- Loudoun County Public Schools
Wexton Sees Federal Dollars at Work in 2 LCPS Schools
Congresswoman Jennifer Wexton (10th District) visited two Loudoun County schools on Thursday, April 29. She was accompanied on the tour by members of the Loudoun County Public Schools (LCPS) administration, School Board Chair Brenda Sheridan (Sterling District) and Vice Chair Atoosa Reaser (Algonkian District).
At River Bend Middle School, student PEER (Positive Experiences in Educational Relationships) ambassadors led Wexton on a tour of the school. Seventh-grader Ariana Amir and eighth-grader Nicole Babb started the tour in the flag-rimmed lobby, where international flags represent students attending the school. PEER ambassadors are recommended by their teachers and guidance counselors. The PEER ambassadors highlighted some of the measures necessary to return their school to four-day-a-week, in-person instruction. They detailed how students enter the school through four main entrances by grade or transportation method, so that no area becomes overcrowded. They pointed out flexible seating in classrooms; seating of different heights and textures allowing students safety, flexibility and comfort.
Beyond the school’s physical layout, Nicole said River Bend offers “courses you can take to allow you to find your passion.”
Principal Dave Shaffer said that, despite physical distancing and COVID-protection measures, River Bend’s mission regarding student interaction remains the same. “We want students to love being here and interacting with their peers.” He told Wexton that during the winter -- under normal conditions -- the library is known to serve hot chocolate to early arriving students. The library also contains a prominent example of project-based learning: a book return box designed and built by the eighth-grade technical education students (it allows touch-free book return to adhere to COVID-mitigation standards).
Part of the reason for Wexton’s visit was to see how LCPS has used emergency federal funding. In the cafeteria, Interim Superintendent Dr. Scott Ziegler stressed the important role federal funding has played in the school division’s meals program during the pandemic. With the help of funding from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), LCPS has served more than 6.5 million meals to the community since March 12, 2020.
Wexton’s tour continued at Park View High School, where she was greeted by the administrative team (Interim Principal Melissa Sargeant, Counseling Director Joanne Nagurney and assistant principals Allan Edwards and Jeanene Sims, who was just named the inaugural principal of LCPS’ Alternative High School).
During a stop in the band room, Wexton was shown specially designed masks and “shower caps” that allow students to safely play their instruments. Another musical stop featured guitar teacher Dr. Miroslav Loncar, who has won numerous awards for his work at Park View, including with the World View ensemble.
Wexton also discussed Park View’s federal Title I status -- Title I provides federal funds to schools with high percentages of low-income students -- and the value of the school providing three meals a day to its students. Since the first day of the pandemic, Park View has figured out how to deliver food to its community. The school’s after-school “Fuel Up” program allows students to pick up food and remain at school for tutoring. Park View’s gym has been reconfigured as a physically distanced testing room where standardized tests can be administered.
Published April 30, 2021