Thursday, April 30, 2009

PGCPS: 4-Day Work Week

Dear Parents/Guardians:

This memo is to inform you that Prince George's County Public Schools will operate a summer schedule based on a four-day work week. This schedule will apply to all schools and administrative offices within the system. The summer work schedule will begin on Monday, June 22, 2009, and end at the close of business on Friday, August 14, 2009. Schools and offices will be open Monday through Thursday, with extended work hours. Core business hours will be 7:00 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. Parents/guardians should check the hours of operation for their child’s specific summer school program. All facilities will be closed on Fridays during this time. As recommended to the Board of Education and approved in the FY 2010 Operating Budget, the four-day summer work week is being implemented as a cost-saving strategy to reduce operating expenses and transportation costs. The four-day work week will also give parents, students and employees more flexibility and options for summer planning by extending the weekend to three days in lieu of the normal two day weekend. Any questions that you may have regarding the summer schedule should first be directed toyour child’s principal or the manager of the program in which your child will be enrolled. All other questions and concerns should be addressed to Dr. Betty Despenza-Green, Chief ofStudent Services, at 301-952-6384, or Dr. Diane Powell, Director of Student Services, at 301-567-5702.
William Hite
Interim Superintendent of Schools

PGCPS: 4-Day Work Week

Queridos Padres/Acudientes:

Este memo es para informarles que los Colegios Públicos de Prince George, tendrán unprograma de verano, estructurado en una semana de cuatro días. Este horario aplicará a todos loscolegios y oficinas administrativas del sistema. El programa comenzará el lunes, Junio 22, 2009y terminará al cierre de los negocios del viernes, Agosto 14, 2009. Colegios y oficinas abriránentre lunes y jueves, con horario de trabajo extendido. El horario básico de funcionamiento seráentre 7:00 a.m. y 5:30 p.m. Los Padres/Acudientes, deberán revisar los horarios específicos delprograma de verano de su niño. En esos horarios, todas las dependencias estarán cerradas elviernes.

Como se recomendó al Comité de Educación y con aprobación en el Presupuesto Operativo FY2010, la semana de cuatro-días se está implementando como una estrategia de disminución decostos al reducir los gastos de operación y de transporte. La semana de cuatro-días de trabajo,dará también a los padres, estudiantes y empleados, más flexibilidad y más opciones paraorganizar el verano, extendiendo el fin de semana a tres días en lugar del normal de dos días.

Cualquier pregunta que puedan tener en relación con el horario de verano, debe ser dirigidaprimero al Director de su niño ó al Gerente del programa en el cual su niño está matriculado.Todas las demás preguntas ó preocupaciones, deberán dirigirse a la Dra. Betty Despenza-Green,Jefe de Servicios Estudiantiles, al teléfono 301-952-6384, ó la Dra. Diane Powell, Directora deServicios Estudiantiles en el 301-567-5702.


William R. Hite
Superintendente Interino de Colegios

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Poll Results Indicate Parents are Checking Backpacks Everyday

Michael Robinson, Coordinating Supervisor Parental Engagement

Do you check your child's backpack every day?

Yes: 72%

No: 28%

Monday, April 27, 2009

Parent Liaison of the Week: April 27, 2009

Lorena Garrido, Parent Liaison (is pictured on the left)

Recently, to my surprise, my colleagues at Hollywood Elementary wrote letters of support to nominate me for Outstanding Support Employee of the year. I was selected by the County to receive the honor during an awards ceremony on May 13, 2009. It is truly an honor and I am so humbled by it!

I have been working at Hollywood Elementary for three years as a Parent Liaison and my job here has been fulfilling and rewarding. It really feels great to be recognized for coming to work and doing the important job of helping parents feel welcomed and helping them to be involved in their children’s education. After all, a parent is a child’s first teacher and we are here to support the parent in this important role.

In my three years at Hollywood I have participated in some great programs for families, such as Family Night at the Library, the Second Cup of Coffee program, the ABC Club, and English classes. The Second Cup of Coffee Program has been a great way to inform parents on a variety of issues, as well as a time for parents to make friends and feel like they are part of the school community.

I know that many Parent Liaisons work hard and do the same great work as I do, so I feel as if I am accepting this award on our behalf!

Thank You!

Free Activities for Families this weekend!

Free Activities for Families this weekend!

Montpelier Festival of Herbs, Tea and the ArtsSaturday, May 2, 10 am-4 pm Free Family Fun featuring the stories, songs, and teas of China! Rousing dragon dance on the grounds at 12 noon! Artist Demonstrations in the arts center; Chinese Folk music in the Main Gallery; 2-4 pm Gallery Receptions for Alonzo Davis , resident sculptor and for students in the Montpelier class program exhibition. Herbs, Plants, Crafts, Gardening tips, Gourmet food, Projects for kids on the grounds of the Montpelier Mansion.

Celebrating Seat Pleasant, Berwyn Heights, and Langley Park
There are celebrations featuring plenty of fun throughout the county this weekend. Seat Pleasant Day is being celebrated at Goodwin Park (311 68th Place, Seat Pleasant)on Saturday, May 2, from 11 am-5 pm. Admission is FREE; nominal fees charged for food and rides. Berwyn Heights Day will be celebrated at Berwyn Heights Town Hall and Sports Park on Saturday, May 2, from 12 noon-5 pm; Admission is FREE; nominal charges for food and rides. And, Langley Park Day will be celebrated at Langley Park Community Center on Sunday, May 3, from 12 noon-5 pm. Admission is FREE! For information, call 301-699-CALL(2255).

