2019 Parent Panther Press

MWES Monthly Parent Newsletter - February

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More than half of the schools in Prince William County have earned the 2018-19 School of Excellence distinction based on academic performance during the 2017-18 school year. Prince William County Public Schools bestowed its highest academic honor to 56 schools, up from 49 last year.

“I am very proud of the progress our schools are making,” said Steve Walts, Superintendent of Schools. “One hundred percent of our schools earned accreditation this year, and more of our schools are experiencing improved pass rates in reading, algebra, and world languages. Our graduation rate is the highest it has been in 10 years. Congratulations to our students, staff members, and community for this improvement. We remain committed to continuous improvement for all students.”

A School of Excellence must be accredited and should demonstrate improvement in closing achievement gaps. School of Excellence criteria also include absenteeism, drop-out rate, wellness and overall climate satisfaction for parents and teachers.

MWES will have a special celebration to honor our students for this award.

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Attendance Matters!

To stay on track in school, students need to be present every day. Missing 18 or more days of school in a year puts a child’s high school graduation at risk, according to AbsencesAddUp.org, a national chronic absenteeism prevention campaign. Being absent for just two days every month of the school year can put a child behind academically. Students with regular attendance are more likely to read well by third grade and score higher on tests. They also tend to be more engaged in school and feel better about themselves. Put your child on the path to success with these attendance strategies.

  • Make school a priority.
  • Make a plan. If your schedule or transportation situation makes getting your child to school a challenge, ask for assistance. Make a carpool or transportation plan with other parents or family members.
  • Report In. Know the school’s attendance policies. If an absence or early dismissal is unavoidable, call the front office.
  • Carefully weigh sick days. If your child is sick, talk with your health care provider to determine whether (s)he should stay home from school.
  • Schedule wisely. Know the school calendar, and arrange doctor and dentist appointments after school, on weekends, or during holiday breaks, if possible. Resist the urge to schedule vacations when students will miss school. This gives students the impression that school is not a priority.
  • Help students complete assignments. When your child has to miss school, make arrangements with teachers to pick up a packet of make-up work. Ensure that your child follows through, and be available to explain concepts or monitor his/her work.
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The thoughtful use of technology by parents and early educators can engage children in key skills such as play, self-expression, and computational thinking which will support later success across all academic disciplines and help maintain young children’s natural curiosity.

(US Dept. of Education, Office of Educational Technology)

The Department's four guiding principles for use of technology with early learners are as follows:

  • Guiding Principle #1: Technology—when used appropriately—can be a tool for learning.
  • Guiding Principle #2: Technology should be used to increase access to learning opportunities for all children.
  • Guiding Principle #3: Technology may be used to strengthen relationships among parents, families, early educators, and young children.
  • Guiding Principle #4: Technology is more effective for learning when adults and peers interact or co-view with young children.
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5 Resources for Parents Who Are Stumped by Math Homework: A math teacher's go-to list of websites to help you and your child decipher tricky math concepts.

1. Learn Zillion

This video-based website teaches math concepts in short, student-centered lessons. You can search a concept and watch different videos that will teach you and your child how to understand math ideas and strategies. The videos are very child friendly! Recommended for 2nd grade and up.

2. K-5 Math Teaching Resources

It's full of games and activities for each math standard that allow you and your child to better understand different topics being taught in the classroom. There are different categories to choose from: number sense, geometry, and measurement and data. Click on the activity or game that will help practice different mathematical concepts. Recommended for Kindergarten through 5th grade.

3. Khan Academy

Khan Academy focuses on interactive videos and practice exercises that support your child’s learning at her own pace. The activities are simple enough for your child to do on her own but also challenging enough to push her to learn more. Recommended for Kindergarten and up.

4. NCTM Illuminations

This site is an incredible resource for teachers, parents, and students. There are lessons, interactive games, and brainteasers that are all helpful with homework and extra practice at home. Recommended for PreK and up.

