Provided by Prince William County Schools (PWCS)

April 29, 2022

Right now, the Prince William Police Department’s report into the deaths of two local teenagers is high on the list. We are saddened by these deaths and our thoughts and prayers go out to their families. Both deaths appear to be linked to counterfeit forms of the drug Percocet, sometimes referred to as “Perc30”. Police shared that the counterfeit drugs in both incidents had been previously tested and confirmed to contain fentanyl.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, “the abuse and dependence of opioids, including painkillers such as fentanyl, is a serious national crisis that affects public health as well as social and economic well-being” (NIH, 2020, para.1). This national issue affects all communities, and the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) continues to prioritize efforts to help address this crisis. As a community, we must remain vigilant and informed about how best to support our young people and together prevent abuse, addictions and even deaths associated with substance abuse.

As part of this education effort, at 7:00 p.m. on May 5, PWCS will host a special Family Engagement Series session titled “Substance Abuse – Let’s Talk About It.” This virtual event will provide our parents and other caring adults with the tools to start conversations with our students. You can register for this virtual session and view other helpful resources, including signs of drug and alcohol abuse, on our substance abuse prevention web page. The session will be recorded and shared on this webpage by May 9.

If you have concerns about your child or family, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) National Helpline is a free, confidential, 24-hour referral and information service. 24, 7 days a week, 365 days a year (in English). and Spanish) for individuals and families dealing with mental and/or substance use disorders. Contact 1-800-662-HELP (4357) for assistance. SAMHSA also has a treatment locator available on its website. Additionally, you can also contact your child’s school for assistance.

Before the end of April, I would like to mark Occupational Therapy Month. Occupational therapists support our teachers by analyzing student performance and modifying activities to increase a student’s participation in the educational environment. Thank you to all of our occupational therapists for the unique value and support they provide to our students and school communities.

On Tuesday, the Prince William County Board of Supervisors approved the school division’s budget for fiscal year 2023, providing resources for priorities set out in the PWCS Vision 2025 Launching Thriving Futures strategic plan. Among many investments, the budget invests more than $80 million to provide faculty and staff with a 4.2% cost-of-living adjustment and increment, resulting in an average salary increase of 7%. As announced to all employees on March 18, this strong budget also allowed for improvements and adjustments to ensure that PWCS has regionally competitive salary ranges. In the April 19 Communicator, the Department of Human Resources announced that it was hosting webinars for all employees to provide additional information and an opportunity to answer questions.

Earlier this week, we shared information about the PWCS Virtual Academy application process. A limited number of places in this virtual academy are available for students in kindergarten through eighth grade for the 2022-23 school year. Interested parents/guardians can learn more about the criteria and application process on our website. The application deadline is May 10.

Next week is Teacher Appreciation Week, I appreciate the hard work of our teachers to ensure our students are learning in a positive and safe culture. We will celebrate PWCS teachers, and I encourage you to reach out to a teacher to share your appreciation.

As a reminder, Monday is a public holiday for all PWCS students and staff. Take advantage of the long weekend.

Sincerely,

LaTanya D. McDade, Ed.D.SuperintendentPrince William County Public Schools