Tucker Road Ice Rink has special offers this week.
Visit Tucker Road Ice Rink for a day of family fun! Skate for a discounted fee at a Super Saver Skate session (either 12-2 pm or 3-5 pm) on Friday May 1. May is National Military Appreciation Month and on Friday, May 1 (8-10 pm) and Saturday, May 2 (1-3 pm & 8-10 pm) those who show a military ID can ice skate for a discounted rate. Sunday, May 3 (1-3 pm) offers a special Family Ice Skating session; up to two children admitted FREE with a paid parent admission. Enjoy riding in a bumper car on ice on Sunday, May 3, from 1-3 pm. (Riders must be 5 years or older, and riders under 5 must be accompanied by an adult.) Sunday, May 3, from 1-3 pm features our Teacher Appreciation Super Saver Ice Skating Special; teachers ice skate for a discounted rate. We're also celebrating National Two Different Colored Shoes Day on Sunday, May 3 from 1-3 pm; wear mix-matched shoes and skate for a discounted rate. For information and fees, call 301-265-1525.

It's time for the Harlem Renaissance Festival 2009!

Recent Poll Shows Parents Are Visiting Classrooms

How many times during the 2008-2009 school year have you observed your child's classroom?

(One Time): 23%

(Two Times): 23%

(Three Times): 7%

(Four Times): 7%

(More): 34%

Friday, April 24, 2009


Dear Parents:

Report cards will be distributed in elementary schools today (Friday, April 24), and for middle and high schools by Tuesday, April 28. Parents can view grades sooner by logging on to the School Max Family Portal, located at the bottom of the school district's Web site ( A password for the Family Portal can be obtained at each child's school.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

No Cost Health Care for Children, Pregnant Women and Adults over 19

Rhonda Ulmer,
Community Health Advocate for Prince George County

Priority Partners, one of seven Managed Care Organizations authorized by the State of Maryland to provide health care services for Medicaid and Maryland Children’s Health Insurance Program recipients, is owned by Johns Hopkins and Maryland Community Health Systems, a group of federally qualified health centers throughout the State.

Priority Partners and Johns Hopkins HealthCare have an established a network of doctors, health centers, and hospitals throughout the State offering doctors visits, vision care, prescription coverage, immunizations, hospital coverage, dental care, and no-cost over-the-counter medications, as well as mental health and substance abuse services. To manage complicated healthcare issues, Priority Partners has established several Care Management initiatives which provide one-on-one nurse case managers to assist individuals in understanding their illness, adapting to their treatment plan, and coordinating medical appointments.

Priority Partners also offers a Health Advocate program to low- income and moderate-income residents and community groups interested in learning more about staying healthy, and providing a healthy environment for their families. Rhonda Ulmer is the Community Health Advocate for Prince George County. Ulmer will provide health information classes to community groups in Prince George County.

Local schools, community associations, government agencies, and faith-based organizations who serve such residents may contact Ulmer at (410) 424-4692 or to arrange presentations on Pregnancy, What To Do When Your Child Gets Sick, Stress Reduction, Diabetes, Nutrition and Obesity, and How To Be Your Own Health Advocate, among other topics. Attendees will get take-home program summaries and resource/contact information. Ulmer is also available for health fairs and other community events.

The Maryland Children’s Health Program (MCHP) was established in 1998 using federal and state funds to provide no cost health care coverage to children up to age 19. The program also offers eligible pregnant women of any age full pre-natal, delivery, and post-partum health care.

Eligibility for MCHP, determined by family size and income, is based on a sliding scale. For example, a family of four with income at or below, approximately $44,100 would qualify to have their children enrolled in MCHP at no cost. In determining eligibility for pregnant women, the program counts the unborn child as a member of the family and increases the income eligibility levels significantly (i.e. a family of four including a pregnant woman would qualify with a household income as high as, approximately $55,100).

In cases where household income is somewhat higher, many families are eligible for MCHP Premium, a low-cost health insurance program. For example, a family of four with at income between, $55,100 and $66,200 could participate for a monthly fee of approximately $48 or $60 based on family size and income eligibility.

In July, the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene expanded MCHP to include the parents and guardians of MCHP children at or below 116% of the poverty level. Priority Partners also promotes health care services through the Primary Adult Care (PAC) program, which offers no cost health care for low-income adults 19 and over. Services include:

· Unlimited Primary Care Visits
· Over-the-Counter Medicines
· Prescription Drugs
· X-rays & Laboratory Tests
· Diabetes Screening & Care
· Mammograms, PAP Tests & Prostate Exams
· Vision & Podiatry Services For Diabetics
· Routine Dental Care

For more information about Priority Partners call 800-654-9728, or log onto on the Web. Contact the county health department to apply for MCHP.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009


Verizon wants to add 250 customer service representatives at its Hanover, Md call center. Read the full story at

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

PARENT ALERT!: The New Age of Texting

When you hear the term "sexting," you may think the harmless exchange of risqué text messages to your beau. However, today's younger generation has given a new definition to the name. Sexting has become a popular trend among middle and high school students who send promiscuous photos to one another via cell phones and PDAs. This in itself can be disturbing, but with sexting, it hardly ever stops there.

Unquestionably, sexting can reap consequences.......................Read the full story at

PARENT ALERT!: A Parent's Worst Nightmare

The Real Story Behind Carl Walker-Hoover's Suicide

Wendy L. Wilson Sirdeaner Walker, 44, is ferociously protective of her four children. So when her 11-year-old son Carl Joseph Walker-Hoover complained to her last September of being bullied by students at the New Leadership Charter School in Springfield, Massachusetts, for "acting gay," she did something about it. She spoke to his principal, teachers and guidance counselor and became more active in the Parent Teachers Organization. But the teasing and threats .........Read full story » at

PGCPS: Safe Schools

The Safe Schools Reporting Act of 2005 mandates the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) to require county boards of education to report incidents of harassment or intimidation (bullying) against students attending a public school under the jurisdictions of the county board. The law further specifies procedures for reporting these acts, including specific guidelines for Harassment and Intimidation (Bullying) form. Additionally, the law requires MSDE to report to the Maryland General Assembly the following:
  • A description of the act constituting the harassment or intimidation (bullying)
  • The age of the victim and alleged perpetrator
  • The allegation of the alleged perpetrator’s motive
  • A description of the investigation of the complaint and any corrective action taken by the appropriate school authorities
  • The number of days a student is absent from school, if any, as a result of the incident and
    The number of false allegations reported

The following definition of harassment and intimation (bullying) is included on the Harassment or Intimidation (Bullying) Form to guide students and parents when completing this form, and to guide LSS staff when investigating incidents.

