Prince William County Schools Excellence and Equity in Education Conference

Superintendent Steven Walts at the Prince William County Schools Excellence and Equity in Education Conference at Colgan High School

As more than 91,000 students bring excitement and a curiosity for learning into our school hallways and classrooms for the 2019-20 school year, we have much to celebrate in Prince William County Schools. 

I am very pleased to share that, with the support of the Prince William School Board and Board of County Supervisors we are implementing the best budget in a decade. Our 2019-20 budget addresses the following priorities: employee pay, special education, mental health, career and technical education, sustaining class size reductions, and Pre-K education.

In an effort to become more competitive and recruit and retain the best employees, our budget includes a step increase for all eligible employees in addition to a cost-of-living increase, totaling an average 4.8 percent pay increase.

I also understand how the well-being of our students can impact their academic success. I am pleased the budget funds 46 new counselor positions to help support our students’ needs. The budget also ensures a full-time nurse is onsite at every school in PWCS. We have also added positions to better serve the needs of students with disabilities.

The school division has also budgeted almost $1 million in funding for career and technical education and other high school support. In addition, we have set aside $1.5 million to support pre-kindergarten education.

The opening of school also marks the completion of several facility projects. A new elementary school, John D. Jenkins Elementary School, will open this school year in Woodbridge. 

Mr. Jenkins held the Neabsco District Seat on the Prince William County Board of Supervisors for 36 years. He passed away earlier this year and was one of the strongest supporters of public education and PWCS.He and his wife, Ernestine, frequently attended PWCS events to show their support for our students and schools. He was an amazing champion of our students and his legacy of support for children will live on forever. I am very proud that the School Board named our new school after Mr. Jenkins.

Students attending Antietam, Lake Ridge, Minnieville and Springwoods elementary schools, as well as Stonewall Middle School, will be greeted by new classroom additions this school year. New turf fields have been installed at Stonewall Jackson and Woodbridge High Schools, and updates have been completed at Osbourn Park High School to include outside door replacements, new library carpet and gym floor repair. 

Construction of the 13thhigh school and the middle school located in Potomac Shores is currently underway, and the western school bus facility will be completed shortly. There are several additional facility projects underway. 

More information on those projects can be found under the facilities department tab at www.pwcs.edu.

I am also proud to share that our Career and Technical Education specialty programs continue to expand. This year, Stonewall Jackson High School students will have access to an electrical program followed by an aviation maintenance program in 2020-21. To view current offerings, go towww.pwcs.edu

Also, this year, The Hub, a new portal for parents, teachers, and students, will make it easier to access educational information. Students and parents can find bus and class schedules, teacher assignments and grades. If you haven’t activated your ParentVUE account, please contact your child’s school and the helpful staff will assist you.

Be on the lookout for stories and information we call Positively PWCS in "The Scoop," our weekly divisionwide newsletter. As a parent/guardian, you will automatically receive "The Scoop" weekly via email.

I also promise to share the great things going on in our schools on my Twitter account, @SuperPWCS, all year long.

I am very excited about the 2019-20 school year, and I hope our students, staff, parents and community members have a great school year.

The writer is the superintendent of Prince William County Schools.

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(1) comment

RLKessinger

I am reasonably certain there are some things to celebrate with the opening of the school year within PWC Public Schools. However, there are a lot of issues where the PWC Schools Administration and the entire School Board are utter failures, and most or all should be fired or removed from office ASAP. Not least is the chronic overcrowding at several High Schools (e.g.Battlefield, by more than 1000 students!) That has gone on for at least 10 of the past 12 years. There is no end in sight in any reasonable future. So, you are delivering at best a second rate education to large numbers of students not the phony 'World Class Education' espoused by the charlatan Dr. Steven Walts. The preposterous excuse from the Administration and the Board and the County Board of Supervisors is always some variation of the following: "We did no expect, plan for, or otherwise know that this many school age people would move into the County or otherwise show up for enrollment in our schools!" That excuse is folly but typical from petty County bureaucrats. The same County employees that approve all zoning, site plans, building permits and occupancy permits years in advance, somehow don't know how many people are moving into the County! Incompetence or lying, or both! ALL should be fired ASAP without their stuffy retirements and pensions. A few of the more outrageous actors should be prosecuted for dereliction or malfeasance. Next election for County Board and School Board: VOTE OUT ALL INCUMBENTS!!!

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