Nokesville K – 8 School

Getting information out of PWCS is difficult, and that’s putting it mildly, and that difficulty makes it almost impossible to figure out what’s really happened.  As a result, misunderstandings and misperceptions tend to be perceived as fact.  There is no swimming pool on the roof of Patriot High School or Wood Elementary School.  There are very nice murals at Piney Branch that were paid for out of the Principal’s discretionary funds.  Some of our High Schools, namely Patriot and Battlefield, do not have enough textbooks for certain subjects to give one to each student.  Smart Boards cost about $10,000 each to purchase and install and, while they’re really cool and fun, there is little empirical evidence that they actually improve student learning.     Current research shows that IPads actually do help autistic children communicate more effectively.  Angry Birds has no academic value but does appear to be highly addictive.

That’s part of the reason we created this site –  not to serve as cheerleaders for the administration but to separate fact from fiction and hold the district accountable when it’s the one spreading fiction.

As we’re in an election year and one of the hottest campaigns is in Brentsville District, lots of issues are popping up.  One such issue has popped up that we felt deserved attention, that of the Nokesville K – 8 School, which is set to begin construction in 2012.

Nokesville currently houses an elementary school with about 400 students in attendance.  That school is almost 100 years old and long term planning for PWCS had the school scheduled for replacement in 2014 with an 850 student elementary school at a projected cost of roughly $25 million.  The Nokesville community opposed the new elementary school, and suggested that the old elementary school should be renovated with 10 rooms added to it, at a projected cost of roughly $14.4 million.  That would have increased the school’s current capacity of approximately 350 students to about 600 students and would have saved the district $10.6 million.

While the renovation and expansion had great appeal in the community, Facilities and Construction staff at PWCS were concerned that the site could not support the expansion and were concerned about putting renovation dollars into a building that is nearly 100 years old, so they began researching alternatives and suggested that a 900 student K – 8 school be built in Nokesville instead of renovating and expanding the old school.   Preliminary cost estimates demonstrated that the K – 8 school could be built for the same cost as a new 850 student elementary school, approximately $25 million, and would have the added benefit of providing 325 middle school seats.  Marsteller Middle School will see little relief from overcrowding when Ronald Reagan Middle School opens at Silver Lake and enrollment at the school is projected to increase as the “bubble” hits.  No new middle schools are planned in the county until 2018.

At the June 2, 2010 school board meeting PWCS Facilities and Construction staff presented their plans for the Nokesville renovation and expansion to the school board.  They also suggested that a new K – 8 school would be a financially feasible option that would provide additional elementary and middle school seats in an area that needs those seats without having to renovate an old school whose site might not support support a 10 room expansion. At that meeting, Gil Trenum, the Brentsville District representative, proposed that the school board consider a regional K – 8 school in Nokesville in lieu of renovating and expanding the old Nokesville Elementary.

A K – 8 school only has 325 middle school students, and, as such, there isn’t sufficient population to support certain activities, like a middle school sports program.  Because those programs are important to many parents, input from the community was sought before the proposal was approved.  Notifications of the proposal were sent home with every Nokesville Elementary student and a public meeting was held at Nokesville Elementary School.  The proposal was presented to the PWC Planning Commission and Board of County Supervisors and was discussed during public session at two school board meetings.

There are some negatives associated with K -8 school – namely redistricting and specialty programs.  Because the new K – 8 school will serve elementary and middle school students, the boundaries for elementary and middle schools in that area will have to be redrawn.  Redistricting at the elementary level would have happened whether the choice was for an expanded and renovated Nokesville Elementary or a K – 8 school, but because the new school will affect middle schools, some students may have to move from Marsteller to the K – 8 school. Additionally, because of the size of the middle school, specialty programs will be limited in the middle school portion of the school.  However, any student who is assigned to the K – 8 school who wants to be involved in one of the specialty programs or middle school sports program can transfer to and attend Marsteller Middle School, as long as they’re able to provide their own transportation to and from school.

