Prince George’s Schools Team up with the Clean Water Partnership on Green Stormwater Retrofit Projects

by Carmel Jones

CWP Partners Nardi Construction and Soltesz reviewing design plans for L...

Eighteen schools in Prince George’s County were evaluated this year to receive green stormwater retrofits as part of the county’s Clean Water Partnership (CWP), a $100M public-private partnership with private company Corvias Solutions, to retrofit 2,000 impervious acres with green infrastructure in order to achieve regulatory compliance.

The CWP Schools program, designed to assist Prince George’s County Public Schools (PGCPS) with treating and managing stormwater runoff through the application of Best Management Practices (BMPs), will guarantee that PGC’s federal stormwater standards are met, while also providing an educational legacy for future generations committed to improving the water quality in our communities.

Courtyard Demolition at Capital Heights Elem. School

The program includes an educational component, and select schools will receive instructive signage, educating students about the benefits of managing stormwater runoff and displaying how installed BMPs will perform at each site. At the end of the summer, students and faculty from the schools will also have an opportunity to participate in a volunteer tree planting session that will support the installed BMP devices. These educational learning sessions will take place during school hours and will give students a hands-on experience in preserving our environment.

The initial eighteen schools identified to participate in the program include elementary, middle, and high schools in Prince George’s County. These schools include:

  • Bond Mill Elementary School
  • Calverton Elementary School
  • Capital Heights Elementary School
  • District Heights Elementary School
  • Frances Scott Key Elementary School
  • Friendly High School
  • Gwynn Park High School
  • High Point High School
  • John Hanson Montessori
  • Laurel Elementary School
  • Magnolia Elementary School
  • Oxon Hill Middle School
  • Parkdale High School
  •  Potomac High School
  • Rosa L. Parks Elementary School
  • Scotchtown Hills Elementary School
  • Templeton Elementary School
  • Walker Mill Middle School

Completed Retrofit at Rosa Parks Elem. SchoolIn the initial phase of the program, each school was given an individual plan, which included a customized package with pictures and concept designs, as well as a dialogue to help each school understand the purpose of the BMP devices. The retrofit needs for each school were pre-identified by the school’s students, faculty and maintenance staff, and customized to fit the unique needs of each facility. Since then, various types of BMPs, including bio-retention cells, sand filters and swales, to name a few, are now being installed by local workforce on the outdoor grounds of each location to capture and treat previously untreated stormwater runoff from the sites impervious surfaces.

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Weekly News Roundup: School Lunches, Arts Integration, Saturday School, and Standardized Testing

CEO Responds to School Lunch Reports:  As part of National School Lunch Week, PGCPS CEO Kevin Maxwell invited FOX 5 along to a Bowie school to have lunch and discuss the recent reports of substandard quality in school lunches.  FOX5

PG County School Closed Due to Fire:  Samuel Chase Elementary School in Temple Hills, MD, was closed Wednesday and Thursday due to a fire caused by an overhead fan.  Students were relocated to a nearby high school.  WTOP

State Lawmakers Investigate Overtesting Complaints:  Lawmakers in the State House and Senate hold a hearing to investigate the common complaint of too many standardized tests in schools.  WBALTV

PGCPS Officials Look to State for School Repair Funds:  Maryland Comptroller visits Suitland High School in a bid by PGCPS to have the state provide matching funds for renovations to ailing schools.  CBSDC

Arts Integration Gains Momentum:  An initiative in PGCPS to integrate arts into the classroom has expanded from 15 to 41 schools over the last year.  This follows a national trend as research emerges showing how combining arts with academics can improve learning.  The Washington Post Continue reading

Weekly News Roundup: Construction Delays, Maintenance Concerns, Literacy Coaches, Openings for Bus Drivers and Nurses

Accokeek Academy middle school students thought that they would begin the new school year in a newly renovated building, but due to construction delays, they are still in portable classrooms. The Academy is a K-8 school, and the elementary school portion of the renovation was completed in 2014. However, the new HVAC system has not worked properly since the upgraded building opened. (Sentinel)

In a September 24 meeting, the Board of Education discussed the need for better maintenance of facilities and debated whether there is inequity between schools in the southern and northern regions with respect to the system’s responsiveness to maintenance needs. (Sentinel)

In 2014, only 12% of PGCPS students who took the SAT demonstrated college readiness, compared with a 41% of students in the state of Maryland. PGCPS hopes that literacy coaches in schools will help to change that. (ABC 7)

Arne Duncan’s departure as Education Secretary — happening in December — has been met with a wide range of reactions. The Washington Post publishes a roundup of reactions, from Duncan’s critics and supporters. (Washington Post)

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Facilities Operations Fared Worst in Most Recent School Climate Survey

Today is the last day to take the 2015 School Climate Survey. Parents received an email in June from the Department of Research and Evaluation with an invitation to participate in the survey and an individualized survey code. Parents cannot take the survey without the code, but students may use their student identification numbers and access the survey here.

The most recent survey, given in 2013, paints a picture of stakeholders’ satisfaction in several areas (called “subscales” in the analysis) such as relevant curriculum, safety and discipline, effective teaching, and amount of parental involvement that affect their schools’ overall climate. According to the Department of Research and Evaluation, as of 2013 a “substantial majority of the district’s key stakeholder groups has a positive perception of their schools’ climate.”

Source: PGCPS Dept. of Research and Evaluation, 2013

Source: PGCPS Dept. of Research and Evaluation, 2013

For students, “Effective Plant Operations” (i.e. facilities and equipment) was the area that was least favorably perceived, with only about half expressing a positive perception. (For example, at Greenbelt Elementary School, the single survey item that had the smallest percentage of favorable responses at 23.4% was, “The bathroom at my school is clean.”) In contrast, parents in the district, who spend less time in school buildings, had a much more favorable view of facilities, with 83% expressing a positive perception. About 64% of teachers expressed a positive perception.

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$2 Billion Backlog in Repairs and Upgrades, Master Plan Support Project Identifies Renovation Priorities

by Genevieve Demos Kelley

The department of Capital Programs has identified $2 billion in needed PGCPS facility repairs and upgrades. With the current rate of annual funding for repairs — roughly $130 million per year — it will take more than 20 years to clear the backlog.

Begun in the fall of 2014, the Master Plan Support Project (MPSP) was designed to prioritize school construction and renovation projects, considering the mission, condition, and function of each facility. To assist with this project, PGCPS awarded a $1.47 million consulting contract to the program management firm Brailsford & Dunlavey in October 2014. Working with PGCPS staff, Brailsford & Dunlavey consultant teams have visited schools built before 1999, evaluating building conditions in order to update the Facilities Condition Index from the 2012 Parsons Report (go here for the PowerPoint summary of the 2012 report). The final MPSP report, including the firm’s recommendations to the Board of Education, will be posted in May 2015.

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