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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