Panther News!

February 18, 2018 - Volume 1, Issue 17

Update from Dr. B

I hope that everyone had a restful holiday weekend. I know that it took a little adjustment for everyone to work a complete week after having so many changes to our schedule over the last few weeks.

I wanted to take this opportunity to congratulate our Parkside Robotics teams. Two out of our five teams made it to state and this past Friday and Saturday they proudly represented Parkside, their families, and themselves. Thank you to Mrs. Soma and Ms. Moore, our robotics teams sponsors. Additionally, I would like to thank Mrs. Purdy and all of our parent volunteers who tirelessly supported, motivated, and encouraged our students. We are all so proud of each and every member of our robotic teams, and we know that their successes will only continue over the coming school year.

I would also like to congratulation our boys' basketball and wrestling teams. They have all represented Parkside with true sportsmanship. It is great to see such school pride within our students. Well done to all!

Our School Advisory Committee (SAC) meeting has been rescheduled for Wednesday, February 21, 2018 at 5:30 p.m. The main focus on this meeting will be to review the FY2019 budget, request input from parents and staff, and respond to questions or concerns regarding the budget process.

Please do not hesitate to contact a member of the admin team if you have any questions or concerns. Our school doors are always open and we welcome parents to come and visit whenever they are able.

"One School, One Purpose: Together We Can!"

Yours truly,

Dr. B

A Week Captured through Pictures...

Parental Questions/Concerns

1. PIPS - clarify the school policy. Parents seeing different things/requirements but little actual reteaching of the material. Lots of thick packets etc.

As stated in the Parkside Teacher Handbook, "In order for a student to "PIP" a summative assessment, all formative assessments leading up to the summative must be completed, checked by teacher, and returned with teacher feedback prior to retaking. (The required formative assessments are indicated in the "Quarter At A Glance" that is created by each grade level department.) There will be an after school study group available to help facilitate the process of completing formative work, study help and study for retakes. Retakes will only be based on the learning target that was not mastered. If a student does not meet with mastery, the student will PIP at least one time. This will be coordinated between the teacher and student only after formative assessments are completed and returned with feedback. If the students does not meet with success on the second attempt, the teacher and student will work collaboratively to establish and complete a remediation process to support the student's mastery. PIPs should not be the same exact assessment."

At no time is the recommendation for teachers to provide students with large packets of work to completed at home. If students are not comprehending the material, and assistance is not being provided, please reach out to a member of the administrative team so that assistance/re-teaching can be facilitated.

2. Is there a best practice for teachers to initiate parent conferences or phone calls to discuss issues. Seeing grades is not the same as communication.

Teacher/parent conferences are not the first form of communication to parents. If students grades or work habits are not meeting expectations teachers should be emailing or calling parents prior to report card (interim or nine-weeks) being sent home. Teachers should be providing students with a variety of opportunities to master the learning targets being taught, and only if all avenues available have been exhausted should a teacher/parent conference be scheduled.

If parents feel communication is lacking please email the teacher and cc. a member of the administrative team. Teachers are encouraged to respond to parents within 24-hours, even if it is to simply let the parent know they are in receipt of their email and that they will be in touch as soon as possible.

The Department of Counseling should only be involved if there are concerns from a number of teachers and all other forms of communication have been exhausted.

3. Best practices for posting homework help for kids and parents on class pages. Some Departments are better than others at posting helpful resources. Or is it possible to check out textbooks to keep at home for students.

All departments should have placed helpful resources for students and parents on the main website. We are all aware that the teacher's SLMS is not as user-friendly as we would like, and continue to work to improve all aspects as quickly as possible. Teachers are able to use the calendar feature to post specific helpful resources and both parents & students are able to access this feature. Additionally, after taking with Ms. Heather Wines, Director of School Counseling, we are going to be including some helpful resources to the counseling webpages.

Additionally, students are able to check out textbooks as a resource. However, most of our subject areas only use the textbook as resources, not necessarily as the primarily source for instruction.

4. Some teachers not passing back tests to review and not even giving students scores. Then putting the grades up online last minute. Way after material was covered.

The is a very troubling concern. Students should be receiving their assessments back within a very short window with feedback available for their review. All assessments should be placed in students data folders, and be available for parents to review on request. This is a concern that will be addressed with the entire Parkside faculty to ensure that this is not a common practice. I ask parents to please communicate with me whenever this above concern occurs, as this should never be acceptable.

5. A teacher used a Zero Day to assign a packet in order for students to Pip so students could not participate in Zero day. What is purpose of a Zero Day.

