A note from Mr. Cerrone’s desk . . .

Our town hall meeting with 4th-5th grade parents went extremely well. We had over 70 people attend. I am looking forward to meeting with 2nd-3rd grade tonight at 6:30 p.m. and KG-1st tomorrow at 6:30 p.m.

We continue to move forward with PBES Virtual Academy. I have begun observing classrooms and evaluating instruction and learning. I was very impressed with a KG classroom. I saw them looking at letter formation. I saw a 3rd grade class working on estimation. The students were attentive and engaged. The staff was well prepared and patient. Learning was occurring. Please know that I realize this is a very difficult situation for our community. However, we can only play the cards we are dealt and at this moment I believe we are playing it extremely well.

ZOOM meetings: Added Security Measures

There is currently a trend across the nation of students sharing meeting IDs and passwords with people who are not members of the class, or sometimes just internet strangers. To ensure our virtual school environment remains secure, we have adopted the following recommendations from PWCS IT. 

First, please do NOT use meeting IDs to access classes. Please use the links from the homepage button or the daily class page buttons. If you have been using a meeting ID, please stop and use the link. If you are having difficulty getting in, please watch the attached videos for computers and iPads. We recognized that some classes are still being asked for passcodes, and the teachers can share those with the students having difficulty, but no more meeting IDs. 

Second, teachers will be removing Zoom from the side course navigation. We tested last week to see if posting meetings there would lead to increased success in accessing Zoom, and they didn’t.

Third, teachers will be switching their classes to authenticated only again, except for those KG-2nd grade classes that have a student still getting the email verification error. 

Teachers will continue to use the waiting room, which is an effective way to keep outsiders out, if everyone is coming in with their PWCS account. If your child is coming in as pwcsstudent or 3rdgradeXX, they are not. 

We recognize that this leads to some extra hoops to jump through to access meetings, however your child's safety is of the utmost importance.  Thank you for your continued support.

Link for iPads and Zoom
Link for Zoom through O365


School iPad YouTube Access

Due to important instructional resources being housed on PWCS YouTube channels, we made the decision to unblock YouTube from school iPads.  Please be advised that this site is now accessible.  Please monitor your student’s technology usage on school devices as you would with other internet ready devices in your home.

PBES TECH TIPS by Device (including personal!)

Valuable technology tricks and tips can be found in this valuable PBES device tip document .

Standard Based Grading

We continue to move forward with SBG. We have revised our above standard criteria to reflect student's ability to use and show their critical thinking. We think it is a positive change. Standards will be in grade books by September 25th. Work Habits and Conduct (click here for rubric) are graded separately from academics and we are adjusting for virtual learning. It is important to note that the grade in the grade book may be different than the grade on the report card. If a teacher uses evidence that a student understands concepts more than the final grade represents, they can raise the grade.  K-2 Grading Rubric    3rd-5th Grading Rubric 

PALS Information

Please read this letter for information about PALS testing. The PALS testing window will begin September 16th and end on October 16th. Your child's teacher or the reading specialist will contact you with additional testing and scheduling information.

Library Curbside Pickup

Curbside pick-up went extremely well on Monday. I appreciate Mrs. McCuller's and Mrs. Tselides' hard work and dedication to put books in the hands of students. As we move into the fall and winter seasons hours will change.  

Next week, Monday, September 21st is curbside drop off day. If you have any books to return you may do so from 10:00 a.m. -12:00 p.m. or 4:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. If you would like to renew your books you may email Mrs. McCuller at mcculltl@pwcs.edu to request renewal.

It was bought to our attention the video we posted last week on how to check your account was confusing. Please click here to view updated information on how to check our account. The next check out date will be Monday, September 28th. Please have your books on hold by 12:00 p.m. on Thursday, September 24th if you would like to pick them up on September 28th.

Patrons will use the “Hold It” feature in Destiny (Library Catalog) to request books.  A “How To” video will guide your family on how to use this feature.  

Students will be able to pick up their books every other Monday and return their books the alternate Mondays.

Our pickup times will be 10:00 a.m. -12:00 p.m. or 4:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. every other Monday and our drop-off times will be the same every other Monday. 

Students/staff can log onto Destiny at any time to see what books they have checked out and if their requested books are ready. 

All hold requests must be submitted by noon the Thursday before in order to be considered for the next Monday pickup time.

Curbside Pickup will be contactless. 

