Welcome to 6th Grade!

Special Summer Edition Newsletter for Incoming 6th grade

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A Special Message for 5th graders

Dear 5th Graders,

Rippon's School Counseling Department welcomes you to our school. We are excited for you as you transition to middle school.

We look forward to seeing you on May 30th! In case you miss it, this newsletter will help you and your families navigate the world of middle school.

We look forward to your visit, and we hope that you are excited to start a fresh new year!

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Principal's Welcome Letter

Dear Parents,

I am excited about what my third year at Rippon will bring. We have made big gains in our school-wide SOL pass rates, and I expect that we will see bigger gains next year. A focus of mine and my vision for Rippon is that all students develop goals. That is what “Dream Big” means to us. As I remember back to when I was in middle school (years ago) no one was talking to students about goal setting. I know for me, that time of life was a blur. The next thing I knew was that I was a senior in high school looking into the future without a solid plan. Well…. that is something I wouldn’t wish on anyone. My desire is that all our students think about, and talk about, and even write down their life goals. With your help parents, we will come along beside you and push your students towards great things. Next fall will see Rippon with all new windows, doors, new encore courses, and we will be one step closer to becoming A destination school!”

Looking forward with optimism,

Scott R. Bergquist


Dream Big

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New Administrator: Welcome Kristan Donahue Barnisky


My name is Kristan Donahue Barnisky, and I am the new Assistant Principal at Rippon Middle School for the 2019-2020 school year! I am coming from Woodbridge Middle School as a former Reading Specialist and Administrative Intern and am currently working towards my doctoral degree in Educational Administration and Policy at George Washington University. I firmly believe that all students can find success in a learning environment where they feel comfortable, safe, and appreciated as individuals. I look forward to joining the Rippon Middle Team and doing whatever it takes to support student achievement and serve the community!

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What information will you find in this Special Edition Newsletter?

  1. Special greetings from: Counseling Department, Mr. Bergquist-Principal, Ms. Kristan Donahue Barniski-New Assistant Principal for 2019-2020SY
  2. Changes for Next Year
  3. Schedule Information
  4. Classes Information
  5. Registration Information
  6. School Security Officer
  7. Athletics and Physical Education Department
  8. Music Information
  9. Nurse's Corner
  10. Math and Science Specialty Program Information
  11. Attendance
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Dear Parents: Big changes in Middle School!

Dear Parents, this newsletter will contain a lot of information that we'd like to share with you to help your child transition next year. Please take some time to read over it, share it with your student(s).

  • Update your communication emails and phone numbers: Over the next year, you will see a lot more communication via emails. Please check your information through your parent portals to make sure everything is accurate.

  • What time does school start? School begins at 8:10 am. This is an hour difference than what you are used to in Elementary school. Make sure your student is getting sufficient rest.

  • 2-day Encore schedule: We will be on a 2-day Encore rotation (A day, B day) throughout the week. This means that students will see different encore classes everyday.

  • 6 Different Classes: We will have 6 periods in a day. That means more teachers and traveling throughout the building.

  • Music and PE: In 6th grade students must participate in the music program. They have a choice: They can sing in the choir, or play an instrument in Band or Orchestra. PE class is also mandatory. They do have to change their clothes, but don't worry they will have a locker to lock their personal items.

  • Student with Special Needs: The counseling department is working closely with the case managers to make sure we are in compliance, as we build your student's schedule.


During the week of August 19th, Prince William Central Office will send out your schedule via email.

** It is VERY IMPORTANT that all parents/guardians have an updated email address on file.

Rippon will have an open house the week before school starts. The date will be put on our school's website in the summer.

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What will my schedule look like?

One of the biggest changes from elementary school to middle school is the number of teachers that you will see during the day. You will travel to different classes throughout the building. Here is what your schedule is going to look like.

PO Homeroom (Homeroom and Core 1)

P1 Encore 1 A day, B day

P2 Encore 2 A day, B day

P3 Core 1

P4 Core 2


P5 Core 3

P6 Core 4

You will have a homeroom for 10 minutes every morning. The students who are in your homeroom will also be in your Period 3 Core 1 class.

SPECIAL NOTE: If your student never filled out a course request form, you will find the link below. Send it back to Rippon. You can email or send the form to Ms. Hernandez: hernanal@pwcs.edu

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What classes are available in 6th grade?