The term "Zero Day" is simply used for attendance purposes. It allows Parkside to adjust its schedule for a variety of reasons, and only requires attendance through SMS to be taken in the morning. All other attendance is taken the old fashioned way with paper and pencil. Our last "House Celebration Day" used an adjusted schedule where teachers saw their students for a slightly shorter period, and we had our "Celebration" in an extended block of time at the end of the day. As this was the last day of the quarter/semester, it was recommended to teachers that they should not begin any 'new' instruction and could use this time to conference with students, review material, and provide students with a last chance to PIP.

6. Mass testing at the end of every quarter, and right before interims, kids end up with 3 or 4 tests on the same days it’s a rush to get grades in so lots of packets, pipping and tests. Very stressful for kids and families.

This is a concern that I will be addressing with all faculty and staff. There are a variety of ways for our students to be assessed, and there is no need for mass testing to occur a few days prior to the end of the grading period. Additionally, when this occurs students are not afforded the opportunity to have the material re-taught, therefore, this is not a recommended practice. Time will be spent over the coming weeks to review this concern with all teachers and collectively come up with a fairer and less stressful process for all.


1. Please remember to send in a note after your student has been absent from school. The note should be sent within 2 days of your students return. If you prefer to call or email, that would also be acceptable. It is extremely important that we record our students attendance correctly, and we need our parents assistance to ensure that our students absences are marked excused, whenever possible;

2. INELLIGIBLE STATUS: It is important for students (and parents) to understand that students who earn two F's and/or two U's for Conduct or Effort are Ineligible for the quarter. Not only does this prevent students from trying out for sports, it also means they are not eligible to participate in our House Celebration Days and other such events. Please work with us to assist our students to work to their potential, and strive to do the best they can in all school settings. In addition, students who have been chronically tardy/late to classes are also ineligible;

3. It is cold out there! It is important that our students wear appropriate clothing to school. There have been a number of situations already this year when our students have had to wait more than 10-15 minutes for their school bus, and with the temperatures dropping below zero this places our students at risk of the severe cold temperatures. We are working with transportation to prevent these situations from occurring. Please remember that if you, as parent, believe that it is too cold for your child to wait outside for their school bus, all you have to do is let us know and your child's absence will be excused.

Information from Prince William County Schools

Help Decide What's for Breakfast & Lunch at March 8 Food Show

Students, parents, and staff: Sign up for the School Division's annual food show scheduled this year from 6-8 p.m. on Thursday, March 8, at Colgan High School. Find details at Call 703.791.7314 to reserve your spot.

2018 Parent Summit Rescheduled for March 17 - Registration Open

High school parents and parents of eighth-graders: the winter High School Parent Summit has been rescheduled. The original date was cancelled due to inclement weather. The summit will be help from 8-11:30 a.m. on Saturday, March 17, at Colgan High School. Online registration is open. All those who plan to attend should submit a new registration for this event. Register at

Transition Fair Helps Students with Disabilities Plan & Prepare

To assist students with disabilities and their families in planning for life after school, the Prince William/Manassas/Manassas Park Transition Council will host its Annual Transition Fair. This free event will be held on Saturday, March 17, from noon-3:30 p.m. at the Edward L. Kelly Leadership Center.

Summer School Dares for 2018

  1. Elementary and Middle School Remediation Program: Monday, July 9-Friday, July 27 (15 day program)
  2. High School Program: Monday, June 18-Friday, July 27 (Wednesday, July 4, is a holiday)
  3. Art Enrichment and Student Success Academy: Monday, July 9-Friday, July 20
  4. High School Graduation: Thursday, July 26 (held at the Summer School HS location, TBD)

Registration for Summer School will begin in March. Visit the PWCS Summer School web page for additional information.

Date Set for CISL Conference at Hilton - An International Affair

The Center for International Studies and Languages (CISL) at Hilton High School will host its annual conference, "Connecting the World: People, Places, Languages, and Culture," on Saturday, April 7, from 8:30-3 p.m.

The conference includes break-out sessions on international topics, with presenters from Washington, D.C. and other local areas, many of whom are also CISL graduates.

Participants are offered a light breakfast and full lunch, with choices from an international food court. The conference is open to all students, parents, faculty, and members of the community. Registration information for attendees will be available in early 2018.

Upcoming & Important Dates


Tuesday, February 20: Study Hall; Ecology Club; Robotics Club; Strings Tutoring; Coding

Wednesday, February 21: Robotics Club; Quilting Club; STEM-Bio Bugs Club; Chamber Orchestra; Boys Basketball HOME vs. Bull Run; Wrestling @ Bull Run

Thursday, February 22: Study Hall; Battle of the Books; Robotics Club; Strings Tutoring

Friday, February 23: Boys Basketball @ Reagan; Wrestling HOME vs. Reagan

Tuesday, February 27: Rising 9th Grade HS Scheduling - Stonewall HS

Tuesday, February 27: Study Hall; Ecology Club; Robotics Club; Strings Tutoring; Boys Basketball @ Stonewall