Harassment and intimidation (bullying) means conduct, including verbal conduct, that creates a hostile educational environment by substantially interfering with a student’s educational benefits, opportunities, or performance, or with a student’s physical or psychological well-being, and is motivated by an actual or a perceived personal characteristic such as race, national origin, marital status, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion or disability or is threatening or seriously intimidating.

Investigation Form:

Reporting Form:

Laurel Elementary School Gets New Playground

Laurel Elementary School Gets New Playground
By: Esthela Camacho-Vinueza

Laurel Elementary School needs volunteers on May 30, 2009, to assist in building our new playground. In order for this playground to be built in 1 day, 200 volunteers are needed. Volunteers will be divided into teams of 10 or 15 to accomplish this task. Please contact or call the school at 301-497-3660 and leave your name and contact number with Ms. Camacho. The following team descriptions can be used as a guide to decide which volunteer opportunity best suits you. There are jobs for everyone! Fundraising: helping to offset costs associated with our build. Food: helping to secure and serve food for the volunteers on build day . Recruitment: helping to spread the word that we need volunteers, will also help with organizing/registering volunteers on build day. Construction: actually putting the structure together, we still need about 5 more build captains and members for all teams. Team members will also help in securing tools for build day.
Youth Activities: develop and implement youth activities for the children at the school on Build Day. These children will be students at LES whose parents are volunteering on the day. This is not a babysitting service; will also need help in securing supplies for these activities (paper, crayons, markers, and craft supplies).
Public Relations: work with partners to develop awareness for build day. Work to get music for build day. Plan ribbon cutting ceremony and send thank you notes after build day. Members will also work with project partners to provide an information table on build day.
Safety: secure first aid materials; provide certified first aid on build day; set up safety table; provide a safety discussion for volunteers before event begins.
Logistics: work with Mrs. Lee (school principal) to secure access to water, electricity, trash/recycle coordination, identify space to store tools and equipment; organize part sorting event on 2 prep days. Secure parking for build day.
If you can bring or donate the following tools for build day, please let us know as soon as possible.

List of tools we need:
· 10 Shovels (pointed end)
· 2 - 6’ step ladders
· 40 rock rakes
· 8 wheel barrows
· 10 regular rakes
· 4 digging bars
· 3-4 corded drills
· 4 - 100’ extension cords
· 10 hoes
· 10 pitch forks
· 4 sledge hammers
· 3 manual post hole diggers
· 4 garden hoses
· 5 large tarps
· 1 large tent
· 200 - 80 lb bags of cement

Send an email to with “playground” in the subject line to be included in our informational email blasts.
**Youth Activities will only be available for students of Laurel Elementary School whose parents will be volunteering on Build Day. There will be a limit of 30 youth that we can accommodate. This will be on a first come, first served basis.

Continental breakfast, lunch and water will be provided on Build Day for our volunteers
10 Healthy Foods Under $1
Even with rising food prices, it's possible to shop for healthy foods without spending a fortune.
Elaine Magee, MPH, RDWebMD Feature
Reviewed by
Louise Chang, MD

Most of us don't need to hear it or read it ... we have felt it in our wallets every time we've gone to the grocery store. But just because food prices are rising doesn't mean you can't make healthy food choices. The good news is that many foods that are good for you are also cheap. Here is our list of the top healthy foods you can find in your grocery store for under a dollar. Prices may vary based on the store, location, and time of year.

1. Apples Great for: Snacks, green salads, main dish salads, and fruit salads. What's a serving? 1 large apple. Price per serving: About $1. Apples sell for about $1.99 per pound, and an extra large crisp apple weighs about 1/2 pound. Nutrition Info per serving: 117 calories, 5 grams fiber, 17% Daily Value for vitamin C, and 7% Daily Value for potassium.

2. Bananas Great for: Snacks and fruit salads, yogurt parfaits, and smoothies. What's a serving? 1 banana. Price per serving: About 45 cents. Bananas sell for about $0.89 per pound, and a large banana weighs about 1/2 pound Nutrition Info per serving: 121 calories, 3.5 grams fiber, 14% Daily Value for potassium (487 mg), 20% Daily Value for vitamin C.

3. Baby Carrots (in bags) Great for: Snacks, casseroles, stews, veggie platters, and side dishes.
What's a serving? About 1/2 cup or 2 ounces raw. Price per serving: 19 cents. A 16-ounce bag costs about $1 on sale and contains about 8 servings (2 ounces each). Nutrition Info per serving: 27 calories, 2 grams of fiber, 200% Daily Value for vitamin A, and 7% Daily Value for vitamin C.

4. Canned Beans Great for: Green salads, casseroles, stews, and chili. Types of beans range from 50% less sodium kidney beans and black beans to white beans and garbanzo beans. What's a serving? Each can contains about 3.5 (1/2-cup) servings. Price per serving: About 28 cents. You can buy a 15-ounce can for about $1 on sale. Nutrition Info per serving: About 120 calories (for kidney beans), 7 grams protein, 6 grams fiber, and 6% Daily Value for calcium, and 10% Daily Value for iron.