Core Classes (Math, Science, Social Studies, Language Arts)

  • Lang Arts 6
  • Lang Arts 6 Extended (Students must have SOL score of 500). *Depending on space we may revisit student scores between (475-500).
  • Social Studies 6
  • Science 6
  • Science Enrichment 6 (Math and Science Specialty Students only)
  • Math 6
  • Math 6 Extended: Students need a 475 or higher on their 5th grade Math SOL
  • Math 7 Extended: (Restrictions Apply)

Music Department: Mandatory music selection for 6th grade: Must Pick one

  • Orchestra-Year long (Violin, Viola, Cello, Bass)
  • Band-Year long (Snare Drum, Bells, Flute, Clarinet, Trombone, Baritone, Trumpet)
  • Choir Year long (You will sing like a movie star by the end of the year!!)

Encores- Semesters

  • Intro. to Foreign Language
  • Knowing Math (New STEM Enrichment class)--You do not have to be in the Math and Science Program for this class.
  • STEM Solutions (Business Education)
  • Personal Development (FACS)
  • Intro to Technology (CTE/Tech ED)
  • Art (2 Teachers--you can take two classes of Art)
  • Journalism
  • Gifted Classes--Must meet PWCS criteria

Encore Classes--Year-long courses
  • Health and PE
  • Music Classes (Orchestra, Band, Choir)
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Registration Protocols 2019-2020

Please see the links below for information regarding new registrations for the upcoming year. You can reach out to Mrs. Sandra Alwswayan for any questions regarding registrations.


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School Safety and Security Specialist: Mr. Herritt

Mr. Herritt is responsible for the following tasks:

Buses: Logging them in the morning and afternoon activity buses in the afternoon. In August, he also helps the main office identify additional information regarding bus stops. The county will send home information regarding Bus stops and times over the summer. So keep your eye out in August for this information!

Lost and Found: Mr. Herritt is the keeper of all things lost and found. if your student loses an item, he can check during the day to see if an item has been returned.

Hallway lockers: In August, Mr. Herritt will assign and maintain lockers. We hope to all all lockers assigned by September.

Mr. Herritt is also responsible for investigating school incidents, alongside with administration and our SRO (School Resource Officer).

If a student can't find Mr. Herritt in the office, he can always be found in the cafeteria monitoring and assigning lunch tables.

Mr. Herritt works with the counseling department on various cases as well through out the year.

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Library Information: Special Message from Ms. Ingalls and Ms. Gish

The library welcomes all Rippon Middle School students.

At the beginning of each school year students will attend a library orientation with their Language Arts classes where they will receive detailed information regarding library policies and procedures. Students may check out two books at a time for two weeks. Most students will visit the library with their Language Arts classes for regular checkouts. Students who are not visiting the library with their classes during regularly scheduled library times MUST have a library flex pass and sign in and out of the library during each visit.

Mr. Peterman--PE Teacher and Athletic Director

Hello Rippon Families,

If your student is interested in playing sports, it is required that you attend a concussion training and make sure that your son/daughter has an updated PWCS Physical form.

Physical and Concussion Trainings:

You can get general information about physical forms and concussion training dates for all middle schools(when next year's dates are established) at the County web site under Athletics.

Physical forms are available at any middle school--- it MUST be used when getting a physical (general entrance to school physicals are not adequate). Sports that are offered and tryout dates should be on an individual school's web page, if not call their middle school. Don't assume they are going to get printed information before the next school year starts. Forms should be given to coaches at tryouts, not dropped off in the office----this insures the work gets to the coach, as tryouts begin.

You can find the Athletics information if you go to the PWCS.Edu website. Go to the Students Link, then on your right side you will find the Athletics and Activities links. Here is a short cut:


Check below, you will find the following documents:

Participation Policies for Middle School Activities and Interscholastic Athletic and the PWCS Physical forms.

Physical Education: Ms. Erika Smith's Highlights

Vision: Students will participate in an engaging and dynamic health and physical education program of excellence to support a World-Class Education® in becoming health-literate and physically-literate individuals.


  • Students will be exposed to a variety of foundation movement skills, and personal fitness, nutrition and wellness activities.
  • Students will gain knowledge in essential health concepts, healthy decisions, advocacy and health promotion.
  • Students will acquire the knowledge, processes, and skills to become physically educated, physically fit, and responsible students in their physical activity choices and behaviors for a lifetime.

Dressing out:

Students will be required to dress in appropriate attire to participate in physical activity. Students have the option to purchase a school PE uniform or provide appropriate attire of their own (e.g. t-shirts, shorts, sweat pants, athletic shoes, socks & sweatshirts).