Ultimately, the school board felt the net positives outweighed the negatives, and decided to approve building a K – 8 school in Nokesville.  The justification for this decision include the following:

  • The community did not support a new 850 student Elementary School in Nokesville, but student population in the area and the age of the old Nokesville elementary school made a new, larger  school necessary
  • The site on which the current Nokesville Elementary school sits was not amenable to a 10 room expansion.
  • The cost of building a 900 student K – 8 school is approximately the same as the cost of building an 850 student Elementary School and the cost of building an 850 student elementary school in Nokesville had already been factored into long term planning.
  • 325 new middle school seats would reduce overcrowding at Marsteller Middle School.
  • 225 new elementary seats would reduce overcrowding at T. Clay Wood and other area elementary schools.

UPDATE:

We have been informed that our original report was in error.  The CIP was never adjusted to reflect replacing Nokesville Elementary with an 850 student elementary school.  In early 2010 PWCS staff had proposed amending the CIP to reflect replacing NES with an 850 student elementary school instead of renovating and expanding the old elementary school.  The CIP was never amended to reflect this change as the community opposed it so strongly.  Instead staff began researching building a K -8 in Nokesville instead of renovating and expanding the old elementary school, and amended the CIP on June 16, 2010 to reflect that change.

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27 Responses to “Nokesville K – 8 School”

  1. T Says:

    When was the school approved?

  2. T Says:

    Who wrote this article?

  3. T Says:

    School Board Briefs:

    I can find no mention of the K-8 school in the school briefs prior to the June 2, 2010 meeting. I have cut and pasted all below. I have also added the link and do encourage you to check the facts. I have heard that children at Nokesville Elementary school received notice in their backpacks about the school, but have no proof. In any case, it is not relevant because a matter like spending 20 so million on a school needs to be released countywide, not just in a very small school. We all pay for the school, don’t we?

    June 2, 2010

    http://pwcs.schoolfusion.us/modules/groups/homepagefiles/cms/493839/File/Board%20Briefs/BB6-2-10.pdf?sessionid=634ecaa7fdecff1834f0caec6de99651

    open link and read for yourself. I cut out the highlights for you.

    “That staff provide the School Board with a proposal for the Board to consider regarding a possible K–8 school in Nokesville.” ****WORD FOR WORD HERE***
    Citizens’ Time:
    Citizens addressed the School Board on the following topics: • Science and social studies curriculum
    for middle school students. • Proposed K–8 school in the
    Nokesville area. • Math Investigations.

    June 16, 2010

    http://pwcs.schoolfusion.us/modules/groups/homepagefiles/cms/493839/File/Board%20Briefs/BB6-16-10.pdf?sessionid=634ecaa7fdecff1834f0caec6de99651

     The amendment to FY 2011–20 Capital Improvements Program to substitute construction of a K–8 school in lieu of renovating and constructing a 10-classroom addition at Nokesville Elementary School.

    My words: A new plan was presented on June 2, 2010, citizen time was provided that same night. The plan was finalized and approved 14 days later.

    I have been in this county too long to know that nothing happens that fast. Do you really not have any questions about this?

    • KimS Says:

      Things don’t happen that quickly in this county, which is why I asked about the school in June last year.

      The original plan wasn’t for an 850 student elementary school in Nokesville – the original plan was to renovate and expand the old Nokesville Elementary school. Staff proposed changing the CIP to reflect an 850 student elementary school in Nokesville instead of renovating and expanding the school, and the community rose up in opposition to that idea and managed to get the county to put that proposal aside.

      In conversations with friends who live in Nokesville and were active in opposing the 850 student elementary school, I learned that central office staff had approached the Nokesville group in late winter when they were protesting the proposed 850 student elementary school to discuss their concerns in more detail. The Superintendent asked the group if they felt the community would consider a 900 + student K – 8 school instead of renovating and expanding the old Nokesville school.

      Preparing cost estimates like would be necessary to build a K – 8 school or any other school don’t happen overnight. They don’t happen in 2 weeks. Staff began working on the proposal in the late Winter / early Spring when they decided to pull the proposed 850 student elementary school. The CIP was never changed because the 850 students elementary school was never approved, so the CIP continued to reflect the renovation and expansion of the old Nokesville elementary school.