5. Canned Tomatoes Great for: Italian and Mexican recipes, chili, stew, and casseroles. Flavor options range from no-salt-added sliced stewed tomatoes to diced tomatoes with garlic and olive oil. What's a serving? One can contain about 3.5 (1/2-cup) servings. Price per serving: About 28 cents. You can buy a 14.5-ounce can for about $1 on sale (often less for store brands).
Nutrition Info per serving: About 25 calories, 1 gram fiber, 10% Daily Value of vitamin A, and 15% Daily Value of vitamin C.

6. Oranges (extra large navel oranges) Great for: Snacks, green salads, and fruit salads. What's a serving? 1 large or extra large orange. Price per serving: 40 cents for a large orange and 79 cents for an extra large orange. Oranges sell for around $0.79 per pound, and a large orange is about 1/2 pound, whereas an extra large orange is about 1 pound. Nutrition Info per serving: (for an 8 ounce orange): 106 calories, 5.5 grams fiber, 10% Daily Value for vitamin A, 200% Daily Value vitamin C, 17% Daily Value for folate, 9% Daily Value for calcium, and 12% potassium.

7. Pears Great for: Snacks, as an appetizer with cheese, green salads, and fruit salads. What's a serving? 1 large pear Price per serving: about 45 cents for a large pear. Pears sell for about $0.90 per pound, and a large pear weighs about 1/2 pound. Nutrition Info per serving: 133 calories, 7 grams of fiber, 16% Daily Value for vitamin C, and 8% for potassium.
8. Lentils (dry) Great for: Soups and stews, cold bean salads, and casseroles. What's a serving? 2 ounces (dry) Price per serving: 14 cents. A 16 ounce bag sells for $1.12 (on sale) and contains eight servings. Nutrition Info per serving: 195 calories, 14 grams protein, 6 grams fiber, 24% Daily Value for Iron, 10% Daily Value for magnesium and potassium.

9. Pearl Barley (dry) Great for: Soups and stews, cold salads, and casseroles. What's a serving? 2 ounces (dry) Price per serving: About 12 cents. A 16 ounce bag of dry pearl barley sells for about $0.94 and contains about 8 servings. Nutrition Info per serving: 199 calories, 9 grams fiber, 2.5 grams soluble fiber, 6 grams protein, 8% Daily Value for iron, and 11% Daily Value for magnesium.

10. Yogurt (plain, low fat, or fat-free) Great for: Smoothies, yogurt parfait, dips, and dressings.
What's a serving? An 8-ounce or 6-ounce container is usually a serving. Price per serving: 60 cents. This is usually the price for an 8-ounce container of plain yogurt. Nutrition Info per serving: (for 8 ounces of fat-free plain yogurt): 130 calories, 13 grams of protein, 45% Daily Value for calcium, plus active cultures such as acidophilus and bifidus.
Goddard's Gone Green
By Tracy Gross,
Tracy Gross is a teacher at Robert Goddard Montessori

In the spring of 2007 Robert Goddard Montessori School was awarded the prestigious honor of being identified as a Green School. Many people know what it means to "Be Green," but what does it mean to be recognized officially, as a Green School? The goal of a Green School is to use the school, community, and curriculum to educate and instruct students on how to build a sustainable future. Additionally, the goal is to promote an awareness, sensitivity, and commitment to help solve current and future environmental challenges that we as a local and global community face.

There are three broad objectives that must be met in order to qualify as a Green School. The first objective is Curriculum and Instruction which includes environmental issue instruction, staff development, and school wide celebrations. The second objective is Operation, Maintenance, and Design of School Building and Grounds. This includes, water, pollution, and energy conservation, solid waste reduction, habitat restoration, responsible transportation, and healthy school environment. The last objective is School Community and involves establishing relationships with community partners in the local and the school community that addresses environmental issues.
Becoming a Green School is an extremely rewarding and challenging experience. The benefits are numerous. Research has shown that students in Green Schools show:
  • greater pride and respect for nature and all living things
  • greater achievement in math, reading, writing, science and social studies
  • reduced discipline issues
  • greater pride and ownership in accomplishments

And if that doesn't convince you of all of the rewards and benefits, then how about this: being a Green School is a blast! Here at Robert Goddard, we have begun to transform our battered schoolyard and students into a tremendous habitat for wildlife, learning and budding environmentalists.

Last year we built a butterfly garden in our courtyard. The students wrote a grant, designed the structure, researched appropriate plants for the space, and executed the construction.We built a rain garden to help with drainage problems on campus, built a bluebird trail, have a recycling program, and have planted hundreds of plants, flowers, and trees. Our school is quite a site to behold.

On Friday, April 24, Robert Goddard Montessori will hold our second annual Earth Day Festival. This is a school wide event. During the day the students will rotate through outside stations receiving lessons from the community on environmental issues. We will have many wonderful presenters such as The Patuxent River 4-H Center, Camp Schmidt, Solar Connections, NASA, U.S. Park Services, just to name a few. We will also be welcoming many dignitaries that will be visiting our school. Additionally, every student will be planting, playing environmental games, and celebrating our glorious planet.

Being a Green School is a real commitment to the students, community, and the earth. It is not to be entered into lightly as it is a tremendous commitment and responsibility. If you are interested in becoming a Green School, check out for more information.

Arrowhead Elementary School: 1999
Berwyn Heights Elementary School: 2006
Charles Flowers High School: 2001
Eleanor Roosevelt High School: 1999
High Point High School: 2004, 2008
John Hanson French Immersion: 2004
John Hanson Montessori: 2004, 2008
Patuxent Elementary School: 2004
Queen Anne School (I): 2007
Robert Goddard French Immersion: 2007
Robert Goddard Montessori School: 2007
Scotchtown Hills Elementary School: 2005
Tanglewood School: 2002
SOURCE: The Maryland Association for Environmental & Outdoor Education

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Robert Goddard Montessori Gratitude Garden

You are cordially invited to attend the ground breaking and dedication of the Robert Goddard Montessori Gratitude Garden in honor of the dedication and commitment of our Parents, Volunteers, and Community Partners!

