POTOMAC PANTHER NEWSLETTER
3130 Panther Pride Drive
Dumfries, VA 22026
“Staff, Students, and Parents Working Together as One”
Volume II,No. IV Spring 2008
Greetings to the Potomac School Community:
We need all parents, students, and staff to work together as one during this critical time of
the year. I bring you greetings from the staff at Potomac Middle School and solicit your help in
getting our students prepared for the upcoming Standards of Learning. As you may know, these
assessments are used by the State of Virginia to determine our accreditation and whether we reach
the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) mandates. These assessments also put a lot of pressure on both
students and staff. As you may know, Potomac Middle School was fully accredited its first year.
We now need to make all of our NCLB mandates. Our students’ difficult area is math and we need
your help to put our students over the top.
We need your continued support by having your child come to school prepared and with the
homework completed. These two things are very important to your child’s success. Be sure to
have your child attend tutorials, to give them an extra boost of knowledge. The staff is working very
hard to raise the achievement of every child in this building and preparation goes a very long way in
the process. In this newsletter you will find the schedule for tests and for incentives, field days, and
other exciting activities that will happen for our students at the end of the year.
I need for you to review with your child the PWCS Code of Behavior and Discipline Plan for
Potomac Middle School. It is very important that our young people understand that school is for
learning and misconduct infringes on the learning of others as well as themselves. Our students
have made remarkable strides in the areas of conduct, and I am committed to providing an orderly
and safe atmosphere of learning for each and every child. Please support the staff in emphasizing
the importance of maintaining an appropriate atmosphere for learning.
I would like to close with a very important note. Please know that the staff enjoys working with the
students here at Potomac Middle and go out of our way to prepare for them. Feel free to contact
your child’s teacher to discuss any concerns you may have. You will find that the staff is open and
ready to work with you concerning your child. It is my goal that a trusting relationship develops
between school and home that will make a difference in the life of your child. We are here to teach
and to help during this changing time of life.
Benita M. Stephens
The Library Corner
This is the time of year when the air gets warm and our energy level rises. This is the time of year to
encourage your children to clean out closets, clean out from under their beds, clean out their recreation areas,
and look for lost library books. Currently we have 250 books unaccounted for that includes lost and overdue
books. The library is preparing for the end of the school year and is asking for the parents’ assistance in
locating lost books. Please ask your students about their library books. With all of the budget concerns for
next year, we need to retrieve all the books possible.
Summer reading is coming soon! Please look out for summer reading guidelines to be distributed toward the
end of May through your child’s Language Arts class. Students are encouraged to participate in Potomac
Middle’s summer reading program or the Summer Quest reading program at the public library. Students who
participate by reading two books and providing the author, title, publishing information, and an explanation
of the general topic or plot of the book along with a parent or guardian statement that the student has
completed the reading will receive an extra A (100) for each book completed for a total of two. Extra credit
will count 10% of the student’s grade in the affected marking period.
Mrs. Hodge and I would like to thank all of the students, teachers, and parents for your support of the library
this year. We have enjoyed building a warm, welcoming environment that the students and teachers have
visited frequently. We averaged 1800 books a month for checkout and accommodated three to five classes a
day. We also enjoyed an average of 25 student visitors each morning before school. The library hosted two
Book Fairs this year that brought in extra money for the purchase of books and library supplies. With Dr.
Stephens’ generosity and the proceeds from the Book Fair, we purchased over 400 new books for the library
this year. We look forward to serving our learning community in even bigger ways next year!
Lisa Manikas, Librarian
Panther Pride Yearbook
INTERIM AND REPORT CARD The 2008 Panther Pride yearbook is still
available to purchase for $45. The price
Interims Report Cards will raise after June 1 to $50. Avoid extra
cost….buy your yearbook today. Get a form
March 11 April 18
from the front office and return it to your
May 21 June 20 (mailed)
homeroom teacher with a check or cash.
Yearbooks will be delivered in June.
