At the pre-kindergarten attached to Cougar Elementary, next to the big door for adults there’s a tiny door, built especially for the youngest students. Inside, colorful nooks with windows are inviting places for children to take a book.
School Board member Rachel Kirkland said Manassas Park makes no excuses for performance based on poverty or other challenges. “They’re kids, and you educate them,” she said.
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In Manassas, a 10-square-mile city that draws shoppers and diners to its historic Old Town, teachers say test scores don’t tell the full story across nine schools. Top students, they say, go on to military academies and selective colleges.
Sarah Weaver, a fine-arts teacher at Osbourn High School, said educators recognize that some students have extra burdens: holding jobs, raising younger siblings or taking care of their home.
“A lot of them come to school because this is a warm, safe place,” she said.