      The K – 8 proposal had the same number of elementary seats as the renovation and expansion with the added plus of 325 middle school seats we desperately need in the west end. Marsteller is already way overcapacity and has been since it opened. Reagan MS, which is set to open next year, will offer little to no relief to overcrowding Marsteller. Pull the boundary proposals for Reagan / Silver Lake and you’ll see that. Those 300 MS seats will keep Marsteller from being more than 140% of capacity in 2014.

  4. Zara T. Says:

    Correction: The original plan was to renovate the existing NES school followed in the next school year by the construction of an addition. It was already funded. I believe it was for a total of 12-14 million and provided approximately 600 seats at completion. The PWC School Administration changed the planned Renovation and Addition and, instead, identified a 950 student elementary mega-school at a cost of approximately 22 – 26 million dollars. With 950 student seats, over half of the student population would have had to have been bused from surrounding communities incurring signifant transportation costs. Additionally, research has not only shown that elementary aged children do not learn as well in mega-schools, bu that any costs saved from building on a large scale is lost as soon as the doors open and support costs kick in. .
    Dr. Walts was the first person to suggest an alternative to the mega-school with a K-8 school. I heard it with my own ears at the March 5 School Board meeting. Dr. Walts requested a sidebar discussion with the parents and community members and a break was called.
    A summary of that sidebar discussion is as follows: To clarify the parent’s and community member’s position, Dr. Walts asked specifically if we were against a new school or if it was the size (grade) and cost that we were against. The parents agreed that it was the grade size and associated costs. Dr. Walts then asked if we would be amenable to an alternative solution that met our concerns and still provided 950 seats “such as a K-8″. All parents and community members in attendance said yes to Dr. Walts suggestion of a K-8. I was there; I heard it. We left that night not knowing of the outcome of our efforts, somewhat encouraged by Dr. Walts questions/statements, and unclear as to when any decision would be made.
    Sometime later, Dr. Walts sent a letter home with each NES Student stating that the new School would not be built and that the Renovation and Addition were back in the CIP. Meanwhile, his staff conducted analyses on a K-8, unbeknownst to the Nokesville Community. Apparently, with the economy, the construction costs were slightly higher for a K-8 than the former 950 student school cost of 22 million. For less than 20% more than the price of one school, PWC Schools could build two schools in an area that was, and still is, critically overcrowded at both the elementary and middle school levels.

    • Tracy Says:

      Tara,

      I think it would be great if every school were small and required minimal busing, but the thing is we do build mega elementary schools in PWC. We have plans that are repeated over and over again for our elementary schools, this makes the cost lower. Taking 325 chairs from Marstellar is a start, but a very little start and based on growth predictions, there will be not significantly decrease the overcrowding at Marstellar as it exist today. At 20 % increase in cost when the cost is 22 millions dollar is quite a chuck of change not to let all the members of our district know about.

      I am sure that a sidebar conversation does not equal notification. This is not mention of this sidebar in the board briefs. There is a process that is suppose to be followed when a new school is considered. I can not find any proof that the process was followed. As tax payers we all have a right to notified and an opportunity to voice our opinions. It sounds like you did get to have your say, the rest of us were not given that same privilege.

      This is the information I have been about to find. If I am wrong and you can show were notification was given and the process was followed please do because I am very interested.

      I can find no mention of the K-8 school in the school briefs prior to the June 2, 2010 meeting. I have cut and pasted all below. I have also added the link and do encourage you to check the facts. I have hear that children at Nokesville Elementary school received notice in their backpacks about the school, but have no prove. In any case it is not relevant because a matter like spending 20 so million on a school needs to be released countywide, not just in a very small school. We all pay for the school, don’t we?

      June 2, 2010

      http://pwcs.schoolfusion.us/modules/groups/homepagefiles/cms/493839/File/Board%20Briefs/BB6-2-10.pdf?sessionid=634ecaa7fdecff1834f0caec6de99651

      open link and read for yourself. I cut out the highlights for you.