CRITERIA FOR THE SCHOOL-WIDE
☺C or better in all classes
☺No more than 1 unexcused absence for
☺No U’s in conduct
☺No U’s in effort
☺No more than 1 referral
☺No more than 5 excused absences
(unless medically given)
Thank you for your continued support with membership. Membership is only $5 per family
and we truly need your support in order to assist with funding extra curricular activities and
events. You may download a membership form from our school’s website on the PTSO page
or return the form on the back of this newsletter. Remember, it’s never too late to become a
We also encourage parents to participate in volunteer opportunities, such as event ticket
sales, honor roll receptions, student recognition events, teacher appreciation, movie nights,
and spring sports concession assistance. These are all great ways that you can stay connected
with your child.
Our monthly PTSO meetings are usually attended by the Executive Council members, but
they are open to everyone. Please contact Mrs. Hodge (PTSO President) or Mrs. Tucker
(PTSO Vice President) if you have any questions.
Finally, please visit the PTSO website at least twice a month to find out about upcoming
events. Thank you for your continued support and dedication to the students at Potomac
LOST AND FOUND
Lost and Found is located in the rear of
Clinic Corner the building in room 1425. If any
Parents remember to have student has lost an article of clothing or
student’s Health Treatment school equipment than they should see
Mr. Hoffman in the front office to
Plans completed prior to the retrieve missing items. Any jewelry,
beginning of the 2008-09 glasses, cell phones, accessories or items
school year, but after May 1, that are breakable or of value they will
2008. Any questions, please not be in Lost and Found they will be
held by Mr. Hoffman. Students are not
call the School Nurse. to wait in the front office for Mr.
Hoffman to retrieve their missing items,
If he is not available than they need to
leave their name with Mr. Hoffman and
he will assist them as soon as he gets a
chance. Students that are missing P.E.
uniforms need to first check with their
P.E. Teachers before seeing Mr.
Hoffman. Items will be disposed of at
the beginning of each new grading
Important Parent Information!
For the safety of your child, we must require that any parent who would like to pick up a child
during the school day present a picture identification. In order to minimize disruption, our
front office staff will give messages to students at the appropriate times and not call them
out of class; please arrange all your planning before school. If your child is staying in any
after-school activity, please know who your child is staying with, we will be unable to call
students over the public address system as it interrupts other after-school activities and
meetings. The school is also secured shortly after school begins; entrance into the building
should only be through the front door located near the main office. Students have been
directed not to open any outside door during the day.
We are requesting that students be picked up for early dismissal by 2:30pm. After that
time the building will be secured to ensure that we are ready for dismissal. We will not be
able to release students after 2:30pm. Also, no messages will be given to students after
2:30pm. In the case of early dismissal before 2:30pm, a note that can be delivered to the
front office will ensure that your child is ready when you arrive. Please realize that it will
take time to get your child if a note has not been written in advance.
Thank you for making a difference by keeping our students safe and secure at
Potomac Middle School.
Hoops for Heart
Thanks to all the students and parents that attended our second annual Hoops for
Heart Game on April 1st here at Potomac Middle. The event was kicked off with a
playing of the National Anthem by Mr. Hearn and the orchestra. The female faculty
continued their winning streak by defeating the girls’ basketball. The male faculty
also remains victorious with another win over the boys’ basketball team. At
intermission, the students were quizzed on heart health and earned prizes for
The event was a huge success which raised over $900.00 for The American Heart
Association! A big shout out goes to Jonae Guest for raising $300.00 and being the
top participant for a second year in a row. As a school, we are joining in the fight
against our Nation’s No. 1 and No. 3 killers-cardiovascular diseases and stroke. If
you haven’t done so already, check out our Nutrition/Fitness Webpage and learn
healthy tips for proper nutrition and fitness. There are also several links posted for
getting you started in taking steps to wellness.
The PTMS cheerleaders finished their
season with a 1st Place win at the Garfield
Cheer and Dance Competition in
February. The girls did a fabulous job
cheering for basketball and wrestling.
Stay Tune for 2008-2009 tryouts!