Here are some of the activities that are taught/ played: Track and Field, Soccer, flag football, basketball, volleyball, badminton, bowling, Frisbee, physical fitness testing, roller skating and other lifetime sports.

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Music News: Musicians Listen Up!


  • In 6th grade chorus, learn how to sing, perform, read music and much more with a fun team!

  • We have 2 concerts a year, some extra performance opportunities, and work together to learn life skills such as communication, active listening, and teamwork.

  • Learn more about your voice, different kinds of music, and how to be an engaging performer!

Band and Orchestra

  • The music department at Rippon provides an opportunity for students to perform with some of the top music ensembles in the county.

  • Students who sign up for band will have the option to play the flute, clarinet, trumpet, trombone, baritone, or percussion.

  • Students who sign up for orchestra have the option to play the violin, viola, cello, or bass.

We look forward to making great music with you next year!

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Nurse Huewitt: Clinic News 2019


Required Tdap Vaccine for 7th Graders and New Students to PWCS

Tdap Immunization Required for Seventh Graders

Effective July 1, 2019, All incoming 7th graders and all new 7th and 8th graders to Prince William County must show proof of receiving a tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis (Tdap) booster shot. (This requirement previously was for incoming 6th graders.) By state law, without proof of this immunization, children will not be able to attend classes for the 2019-2020 school year. Parents are urged to call their child’s doctor or local health department, if they have questions regarding Tdap. You may bring records of immunizations to the School Registrar during the Summer.

Dropping required documents off at Orientation only allows a couple of days to update hundreds of records. Please be aware that the best chance for a smooth transition would be to bring the records to school during the summer months. You may enter the building using Door # 14 during the Summer, and give records to the School Registrar, or the School Secretary.


  • If your child has a specific medical diagnosis such as DIABETES, SEIZURES, ASTHMA, or SEVERE ALLERGIES requiring an epi-pen, please contact the school clinic before the 2019-2020 school year starts.

  • The same PWCS forms used in elementary school are used in middle school, i.e., asthma action plan, health care plans, and medication administration forms for over the counter and prescription medications. These forms can be found on the school website.

  • All medical paperwork for health conditions or medication administration must be renewed every school year. Health care plans from the 2018-2019 school year will not be accepted for the 2019-2020 year.

  • If your student has a health condition that requires medication be given at school, please contact the Nurse as soon as possible. You may download the required forms from the school website.

  • If your student occasionally needs any type of medication to get through the school day, please have an adult come to administer it (over age 18).

  • Please review Regulation 758-1 for Illness or Injury Exclusion. Examples are: fever 100oF and over – must be fever free for at least 24 hours without medication; Conjunctivitis (pink eye); ringworm; strep infection; and, rash of unknown origin, especially if accompanied by a fever.


  • I am here to care for your student. I work closely with your student to teach them to be a knowledgeable advocate for their health. This includes pushing them to return to class, when it is safe to do so, and learning to assess their bodies to know if they are indeed sick and need attention. I will support them as they learn to navigate middle school. My goal is to educate and encourage them, so that they may grow up and become productive and successful young men and women. Feel free to call or stop by to discuss your student’s needs.

Edna Huewitt, BSN, RN



  • This includes all medications. Parents/Guardians must fill out the proper paperwork for the Nurse to administer medication during school hours. Students are not allowed to carry any medication except: cough drops in the original bag or box. If a student has asthma, their doctor may fill out paperwork allowing them to self-carry their inhalers.


  • A Parent can write a note to excuse a student from PE for 3 days.
  • PE every other day = 1 week of class.
  • Expect that the student will be given an alternate means of learning the day’s lesson.
  • A note should be given to the PE teacher for their records.


  • This gives the teachers time to set up the day’s class schedule, and to assign homework and answer any questions the students may have before dismissal.


  • The only exceptions are if you are bleeding, in crisis or escorted by a teacher. A teacher may also call the clinic to alert the Nurse to a student’s visit. Do not come to the Nurse in between classes, unless it is an emergency. A headache, stomach ache, foot hurting from yesterday, or a scratch on your finger is not an emergency. Go to your next class, and after the first 15 minutes is over, you can ask for permission from your teacher.


  • Please keep your phone numbers current. In the event of an illness or emergency, we want to be able to contact your parent or guardian quickly.

Let's Talk Hygiene: Nurse's Special Message to 6th graders.

