Ms. Dorothy Manly Stafford is the START and SIGNET teacher for Belmont and Occoquan Elementary Schools. She will be here at Occoquan on Tuesdays.  Ms. Manly Stafford can be reached by email at or by phone at (703) 494-4945.

Ms. Manly Stafford's SIGNET webpage 

START Grades K-3

START is the gifted education program in Prince William County for identified students in the primary grades. Students at this level have a strong potential to achieve in language arts, mathematics, or in both areas, and they are thinking and working at levels that are much more advanced than their peers. Gifted services can help meet these needs.

START challenges students to develop skills that help them to clarify learning by thinking critically, creatively, and reflectively. Identified students are offered a variety of educational opportunities that extend and enrich their grade level curriculum and the Standards of Learning (SOLs).

SIGNET Grades 4-5

SIGNET is Prince William County's gifted program for identified students in fourth through twelfth grades.

SIGNET's curriculum is designed to incorporate student interests by extending the county through inquiry and exploration. At Occoquan, identified students attend SIGNET on a weekly basis. The SIGNET day is broken into various learning periods that each have a set of specific goals:

Learning Centers- There are many different areas of exploration in centers. Students make decisions by choosing individual topics of interest and are guided through independent study with the use of research contracts. Center time provides an opportunity for work in a chosen area of interest while experiencing various disciplines in unique and challenging ways.

Critical and Creative Thinking Problems (Brain Boosters)- This is a block of time dedicated to expanding the students' expertise in problem solving and critical thinking. Small groups work together, at times in competition, on various projects that involve both time and resource limitations.

TAG Units- Students work on accelerated or enriched curriculum in each of the core subject areas. Topics are directly applicable to classroom expectations and take into consideration the special needs and interests of gifted students.