Archive for the ‘MCPS’ Category

FY19 Budget Feedback

October 30, 2017

Your feedback is vital to our budget development process. As we identify the needs and priorities that will characterize our spending plan next year, we want your opinions. Please click here to access the survey or follow the link below to enter your responses right here on this page:

Please take the time to share your thoughts and to identify programs that you would like to see enhanced, added or even eliminated. The survey is open to anyone (parents, teachers, staff, students, guardians, community members, citizens, residents, etc.).  We truly want everyone’s feedback, so don’t hesitate to share our survey with anyone that you know has an interest in our schools.

MCPS Teachers Attend STEM Workshop

September 28, 2017

On Saturday, September 23rd, MCPS teachers attended a STEM workshop in Westmoreland County.  Teachers from MES, SCW, and MHS have been participating in summer and weekend workshops to gain knowledge and training in  techniques in using problem-based learning in a Makerspace setting.  The program, called STEMLabs and Design Briefs for Building STEM Knowledge, is funded through the University of Mary Washington by the State Council for Higher Education in Virginia through Title II Part 1 NCLB. Middlesex County teachers are participating along with teachers from Colonial Beach, Rappahanock County and Westmoreland County.

Faculty from the UMW Colleges of Education and Arts and Sciences and educators from the Friends of the Rappahannock have partnered with approximately one hundred teachers and administrators from Superintendent’s Region III to develop a program of intense, high quality educational experiences that utilize a problem-based learning context, the Design Brief, to deliver middle and high school mathematics and science concepts aligned with the Virginia Standards of Learning.  As part of the program, MCPS received materials for their STEM labs and Makerspace areas that include 3D printers, Hummingbird Board Duo kits, and Vernier sensors to use with student projects.   

(See MCPS teachers in action in the video below!)

Below,  you can see a group of MCPS teachers working on a project they created to design a system to remove trash from our storm water system. They built and programmed a model of a storm drain and created a device to remove trash from the drain. The teachers used Hummingbird Boards and Visual Programmer Language to create this project. For more information about the program, you can visit

Hands On Learning at SCW

September 26, 2017

SCW has partnered with Friends of the Rappahannock to offer real world experiences in the area of science. On Monday, sixth grade students had their first field trip to learn more about and practice water quality testing in Urbanna.

MCPS Schools Once Again Fully Accredited

August 16, 2017

The Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) released official results of state testing today, and Middlesex County Public Schools (MCPS) continues to shine.  Virginia public schools administer 29 state assessments each year, tests that are based on the the Commonwealth’s Standards of Learning (SOL).  The results of these assessments, along with graduation rates, provide the framework for Virginia’s school accountability system and the VDOE’s School Quality Profiles.

Once again, all MCPS schools have met the state’s benchmarks and achieved full accreditation.

“We are extremely proud of this accomplishment,” noted superintendent Dr. Peter Gretz, “but the state tests are singular measures of proficiency. We want our students’ learning to move far beyond those minimum standards.”

The division has embodied a philosophy that by focusing on what’s ultimately best for students and pursuing an engaging, relevant instructional model, student performance on the SOL tests will continue to excel.

“Our students need to be practicing 21st century disposition skills such as creativity, communication, and collaboration,” Gretz continued. “We will be seeking more opportunities for students to engage in project-based experiences that require these essential skills. We’re confident that by focusing on deeper learning and skill building, SOL achievement will come as a byproduct of that great instruction.”

A comprehensive report of student achievement data including a deep analysis of specific student subgroup performance will be presented during a school board meeting this fall.

MCPS School Board Members Attend VSBA Hot Topics Conference

April 24, 2017

Jim Goforth and Richard Shores joined Dr. Gretz for the Virginia School Boards Association’s Hot Topic Conference on April 20 in Charlottesville, VA. The event brought together school board members, superintendents, and other educational leaders from across Virginia.

Attendees heard from Phil Gore, Director of Leadership Team Services for the Texas Association of School Boards on the hot topic issue of how school boards make a difference in student achievement in their school divisions. Participants also practiced board governance skills related to improving student outcomes and developed action plans for their board to implement to help improve student achievement.

“Working collaboratively with leaders from across the commonwealth to design strategic ways to link school board actions to maximizing student potential was invaluable,” remarked Dr. Gretz. “Dr. Shores and Mr. Goforth both bring a tremendous amount of experience and discretion to their role on the board and it was inspiring to see them learning with other great board members from other localities.”


What Better Way to Learn about the Human Hand than to Build One!

April 10, 2017

Using a collection of materials that cost next to nothing, MHS teachers Vanessa Edwards, Melinda Hodges and Jessica Newsome created an extraordinary experience for students to explore the anatomy of the human hand.



The activity is part of the school’s larger MakerSpace initiative that grew out of Edwards’ desire to give kids a place to explore hands-on learning, design and creativity. The MakerSpace is open in the library every Friday morning before school and students use an assortment of materials and objects to design creative solutions to real-world problems.

And now teachers have started to book the MakerSpace during the week.