      That staff provide the School Board with a proposal for the Board to consider regarding a possible K–8 school in Nokesville.
      Citizens’ Time:
      Citizens addressed the School Board on the following topics: • Science and social studies curriculum
      for middle school students. • Proposed K–8 school in the
      Nokesville area. • Math Investigations.

      June 16, 2010

      http://pwcs.schoolfusion.us/modules/groups/homepagefiles/cms/493839/File/Board%20Briefs/BB6-16-10.pdf?sessionid=634ecaa7fdecff1834f0caec6de99651

       The amendment to FY 2011–20 Capital Improvements Program to substitute construction of a K–8 school in lieu of renovating and constructing a 10-classroom addition at Nokesville Elementary School.

      My words: A new plan was presented on June 2, 2010, citizen time was provided that same night. The plan was finalized and approved 14 days later.

      I have been in this county to long to know that nothing happens that fast. Do you really not have any questions about this?

      • KimS Says:

        Tracy – if you want proof that the children who attend NES received notification of the public meeting about the K – 8 school, then you should FOIA it. There’s a link on the PWCS Web site that provides directions on submitting a FOIA request and the school district is required by federal law to respond to your request within a set number of days of receipt.

      • KimS Says:

        I’m not sure what process you’re referencing, but public notification of the proposed change to the CIP was made on June 2 2010. It was made in public session when Gil Trenum proposed amending the CIP to provide for a 900 + student K – 8 school in Nokesville. The public hearing on that change was on June 16 2010, and the PWC School Board approved the proposed change that night.

        I don’t live in an area that will be affected by the new elementary school on Devlin Road and, were it not for the public notifications on the PWCS web site, I wouldn’t even know they were considering adding a school there. I also wasn’t included in any of the notifications about Reagan Middle School because it’s not near where I live. Apparently there’s another elementary school under consideration further out west, and I’ve never even heard of it.

        I was notified about Patriot and T Clay Wood.

      • KimS Says:

        One last comment – If you’re going to accuse PWCS of violating the policies and regulations that govern it’s operations, then you need to have more to substantiate that accusation than ‘it seems weird’. If you’re going to imply that Gil Trenum somehow used his influence as a school board member to obtain preferential treatment for the citizens of Nokesville, the community he resides in, then you need more than just ‘it seems weird’.

        If you have proof of wrongdoing, please present it. We try to watch as much as we can here, but we do miss stuff.

    • pwceducationreform Says:

      Thank you for the correction Zara!

  5. Tracy Says:

    Sorry for the multiple post, not sure how that happened, it was not intentional.

  6. Tracy Says:

    Sorry for the multiple posts, for some reason nothing posted last night and I was trying to figure out why. Then suddenly it all posted today. Looks like some kind of glitch. I apologize for the error.

    • pwceducationreform Says:

      It wasn’t a glitch. If you put more than 1 link in your comment it will be tagged as Spam and sent to the Spam folder. Your comments were removed from the Spam folder as soon as I saw them there.

      I deleted the duplicate posts.

      • T Says:

        To pwceducationreform -Thank you for explaining.

        To Kim S. – I saw no accusation in my post nor did I mention a name of a School Board Representative. I pointed out some of the facts and asked if anyone else had questions. If the “process” was followed, then maybe we should be questioning if the process is adequate. I am unconcerned about letters in backpacks, I believe we all deserve notification when a 14 million dollar school renovation turns into a 26 million dollar K through 8 school that has never before been built in PWC regardless of where we live in this county. And let me point out that The Gainesville Times reported projected cost to 31 million dollars. So I am not even sure what this new school is going to cost. Not just a new school; a new concept! A total departure from the norm. Whether “it seems weird” or not, I have never written those words. I think your own post implied far more then mine, I was unaware that Gil lived in Nokesville.

      • KimS Says:

        Except that the “facts” you are supposedly pointing out, aren’t the facts and the “questions” you’re asking come with some pretty heavy implications behind them.

        Many of your “questions” have answers that you can find on the PWCS web site if you look for them.

