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Virginia Prince William County School Board Occoquan School District

The Prince William County School Board makes the policies that govern the school division. There are eight members on the School Board, one from each magisterial district and one at-large member who serves as chairman. They serve a 4-year term with a salary limit set by the Virginia Code. The policies developed include instruction, administration, personnel, and students including matters of school boundary determination, pupil assignment plans, guidelines for student assessments, and annual school calendar, an instructional calendar, a 5-year plan for instruction, and location of schools.

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    Karen L. Boyd

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    Lillie G. Jessie

Biographical Information

What would you propose in order to provide a curriculum best-suited for each student?

What changes would you support in the school funding system?

What are your chief concerns about state-mandated curriculum and assessment requirements?

What innovations would you propose to improve the education of our students?

How well do you believe the specialty programs in some high schools serve the school population? What changes would you support?

What changes and resources are needed to increase public pre-kindergarten programs?

How would you expand citizen involvement in the budget process and in other decision-making such as school boundaries?

What systemic changes are needed to increase the retention rate of new teachers to keep them in Prince William County schools?

Age 48
education/Degrees B.S. Education Clarion University M.A. Educational Leadership University of Virginia
family Husband, Mark Son, Austin Son, Parker (deceased)
Expand opportunities like more dual-enrollment courses and JROTC programs that prepare students for college and the military, and career and technical education programs that provide students with certification and internships. Individualizing the curriculum means providing the best possible preparation for all avenues after high school. We need to lobby the state to reconsider the current accountability program and advocate for creative opportunities for students to meet diploma requirements.
Joint discussions with the Board of County Supervisors around alternatives for funding the school system other than the current revenue sharing agreement to include more transparency in the way the budget is spent. Increased pay raises earlier in an employee’s career without losing the top steps that are currently in place. Cost-effective ways to build new schools that meet the growing needs of our students programs while leaving funds available for much needed improvements to older schools.
The state-mandated requirements prevent us from looking for other ways for students interested in the career and technical or military fields to fulfill their diploma requirements through credentialing programs and internships. Our current system of state testing doesn’t account or accommodate for unique needs, like those of our English Learners or students with disabilities. We talk about approaching education with a growth mindset, but our current system follows a fixed mindset.
Expand our AP, IB, and Cambridge programs in the high schools and middle schools with IGCSE and IB Middle Years. Expand our dual-enrollment courses in partnership with NoVA and other colleges and universities, to fully prepare college-bound students for the next phase of their lives. Expand opportunities in career and technical education, in which students can leave high school having earned industry credentials, experienced real-world internships, and prepared for entering apprenticeships.
The current system limits accessibility for some students. There are benefits to having our students attend their “base” schools. Distance between school and home and transportation concerns prohibit students from participating in after school activities and parents from becoming involved in the school. I support increasing the programs in all schools. I also support providing students with real-world experiences, such as internships, to use to satisfy diploma requirements.
We need more funding, space, and teachers. Increasing our pre-K program will result in more students enrolling in advance academics and specialty programs and graduating on time. We need to lobby both the state and federal governments for more funding and work with the BOCS to provide the space needed to house the programs. And we can take our efforts into the homes with access to internet and online programs and reading programs that get books into the hands of our children.
Partnering with local news outlets to provide regular updates. Partnering with other elected officials to share information through their newsletters and Town Hall meetings. Attending HOA and PTA/PTO/PTSA meetings to hear concerns and answer questions. Using social media to collect citizen input. Creating opportunities for citizens to come together to provide input, being mindful that location can either encourage or prohibit participation, as was seen with our recent boundary adjustments
Develop a pay scale with larger pay raises earlier in teachers’ careers to better support their needs, like buying a house, starting a family, and paying for day care. Re-instate the step increases lost over the last decade. Improve programs, like tuition reimbursement and professional development opportunities, to give teachers reasons to continue in the field and to remain in Prince William County until retirement.
A curriculum that is aligned with State Standards and included critical thinking activities that are hands-on. The curriculum should be aligned with best practices and 21-century skill considerations. It should be a guaranteed curriculum for all students. That includes students from diverse backgrounds. It should also be viable. In other words it should not be so expansive that teachers are not able to teach it.
I would look at an increase in the revenue sharing formula. Perhaps a 40/60 split giving 60% to schools. I think the shared agreement works. It allows us to share plans and work together in a collaborative manner.
My mantra is “One test is too much if it does not change instruction.” The mistake we make is that we confuse end of the year standard testing with on-going assessment. In order for teachers to know whether students have mastered a concept there has to be some type of ongoing assessment. Our students are not performing well on the College Board readiness benchmarks, especially minority students. That needs to be addressed.
We must become more competitive with the world. We are not competitive in math or science based on the Programme for International Student Aassessment (PISA). The students of today will need to be able to compete internationally. I would like to have us redefine “World Class” to mean “World Competitive."
I think some students are served well in schools where they have access to specialty programs. Many of the students on the eastern end of the county need to travel to schools that have these programs. There continues to be a lack of equity. We also need to increase and expand our specialty offerings in all of our schools, at the school level but also at the community college level. I would like to see more business partnerships with technology, bio-medical and the hospital industries.
We need stand-alone funding. In other words funding that does not require matching funds from the local school division. We continue to have an over-crowding problems so funding for facilities for these programs is also an issue.
First and foremost citizens need to be made aware that the process is taking place in a more direct manner. Central office notification via the website is not sufficient. We need to collaborate with local parent groups and principals. The boundary process should include upfront input from Board members not last minute changes.
We need to increase their pay and their opportunity for advancement. There are very few growth ladders for teachers at the building level. Many teachers have indicated they do not aspire to be an administrator at the building or central office level.There can be incentives for individuals who specialize in special projects for special needs and/or diverse learners. A master teacher at the building level should be considered.