Volleyball Try-outs will begin the first
week of school for the 2008-2009
School year. Any girls wishing to
participate needs to have a Sports
Physical dated May 1, 2008 or later to The Panther Dancer team had an
be turned in the first day of try-outs. extremely successful season. Hard
work, dedication, and determination
Please do not wait until the last minute. have driven the team to earn 2 first
Other helpful items for practice would place trophies at Winter Fest Dance
be sneakers, knee pads and a “willing to competition, held at Potomac High
School . All Dancers should have
work hard” attitude. Have a great their uniform turned in by Friday
summer and try to play as much April 25th.
The end of the year celebration
volleyball as you can! will be held April 25th from 3-5 to
Questions please contact Coach celebrate our successes.
Heindrichs at firstname.lastname@example.org Tryouts will be held in the fall
for next year’s team.
From the Clinic
The grass is growing, flowers are blooming, and seasonal allergies are flourishing!
Many children are miserable with itchy, watery red eyes, runny nose, sneezing and
sometimes with an associated itchy, sore throat. These seasonal allergy symptoms
caused by pollen and mold spores are commonly known as Hayfever. Symptoms may
vary from person to person, but Hayfever often runs in families and is also related to the
incidence of asthma and eczema.
For most people, over-the-counter remedies are their primary coping mechanism.
Antihistamine medicines reduce the effect of one of the main chemicals released by the
allergic response. Nasal sprays and eye drops may reduce local inflammatory
responses. Occasionally, your doctor may consider prescription medication for allergy
There are other things you can do to lessen seasonal allergy symptoms:
Teachers, please avoid opening your classroom windows to the outside; you may have
students suffering from mild to severe allergies. The pollen openly seen settling on cars
is being ingested into nasal passages and airways also.
Consider staying inside between 5pm and 7pm, when pollen counts are usually the
highest. Keep windows and doors closed, especially at these times and when sleeping.
After spending time outdoors, wash hands and face to remove pollen. Pollen sticks to
the eyelashes causing irritation.
Wash your hair before going to sleep and frequently change your pillow cases as
allergens stick to your hair.
Damp dust and vacuum your home regularly to minimize the presence of pollen and
dust. Also, wash your bed linens in hot water weekly.
Consider an air purifier or air filter. Removing pollen and other allergens from the air will
help you reduce your symptoms.
Drink plenty of fluids to keep secretions thin and reduce thirst and dryness sometimes
associated with antihistamines.
Be aware of the pollen count. The pollen count is usually broadcast along with the
weather. Avoid areas of high pollen concentration like long grass, lawn clippings and
If your child is in need of a Health Treatment Plan for a specific medical condition, please
contact the school nurse for the appropriate forms to be completed by the doctor.
Art Department News
Winning Youth Art Month Flag Design by Victoria Castleberry
The Art department is excited to announce that Victoria Castleberry's Youth Art Month
Flag Design is the second place winner (STATE WIDE!) for the Middle School division of
the Youth Art Month Competition held by VAEA. Victoria's design will be posted on the
VAEA Youth Art Month flag site.
The following students Art work is currently on display at the Dumfries Library: Alex
Rodriguez, Danielle Ferguson, Maxine Askew, Shon Cagungun, Bryana Coleman, Yelitza
Alvarenga, Misael Zalaya, Edgar Ventura, Elmer Sorto, Thret Griffith, Michael Flatequal,
Gela Maravilla, Sonyi Omadjela, Deidre Henry, and Ilsia Salguero.
The Annual Fine Arts festival was a great success this year at Woodbridge School of
Fine and Performing Arts on Saturday March 29th. The students’ Art looked wonderful and
students and their families were in attendance. Dr. Stephens came and lent her support
and made it more fun. Kelly Redmond’s Art work was chosen to represent our school in
the Administrative Complex at Independent Hill.
There is a great Art Enrichment program this summer from July 7th -25th at Marsteller and
Godwin Middle Schools. There is an information packet available in the guidance office or
from Mrs. Paige in the Art Department.