        Policy 810 governs the Capital Improvements Plan and Regulation 810.10 provides a bit more detail on that policy. According to Regulation 810.10, the CIP is updated annually to reflect population changes and presented to the school board for approval in March. The Board Briefs for the Feb 3 2010 school board meeting states, “Dr. Steven L. Walts, Superintendent of Schools, presented his FY 2011 Proposed Budget and Capital Improvements Plan. Click http://pwcs.edu/Departments/finance/? budget.html to find the video and text version of the Superintendent’s presentation of his proposed FY 2011 budget.” You can also find the budget timeline, which includes several public town hall type meetings and public work sessions on the budget and CIP.

        While I hate how we present our budget and what we convey with it, one of the things we do very well is provide opportunities for citizen’s to comment on the budget and CIP and demand changes to them, as the citizens of Nokesville did when they opposed the proposed 850 student elementary school. The decision to build a new school or renovate and expand an existing school is based on projected student enrollment. The process is all spelled out in the policies and regulations governing the budget and the CIP.

        I’m not sure where the Gainesville Times got their information or what they’re basing the $31 million on. You’ll have to contact the reporter and ask him / her to provide that backup. The CIP shows the budgeted and bonded cost at $25 million – which is roughly the same as the budgeted and bonded cost of the new elementary school on Devlin Road.

        The plan for the K – 8 can be reproduced anytime a community is willing to give up what they have to give up to get a K – 8. The Devlin Road Elementary School is one where a K – 8 might be a better alternative than an 850 elementary school as it would alleviate some of the overcrowding at GVMS.

      • T Says:

        The link you posted did not work Kim. Do you have another I could look at and review?

        I went to the board brief at

        http://pwcs.schoolfusion.us/modules/groups/homepagefiles/cms/493839/File/Board%20Briefs/BB2-3-10.pdf?sessionid=3830c51aa2fe61207e1f5c762fab8f6b

        and then followed the link there, but it did not work either.

        Was there mention of the k to 8 school there?

        Kim, why is my posting links to the county’s own websites and asking one question considered to be, you words “Except that the “facts” you are supposedly pointing out, aren’t the facts and the “questions” you’re asking come with some pretty heavy implications behind them” ? Which link did not post lead you to believe that my facts are false? This blog has asked many questions and made many implications. Why does this one bother you so much? The facts are from the board briefs, not me.

        Where are the supporting facts to the article written above to begin with. The pros and cons listed at the top, where is the link backing them up. There are 385 students in Nokesville elementary, not quite 400 yet. The school was built in 1929, so it is 82 years old , not quite 100 years old. Minor details but these is a fact. I do want to see the facts before I make my judgements. Where is the documentation for the article? The unnamed author of the above article seems to have a great knowledge of the inner thinking of the school board, I have only asked to have that same knowledge. Where is the information coming from and can you please share it with the rest of us.

        We both know each other Kim, I am not hiding anything. I am happy to share the information I have and more then happy to read everything you can provide. In fact, I am begging you for the information. We both believe in transparency, why is it transparency when you ask a question, but an implication when I do? Why has the author of this blog decided not to share his or her name? Isn’t that transparency? The blog is endorsing candidates, but we do not know who you are. Why should this not concern me and every reader of this blog? In the interest of full disclosure why not reveal who is making these endorsements? To be clear, I am implying that an anonymous blog should not be making political endorsements if they are not willing to identify themselves or provide all the facts.

      • KimS Says:

        Do your research Tracy! Call PWCS and ask to see the cost estimates for the K – 8 school. Talk to Dave Beavers and ask him when he started preparing estimates for the K – 8, and if you think he’s lying, ask to see his emails.

        I know this is an election year, but you don’t just toss out a bunch of loaded questions without doing your research first.

        Tracy – I know you and I like you. I didn’t want to go here, and was perfectly willing to keep my mouth shut on the topic of school board candidates, but I’m going to lay it all on out there because you forced it. I like Lori. I think she’s a very nice person. I’m just not sure she’s prepared to be a school board member right now.