Please join Robert Goddard Montessori and our distinguished guests; Dr. Derek Mitchell, Ms. Loretta White, Lt. Gov. Anthony G. Brown and Prince George's County Executive Mr. Jack Johnson for the ribbon cutting and pening ceremony.

Where: RGMS

When: Friday, April 24th

Time: opening ceremony 9:30 (events take place the entire day)

Sunday, April 12, 2009


State Superintendent of Schools Nancy S. Grasmick and Comcast today announced the 24 semifinalists for the 2009 Comcast Parent Involvement Matters Awards. Among the semifinalist is Kristen Ruiz – Bond Mill Elementary School, Prince George’s County Public Schools.
The Award is a collaboration between Comcast and the Maryland State Department of Education, the Comcast Parent Involvement Matters Awards is the nation’s first statewide initiative of its kind, recognizing parents and legal guardians for their exceptional support of public education. Parents are nominated for demonstrating significant, positive impact in their communities.

The 2009 Comcast Parent Involvement Matters Awards will be presented in a special celebration on May 8th. Five finalists and a statewide winner, selected from the 24 semifinalists named today, will be announced at the award ceremony.

“I am truly humbled by the commitment and dedication to Maryland’s public schools that these 24 semifinalists have displayed,” said Dr. Grasmick. “The partnership with Comcast allows us the opportunity to celebrate and honor these inspirational parents, who continue to find innovative and creative ways to make our schools stronger through parent involvement.”

“Comcast is committed to fostering healthy, vibrant communities, with a focus on creating opportunities for youth leadership and development,” said Fred Graffam, senior vice president of Comcast’s Beltway Region. “We recognize the important role that parents play in nurturing our future leaders, and we’re proud to work with the Maryland State Department of Education to honor them for their spirit, dedication and inspiration to others.”

The Comcast Parent Involvement Matters Awards program recognizes parents from local school systems across the state of Maryland who were nominated in five areas of parental involvement: Communication, Volunteering, Learning, Decision Making, and Community Collaboration. The statewide winner and five finalists will be awarded a cash prize to further their efforts to improve the public schools they represent.

Many of last year’s semifinalists have become parent involvement advocates on the statewide level, serving as members of task forces, presenters at statewide meetings, and participants in education events, such as the recent Summit on School Safety Solutions. “I am honored to be the first statewide Comcast Parent Involvement Matters Award winner," said Larry Walker, 2008 award recipient. “To be acknowledged by those who believe the education of America's future rests on the involvement of parents and community members alongside our professional educators is a privilege I will always cherish.”

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Parent Liaison(s) of the Week: April 13, 2009

The role of the Parent Liaison is to help facilitate communication between the parent and the school. We are responsible for keeping you informed of events at Seabrook elementary and within the local community. We are also responsible for encouraging parents to be actively involved their child’s education.

At Seabrook, we have two Parent Liaisons Mrs. Alsbrook and Mr. Parraguez. If you have any questions or concerns regarding your child, please feel free to contact either Liaison (301) 918-8542. We can help you set up a meeting with your child's teacher or let you know what’s being worked on in the classroom. We will work with you in every possible.

My name is Carol Alsbrooks, and I will be working with you this year. My two sons attend Prince Georges County Public Schools. As a parent and former teacher, I believe in full parent participation at your child’s school. I believe that the role of the parent is to encourage communication between the parent and the teacher. The parent should be the cheerleader of their child’s education. I am very excited to serve you as your school based Parent Liaison at Seabrook Elementary.

Estimados Padres de Seabrook: Soy el señor Alberto Parraguez y fuí trasladado a Seabrook como su ESOL Parent Liaison por el resto del año escolar. Estoy muy alegre de poder trabajar con ustedes. Quizás usteden pienzan que no es mucho lo que pueden aportar a la escuela debido al idioma. Déjenme decirles algo muy importante, ustedes son lo más importante en la vida de sus hijos.

Find Out More About the Parent Liaison Program

Want to know more about the Parent Liaison program? Please visit the link below.


The Prince George’s County Board of Education has named Dr. William R. Hite, Jr. as the new Superintendent for Prince George’s County Public Schools (PGCPS). The Board made the announcement during a special meeting this evening at the Sasscer Administration Building in Upper Marlboro. The public was encouraged to attend and hearthe discussion.“The Board is in complete consensus in its selection of Dr. Hite as superintendent of Prince George’s County Public Schools,” said Board Chair Verjeana M. Jacobs, Esq. During his tenure as Interim Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Hite has demonstrated that he meets or exceeds all the requirements the community has said they want in a superintendent. He knows our schools, understands our challenges, and has demonstrated his commitment to the children, parents, and community members of Prince George’s County.”

Board members had previously discussed launching a national search for a newsuperintendent, but the feedback from the community during public meetings on the topic underscored the immediate need for strong, stable, knowledgeable, and trustworthy leadership.

Dr. Hite joined PGCPS in June 2006 as Deputy Superintendent, working alongside former Superintendent John E. Deasy to bring reforms to the school district. He led major efforts to improve student achievement and instruction, including the Intensive Support and Intervention Schools (ISIS) program that provided significant support to schools most in need based on student and school performance indicators.

He oversaw a major reorganization of the school district’s regions into zones to reducecosts and provide more equitable support to schools. Most recently, he has worked diligently during difficult economic conditions to create an operating budget for the school system that continues to provide needed support for students, and is working in partnership with the Board of Education to garner community input on the expansion of choice programs and consolidation of under-enrolled schools.

