will begin a communications course to teach 25 to 30 interested students about radio broadcasting, and to create more original content for the station that could include broadcasting sports games. The school still must build a radio studio for students to use.

Listeners in their cars can hear the low-power FM station within a 10 to 12-mile radius of the radio station tower affixed to new field lighting at the high school. “The signal is strong here locally, but as it travels farther out things like hills can kill the signal,” said Dave Morales, the school’s technology director.

The school spent four years and $250,000 developing the new radio station to cover permit costs, legal fees, to purchase equipment. The bulk of the expense came with the purchase of stadium lights for their football field, which ended up being the only feasible place to install the radio antenna. 

The seed money for the radio came from Tom Vetter of Montclair, and the donation for the stadium lights from Corrine and Mike Kosar of Woodbridge. Until now, the school regularly rented large lights for outdoor events before the installation of the new lights, said Cole.

The new lights meant the school did not have to build a radio tower. The FM transmitter is now placed on one of the light poles 102 feet above the football field, the highest spot on campus, said Morales.


The school held a ceremony Friday night to celebrate the new lights and the radio station’s inaugural broadcast.

The FCC will not allow the school to sell advertising the same way a commercial radio station does due to its low-power status. However, the school may thank contributing families and businesses on air similar to the way NPR announces its underwriting companies.

“It’s no longer just about what is happening within these four walls. Now we want to share our message with the community,” said Cole.

Anderson will push school funding grants

Millions of dollars of funds for Prince William County Public Schools remain up in the air.

The County’s Board of Supervisors passed its fiscal 2017 $1 billion budget — more than half of which goes to the county school division to provide majority funding for the education of 87,000 students in its 95 schools. The Board of Supervisors budget left the School Board about $7 million short of revenues it had anticipated getting if Supervisors had set and adopted a tax rate, which would have generated a higher average tax bill for county property owners.

Occoquan Supervisor Ruth Anderson pushed a plan to provide nearly $30 million in grant funding from the County to the School Board to make up for the lower tax rate, and funds lost after her proposal to reduce the automatic fund transfer from to the School Board from 57.23 percent of the entire county budget down to 54 percent. (more…)

NOVA Woodbridge students organize nationwide inNOVAtion hackathon

Students from various colleges and universities across the county gathered on the Woodbridge Campus of Northern Virginia Community College to participate in a hackathon event organized by five NOVA cybersecurity and information technology students. The event was held at the Regional Center for Workforce Education and Training (RCWET) on April 8-10. (more…)

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