        Why would I say that? Because until this year I’d never actually seen her at a school board meeting, outside the ones dealing with the boundaries for Patriot High School, and I’ve been to quite a few of them.

        Watching school board meetings on TV doesn’t give you any understanding of how things get done or how long it takes for action. Nor does attending SACI meetings. While Lori says she’s running to hold the school board accountable, I’m not sure she knows what she wants to hold them accountable for.

        This whole debate started with an article Lori published on her blog. An article that was full of factual mistakes. That’s why research is so important. Digging through the PWCS web site, calling folks on the phone, and talking with people who were involved in the process. If Lori truly wants to represent the people of this county then she needs to make sure she’s done her homework before she goes public with something.

        Here is reality – reality that could be easily verified by talking to people in the community and school district.

        In her article Lori said the Nokesville community was divided on the issue of whether the old elementary school should be renovated and expanded or whether a new elementary school should be built. There was no division. The community was virtually united in opposition to the new elementary school because it made no sense whatsoever to put an 850 student elementary school in Nokesville. Not just because Nokesville is a small town in the middle of the Rural Crescent, but because adding another 450 kids to the school would require busing them in from all over the county, oftentimes past other elementary schools, to get there, especially with Wood, which was just down the road, was already on the books and had already started construction.

        Where would you find these kids to go to that school? New Bristow Village? Ashley’s Ridge? Saybrooke? Braemar – when the can walk to Cedar Point? The reality is that we don’t need another elementary school in the Nokesville area – we need it in the Devlin Road area. Same with High Schools – we needed a high school on Kettle Run Road like we needed a hole in the head. We really needed one off Devlin Road or out towards University Drive. Unfortunately we needed a High School and Kettle Run Road is where the land was available and so that’s what we got.

        Lori said that when the renovation and expansion was about the be finalized, “Mr. Trenum suggested that staff provide a proposal for the Board to consider a possible K-8 school in Nokesville.” This isn’t true either, as you would have known if you’d researched the CIP and budget process and the decision making process around the K – 8.

        The CIP is updated every year to reflect changes in population and any proposed changes from the previous CIP are approved by the school board in March-ish, the same time the budget for the next school year is presented and approved. In February, as is expected, Facilities staff presented the budget and CIP and proposed changing the CIP from renovating and expanding the old Nokesville Elementary school to building a new 850 student elementary school in Nokesville. The community opposed that idea and spoke out against it at budget information meetings and school board meetings. Superintendent Waltz and his team approached the community members to determine what the source of their concerns were and asked whether they’d consider a K – 8 school instead. The community was willing to accept that because of the 325 middle school seats they knew were needed. So staff began working on preliminary estimates and economic analysis for a K – 8 in Nokesville. That was in March. Not June 2, March.

        The work that staff did before the June 2nd meeting was preliminary in nature – analysis on the site to see if it could support a K – 8, economic analysis, and preliminary cost estimates. The work didn’t start when Gil made the suggestion that the CIP be changed, his suggestion was the culmination of staff’s work determining that the change was feasible. Gil proposed changing the CIP to include a K – 8 in Nokesville because the CIP needed to be updated, changes to the CIP have to be approved by the school board, and, as is part of how the school board does things, changes to the CIP are suggested by the board member who represents the affected district.

        The only thing left was community buy-in and constituent input, and, contrary to what Lori states in her article, that was obtained at the public meeting at NES and at the June 2nd and June 16th school board meeting as well as meetings with the BOCS, who approves the school board budget, the and Planning Commission. Actual costs are unknown as construction isn’t slated to begin until mid to late 2012 and there have been no competitive bids issued.

        Any time a new school is opened, boundaries are redrawn, and they will be when the K-8 opens in Nokesville. Right now Wood is slightly overcrowded and with enrollment projected to increase over the next few years as the smaller 4th and 5th grade classes move on and are replaced with larger Kindergarten classes. The boundaries for the K – 8 school will have to be drawn to relieve that overcrowding. The biggest plus, however, is the 325 middle school seats, which we would not otherwise be getting until 2018.

