Prince William Academy is an independent, secular private school serving the greater Prince William County area. We proudly offer programs for children from infancy through middle school. Our school operates year round. Our infant and toddler program and preschool offer 12-month programs, while our elementary and middle schools offer 10-month or 12-month programs. Students who are signed up for the 12-month program receive lessons during the summer months that supplement the curriculum of their previous grade level, and prepare them to advance to the next one. They also go on regular field trips and engage in other outdoor summer activities.
Our school is open from 6:00 am to 6:30 pm daily. These hours include before and after school care.
Our Infant and Toddler Program offers experienced, quality teachers and staff, and small groups that are designed to meet the developmental and social needs of infants and toddlers (newborns through age 2).
At every level, Prince William Academy fosters a love of learning. We maintain small class sizes, in keeping with our strong belief that children learn better in smaller groups. We also urge our students from a young age towards an understanding of earth’s diversity. Our foreign languages program, which encompasses every student at PWA, offers Arabic, Mandarin, French, and Spanish – all taught by native speakers or specialists who expose students to different cultures and increase their awareness and respect for cultural diversity.
From their first days at PWA's preschool, students take delight in their achievements. Learning to read, moving beyond simple addition to more complex mathematical operations, or trying to capture what they know in a drawing or a song can be as demanding a task as any they will pursue in their lives. Our teachers seek to ensure that these efforts and accomplishments are imbued with deep pleasure and joy.
Our teachers strive to see each child as both a member of a community and as a unique and developing personality. In doing so they stimulate, challenge, and inspire students to explore the world around them and discover their place in it. The regular study of science, which begins in Jr. Kindergarten, and the acquisition of two foreign languages, which starts in preschool, make concrete that discovery.
Our elementary school begins with our stellar kindergarten program, and runs through our equally vibrant fifth grade. Again, small class sizes are the rule here, and each student receives the kind of individual attention that is increasingly impossible to find in public schools.
In September, 2013, PWA opened its new middle school to accommodate students from sixth through eighth grade. Our middle school features rigorous instruction in math, language arts, science, and social studies, and employs digitally-based curricula in science and social studies that merge technology with textbooks.
Prince William Academy strives to become a model of twenty-first-century education by intentionally growing our school and its programs; constantly adapting to advancing technologies and pedagogies; and maintaining a holistic approach to teaching that nurtures a life-long love of learning.
Prince William Academy enables each student to meet their academic, developmental, and social potential. We believe in the importance of diversity and respect, and prepare our students to excel in a global environment.
Dr. Samia Harris was born and raised in Cairo, Egypt, and graduated from the University of Cairo in 1973 with a BA in Philosophy. She left Egypt soon thereafter, and moved with her new husband to Toronto, Canada. In Toronto, she received a CDA, and thus began her career in education. In the early 1980s, Dr. Harris moved to Saudi Arabia to run a school for English-speaking expatriates in Riyadh. By 1985, she had moved with her young son to Virginia, and in 1987 founded Early Years Academy, the predecessor to Prince William Academy, in a lovely old house on five acres in Manassas.
While the small private school grew in size and reputation, Dr. Harris continued her own education, receiving her MBA from Strayer University, and a Doctorate of Education from Nova Southeastern University in 2002. Inspired by other systems of education she studied during her extensive travels throughout Europe, and emboldened by the possibilities seemingly opened by the No Child Left Behind Act, in 2004 she became the first educator in Virginia to attempt to open a charter school. The Prince William Linguistics Academy would have focused on foreign language immersion, and Dr. Harris and a team of educators worked hard to make her vision a reality. However, political wrangling thwarted their efforts, and her proposal was rejected. Unwilling to abandon her plans, she established Prince William Academy as a private school instead, maintaining a key piece of her original vision by integrating the study of languages into the curriculum for all the school's pupils. The new campus opened in 2006.
In addition to her career as an educator, Dr. Harris is a painter, and a world traveler. She is also a prominent activist for democracy in Egypt, and has appeared as an expert discussant on a variety of news networks, as well as in print. She is a founding member of the Alliance of Egyptian Americans, and of the group Democracy for Egypt.
As I consider the fact that Prince William Academy is about to enter its fourth decade, I am struck by the fact that while so many aspects at this school I founded have changed and evolved over the years, many others have remained unchanged. And these transitions, undertaken in the service of our school's steadfast core principles, are what make PWA such a special place of learning. For example, our elementary classes now utilize a hybrid curriculum that combines technology-based learning with traditional classroom pedagogy--something we could not even have imagined in 1986. As times have changed, we have made the use of technology a priority, because we know that doing so is vital to our students' future success. We also recognize the vitality and importance of our school's multi-ethnic, multi-national composition, and through the years we've created an environment where every child--and every PWA family--is celebrated and respected.
But while we adapt with the times, I'm so pleased to note that we have also maintained the same level of enthusiasm for learning, the same belief in the importance of early childhood education to the development of a child's cognitive skills, and the same passion for helping to shape society's future leaders in our elementary and middle school. We have also kept the promise we made when we opened in 1986 to keep our class sizes small. We do this because we know small class sizes allow for greater attention to each individual student's needs.
We are proud of our achievements, and we are honored to serve the families of Prince William County. We promise to remain firm in our dedication to partnering with parents and our community in preparing our students for the brightest possible future.
- Dr. Samia Harris, Founder and Executive Director
Dear Parents, Teachers, and Staff,
I'd like to personally welcome you to Prince William Academy's website! Here you'll find information about all of our programs, grade levels, extra-curriculars, and foreign languages. You'll find calendars, curricula, bios for each member of our staff, as well as admissions information. We have designed this website with current and prospective parents and staff in mind, and hope that it proves to be a useful resource.
PWA traces its roots back to 1987, when I founded Early Years Academy in Manassas. Back then, the school occupied a charming old house on Spriggs Road. In 2006 we opened our current campus, set on 3 acres in Lake Ridge. The school building here is 24,000 sq feet, and includes a library, a gym and multipurpose event room, a science lab, a technology lab, a music room, a Montessori room, and 30 classrooms.
Over the past few years, enrollment has increased significantly, so that we currently have nearly 200 students. In the summer of 2013, we opened a brand new Infant and Toddler Center for children ages 6 weeks through 2 years. And in the fall of 2013, we opened our middle school for grades six through eight. Prince William Academy therefore accommodates children from infancy through middle school, and we are delighted by the notion that we might shepherd some students throughout childhood.
At PWA, we set high standards for our pupils and teachers, and help one another strive toward academic and personal excellence. We also cultivate an awareness and appreciation of other cultures and languages. Our families hail from all over the world, and we embrace this diversity as one of our strongest assets. We routinely celebrate the rich cultures that families bring to our school with International Days and special events. And we incorporate the study of foreign languages into our curriculum, so that every student aged 2 and up takes two foreign languages.
These are just some of the reasons that Prince William Academy is a unique learning environment. Please explore our website and find out more about us. If you're a prospective PWA parent, you might consider signing up to take a tour–we give them every weekday. If you're a current parent or member of our staff, we hope our website meets your needs, and that you’ll let us know if you have any comments or suggestions about it.
Dr. Samia Harris,
Founder and Executive Director