Vanessa was able to get $5,000 through a Department of Education grant, and the division is part of a Mary Washington College grant that will provide 3-D Printers, laser-printers, and a host of other “maker materials” that will further position the space to be an authentic 21st-century learning lab.

We are excited about the future of the MakerSpace movement and how allowing students to explore learning through creative problem solving with enhance the skills they will need to thrive in today’s economy.

Interested in Becoming a Math Specialist?

April 9, 2017

MCPS teachers,

We are thrilled to announce a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for anyone interested in leadership in mathematics education!

We have been selected to participate in a grant initiative, The Virginia Mathematics Specialist Initiative: An Online Program to Prepare K-8 Mathematics Teacher Leaders for High-Need School Districts, which will fund one teacher from our division to receive full tuition and a $10,000 salary supplement for 3 consecutive years after completing the mathematics specialist preparation program.  

The Details

The grant covers tuition, fees, and books for the selected teacher to complete the mathematics specialist preparation program outlined in the attached document.  All course work will be offered in an online format.  Upon satisfactory completion, participants will receive a Masters in Interdisciplinary Studies, Mathematics and Science Leadership track, from VCU as well as Virginia’s K-8 mathematics specialist add-on endorsement to their teaching license. In addition, the teacher will receive a $10,000 salary supplement each year for 3 years (Fall 2019 – Spring 2022).  

Conditions for teachers

Teacher recipients must (1) complete the entire MIS degree program, (2) maintain full-time employment in their nominating school district for five years (Fall 2017 – Spring 2022), (3) take on mathematics teacher leadership responsibilities during the 3 years of the teacher leadership service commitment (Fall 2019 – Spring 2022) and (4) participate in the online monthly meetings of the Mathematics Teacher Leader Mentoring program for 2 years (Fall 2019 – Spring 2021).

To be considered:

Please submit the following to Dr. Tracy Seitz no later than April 25:

  1. complete the screening application
  2. an updated resume
  3. brief statement of interest


If you have any questions, feel free to contact any of us and we’ll be happy to discuss this amazing opportunity with you!

Peter Gretz, Division Superintendent

Tracy Seitz, Assistant Superintendent

Carol Walsh, Mathematics Specialist

Delegate Hodges Visits Middlesex Elementary School

March 21, 2017

Delegate Keith Hodges spent the better part of Monday, March 20th in classrooms at Middlesex Elementary School as part of the school board’s recognition of the VSBA Take Your Legislator to School Month program. He visited classrooms at every grade level, interacting with students about their learning and responding to questions the students had about the delegate’s position, the laws he’s helped to shepherd, and the way the three branches of government relate to one another.

One group of second graders took a very active role in teaching Del. Hodges the specifics of coding and programming with a unique lesson involving tiny robots called “Ozbots.” He then sat down with the students and put pen to paper and created his own Ozbot track.

Special thanks to Delegate Hodges, not only for his advocacy and support, but for his personal investment and interest in our schools!

2017-18 Draft Calendar

March 14, 2017

The school board considered a draft 2017-18 school calendar during last night’s school board meeting. The draft was initially developed in consultation with the Superintendent’s Advisory Committee and further considered by the division leadership, instructional team and Administrative Council.

Using a survey, feedback was gathered from the school community with 122 participants responding. That feedback has informed the development of the current draft.

Screen Shot 2017-03-14 at 8.11.24 AM

The board will consider adoption of a final calendar during its regularly scheduled April 3rd meeting and welcomes your comments and suggestions!

New Coordinator of Gifted Named in Middlesex

October 10, 2016

Middlesex County Public Schools is pleased to announce the appointment of Ms. Katie Brockel as Coordinator for Gifted Education. Ms. Brockel replaces Mrs. Kim Waite who left the position in late August for a job in the private education sector. “We are thrilled with this appointment,” commented MCPS Superintendent Dr. Peter Gretz. “Ms. Brockel has the experience and perspective to really enhance our team’s pursuit of deeper learning for all students.”

A native of Hanover County, Ms. Brockel earned a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from James Madison University before completing the Teacher Licensure Program at University of Richmond. While teaching elementary education in Mechanicsville, Ms. Brockel earned her Gifted and Talented Endorsement from the University of Virginia. Ms. Brockel taught in Hanover County Public Schools for twelve years, and she was serving as Gifted and Talented Resource Teacher at Mechanicsville Elementary School before accepting the position with Middlesex County Public Schools.


When asked about her vision for the future of gifted education in Middlesex County, Ms. Brockel said, “I am thrilled to be a part of such and amazing and distinguished team of educators in Middlesex County. I intend to continue to provide and support the teachers and students in our school with quality differentiated instruction. I believe it is our responsibility as educators to meet the needs of all students, and challenge is something to be embraced because through our challenges, we are able to grow.”

A Certified Google Educator with extensive knowledge in Google Apps for Education and SMARTboard technologies, Ms. Brockel currently resides in Northumberland County on the Great Wicomico River. She enjoys paddle boarding, surfing and relaxing on the beach with family, friends and her two rescue dogs, Maddie and Lincoln

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