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Posted on 12/08/2021

PSHS STUDENT HANDBOOK

View handbook here



How to create a Canvas Parent Observer Account

Before creating an observer account, students must generate a "pairing code" to share with their parents. Access instructions here.  Access instructions in Spanish here.

After students share the  "pairing code",  parents should follow these steps to create their account.  Access instructions in Spanish here.

 

High School Summer School Information

All Summer School information (including the 2-week SOL Remediation Program) can be found here:  Summer School Information


Week of May 30


BUILDING ACCESS: Parents, please be reminded that our building does not open until 7 a.m. for students. Any students dropped off beforehand are welcome to wait outside, however student entry will not be permitted until appropriate staffing and supervision is ready inside the building beginning at 7am.

END OF YEAR PROCEDURES:

  • LOCKER CLEAN-OUT: Any student who requested to have a locker this year must have their locker cleaned out by 6/2. Please see Mrs. Nash with questions.

  • LAPTOP COLLECTION PLAN: All students must return their school device this year.  Seniors who do not return their devices will not be able to participate in the Graduation Ceremony.  Please see THIS attached laptop collection plan and contact Mr. Hesington in the Library with questions.

  • LAST DAY FOR AFTERSCHOOL BUSES: The last day for our Tuesday/Thursday afterschool buses will be 6/2.

2022-23 COURSE REQUESTS:  During the months of February thru April, school counselors and teachers worked very closely with students to help select course requests for the 2022-23 school year.  These requests can be viewed under the Course Request tab in both StudentVUE and ParentVUE. Please take a moment to review these courses and return the Course Verification Letter to your school counselor if you wish to make any changes before June 15There will be no elective changes after this date.   In additionall Counselors e-mail contact is available on the Counseling Center section of the Potomac Senior High School webpage HERE.

Course descriptions can be found online in the PWCS High School Course Catalog HERE.

 



Week of May 3


SUBSTANCE ABUSE RESOURCES: The safety and security of our students and staff is our number one priority. In her recent letter to the community our PWCS Superintendent, Dr. McDade, shared information concerning the recent drug-related deaths of students in Prince William County. Please see THIS letter detailing resources and supports available to battle substance abuse.

2022-23 VIRTUAL PLANS:  As we finalize plans for student scheduling for the 2022-23 school year, please see THIS memo detailing logistics for the limited number of students who will be eligible for virtual learning for 2022-23. The deadline for requesting Virtual Only is May 31, 2022.

CAMPUS POLICY:  REMINDER! To promote safety and security for all of our students and staff, Potomac Senior High School is a closed campus. Students are not allowed to order deliveries to the school and also not allowed to leave school grounds during the school day for lunch or any other reason. Students who are found to have left school grounds during the school day will receive disciplinary consequences and will not have access to afterschool buses.

TESTING UPDATE: Many of our schoolwide logistics for SOL testing this year will reflect details similar to pre-pandemic planning. A few notes:

  • SOL testing will take place from Thursday, May 12 – Friday, May 20. Testing will be done by period with 1 period testing each day.
  • To accommodate extended testing times, a modified bell schedule will be shared for the 7 days of testing.
  • Students will receive several reminders of their SOL testing dates before their actual test date and the day before their test.

If you haven’t already, please check-in with your student to ensure that they are aware of any upcoming SOLs and that they are taking time now to practice or stay afterschool for additional assistance, if necessary. Please email Mr. Jim Utterback ([email protected]) right away if you have SOL testing questions. 

Don’t forget that Cambridge testing begins on Monday, 4/25! Please contact Mrs. Hilary Mahalchick ([email protected]) with any questions.



Week of April 25


SOL TESTING UPDATE: Many of our schoolwide logistics for SOL testing this year will reflect details similar to pre-pandemic planning. A few notes:

  • SOL testing will take place from Thursday, May 12 – Friday, May 20. Testing will be done by period with 1 period testing each day.
  • To accommodate extended testing times, a modified bell schedule will be shared for the 7 days of testing.
  • Students will receive several reminders of their SOL testing dates before their actual test date and the day before their test.

If you haven’t already, please check-in with your student to ensure that they are aware of any upcoming SOLs and that they are taking time now to practice or stay afterschool for additional assistance, if necessary. Please email Mr. Jim Utterback ([email protected]) right away if you have SOL testing questions. 

Don’t forget that Cambridge testing begins on Monday, 4/25! Please contact Mrs. Hilary Mahalchick ([email protected]) with any questions.

STUDENT DEVICES: Keep taking good care of those school-issued laptops! We are currently working to formalize a plan to collect devices as we get closer to the end of the school year. Students/Families will be held responsible for any costs associated with damaged laptops. More information coming soon.