Dear Rising 6th Graders,

Welcome to Rippon Middle School. Middle school is not elementary school. You are pre-teens now and will be expected to become more independent and be able to participate in your health care needs.

Good Hygiene is important:

It is important that you practice good hygiene in middle school. Frequent hand washing is the single most important habit to adopt in middle school. It will prevent many common illnesses and ailments experienced in middle school. Your body is changing, and you will experience things you have only heard about. It is important that you brush your teeth at least twice per day – once in the morning and once before going to bed at night.

Taking Showers Daily:

  • You should also shower/bathe at least once per day. In middle school, it is highly recommended that you shower/bathe at night to get rid of all the germs and bacteria you have been exposed to during the day. Some of you, due to your activity level, may need to shower at night and in the morning before coming to school. For most of you, this is when you will officially be old enough and ready to begin wearing deodorant.


  • Apply deodorant to freshly washed underarms only. It does not work if you have already started to perspire (sweat). Make sure that you wash behind your ears and your feet, especially between your toes, daily also. The feet should be dried completely before putting on clean socks. If you do not have enough socks for the week, wash out the pair you wore that day, and let them dry overnight. Make sure they are completely dry before wearing. Your shoes should also be clean and dry also. This helps to reduce the fungus that causes stinky feet.


  • Many girls will begin their menstruation (period) in middle school. Please come see the Nurse, if you do not understand how to manage and take care of yourself during this time. I will be happy to teach you. The clinic has extra pads for those times when you forget to bring your own sanitary supplies to school. It is your responsibility to plan for your menstrual cycle.

The Clinic is for sick or injured children and emergencies.

  • It is not a place to visit because you are sleepy, bored or just do not want to participate in class, especially Physical Education (P.E.). Physical Education is different in middle school. You will get tired, winded and sometimes feel as though you need to vomit. The Nurse will not write you an excuse to not participate in P.E. If you are unable to participate, your Parents will have to follow Prince William School District policies. You will be sent back to class, if you are not sick.


  • Contrary to popular belief, head lice do not jump or fly. The Nurse is trained to screen for lice.

Stomach Aches:

  • If you have a stomach ache: eat if you have not eaten; or, use the restroom if you have already eaten. Do not come to the Nurse for a stomach ache after you have just eaten. This is, usually, not an emergency. Wait, drink plenty of water, and go to the restroom. If you have a documented stomach ailment/disease, this does not apply to you. Your education is very important, and you can not learn if you are constantly in the Nurse’s office.


  • If you do not have medication properly set up in the clinic, the Nurse can not give you any medication. There is no medication in the clinic, except that provided by parents for their child. It is important that you drink enough water. If you have not drank enough water, your stomach may hurt, and/or your head may hurt. Water is the single most important beverage in life.
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Math and Science Specialty Program Information 2019

Please look over the information below regarding expectations for the Math and Science Program.

Rising 6th Graders:

  • Applications were due online in February for any student who has been in the county this past year. If you missed the deadline to apply to the program, you will have to wait till the next window opens (November-February 2019-2020) to apply for the following year.

  • However, if you are New (**has not attended any PWCS in the past year) to the county, you have 30 days to apply to the specialty program. You can find the link to the application below.

  • SOLs are very important in the placing of extended classes, as well as the Math and Science Specialty programs. Students must meet the following criteria:

What scores must my student make?

  • Math 475 and up goes to Math 6 Extended, Passing Science and LA means they are in Math/science.

Great News: More counseling staff for next year.

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Great Staffing for a Great Counseling Program at Rippon Middle School.

The Counseling Department will have two additional full-time counselors next year. This is great news for us in the counseling field and at Rippon. We are thrilled with our new staff coming on board in August. You will get more information on our programming for next year. I'll be putting out a newsletter in the fall and I'll introduce the new counselors then.
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Important Attendance Procedures for 2019-2020!

The state of Virginia has taken an active role in ensuring that all students are complying with compulsory attendance laws in the commonwealth.

Per the Code of Virginia Law 22.1-254.1 and 22.1-279.3 and Prince William County Regulation 724.1, "All Students of compulsory attendance age shall be expected to attend school each day that school is in session."

If a student misses school, a statement from the parent or guardian, providing the reason for the absence shall be received by the school no later than the third school day following the absence.

A large number of unexcused absences will result in referral the Prince William County Attendance Officer.


We have an online absence reporting system to make life easier for parents! You can submit attendance notes online using the following link:


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