5. K 5 Learning

K 5 Learning is a wonderful parent-support for math help at home. It offers online support and numerous printable worksheets to support you and your child’s learning at home. There are even parent progress reports if you chose to assess your child’s progress. Recommended for Kindergarten through 5th grade.

Keep these resources on hand when math homework starts to get tricky. They can be a great support to both you and your child!


“Never be limited by other people’s limited imaginations.” – Dr. Mae Jemison, first African-American female astronaut

You can only become accomplished at something you love. Don’t make money your goal. Instead pursue the things you love doing and then do them so well that people can’t take their eyes off you.Maya Angelou (African-American author and poet).

“The time is always right to do what is right.” – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

“Success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has overcome while trying to succeed.” – Booker T. Washington

“Hold fast to dreams, for if dreams die, life is a broken winged bird that cannot fly.”
Langston Hughes

“There are times in life when, instead of complaining, you do something about your complaints.” – Rita Dove (African-American poet and author)

February School Happenings!

02/12/19 - 2nd Quarter Report Cards Distributed

02/12/19 - 2nd Quarter Awards Assembly for Kinder/1st - 9:30 a.m (Inclement Weather Date: 02/14/19 @ 9:30); PTO Board Meeting - 5:30

02/13/19 - 2nd Quarter Awards Assembly for 2nd/3rd - 9:30 a.m.; 1st Grade Market Day - 2:30

02/14/19 - Class Friendship Parties *HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY!*

02/15/19 - 2nd Quarter Awards Assembly for 4th/5th - 9:30 a.m.


02/21/19 - 03/01/19 - Spring Book Fair

02/23/19 - PWCS All Elementary Chorus @ Patriot High School

02/25/19 - 2nd Grade Fire Safety Presentation - 9:30; Jump Rope for Heart Pep Rally - 2:15

02/26/19 - PTO Meeting - 6:00; Spring Book Fair Family Night - 5:30 - 7:30

02/27/19 - Gifted Family Night w/ Mrs. Cpin - 5:00 - 6:30


*Please make sure you keep the school office notified of any changes in your contact information.

*As winter has finally set in, all kids should dress appropriately for the weather. If you need assistance with obtaining a winter coat, please contact the school counselors, Ms. Brown or Ms. Myers.

*Students will not be dismissed from the front office after 3:00 p.m. except in emergency situations. Please send in a note or call the school office if your child requires early dismissal.

*Please call the school attendance line at (703) 445-8379 to inform the school if your child will be absent. Send a note regarding the reason for the absence when your child returns to school.

*The My PWCS mobile app gives you the tools you need to keep you up to date while you are on the move. Notifications and emergency alerts keep you aware of breaking news—including those sought after inclement weather messages. The app is your go-to source for information about PWCS. Select the schools that interest you to create customized web and social media feeds. All new is a direct link to the SLMS for parents, making checking on homework easier than ever. Links to contact directories, lunch menus, bus schedules, and other important resources remain available. Search "PWCS" in the iTunes App Store and Google Play store. The app is a great way to stay connected to your schools and to get information quickly when rough weather hits.

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Mary F. Williams was born on August 21, 1932. A native of Charleston, South Carolina, she earned her bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Winston-Salem State University and her master’s degree in education from Columbia University. Before coming to Prince William County Schools, she taught in New York, New Jersey, and Germany.

Ms. Williams was a teacher at Dale City Elementary School from 1978 until her retirement in 1997. She primarily taught first and fourth grade. During her time there, she served as chairman of the multicultural committee, grade-level chair for first grade, and textbook selection committee representative.

After her retirement, Ms. Williams remained active in education, serving as a volunteer reading tutor at Neabsco Elementary School. She was elected to the Prince William County School Board to represent the Neabsco District and served as a school board member from Nov 1999 until her death on September 16, 2002. During her time on the school board, Ms. Williams established a reputation for dedication, perseverance, and commitment to the education of the young people of Prince William County.

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What separates successful students from those who struggle? In this video Angela Lee Duckworth explains her theory of "grit" as a predictor of success.