Ten Things We Love About PGCPS

arby Genevieve Demos Kelley

IMG_6342There are plenty of things to appreciate about Prince George’s County Public Schools. Here are ten of them:

1. Dedicated Staff

We have benefited from some truly remarkable, inspiring teachers and visionary, hard-working principals who really are making a difference. One parent writes, “If I go to our school at 7 am, there is staff there (school starts at 9:15). When I go there at 7 pm, there is staff there. Lots of staff are leading many extracurricular activities, there is always something going on at the school.”

2. Strong Instrumental Music Programs

Beginning in grade four, elementary school students may learn to play a string, woodwind, or brass instrument in twice-weekly classes. Instrumental music is also offered to middle and high schoolers. Here is a lovely YouTube video of the PGCPS Honor Band and Middle School Honor Chorus.

3. Career Academies and Specialty Programs

The list of career academies offered in PGCPS high schools was recently expanded in the 2014-2015 school year. It’s an impressive list! PGCPS also offers Creative and Performing Arts and STEM magnet programs.

4. Dual Enrollment

Students may enroll at any public college or university in Maryland while still enrolled in high school and have their tuition paid for by PGCPS. Read more here.

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Your Questions Answered: Board Member Addresses School Breakfasts, Special Education, Literacy, and Other Topics

On June 15, Board of Education member Lupi Grady hosted a listening session at Greenbelt Middle School for parents in District Two. Parents used index cards to jot down questions and comments covering a variety of topics. The cards were collected at the end of the meeting.
Attendees recently received a compilation of questions from the meeting (more than two dozen in all), along with answers gathered from multiple administrative departments. The questions and answers are posted here with permission. Scroll to the bottom of the post to see additional comments from parents.

Family & Community Engagement

  • Can the PGCPS Family Engagement committees publicize their plan (calendar) for engaging communities?

All Board committee meetings are publicly announced. As the dates are determined for the upcoming school year, those dates will be placed on the Board calendar, which is posted on the PGCPS website.

  • I would like to know how to become involved with the Parent Advisory Council.

Any interested parties should contact Sheila Jackson, Director of the Department of Family and Community Engagement.

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Few Students Needing Special Services Attend Prince George’s Charter Schools and Specialty Programs

by Genevieve Demos Kelley

Data from the 2014 Maryland Report Card suggest that Prince George’s County’s public charter schools and specialty programs do not fully reflect the demographics of the county school system, serving significantly fewer elementary school1 students who qualify for special services than the PGCPS average.

As of 2014, about 70% of Prince George’s County elementary school students qualified for free and reduced meals (FARMs). Students with limited English proficiency and students receiving special education made up 20.9% and 10.4%, respectively, of the county’s elementary school students. But the demographics of the county’s public charter schools and lottery specialty programs look substantially different.

In the charts below, both generated from the long table at the end of the post, each of PGCPS’s elementary and K-8 schools is represented by a single point. Points colored in red represent public charter schools, while points colored in black represent the lottery specialty programs: French immersion schools, Montessori schools, and schools for the performing arts2. In the first chart, points farther to the right indicate schools with a higher percentage of FARMs qualifying elementary students. Points closer to the top of the chart indicate a higher percentage of limited English proficient students.

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Scatter plot showing the percentages of FARMs and LEP elementary students for all of PGCPS’s elementary and K-8 schools. Points in red represent charter schools; black represents specialty programs.

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