Notes on the Jan 19 Board of Education Meeting

by Laura Rammelsberg

To view the agenda for the January 19th Board Meeting in BoardDocs, go here.

Board Members Dr. Segun Eubanks (chair), Dr. Beverly Anderson, and Dinora Hernandez were not present.

At 5:13 in the video. Elimination of Creative Writing Program at Hyattsville Middle School next year is being discussed, and many members of the public were present to show their support for the program. Families are in the dark about why the decision is being made and came to get some answers. The BOE Member representing that school’s district is not present. Disagreement amongst board members whether to add it as a discussion item this evening. Many BOE members expressed concerns that more information is needed and discussions need to take place with the Administration before it is discussed at a BOE Meeting.

At 15:25. Motion to put Elimination of Creative Writing Program on as a discussion item, proposed by Juwan Blocker.
4 yes, 7 no. Motion not passed.

At 18:02. Video shown celebrating the arts integration program in PGCPS. PGCPS is the only school system with an Arts Integration Office.

At 23:16. BOE Member Wallace commended Head of Security Services Rex Barrett and his handling of incident outside of Suitland High School last Friday. He also publicly thanked Barack Obama Elementary School and three students received a certificate of recognition for the help they provided 1,000 homeless children in the community with care packages that students collected and made.

At 28:52. Report of the Chair (Boston)

Whitehall Elementary received MD State Department of Education EGATE School Award which recognizes Gifted and Talented Programs (click here). She congratulated the school.

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Series of public hearings on FY2018 Budget:

  • Jan 24 Charles Flowers HS Work Session 5:00 pm / Public Hearing 7:00
  • Jan 31 NW High School Work Session 5:00 pm / Public Hearing 7:00
  • Feb 7 Oxon Hill High School Work Session 5:00 pm / Public Hearing 7:00
  • Feb 22 Next BOE Work Session. 

At 33:52. Report of the CEO

Discover PGCPS event highlighted showcase of Immersion and Art Schools at Eleanor Roosevelt HS.

Eight High School Students received a full Scholarship to College.

Jan 23 6:30 – 8:30 Budget Walk Through for parents at Ernest Everett Just Middle School. No RSVP is required. Spanish interpreters will be available. 

At 35:57. BOARD COMMITTEE REPORTS

Identified top 5 budget priorities for FY2018:

  • Early Start – Pre/ K
  • Expansion of teaching staff
  • Literacy and Math
  • Transportation / Bus Drivers
  • More Maintenance Workers

PUBLIC COMMENT ON AGENDA ITEMS – 2 Speakers

At 40:40. Accokeek Academy Parent. Proposed boundary changes to school. Consensus approach is Option B that was presented to CEO which would create new K-8 school. The CEO is proposing to move forward with Option A – changing boundaries. Community does not agree.  It does not make Accokeek Academy a K-8 school. Having feeder schools defeats the main purpose of the school. Ms. Williams tried to find a plan the community would be happy it, which is Option B. The boundary changes splits Accokeek neighborhoods – some away from the Academy. Asked CEO to choose Option B. Ft. Washington Elementary PTSA supports Option B as well. Need to find a new long-term solution (new school).

At 43:54. Ft. Washington Elementary School last renovation in 1969 – nearly 50 years ago.  School requires maintenance now.  Photos were sent to School District.   Why does it take half a year to paint and replace things in the school?  Minor fixes.  All 2016 / 2017 work orders should be done by 2018.

PUBLIC COMMENT ON NON-AGENDA ITEMS – 21 Speakers (comments are combined in some cases)

Beginning at 46:10. Hyattsville Middle School – Creative Writing Program 
Current students, including President of Student Council, spoke of their experience – students should be able to participate in the CPA Creative Writing programs. Creative Writing is the backbone for other arts. Students experience a level of writing and reading that they don’t in other classes. This program makes Hyattsville unique.  It’s not offered in other CPA schools; that is the reason they are told it is being taken away.

Many families have had positive experience at Hyattsville Middle School, especially with the refinement of CPA (and Creative Writing) program. Parents are drawn to the school because of that program and parents are upset it might be eliminated. Parents asking that the CPA major be continued.

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Speak up About Proposed Boundary Changes

In a news release dated Friday, February 19th, Prince George’s County Public Schools announced a public hearing about proposed school boundary changes and consolidations. The public hearing will be hosted by the Board of Education on Tuesday, February 23rd at 7 pm, in the Board room of the Sasscer Administration Building.

To register to speak at the meeting, sign up by calling 301-952-6300 before 4:30 p.m. the day of the hearing. Speakers will be limited to three minutes.

The CEO’s recommendations include consolidating Forestville High School into Suitland High School and consolidating Skyline Elementary School into William Beanes Elementary. It is also proposed that the 6th grade at certain K-6 elementary schools be reassigned to the feeder middle schools. The Board of Education will vote on the CEO’s proposed boundary changes at its February 25th meeting.

Keep reading to find more specifics about the boundary changes, consolidations, and grade  reorganizations that are on the table. Scroll to the end to find links to documents with more details about the proposed changes.

Recommended Changes:

New feeder pattern. Assign all Calverton Elementary School students to Martin L. King Jr. Middle School for grades 6-8. Currently, Calverton students feed into Buck Lodge Middle School, which is over capacity. Martin L. King Jr. has open seats.

Consolidations. Consolidate Forestville High School into Suitland High. Consolidate Skyline Elementary School into William Beanes Elementary. Assign 6th grades from both schools to Drew-Freeman Middle School.

Accokeek Area Boundary Changes. 

  • Change the boundaries of Accokeek Academy so that some neighborhoods are reassigned to Fort Washington Forest Elementary School and Gwynn Park Middle School.
  • Fort Washington Forest Elementary students will feed into Gwynn Park Middle and Gwynn Park High School.
  • Potomac Landing Elementary School will feed into Gwynn Park Middle and Gwynn Park High, instead of Accokeek Academy and Friendly High.

Grade adjustments. For the following elementary schools, the 6th grade will be reassigned to the feeder middle school:

Francis S. Key Elementary, Longfields Elementary, William Beanes Elementary, Ardmore Elementary, Kingsford Elementary, Cora L. Rice Elementary, Highland Park Elementary, Rose Valley Elementary, Flintstone Elementary, Glassmanor Elementary, Oxon Hill Elementary, Valley View Elementary

Read more:

Find the January 21st presentation to the Board of Education on the proposed boundary changes here: School Boundaries Board Presentation 2016 (1)

Find the community discussions on school boundaries, consolidations, and modernizations presentation here: Community Discussions Presentation (12-14-15)