MSDE Welcomes New MASC Executive Director

The Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) would like to welcome Mr. Lance Ladebur as the Executive Director of the Maryland Association of Student Councils (MASC). Lance enters this position with 40 years of experience in a multitude of student government positions. He taught social studies in Harford County Public Schools from 1964-2004.

He was co-advisor for the Edgewood Middle School Student Government Organization from 1965-72 and became the advisor for Joppatowne High School from 1977-2004 when he retired. In July 2004, Lance became the Regional Advisor for the Harford County Regional Association of Student Councils (HCRASC) where he has remained until his present appointment to Executive Director of MASC. The Division of Student, Family, and School Support is excited to have Lance be a member of their team in working to provide services and opportunities to all students. “I am looking forward to being a part of MSDE and working with everyone. I believe great things are in store for all current and future students who are working or are interested in being a part of student government.”

The Glenn Dale Elementary School PTA is sponsoring a Walk-or-Ride Marathon

The Glenn Dale Elementary School PTA is sponsoring a Walk-or-Ride Marathon on Saturday, April 18th from 8am - 11am. The 3-mile walk kicks off at the Glenn Dale Community Center and goes along the WB&A Trail.

The Walk-or-Ride Marathon (The W.o.R.M.) is a three-mile walk to promote wellness and raise funds toward after-school enrichment programs at Glenn Dale Elementary. The walk will start at the Glenn Dale Community Center (11901 Glenn Dale Blvd, Glenn Dale, MD) and go along the WB&A Trail. On-site Registration starts at 8:00am and costs $4.00/person. The Walk/Ride will start at 8:15am. (Pre-registration is $2/person and ends Wednesday, April 15th). *Children may ride their bikes, but MUST wear a helmet.

Gift items & snacks for walk participants, plus health information, games and prizes! Sponsored by the Glenn Dale PTA. For more information, contact:Krista Williams, Glenn Dale PTA, at randywfam@yahoo.comKim Lyons, President Glenn Dale PTA, at

Monday, April 6, 2009

“Connecting Generations”

Michael A. Robinson, Coordinating Supervisor, Parental Engagement and Community Outreach

President Barack Obama and Vice-President Joe Biden have challenged us to assist others who aspire to improve their lives. They have called upon Americans to think beyond themselves and to find ways they can help make the lives of others better. In keeping with the spirit of President Obama and Vice-President Biden, Prince George's County Public Schools is calling on the community to join its “Connecting Generations” mentoring program, by becoming a mentor. Our goal is to identify 2000 mentors from the community to support our students.

National and state statistics confirm that children who are mentored are more likely to improve in school and in their relationships with family and peers. These same students are 52% less likely to “skip” school and 46% less likely to begin using illegal drugs. Students who are successful in school are less likely to drop out, become pregnant, abuse drugs or become involved in criminal activity. Additionally, students who have a mentor benefit in other ways:

  • Exposure to diverse perspectives and experiences

  • Exposure to an additional loving and caring adult

  • Improved attitude regarding school and careers

  • Improved in school behavior

  • Willingness to accept challenges

To learn more about the "Connecting Generations" mentoring program or to sign up to become a mentor, please click on the following link and enter your name and contact information into our mentor database.

Successful Mentoring Program at Greenbelt Elementary

Michael A. Robinson, Coordinating Supervisor, Parental Engagement and Community Outreach

Today April 6, 2009 in the metro section of the Washington Post there is an article highlighting the mentoring program at Greenbelt Elementary School. The program was developed by the school's Parent Liaison Jacob Novick and its Professional Counselor Donna Behe. The program was created in response to parent concerns. According to Mr. Novick, "we would meet with parents during the P-team discipline conferences. These conferences occurred after a suspension of a student. During the meeting it became apparent there was a need for supplmental support to our students and it seem mentoring would offer the best way to reduce issues such as attendance, behavioral and their academic progress."

Mr. Jacob also mentioned that many of the single parents expressed a need for a role model for their child. As a result of the parent's need and their own assesment, Greenbelt's P-Team led by Jacob Novic established a partnership with three student groups at the University of Maryland at the end of last year. Mr. Novick is excited that the program is making some progress and encourages others to start their own program and to read their article which includes a few tips, "This is our first full year operating and things are going well. If you get the opportunity please take a look at the article."

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Parental Engagement By The Numbers

Division of Student Services
Department of Family and Community Outreach
March 2009 Parental Engagement Data:
  • # of Participation Events Held at Schools (344)
  • # of Men participating in non-sports related events at school (3,175)
  • # of Women participating in non-sports related events at school (6,526)
  • Total # of Parents participating in non-sports related events at school (9,706)
  • # of Classroom Observations (3,564)
  • Total # of Workshops (225)
  • # of Men participating in Workshops (757)
  • # of Women participating in Workshops (2,201)
  • Total # of Workshop Participants (2,958)

Introducing Kinetic Potential Mentoring and Learning System

Kinetic Potential Mentoring and Learning System (KPML) is a long-term life development program that reverse engineers the career development process for at-risk youth. Our organization is founded upon the core belief that every child has remarkable potential and that truly, no child should be left behind by our schools —academically, socially, or professionally. However, too often the potential of this country’s youth is never put into action and made “kinetic”. As a comprehensive program dedicated to the academic, social, and professional needs of students, KPML provides the roadmap for these kids, its KP Scholars, focusing these students on long-term career goals and motivating them daily through after and before school tutoring, workforce development workshops, summer internships, and an assortment of other out-of-school developmental activities.

The Kinetic Potential Mentoring & Learning System aims to galvanize students’ involvement with their own education and career goals. Through the creation and management of a virtual pipeline, KPML pairs students with KP Tutors, who provide individualized after-school tutoring and instruction in the core subject areas of math, reading, and language arts. Ultimately, the goal of the program is to create an individualized academic plan and distinct career pathway for each one of the program’s mentees, and our Computer Assisted Mentoring System (CAMS) is an instrumental component in ensuring that all students’ academic progress is directly linked to their long-term career aspirations and overall social well-being.