P POTOMAC MIDDLE SPRING SPORTS
POTOMAC @ Woodbridge Thurs., April 24th
Lake Ridge @ POTOMAC Tues., May 6th
Rippon @ POTOMAC Thurs., May 8th
Woodbridge @ POTOMAC Mon., May 12th
POTOMAC @ Lake Ridge Tues., May 20th
POTOMAC @ Rippon Thurs., May 22th
A MIDSPRPO CH
BASEBALL Date SOFTBALL
Godwin @ POTOMAC Mon., April 21st POTOMAC @ Godwin
Woodbridge @ POTOMAC Thurs., April 24th POTOMAC @ Woodbridge
POTOMAC @ Graham Park Mon., April 28th Graham Park @ POTOMAC
Rippon @ POTOMAC Thurs., May1st POTOMAC @ Rippon
POTOMAC @ Fred Lynn Mon., May 5th Fred Lynn @ POTOMAC
POTOMAC @ Godwin Thurs., May 8th Godwin @ POTOMAC
POTOMAC @ Woodbridge Mon., May 12th Woodbridge @ POTOMAC
Graham Park @ POTOMAC Thurs., May 15th POTOMAC @ Graham Park
POTOMAC @ Rippon Mon., May 19th Rippon @ POTOMAC
Fred Lynn @ POTOMAC Thurs., May 22nd POTOMAC @ Fred Lynn
OTOMAC MIDDLE SPRING SPORTS
POTOMAC MIDDLE SPRING SPORTS
Godwin @ POTOMAC Mon., April 21
Woodbridge @ POTOMAC Thurs., April 24
POTOMAC @ Graham PARK Mon., April 28
Rippon @ POTOMAC Thurs., May 1
POTOMAC @ F.Lynn Mon., May 5
POTOMAC @ Godwin Thurs., May 8
POTOMAC @ Woodbridge Mon., May 12
Graham Park @ POTOMAC Thurs., May 15
POTOMAC @ Rippon Mon., May 19
F.Lynn @ POTOMAC Thurs., May 22
BOYS TRACK 2008
POTOMAC @ WOODBRIDGE Wed., April 23
Graham Park @ POTOMAC Wed., April 30
Rippon @ POTOMAC Fri., May 2
POTOMAC @ Fred Lynn Wed., May 7
POTOMAC @ Godwin Wed., May 14
REGIONAL MEET @ RIPPON /SITE TBA Wed., May 21 TBA
PE DEPARTMENT NEWS
Spring is here and we are in outdoor mode. We will be jumping into games like
Capture the Flag, Lacrosse, Soccer, Softball, Kickball, Tennis and other large group
activities. Please make sure your child has a sweatshirt or sweatpants if they tend
to get cold easily. We are going to be going out everyday as long as the weather is
at 55 degrees and it is not raining.
It will be good to get outside and get some fresh air after being stuck in- side all
Mr. Anthes 8th grade classes will be going into the Health classroom for the last
marking period. Students in his classes should clean out their lockers at the end of
the 3rd marking period.
We will be continuing with Fitness Testing. Everyone will also be tested in the mile
run. Students will be eligible for the Friday drawings by earning a 7:30 minute mile
for boys and an 8:30 minute mile for girls. Get out there and get moving!
Potomac Middle School Steppers
The Potomac Middle School closed out their season at the final home basketball
game versus Fred Lynn. The steppers of Potomac Middle School had an outstanding
season, stepping and stomping their ways into the memory books of Potomac Middle
School. Not only did the team turn it out at the girl’s and boy’s basketball games,
they “stepped it up” in the community as well. By invitation only, the Step Team
showed up and showed out at the Annual Black History Celebration at the Quantico
Marine Base. Stepping to the theme and ideas of Dr. Carter G. Woodson and
Multiculturalism; the team was featured on the front page of the Quantico Sentry.
The team also performed at Potomac High School’s Step Competition as an
exhibition act. The coaches would like to recognize and thank the team captains
and team members for an outstanding season. We also would like to thank all the
faculty and staff for their assistance over the year:
Dr. Benita Stephens: Principal and Advisor
Mrs. Danielle Hodge: Team Photographer
Mr. Williams: Athletic Director
Mrs. Debbie White Bookkeeper
Try-outs for the 2008-2009 will be held in the fall, hope to see you there.
