With all the complaining we do about PWCS, I thought it might be time to compliment the school system on one of the many things it does well, and yes, there are many many things the school division does quite well. This first one is a unique program that should be a model for all schools – New Directions Alternative School.
New Directions is public school in Prince William County that offers an alternate to students who are at risk of falling behind or dropping out. The children who attend New Directions are what many call our most “at risk students”. They are students who have special needs that’s aren’t being met in a traditional school, students with family issues that prevent them from attending school from 6 – 3 every day, or students who are habitually truant or who have gotten into trouble. This school offers them a chance, sometimes their last chance, to get their high school diploma and go on to college or a career, if they want it and are willing to work for it.
The school offers flexible schedules and a mix of classroom and digital learning, including AP courses, so that students can adapt their school schedule to better align with their lives. Their Robotics team defended their title this year at the regional robotics competition by coming in 2nd out of 168 teams and will head to the national robotics competition.
The faculty and staff provide support and encouragement to struggling students and pushes students to excel. It has strict attendance requirements and tough discipline for students who step out of line.
New Directions opened in the fall of 2006 with 200 students in attendance. Over 500 students attended New Directions in the 2012 – 2013 school year. Over 100 students graduated from New Directions this Spring; many are headed off to college in the Fall.
Without a doubt, New Directions is one of the best things PWCS has to offer.