Every student entering our program is provided with an individual Learning Plan specifically geared to address that student’s unique skills, particular learning gaps, and generalsocial needs. KPML uses the Assessment of Student Achievement (ASA), a standardized,curriculum-based test, to initially gauge a student’s current academic levels in the areas of math, reading, and language arts. Results on this standardized assessment, as well as astudent’s scores on statewide assessments and his or her grades are collectively used to buildan entering portfolio for every future KP Scholar. This information, along side a brief initial survey gauging students’ interests, career plans, and attitudes toward school, provide KPML with a holistic view of a student’s current progress and helps us place students at the appropriate level of instruction, identify a starting point within our curriculum, determine course objectives, and generate each student’s individual prescriptive Learning Plan.

KP Scholars Tutoring, KPML’s tutorial program, runs after-school (and/or before school) for 1 hour sessions, every Monday through Saturday, though all participants will have access to the site’s multi-faceted academic, social, and career-planning features 24 hours aday, 7 days a week via a username and password log-in. Academic sessions of 8-10 studentseach will be led by a KP Tutor, who will utilize virtual white boards, online texts, 3 Dgraphics, and streaming video technology to facilitate every lesson. This dynamic virtual environment will provide KP Scholars with an Immersive Education experience, in which students can fully “drop into” to engage in a discovery-based learning environment where onelearns not simply by following but by actually doing. KPML’ cutting-edge technology engages students very much the same way video games reach out and grab kids’ attention. But unlike these games, KPML’ virtual environment fosters practical skills within kids, developing their math, reading, and language arts abilities in the process of steering them toward long-term professional goals.

Just as KPML’ technological innovations are top-notch so are our academic instructors. The program recruits its KP Tutors from the top Masters and Doctoral programs across the country. KP Tutors have received ample training in pedagogy, immersive education, and the basics of education policy amongst other subjects. As the KP Scholars program is delivered utilizing Web 2.0 technology, we are able to recruit instructorsthroughout the U.S., which provides us with a very large and highly-qualified labor pool forboth urban and rural geographies. Our target KP Tutor has 2-5 years of successful teaching experience and is not only passionate for student success but is also committed to providing all kids with equal education opportunities. In addition to the credentials they bring to the KPML program, all KP Tutors undergo a rigorous certification process that includes 40-hoursof intensive training. KP Tutors are adept at utilizing the KPML technology for its full effect in the virtual classroom and make sure students are fully engaged day-in and day-out. In addition to leading the weekly 1 hour sessions, all KP Tutors will be available a minimum 3 hours per week through virtual office hours in which students can post questions online or via e-mail.

This combination of immersive technology and committed, hands-on instructors means that KPML closely monitors each and every student entering the KP Scholars Tutoring program. Over the course of the school year, students will participate in the program a minimum of 2 times per week or as much as 5 times per week, depending on the individual student’s Learning Plan and current academic progress. The KPML program is designed to address the various academic needs of students who are below—or are at-risk of functioning below—grade level in the areas of math, reading, and language arts. At the close of every academic session, students will be re-assessed using an ASA post-test, which along side developments in a student’s state test scores and GPA, will be used to evaluate a child’s progress in the KPML program. This final evaluation report (as well as KPML’ monthly Progress Reports) will be sent to parents and appropriate school faculty/ staff electronicallyand/ or through standard mail. Mentors will assist this core group both academically, socially, and professionally in order to ensure these students are fully capable of attaining their career goals through college and beyond.
Visit KPML at:

Parent Liaison of the Week: April 6, 2009

Barbara Wright, the Parent Liaison at Surrattsville High School extends an invitation to all SHS parents and community partners to take an active role in the educational and development process of our SHS students. Your comments, ideas, and support are welcomed and appreciated. Mrs. Wright may be reached at 301-599-2453 or via email at

The Parent Resource Center is located in the main hallway of SHS, Room 100B. The Parent Resource Center was created in compliance with the Parent Engagement Plan initiated by Superintendent Dr. Deasy. The vision of the Parent Resource Center is to assist with the major objectives of the Parent Engagement Plan:

  • Increase the number of stakeholders participating on advisory councils/steering committees and becoming goodwill ambassadors for Prince George’s County Public Schools

  • Increase the number of Parents/Guardians participating on school decision-making committees and interacting with teachers, staff, and the local school community

  • Increase the number of Parents/Guardians participating with the PTSAIncrease the number of Parents/Guardians participating in the Systemic Training Program

  • Increase the number of Parents/Guardians observing their child’s class at least twice per year

  • Increase the numbers of Parents/Guardians using the website to access their child’s data and homework assignments

  • Sponsor Parental Development Sessions

  • Increase parent involvement/participation in After School and Extended-Learning experiences

We look forward to a great year with family and community partnerships. Together we will make a difference!

Catholic Charities and PGCPS Team Up to Fight Hunger

Feeding Families 2009

by: Michael A. Robinson, Coordinating Supervisor Parental Engagement (PGCPS) and Jennifer L. Holland, Program Coordinator (Catholic Charities)

Catholic Charities of Prince George’s County and Prince George’s County Public Schools have partnered in an effort to stock the shelves of our County’s local food pantry. The only pre-requisite of receiving assistance through this center is that the individual (s) in need must show proof of residency of Prince George’s County. We understand that there is no greater need than being able to provide food for families in need and therefore there is no set income guideline for clients to obtain these services.

From 3/16/2008- 3/16/2009, more than 574 food clients were served. The distribution of food to families in need was value at $24,094.00. The state of the economy has left our local pantry shelves in critical levels, and our vision is to be able to serve our clients every 30 days. Currently, because we are at a shortage of funding & food we have to place clients on 60 and 90 day food pantry visits.