  • On Pick-Up Mondays, simply pull up near the library entrance in the bus loop. A staff member will greet you at your car and get the student’s name and their teacher’s name
  • Books will be brought out in a plastic tub for the family member to take out themselves
  • Masks will be worn by PBES curbside staff
  • Curbside pickup occurs entirely outside

Curbside Return will be contactless:

  • Simply place the books you are returning in the book return bins located in the bus loop on Drop-off Mondays
  • The bins will be outside the library entrance every other Monday 10:00 a.m. -12:00 p.m. or 4:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.
  • Returned books will remain in bins to quarantine for 72 hours as recommended by the CDC.

Checkout and hold limits:

  • Grades K-1 up to 3 books
  • Grades 2-5 up to 4 books
  • Students may put up to 3 books on hold
  • Books that are placed on hold and are ready for pick-up will be saved for three weeks
  • Students must have returned their books from the summer in order to use the fall curbside service

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Mrs. McCuller at mcculltl@pwcs.edu


If you are interested in supporting our Virtual robotics team this year please contact Mr. Cerrone for more information at Cerrondr@pwcs.edu.

Return to Learn Packet

This year all important school documents will be accessed through ParentVue. Please make sure you use the drop-down menu and choose the Return To Learn to complete them.  It is important the documents are completed to ensure we have the most updated information on your child.  Please complete the packet by September 18th.

Return to Learn Parent Process English 

Return to Learn Parent Process Spanish 

Return to Learn Parent Process Vietnamese 

Return to Learn Parent Process Korean 

Return to Learn Parent Process Chinese 

Return to Learn Parent Process Farsi 

Return to Learn Parent Process Urdu 

Return to Learn Parent Process Arabic 

Quote of the Week

The beautiful thing about learning is nobody can take it away from you.  B.B. King

Important Information

Free and Reduced Lunch

Each year all eligible families must reapply for free and reduced lunch. While, I understand most of our students will start virtually, it is extremely important that all parents who may be eligible apply before September 30th. First, we will not be virtual forever. Applying now will make the transition seamless when we return to learn. Secondly, we are funded for free and reduced lunch students who apply no later than September 30th. The funding we receive is extremely important to support us in providing quality programs and staffing to students. Please click on the link to apply. https://pwcsnutrition.com/   If you need assistance, please email Mayra Merida (Cafeteria Manager) at meridaml@pwcs.edu

Grocery Kit Service

We are very excited to announce that Piney Branch Elementary has been added to the weekly grocery kit curbside pickup locations.  Kits are FREE to all children 18 years old and under, and include a variety of whole grains, protein, fruits, vegetables and milk designed as a weekly grocery supplement.  Pickup days are Mondays and Thursdays from 12:00-6:00 p.m.  **Due to the holiday next week, pickup days will be Tuesday and Thursday 12:00-6:00 p.m.  English Flyer    Spanish Flyer 

Cub Scout Information

Join Cub Scout Pack 1343 on September 19th @ 9:00 a.m. to learn about the adventures of Cub Scouts and be part of the Pack.  Cub Scout Flyer 

PTO & PBAC Information


Our first PTO meeting was a success. I appreciate their flexibility to move to virtual fundraisers to support our school. Please join us at the next meeting. It is a great way to get involved, meet people, and make new friends.

PTO membership is now available! Getting involved helps parents to understand the challenges schools face and become part of the solution.  Get involved with your child’s education and join the PTO!  Please contact us at pineybranchpto@gmail.com if you have any questions. 

Family Membership Form           Staff Membership Form 

Show off your school spirit! The PTO has a limited selection of in-stock spirit wear available for sale. Please check out the Square link below for online ordering.  We have several payment options available:

1. PayPal at pineybranchpto@gmail.com
2. Send checks or cash to Alicia Shaughnessy (PTO Treasurer) at:

Alicia Shoughnessy
8450 Tackhouse Loop
Gainesville, VA 20155

3. Drop off box available to deposit your checks or cash to Alicia Shaughnessy at the above address.




The Piney Branch Advisory Council (PBAC) is looking to fill some positions for the 2020-2021 school year. Please email OurPBAC@gmail.com if you can join the council as a neighborhood representative.  PBAC meets once a month during the school year directly following the PTO meeting.  Please note our first meeting this year will be in October.  We will meet virtually as long as schools are virtual. As a neighborhood representative, you attend the monthly meetings and then share pertinent information with your neighborhood families. The council is a great way to be involved in the growth and success of our students and school.

We currently need reps for:

  • Bridlewood
  • Laurianne Woods
  • New Dominion Hunt Estates

 We also need alternate reps for:

  • Brookside
  • Laurianne Woods
  • New Dominion Hunt Estates

Finally, we are looking for someone to fill our secretary position.  The secretary attends our monthly meetings and records the meeting minutes using a template in Google that is provided. Please email OurPBAC@gmail.com if you are interested in filling the position of secretary.