Students Thrive, Thanks to Outstanding Support from Business Community
Posted on 10/27/2017
Picture of student with table-top robot at Superintendent's Business Breakfast

Robotics, Career and Technical Education, engineering, and the explosion of project-based learning were highlighted during the Superintendent’s Business Breakfast on October 26 at the Kelly Leadership Center.

More than 200 business leaders, educators, students, and school administrators were in attendance as School Board Chairman Ryan Sawyers and Superintendent Steve Walts touted the results of unprecedented support of businesses through SPARK, the School Division’s education foundation. Corporate and community partners support SPARK through generous donations allocated towards programs and initiatives like the Innovative Grants Program, which allowed SPARK to award more than $86,000 to schools in 2016-17.

The following are among many achievements of the School Division:

  • The on-time graduation rate is 91.8%;
  • eligible high schools are ranked among the top 10% in the nation by the Washington Post;
  • US News and World Report recognizes four high schools as among the best of more than 22,000 US high schools;
  • The Class of 2017 received $56.7 million in scholarships; and
  • Over 29,000 students were enrolled in at least one CTE class last school year.

Exhibits during the event included creative pop art from Bennett Elementary and Colgan High School and table-top robots made by Cedar Point Elementary students in the school’s new Tech Lab.

Robotics and all that it entails—science, technology, engineering, and mathematics—was well represented by Battlefield High School (world champion FRC), Benton Middle School (VEX), Forest Park High School (SeaPerch), Glenkirk Elementary School (VEX IQ), and Old Bridge Elementary School FIRST LEGO League (FLL). 

The 2017 Business Partners of the Year were honored for their ongoing success and implementation of best practices that enhance opportunities for students. The partnership winners are C & A Scientific and the PWCS Office of Science and Family Life; the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and Mountain View Elementary School; and Wells Fargo and Benton Middle School. The 2017 Business Leader in Education is Dr. Robert Melvin (Prince William County National Society of Black Engineers Junior) and Graham Park Middle School. The 2017 Community Partner of the Year award recipient was the Prince William County Police Department, paired with Minnieville Elementary School. (See video below on SPARK award winners.)

Sponsors of the Superintendent’s Business Breakfast included AlphaBEST Education, Inc., Apple Federal Credit Union, Bookworm Central, Compton and Duling, L.C., Dominion Energy, Lockheed Martin, Micron, Moseley Architects, Northern Virginia Community College, Novant Health UVA Health System, Sentara Northern Virginia Medical Center, and Youth for Tomorrow; and those companies and organizations are featured in the event program

State and local officials attended the breakfast, as did School Board Vice Chairman Lillie Jessie (Occoquan), and School Board members Willie Deutsch (Coles), and Diane Raulston (Neabsco).

Gabriel “Ricky” Morales, Brentsville District High School student, was the emcee. Stonewall Jackson High School Air Force JROTC cadets, under direction of Darryl J. Robinson, Lt. Col, USAF (retired), presented the Colors. The Osbourn Park High School Strings Ensemble, under the direction of Brian Smith, performed prior to breakfast.