Ms. Ashley Catlett: Coach and Choreographer
Ms. Kimberly Harper: Coach and Business Manager
The Prince William County Public School Division does not discriminate in employment or in its education programs and
activities against qualified individuals on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, pregnancy, age, veteran
status, or disability.
April Newsletter – Music
March was national Music in Our Schools Month and though we
celebrate music everyday at Potomac Middle School, March is
extra special because of District Festival Performances. Our
Band, Choir, and Orchestra each went to District Festival and
represented Potomac Middle School very well. The Festival Band
earned an Excellent rating at their district festival while the
8th grade Choir and the Festival Orchestra brought home Superior
ratings. We are all very proud of these young musicians.
April and May also brings Solo & Ensemble Festival for our
Band and Orchestra students. The Band S&E Festival will be held
on Saturday, May 12th at Manassas Park High School. The
Orchestra S&E festival will be held at Potomac Middle School on
Thursday, April 17th. Students interested in participating or
who need more information should contact their ensemble
Our Band and Choir programs are currently preparing for a
trip to Williamsburg, VA to perform in the Musicale Music
Festival on Saturday, May 3rd. The Festival Band, 8th grade Choir,
and Festival Orchestra will be competing against ensembles from
across the East Coast. After their performances, students will
spend the rest of their day at Busch Gardens with an awards
ceremony in the park. Information for this trip was distributed
to students by their ensemble director and payments have started
to be collected. If you have questions, please contact the
The Spring Concert schedule has been announced and will be
Wednesday, May 21st – 6th Grade Concert
Thursday, May 29th – 7th Grade Concert
Thursday, June 5th – 8th Grade Concert
All Concerts are held in the Potomac MS Gymnasium, start at 7
PM, and are free and open to the public.
Also, on Wednesday, May 28th at 7:30 PM, the 8th grade Band
will be traveling to Potomac High School to perform with the
Potomac HS Bands on their Spring Concert.
Finally the music department would like to thank everyone
for their support and participation in the Virginia Diner Fund
raiser. Please check the Music page of the Potomac MS Website
for details when orders can be picked up. Your support will help
our music department and music students continue to grow and
As always, if you have questions or concerns about any
music department activities, please contact Mr. Bud Hearne,
Music Dept. Chair at 703.221.4996 ext.321 OR at
8th Grade History Classes to Visit National Gallery of Art
(Parent Chaperones Needed!)
The Pioneer and Trailblazer Teams World History classes of Mr. Anderson,
Mr. Roach and Mrs. Catlett will journey to Washington, D.C. to the National Gallery
of Art. Mr. Anderson's trip will occur on May 12th and Mr. Roach's and Mrs.
Catlett's will be on May 14th. The trip will be part of our study of the art and
artists of the Italian Renaissance Period. We will attend a slide lecture and then
tour the Gallery’s Italian Renaissance collections.
Among the art we will observe is the only painting of Leonardo da Vinci’s
currently on display in North and South America. We also plan on eating lunch in
the museum cafeteria. The cost for students, including lunch, will be $5.00. The
very low cost for this rewarding trip is possible because our school will pay for half
of the cost of lunch.
We cannot make this trip without parent chaperones. On our past trips, we
have been very fortunate to have at least 20 parents who have volunteered to
accompany us each day. This allows us to group the students in groups of six so
that we may spread them out as we tour the museum. Please consider setting this
day aside to come with us to view the art of the Renaissance. We plan on leaving at
9:00 a.m. and will return at approximately 1:00-1:30 p.m. More information will be
available as the trip approaches.
Language Arts - Pioneers / Trailblazers
As 8th graders enter into the last nine weeks, they look forward to high school. To
prepare our students for the "dreaded" research paper, we will do a short unit on the
research process complete with a brief written paper. During the month of May students
will do concentrated review of reading strategies, skills, and sample tests before the
SOL to be administered late in May.
Members of the 8th Grade Pantherbots designed and built two robots and entered both in a
Middle School Competition on March 29, 2008. Team T-Vex 1 and Team T-Vex 2 took on over
37 opponents. Team members had some impressive matches and proved their robotic design
could accomplish its task. Team members will continue to work on programming and design
as they prepare to teach the rising 7th graders about the Vex system. Team members include:
Molly Helverson, Courtney Wright, Darla Denham, Nanzhu Chen, Oscar McCullough, Tao Ly.