GRADUATION UPDATE: We’re excited to continue finalizing plans for our Saturday, June 4th in-person Graduation ceremony at EagleBank Arena on the campus of George Mason University at 2:30pm!

  • If you haven’t already, please be sure to contact Jostens (www.jostens.com or 1-800-Jostens) for Cap/Gown orders and Graduation announcement information.
  • Please be sure to email/verify your Senior’s graduation status with their Counselor if you have any questions or concerns right away! Successful completion of mandated coursework remains a Graduation requirement.

 

SENIOR CLASS UPDATE:

  • As our June 4th Graduation approaches, Seniors have also been reminded to begin the process of checking on Graduation requirements now! I encourage our Senior parents to check-in on necessary course grades, SOLs, and student attendance via ParentVUE and to reach out to Teachers, Counselor, or Admin with questions. Students must have completed all requirements for Graduation in order to participate in the ceremony.
  • Graduation Requirements: Please be reminded that all graduating Seniors must complete and pass an industry certification and complete a CPR/First Aid/AED class to meet 2 of the Virginia Department of Education’s requirements for graduation.  Letters have been mailed home to those Seniors who are still in need of one, or both, of these requirements.  Please follow the instructions in that letter to ensure your Senior completes this requirement.  Any questions about your child's graduation eligibility should be directed to their School Counselor.

SUBSTANCE ABUSE & MENTAL HEALTH: Recent studies show that roughly 20% of national high school students reported using e-cigarettes or “vapes” in 2020. While it is well known that nicotine harms developing brains, there are also troubling links between vaping/nicotine negatively affecting memory, concentration, learning, self-control, attention, mood, lung functioning, and worsening symptoms of depression and anxiety.

At Potomac, we take vaping very seriously due to the negative physical and mental health effects vaping can have on our students and we often find that our parents are not aware of the facts surrounding vaping. Please see the attached infographic, A Parent’s Guide To Vaping, from a similarly large county in Minnesota with valuable information.

As a reminder, vaping and all other forms of substance abuse are strictly prohibited by the PWCS Code of Conduct and Potomac HS Student Handbook and student use will result in disciplinary consequences. Please reach out to your student’s Administrator or Counselor for questions or to request additional support. 

EHALL PASS: Potomac HS is committed to providing our students with a safe and secure learning environment. Beginning on March 28, Potomac HS will be piloting an e-Hallpass system in addition to traditional paper passes this spring for consideration for full implementation school-wide in 2022-2023.  e-Hallpass is an online platform that allows Potomac HS staff to issue hallway passes to students while also monitoring the activity in the school’s hallways. Students are able to access e-Hallpass through their cell phone or their school-issued device. e-Hallpass allows staff to monitor hallway traffic, set limits for the number of students at specific locations, and limit hallway passes.

Please see a detailed overview HERE. Any Parents with questions are encouraged to email Mrs. Regina Nash at [email protected]




DRESS CODE:  With warmer weather on the horizon, we will begin reminding all students of dress code expectations at Potomac. As detailed in our Potomac Student Handbook HERE, all students are expected to dress for success each day by ensuring that there is adequate coverage above and below the waist, removing hats or headwear, and wearing clothes with appropriate messaging as well. Students found to be out of compliance will be warned, have parents notified, and will be provided an opportunity to change clothes; however, please be advised that repeat offenders will receive disciplinary consequences.

PTSO: Our Potomac PTSO continues to shine! Recently our PTSO has committed to supporting our Theater program, Prom, Senior Trip, Orchestra program, and is planning an awesome Sponsor Appreciation night too. The more we support our PTSO, the more they can support our students and staff and it’s not too late to join! Please join our Potomac PTSO by using THIS link to pay yearly membership of $20/family or $10/faculty member. Our PTSO meets regularly to discuss community partnerships, receive information regarding school events, and plan ways to provide student support.

Remember, membership has it's privileges! Visit the Potomac PTSO website HERE to apply for one of the 6 $750 - $1,000 scholarships being offered this year which are only available to families of graduating Seniors with active PTSO membership!


 

PARKING PASSES:  As we continue to transition back to normal school year procedures, please be reminded that all student drivers must have a parking pass in order to park at Potomac. The cost of parking passes has been reduced to $50 for the remainder of the school year.  Payment can be made by check, cash, or money order.  If you have any questions, please contact Mr. Parker (Security) or Mrs. Nash (Room 2407).  A valid Potomac parking pass must be visible in your windshield when parking on campus.  You must also park in your assigned space.  All other cars are in violation and are at risk for towing at the owner’s expense. 

