Prince George’s Group Offers Support for Parents of Students with Health Needs

The support group Parents of Students with Health Needs recently held a listening session with board of education member Verjeana Jacobs and other PGCPS officials, so that parents could share their experiences.

The excerpt below is from the Gazette, reporter Jamie Anfenson-Comeau, published May 20, 2015.

For the complete story, go here.

Beth McCracken-Harness of Cheverly said that the three years her son spent in and out of school while being treated for a major illness were some of the most difficult experiences in her life.

“There was a time when I couldn’t go to the doctor right across the street without getting a call that my son’s heart monitor was going off,” McCracken-Harness recalled. “It was very isolating. Thank God for the Home and Hospitals teachers who came by.”

Continue reading at the Gazette.

Why You Should Consider Attending the May 7 or May 11 Board of Education Community Discussion

BOE Invest in PGCPS Flyer

by Genevieve Demos Kelley

If you have questions and concerns about the Board of Education’s requested operating budget for FY 2016, consider attending either the May 7 or May 11 community discussion with the Board of Education. (For locations and more details, see the flyer.) I attended the first in the series of three meetings on April 27, and I was pleased with how worthwhile it turned out to be.

First, let me qualify my enthusiasm just a bit: Not every moment was a valuable use of my time. The meeting was in two parts. It started with at least 30 minutes of vague generalities about the school system’s core values and mission, and comments about the need for full funding of the FY2016 budget. The substantive information gleaned from this portion of the meeting could have been easily squeezed into five minutes. (Fortunately, I had brought my hard copy of the requested operating budget, so I had material to study when my attention waned.)

We heard about the CEO’s plans to spend the additional $91.7 million requested in the amended budget, but they were so vague that they were essentially meaningless. Here’s how he wants to spend the money:

  • Academic Excellence
  • High-performing workforce
  • Safe and Supportive Environments
  • Family and Community Engagement
  • Additional Priorities

See what I mean?

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AP Exam Participation Increases, 40% of All Passing Exams Are from Eleanor Roosevelt HS

by Genevieve Demos Kelley

Over a six year period, Prince George’s County has made small but significant gains in performance on Advanced Placement exams. The percentage of AP exams receiving a score of 3, 4, or 5 in 2014 is virtually identical to what it was in 2008 and slightly higher than it was in 2013: 27.5% in 2008, 26.3% in 2013, 27% in 2014. However, over the same time period, the percentage of 9th-12th grade students taking an AP exam has steadily increased from 11.4% in 2008 to 16.8% in 2014. This represents a 47% increase in the participation rate and a 25% increase in the raw number of students taking AP exams. This is certainly good news for the county: a comparable passing rate with a much larger percentage of participating students.

The percentage of exams receiving a score of 3, 4, or 5 (usually considered to be passing scores) is still much lower than national and state averages. By a large margin, the passing rate for AP Foreign Language exams (73.7% in 2014) exceeded that of all other subject categories.

Of the 23 high schools in the county sytem, only Eleanor Roosevelt High School’s AP exam passing rate (63.3%) equaled or exceeded the Maryland state average (61%). Eleanor Roosevelt HS accounts for 40% of all exams in PGCPS receiving a grade of 3, 4, or 5.

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Graduation Rate in PGCPS Improves to Record High

by Genevieve Demos Kelley

The overall four-year graduation rate has increased by 2.47 percentage points to 76.59%, the highest graduation rate on record, according to this PGCPS press release. The improvement builds on a gain of 1.25 percentage points made the previous year. Seven high schools saw gains of three or more percentage points in their graduation rates. Central High School made the largest gain with an increase of 8.72 percentage points.

The dropout rate for the four-year adjusted cohort is 16.73%, down from 18.50% in 2013 and 19.53% in 2013.

The PGCPS graduation rate is still well below the Maryland state average of 86.39%, but four schools met or exceeded the state average: Bowie High School, Eleanor Roosevelt High School, Gwynn Park High School and Charles Herbert Flowers High School.

In an August 2014 news release, it was announced that online credit recovery would be made available at all high schools in an effort to boost graduation rates.