Coaches include: Mrs Rheinlander, Mr Dishman, and parent coach, Mr Helverson.
Reminder to 8Th Graders
Please be sure to check your immunization records to see if you have
a current Tetanus shot before you enter high school. If it has been
nearly ten years since you had your last DTP, Td, or Dtap shot you
will need to have an update. If you have already received a Tetanus
or Tdap booster please provide the school nurse with a copy of the
record so that your file can be updated.
Signet is coming to an end for the 2007-
2008 school year. Our last class dates will be
Lion's Team May 6,7,8 respectively. You should be
receiving a copy of completed DSP forms
The Lion's Team wants to remind shortly. These are new forms for PWC and
students now that it is spring to will need to be signed and returned. You will
stay focused and continue also receive a copy for your records.
learning. Students need to be Currently, 6th grade students are currently
preparing for their SOL tests, working on a Marine Biology unit. During
which are fast approaching. New this unit, students will learn about coral
material is still being taught in reefs, tide pulls, and marine life. Activities
class and CMS tests are still will include a Marine Life picture book and
being given. Students need to dissection of a shark pup.
make sure that they bring all 7th grade students are making a video
supplies to class and are presentation to introduce Potomac Middle
completing their nightly School to our new 6th grade students next
homework. Homework is very year.
important in the retention of 8th grade will finish their home designs
classroom information. Please and study the aerodynamics of Mousetrap
keep a look at for the Lion's Team race cars.
monthly newsletter for subject This has been a great year for SIGNET!
specifics. Have a great rest of the year! & Good luck
on your SOL exams!
Panther Pals continue to meet on a monthly basis and all who participate in the program
enjoy the activities. We are currently taking applications from 6th grade SIGNET students to
participate for the rest of the year as well as the 2008-2009 school term. Interested SIGNET
students should see Mrs. Tucker for an application. Sensitivity training will occur Wednesday
April 23rd. from 3-4 pm
POTOMAC MIDDLE SCHOOL GUIDANCE DEPARMENT
The 8th Grade Career Day was a tremendous success! This event was held on Thursday, April 10,
2008 here at Potomac Middle. Over 30 professionals came to share their career experiences with
our students. Our guests included but were not limited to dentists, FBI agents, accountants,
photographers, advertising executives, engineers, and law enforcement officials. The students
were dressed for success and came with some great questions for our presenters. Our guests were
extremely impressed with the professional manner in which the students conducted themselves
during this event. The students were equally impressed by the presenters which was evident from
their discussions about Career Day after it was over. We would like to thank all of the staff,
students, parents, and guests for making this a memorable learning experience for our 8th grade
Summer School Program
Middle Summer School offers students enrolled in grades 6-8 opportunities to improve basic
skills through remediation activities using individual and small group instruction. The program is
further designed to address skills needed to pass the statewide standards of learning assessments.
Placement is determined by the grade in which the student is enrolled during the 2007-2008
The instructional program for rising 9th grade students (current 8th grade students) is designed for
students who have been identified as requiring further remediation prior to entry into the 9th
grade. The program will serve as a bridge between summer and fall and will focus on reading,
math and social skills.
Dates: Monday, July 7, 2008 to Friday, July 25, 2008 7:45 a.m. – 11:15 a.m.
For more information on the PWCS Summer School Program including locations, tuition and
transportation please visit:
Summer Suggestions – 2008
The Prince William County Office on Youth (703-792-6095) and Youth Services Board have
compiled and published a listing of summer activities for Prince William area youth and families.
This brochure is now available in the Guidance Department and online at
Bereavement Camp Welcomes Kids and Teens
Comfort Zone Camp provides help to children ages 7-12 and 13-17 who have experienced deaths
of parents, grandparents, siblings or caregivers. Hosted in Richmond, Virginia, CZC is open to
kids nationwide at no cost. Travel scholarships are also available for campers and a parent or
guardian who must accompany them. For more information visit the CZC website at
www.comfortzonecamp.org or call 804-377-3430.