SCHOOL COMMUNICATION: Attention all Gmail users! PWCS Technology personnel are working with Microsoft to resolve an issue with school emails going to the spam folder of some Gmail users. Please check your Gmail spam folder to see if important school communication may have been redirected there. Additionally, please use the following steps to unmark as spam:
1. On your computer, open Gmail 2. On the left, click More 3. Click Spam 4. Open the email 5. At the top, click Not spam



CAMPUS POLICY:  REMINDER! To promote safety and security for all of our students and staff, Potomac Senior High School is a closed campus. Students are not allowed to order deliveries to the school and also not allowed to leave school grounds during the school day for lunch or any other reason. Students who are found to have left school grounds during the school day will receive disciplinary consequences and will not have access to afterschool buses.

STUDENT LAPTOPS: Please note that students continue to be expected to bring a laptop to school every day to complete coursework and access class resources.  Students/Families will be held responsible for appropriate use and any costs associated with lost or damaged laptops.





STUDENT ATTENDANCE UPDATE:

1.  Be in class BEFORE the bell rings! Any student arriving to their classroom after the bell is tardy.

2.  Make morning drop-offs by 7:15a! Although school starts at 7:25a, dropping students off after 7:15a runs the risk of students being unable to make it in the building and to their class before the bell rings.

3.  Follow Student Drop-Off procedures! After turning in at the marquee, take the 4th right into the underclassmen lot and then an immediate right to drop off at the sidewalk leading up the steps toward the school. Please do not drop your students off at any other location.  Check out the drop-off procedures outlined in THIS student-produced video.

4.  No bus penalties! While we do have a limited amount of bus delays each day, each student impacted is provided with a bus pass upon arrival to ensure that they can eat breakfast and go to class. Students are not penalized for late buses.

5.  Avoid disciplinary consequences! In the coming weeks, our Administrative team will be processing discipline for tardies and absences and conducting tardy sweeps throughout the building with students receiving consequences described in our Student Handbook.

Let’s continue to work together to promote the very best teaching and learning environment for our students and staff!

REMINDER TO JOIN OUR PSHS ANNOUNCEMENTS CANVAS PAGE:
Attention Parents and Students! If you haven’t already, please accept our PSHS Announcements Canvas page invite. On the PSHS Announcements Page, we will:

List late buses for the morning and afternoon runs
List bus changes for the morning and afternoon runs
Provide a link to a Bus Location map for student use at dismissal

Morning bus changes should be available no later than 7:00am. All students who ride a bus should accept the invitation to join the Canvas page.  Parents who are set up as an “observer” to their student’s Canvas account will also receive the emails with bus announcements.  Parents who need assistance with becoming and observer can visit the Weekly Announcements page on the Potomac webpage for directions on how to create a parent Canvas account.


 

POTOMAC SCHOOL COUNSELING: Our Potomac School Counselors remain available to discuss course schedules, support student learning, and to provide resources to support student wellbeing.

  • October marks the time when college applications come into focus for many Senior students and families. Please see school/county resources below and feel free to contact Potomac’s College and Career Counselor, Ms. Austin ([email protected]) with questions.
  • Need step by step assistance with the FAFSA? Access site HERE
  • Need US Department of Education Federal Student Aid Resources? View HERE
  • Need PWCS College and Career Portal (Financial Aid Resources and Countywide Presentations) Resources? Click HERE
 

STUDENT ATTENDANCE: In an effort to keep students and staff healthy and safe, Potomac High School is moving towards a paperless attendance office system. Please send all communications about attendance via email to your child's administrative secretary. 

For absences, late arrivals or early dismissals, please send an email with your child's name, attendance request, brief explanation of the request and date/time if available. If you have documentation from the courts, a doctor's office, etc., please send this as an attachment to your email.  Once we receive the email, we will process the request and make the necessary adjustments in your child's records.

Please email early dismissal requests on the same day of the dismissal. We will process as quickly as we can. Parent/guardians may also call in early dismissals at 703-441-4200 and you will be directed to your child's administrative secretary. We may only accept calls from the parent/guardian (not emergency contacts). If the dismissal is not pre-arranged, please call from your vehicle and we will process via phone. Please park in one of our visitor parking spaces outside of door 34, and your child may exit the building once processed. Below is a list of our administrative secretaries and their email addresses: 

9th Grade   Mrs. Claudia Vela           [email protected]
10th Grade     Mrs. Dena Covington     [email protected]
11th Grade   Mrs. Katie Satchell         [email protected]
12th Grade   Ms. Katelynn Manetta    [email protected] 

Additional attendance information can be found here.



POTOMAC YOUTUBE CHANNEL


 Students and parents are encouraged to visit our official Potomac HS YouTube page HERE! Please be sure to subscribe to stay up-to-date on information and events at Potomac. Various events will be live streamed and the channel will also include more student-created and parent-created content very soon!