        Contrary to what Lori said, the design can be replicated. It can be replicated anywhere the community is willing to accept a K – 8 school, which, as Lori pointed out, does have it’s drawbacks. The Nokesville community was willing to accept the limitations of a K – 8 school. If the Devlin Road community were willing to accept those drawbacks, I’m sure the new Devlin Rd school could be a K – 8.

        As I’ve discussed with you and Lori, there are things that need fixing in our school district. Huge things from curriculum and instructional practices and professional development to the stinking web site which drives me insane and the budget documents which are clear as mud, and especially the new policy that we’ll teach to the extent of the SOLs and our objective it the highest percentage of passes on the SOL possible – not knowledge, not each student meeting his or her potential, but passing the highest percentage possible on the SOL. Maybe language arts and run on sentences….

        I’m more than willing to scream foul when I see things that smell bad. We only passed 42% of our kids on the World History exam last year. That means 58% failed, and, while scores were down because we had a new exam, that doesn’t justify a more than 45% drop in pass percentages! Our third grade reading scores have been steadily dropping for the past 6 years. Why? Why are our white and economically stable kids performing so far below white and economically stable kids in neighboring jurisdictions?

        We need to look into these things and hold our schools accountable when they fail our kids.

        But the Nokesville K – 8 doesn’t smell bad. It may feel like salt on a wound opened up with the Patriot boundary process, but it followed the established process and is a net plus for the entire community because of those middle school seats.

  7. T Says:

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/06/25/AR2010062504986.html

    Read the Washington Post article.

    Quote “At it last meeting of the school year, the Prince William School Board voted, 6 to 2, to put a proposed kindergarten-through-eighth-grade school on its long-term list of capital improvement projects in lieu of renovating Nokesville Elementary School.

    The $31 million, 140,000-square-foot proposed school would open in September 2014 next to Brentsville District High School and house almost 950 students: 600 elementary, 300 middle and the rest special education. School officials had budgeted about $14 million to renovate and add 10 classrooms to Nokesville Elementary, which is more than 80 years old.”

    Kim, my facts all have links. Please read them.

  8. T Says:

    “Huge things from curriculum and instructional practices and professional development to the stinking web site which drives me insane and the budget documents which are clear as mud, and especially the new policy that we’ll teach to the extent of the SOLs and our objective it the highest percentage of passes on the SOL possible – not knowledge, not each student meeting his or her potential, but passing the highest percentage possible on the SOL. Maybe language arts and run on sentences….

    I’m more than willing to scream foul when I see things that smell bad. We only passed 42% of our kids on the World History exam last year. That means 58% failed, and, while scores were down because we had a new exam, that doesn’t justify a more than 45% drop in pass percentages! Our third grade reading scores have been steadily dropping for the past 6 years. Why? Why are our white and economically stable kids performing so far below white and economically stable kids in neighboring jurisdictions?

    We need to look into these things and hold our schools accountable when they fail our kids.”

    It very much seems that we need a change in the way things are done. I think voting is a good place to start.

    I have not been privileged to your conversations with Lori, I am not sure why you think I have. Lori Dolieslager is very intelligent, well informed and is very active in PWC. She would be an amazing addition to the PWC School Board. I have enjoyed her blogs and have found them very well though out and researched. I am thrilled that she is running for Brentsville District Representative.

    Did you know me before the high school boundaries? I did not know you before Math Investigations. Whether you knew me or not, I have always been involved. Your knowing someone is not the test of whether someone is qualified to represent a district.

    Please consider posting Lori Dolieslager’s article on this website and let people decide whether it holds any weigh.

    • KimS Says:

      No, I won’t be publishing her article here. I told you it was OK to link Lori’s article to our facebook page before I’d read it because I felt and still believe that information is the key to effective decision making and didn’t realize how inaccurate it was. Lesson learned there – I’ll delete any posts that don’t originate from me from here on out.

