WPS celebrates Grand Opening of Douglas School

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Winchester Public Schools will celebrate the Grand Opening and Ribbon Cutting of the recently renovated and expanded Douglas School on Saturday, June 8th at 10 am.

The former school located at 598 N Kent Street served black students during segregation in Winchester from 1927-1966.

After integration, the building was used as an intermediate, elementary and preschool before being deemed unsafe.

The City of Winchester provided funding in 2021 to begin the renovations to house the school system’s central office, a community space, and a museum on honoring the history of Douglas.

Saturday’s ceremony will include remarks from local leaders and alumni followed by a car show featuring vehicles from the school’s era of operation.

The building and museum will be open to guests and light refreshments will be served.

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Patsy Cline Theater hosts mental health and substance abuse program

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Winchester Public Schools and the WISH (Winchester investing in Student Mental Health) Program are partnering with the Northwestern Community Services Board to host a special program for families on substance use prevention and mental health.

The event will be held at the Patsy Cline Theater of Handley High School tonight from 5:30-7:00.

The discussion will feature Stephen Hill, best selling author, recovery coach, defense attorney, and founder of Speak Sobriety, as he shares his inspiring comeback story as a young person in recovery.

His story was the main feature in Surviving the Hill, a documentary on the drug epidemic focused on prevention and recovery.

Through knowledge from his personal experiences, Hill shows families how to build resilient children who can make healthy choices and overcome adversity.

He will visit students at Handley and Daniel Morgan Middle School during the school day, with the presentation this evening serving as a follow-up.

Families are encouraged to attend the program together and have a meaningful conversation about the message and lessons from Hill’s journey.

For more information on the program, click here.

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WPS begins 2nd annual attendance competition

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Winchester Public Schools Elementary and Intermediate students will contend in the 2nd annual Every Day Counts Weekly Attendance competition.

Attendance will be calculated Monday through Thursday, starting this week through September 22nd.

Then on Friday, the school with the highest attendance percentage will win a visit from the Kona Ice Truck.

Excused absences like an illness will not be counted against the school’s attendance percentage.

The contest is sponsored by the John and Janice Wyatt Foundation and the Winchester Campaign for Grade Level Reading in an effort to curb the attendance issues facing schools across the area.

For more information on WPS attendance policies, click here.

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Local school districts make changes for new year

As many of our local students begin their return to school, this year a few districts have made some major changes.

Winchester Public School students began classes today which also marked the beginning of the expanded walk zones for some of their schools.

Motorists should be aware of these changes and travel cautiously near campuses.

Frederick County Public Schools will start the year differently with the addition of a transition day for students entering preschool, kindergarten, sixth grade, and ninth grade.

Those groups will begin on Monday, while the rest of the students will start on Tuesday.

The transition day also allows bus drivers to become better acclimated to their new routes before the first day.

For more news from across the Shenandoah Valley, click here.

Winchester Public Schools expands walk zones

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Winchester Public Schools will join numerous departments across the country with expanded Walk Zones for the upcoming school year in response to the ongoing bus driver shortage.

Households included in the Walk Zones will get to school by either walking, biking, or riding with a family member.

The change will primarily impact students at Virginia Avenue and Quarles and a smaller group at Daniel Morgan and Handley.

The areas chosen have safe walking paths, sidewalks, and crosswalks while avoiding four lane roads and train tracks.

The City of Winchester is also working with the school district to employ additional Crossing Guards and add crosswalks and signage.

If you have questions or concerns, WPS is hosting two Transportation Walk and Talks at 6:30 pm on July 19th at Quarles Elementary and on July 20th at Virginia Avenue.

Students with an IEP requiring transportation will still be able to take the bus.

For more information on the Walk Zones, click here.

For more news from across the Shenandoah Valley, click here.

WPS utilizes Dual Language Immersion

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Winchester Public Schools are using Dual Language Immersion to help bring the community together.

Frederick Douglass Elementary School teachers spend half their day educating in English and the other half in Spanish.

The program not only helps Spanish speaking students keep up with their Native English-speaking classmates, but also helps Native-English students learn a new language and increase cultural awareness.

WPS initially struggled finding suitable teachers for the initiative.

A partnership with Participate Learning, which specializes in this type of education, helped the program take off.

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WPS board holds their annual retreat with the public invited


An email from Winchester Public School’s (WPS) Bonnie Sandy announced the School Board’s annual retreat.

WPS Board will conduct their mid year retreat at the Museum of the Shenandoah Valley 901 Amherst Street Winchester this year.

The retreat will be held in the museum’s second floor board room from 8:30 until approximately 3 p.m. Wed. Feb.9.

This meeting as with most WPS Board meetings is open to the public.

The agenda for the meeting is here.

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WPS receive a $7.8 million grant for a 3 year period

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Winchester Public Schools (WPS) have received a $7,799,878 Teacher and School Leader Incentive Program Grant from the U.S Department of Education.

According to the press release WPS is one of only 12 schools and 22 overall to receive such a grant.

The grant will help develop new and innovative career pathways for teachers according to School Superintendent Jason Van Heukelum in the press release.

The grant will likely foster professional growth while compensating teachers at a higher level for their leadership and expertise over the next three years.

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WPS recognized for approach to digital media

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Winchester Public Schools (WPS) has been designated a Common Sense District.

Common Sense (CS) is a national nonprofit organization dedicated to helping kids and families thrive in the world of media and technology.

The WPS was recognized by CS for taking a community approach to preparing it’s students for digital media while limiting the perils that exist online.

WPS has been praised for teaching students to explore, create, connect and learn.

At the same time WPS is teaching students to avoid the perils of plagiarism, loss of privacy and cyberbullying.

The recognition acknowledges WPS’s commitment to creating a culture where the community is invested in helping kids thrive in the digital world.

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WPS are prepared for return to in-person learning

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Winchester Public Schools prepare for expanded in person learning.

On Friday Daniel Morgan Middle School received a visit from 10th District Representative Jennifer Wexton.

The representative toured the school to see and hear how the school is prepared for a safe return to in-person learning.

Wexton saw and declared that the school is well prepared to welcome students back to school today Mon. Apr. 12.

For more news from across the Shenandoah Valley, click here.