School News Blog
  • High School Students Build Homes

    Posted by SCPS Communication on 11/1/2019

    Students at all five Stafford County Public School high schools are taking vocational education to greater heights by building single-family homes in the county.  The Bringing Occupational Opportunities to Students (BOOTS) program consists of drafting, masonry, electrical, and construction classes led by teachers at Stafford High School.  The BOOTS program is the only program of its kind in the local area.

    Together, nearly 2,000 students have completed the full construction cycle, building 25 homes from the initial drafting plan, through construction, and finally, to the sale of the home.  Students are supervised and taught by four dedicated faculty members: Bobby Jett (Drafting), along with Dan Harding (Carpentry), Robby Phipps (Masonry), and Jack Huffstickler (Electricity) oversee the students in the classroom and at the construction site.  Mr. Huffstickler also participated in the BOOTS program as an Electricity student.

    “The success of the program depends on devoted teachers with a passion for developing the next generation of vocational technicians,” said SCPS Superintendent Dr. Scott Kizner. “Stafford County Public Schools is fortunate to have these four gentleman who are willing to give so much of themselves to their students and the BOOTS program.”

    Under the supervision of the BOOTS leadership team, students build homes from the ground-up.

     “BOOTS homes are built nearly 100% by students and teachers in our program,” said Jett.  “Carpentry students provide framing, cabinetry, and trim.  The masonry students complete the brickwork.  All of the lighting, wiring, and appliance connections are the work of the electrical students.  We do not have HVAC or plumbing classes, so those are the two major aspects of the homes our students do not complete.” 

    The goal of BOOTS is to prepare students for careers in construction trades.  Founders Wendell Latham, Jimmy Carver, and Charlie Loving, wanted a real life building program that allowed students to experience actual construction activity on a real job site.  Together with the school board in 1988, the Stafford County Vocational Education Foundation oversaw the new construction education program.

    Seed money allowed for the purchase of lots in the Hickory Ridge subdivision in Stafford County.  Drafting students in 1990 manually drafted plans for the first BOOTS home, located on Cherry Laurel Drive.

    “The first house was a simple ranch house with a one car garage,” said Jett.  “At the time, we drew the house plans manually; today we use the latest 3D modeling software.  That’s how far the program has come.”

    A typical contracted home can be completed in three-to-six months according to Jett.  BOOTS students travel to the construction site (weather permitting) up to five times per week during their regularly scheduled class time.  There, students spend one to three hours working on the home.

    “It takes a full two years to complete one of our homes,” explained Jett.  “The drafting students begin drawing plans and obtaining permits while the previous year’s design is under construction.”

    The Stafford County Vocational Education Foundation and its Board of Directors oversee the BOOTS program.  Among board members are a real estate agent, two builders, and a former building maintenance engineer and electricity teacher, who help to find affordable construction lots for the program within 20 minutes of Stafford High School.

    “Seed money was provided with the understanding that the BOOTS program would become self-sufficient,” said Jett. “And that has been the case for the last 20 years.”

    Since 1991, students have completed 25 BOOTS homes.  Proceeds from the sale of each home provide further funding for the BOOTS program. 

    “Most of the money generated through selling a house goes back into a building lot,” explained Jett.  “The proceeds also provide scholarships for the students.  This can be a financial scholarship, but we also provide students with a set of tools that they can take into the working world.  We really want to set our students up for success.”

    “This program really allows for students with an interest in vocations to succeed in the future,” said Kizner.  “We are providing an excellent opportunity for them.”

    Masonry, carpentry, and electrical students are hard at work on home 26, with the hopes of selling the house in April.  Located on Deacon Road, the home is a one-story bungalow-style ranch with a brick front, 3 bedrooms, 2 ½ baths, 2-car garage, an open floor plan and a full basement, according to Karen Zink, the real estate agent and Board of Directors member responsible for selling the BOOTS homes.

    “I am so proud of the quality and craftsmanship of these students,” said Zink.

    Drafting students are working on plans for BOOTS house 27, however, there is concern. 

    “After this year, we have one more lot,” said Jett.  “Finding affordable lots within 20 minutes travel time of Stafford High School is not easy in a growing county.”

    BOOTS student in House 25

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  • Election Day: in the Eyes of a SCPS High Schooler

    Posted by SCPS Communication on 10/22/2019

    We, as Americans, are fortunate to live in a country where the government is powered by the people. There is an immensity of power to our voice. Our opinions and values contribute to shaping the nation.

    The upcoming November 2019 Midterm Elections is the first time I can vote. And I cannot be any more excited. I, in the past, have phone banked and manned polling stations with classmates. But to now be able to partake in civic engagement through voting, a significant activity, is amazing. Midterms are often taken with a grain of salt, as seen with lower voter turnout rates when compared to General Election data. But they are just as important. Electing representatives, senators, and other individuals to county and state public office who reflect their constituencies’ beliefs are crucial. These officials serve as intermediaries in ensuring prominent legislation and policies that meet citizen needs. Without them, our political interests and desires will go unnoticed. 

    I encourage everyone to take action on Election Day (Tuesday, November 5, 2019). Every vote counts. 

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  • Online Transcripts Available Through ScribOrder

    Posted by SCPS Communication on 10/1/2019

    Stafford County Public Schools is pleased to announce our high schools will begin using ScribOrder as our partner for former student record requests beginning October 1, 2019.  ScribOrder, by Scribbles Software, is an online student record request and payment solution used in thousands of school districts across the US, including many in Virginia. The implementation of ScribOrder transitions the existing manual, paper-based, records request processes into an automated solution that streamlines the acceptance, payment, and fulfillment of student record requests.  Requests, approved by the former student, are made by corporations for transcripts, employment verifications, and legal requests.  

    Effective October 1, 2019 student record requests from former students, universities, corporations, attorneys and other third party requestors will be fulfilled online only.  The schools will no longer accept such record requests via telephone, fax or mail. 

    Please use the following link to access our online student records request system:

    Student Record Requests are now Online

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  • Rodney E. Thompson Middle School 20th School Year Celebration

    Posted by SCPS Communication on 9/27/2019 6:00:00 PM

    Rodney E. Thompson Middle School faculty, staff, and students invite you to join in the 20th School Year Celebration on October 26th 2019, from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.  The event will be held at the school, located at 75 Walpole Street, Stafford, VA 22554.


    Rodney E. Thompson Middle School 20th School Year Celebration

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  • Cooking Autism

    Posted by SCPS Communication on 2/25/2019

    Winding Creek Elementary School is the newest recipient of the Cooking Autism, Inc. Life-Skills Cooking Class grant. The Winding Creek team received the grant to help supply important cooking classes that will teach important life-skills to their special education classrooms in their school. 

    Park Ridge Elementary School received a similar grant earlier this year. The grant at Park Ridge Elementary will support three special education classrooms for children with autism.

     Cooking Autism, Inc., a local non-profit, supplies grants and tools to classrooms that engage in teaching life-skills cooking programs for their special education students. These important programs focus on skills that are sometimes difficult to grasp; fine motor skills, communication, asking and answering questions, sequencing, socialization, basic manners, cleanliness, following step by step directions, and more. Because every student has different needs and abilities, these classes are adapted to fit each child's personal needs. 

    Park Ridge Elementary teachers receive grant.             Winding Creek Elementary School teachers

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