      After I read her article I pulled up my notes from when I’d first heard of the school, and realized that the article was making some leaps. I published an article on the K – 8 school on the blog to clarify any misconceptions people might have after reading her article. As I stated in my article, the district makes it very difficult to get information from them, especially if you come to something after it’s done, and that unwillingness to provide information feeds the rumor and gossip mill, so I can see how someone who wasn’t involved in the process might have a few questions. Before you go public with anything, even questions, you have take the time to research the issue and see if you can’t find those answers. And if you do go public with open questions, you have to be prepared to get answers, even if they don’t confirm your assumptions or aren’t what you wanted to hear.

      In the case of the Nokesville K – 8 the answer to your questions is that nothing untoward appears to have happened. That doesn’t mean that Lori doesn’t still have issues to run on, but it does mean that implications of wrong doing on the part of Gil Trenum and the school board regarding the K – 8 are probably unfounded.

      I think the bigger issue is the election, and our decision to endorse Gil, at least as far as the site goes, not the campaigns themselves.

      I honestly think that if someone wants to represent us on the school board then they ought to have at least attended school board meetings regularly before they decided to run. Call me odd, but I’d like the person I support to have some knowledge of what happens in that room that you don’t see on camera.

      We endorsed Gil for Brentsville for a multitude of reasons, one of the biggest being his long term open support for us when we were fighting against Math Investigations. Anyone who was even vaguely involved in that fight understands why we chose to remain anonymous. Having Grant Lattin call the schools our children attend out by name in open session during a school board meeting is a prime example of why we chose to keep our identities hidden.

      I’ve chosen to go public with my involvement, but none of the other parents have and I’m not going to out them. We made our decision, and we endorse Gil.

  9. Ed Says:

    Anyone who has openly opposed anything the school system has been up to (for me it was math investigations and block scheduling) has been faced with abuse from two school board members and ambush meetings being surrounded by school system cheerleaders.
    I can understand anyone wanting to remain anonymous for the sake of their kids and their piece of mind.
    I think the issues are big enough that anytime they want to try anything, it will be all over the press; but that’s just me.

  10. Dyanne Says:

    Kim,

    First, I am appreciative that you and your group started this blog. Whose existence, I believe, raises the level of parent involvement and awareness in the development and execution of education in our county and consequently puts our School Board members on notice that we have expectations of higher performance from them and are closely observing their actions.

    That said, I’m sure we’ll have to agree to disagree that one’s attendance at five, ten or two dozen School Board meetings is actually a qualifying criteria to run for a seat on said Board. In my humble opinion greater qualities to possess would be insight and foresight into curriculum planning, boundary planning, & budget planning. Qualities that seem to be sorely lacking in many higher ranking managers of the PWCS. I digress.

    The point you made that I really wanted to comment on, was where you say, “adding another 450 kids to the school would require busing them in from all over the county, oftentimes past other elementary schools, to get there”.

    You are absolutely right.

    This tactic is the bread and butter of county boundary planning, busing kids from all over, oftentimes past multiple other schools to get there. In fact, they’ve ensured it will always be this way with all the programs of choice. Instead of having equal educational opportunities in every school and having communities come together to support and nurture “their” school we bus kids from one end of the county to the other in the name of choice. Maybe that’s why it doesn’t phase them at all, it’s how the system was intended to be. Interestingly enough though, Nokesville in particular, maintains that rarest of things in PWC, the ability to have their own neighborhood schools.

  11. pwceducationreform Says:

    This whole debate over the K – 8 is a colossal waste of time. The K – 8 is a done deal. It’s on the CIP, and, as far as I can tell, no one has suggested that it be removed from the CIP. Allegations of wrongdoing by the school board, Gil Trenum, or planning office staff are, as far as I can tell, unsubstantiated. Before anyone is accused of doing something untoward, the person making the accusation ought to make sure their accusation has merit. You don’t just toss stuff out there without some sort of proof. Right now, from my perspective, there doesn’t appear to be any proof that the process followed for the K – 8 violated district policies and regulations.

    So unless any of the candidates plan to propose that the CIP be changed with regards to the K – 8 school in Nokesville, further debate on the issue appears to be nothing more than attempts at mud slinging.

    Comments are now closed on this post.


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