Catholic Charities of Prince George’s County Center receives one food grant for $10,000.00, though this money is very appreciated by Catholic Charities. Catholic Charities also relies heavily on other donations in order to continue its mission of providing supplemental food assistance to families in Prince George’s County.

With the help of Prince George’s County Public Schools and the more than 200 Parent Liaisons located in every school, the demand for food can be met. Catholic Charities will provide participating schools with boxes or large bags for collection and will be responsible for picking up food on the dates scheduled. Because the end of the year is rapidly approaching we have scheduled the food drive to begin April 15, 2009 until May 15, 2009. If you are interested in donating please contact your neighborhood school’s Parent Liaison and for more details on when and where to drop off your donations.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

A Few Parent Workshops for the Month of April, 2009

Adelphi Elementary School
Parent Portal
April 2, 2009

Bond Mill Elementary School
SchoolMax Family Portal
April 16, 2009

Carmody Hills Elementary School
Strategies for Children with Challenging Behaviors
April 24, 2009

Charles H. Flowers High School
SAT Strategies
April 21, 2009

DuVal High School
Cyber Security
April 21, 2009

Forestville Military Academy
Stress Management Family Guide
April 23, 2009

Indian Queen Elementary School
Financial Support and Tips
How to Manage Your Money

April 16, 2009

Seat Pleasant Elementary School
School Max Family Portal
April 1, 2009

Seat Pleasant Elementary School
Autism Awareness
April 15, 2009

To find out information regarding other parent workshops in schools near you, visit our website at: and click on the tab Parent Liaison Workshops.

12 Warning Signs That Your Child May Be Overscheduled

12 Warning Signs That Your Child May Be Overscheduled

There may not be a "right" number of activities for every child, but ask yourself these questions to check if your child's getting enough downtime (, 2008).
  1. Does he act grouchy, mopey, or irritable?
  2. Can she fall asleep at bedtime?
  3. Are his grades slipping? Does he finish his homework?
  4. Has she started overeating?
  5. Does he zone out in front of the TV?
  6. Is she complaining of stomachaches, headaches, or mysterious illnesses?
  7. Does he grumble about being bored?
  8. Is she over-anxious about getting approval from authority figures?
  9. When you're heading out the door, does he throw a tantrum or "lose" equipment?
  10. Does she pick fights with her siblings or complain you don't love her as much?
  11. Can he keep track of where's he's supposed to be?
  12. Is her schedule draining you or your family members?

If your child exhibits a few of these behaviors on an ongoing basis, you may want to re-examine his after-school schedule (, 2008).

Understanding the Military's Three Phases of Deployment

Three Phases of Deployment
Michael A. Robinson

Prince George’s County Public Schools are committed to supporting the children and families of those serving in the military by linking them to a network of services and resources offered within and outside the school system.

Recently released statistics revealed more than 500,000 American children have one or both parents serving in the National Guard or its Reserves alone. Data suggested an estimated 300,000 members of the National Guard are engaged in protecting America for terrorism (Surles, 2004). This means families are experiencing the emotional strain, stress and anxiety of separation caused by deployment.

Deployment is not easy for children; research indicates children of deployed parents have a myriad of emotional and social reactions to separation (Surles, 2004). Their responses can range from withdrawal, to behavioral disruptions in the classroom. Understanding the emotional and social implications to children due to parental deployment is key to providing the comprehensive services needed to assist in their academic success. The development of services, programs and resources will have increase effectiveness if they are framed around nationally accepted definitions and stages of deployment:

1. Pre-deployment: PGCPS understand that this stage can last several weeks or just a matter of hours. Regardless of the time frame, the focus on providing immediate support to children will be paramount

2. Deployment: Research has indicated one of the most important things educators can do for children while their parents are deployed are to develop ways to keep the parent connected to their child’s education and life

3. Reunion: In this phase, it is understood that the reunification process begins long before the parent arrives. It is during this time the child may experience mixed emotions. Realizing these emotions, the professional staff at each school will meet to discuss the parent homecoming and what it means to the child and the family

Children are affected in a variety of ways by the deployment of parents and it is imperative that at this crucial stage in their lives, support is both relative and accessible. Prince George’s County Public Schools are prepared and willing to assist in providing a safe and secure environment for this special population of our students.

Embracing Student Achievement: The Scholar Dollar Program

The Scholar Dollar Program is a joint effort of Prince George’s County Executive Jack B. Johnson, Prince George’s County Public Schools, The Mall at Prince Georges, and Southwest Airlines to recognize and reward students for academic excellence.

The program provides awards and special incentives to students who earn either a 3.0 GPA, Honor Roll, or other significant achievement status at each report card period. Students will receive a Discount Certificate for savings at local retailers, as well as chances to receive other prizes including gift cards and airline tickets. Students earning improved attendance status will also be recognized. Through academic achievement students have the opportunity to earn discounts that will improve the quality of life for their families.

Historical perspective
The Scholar Dollar Program began at the Mall at Prince Georges three years ago, but has expanded to all seven major malls in Prince George’s County.

Discount Certificate
Entitles students who qualify to receive a Scholar Dollar Certificate that gives the student and family 10%, 15%, or 20% off total purchases at all participating malls for a specific time period after report cards have been distributed each quarter.

Enter-to-Win a $100 and $250 Mall at Prince George's Gift Card
With each report card period, all students that earn a 3.0 GPA, Honor Roll, or other significant achievement status will be eligible to be entered into a drawing to win a $100 and $250 Mall Gift Card. The drawing will be held after each report card period and will be drawn for each school segment (elementary, middle, high schools, and special centers).

Grand Prize
At the end of the school year, students that have received a 3.0 GPA, Honor Roll, or other significant achieve¬ment status for at least 1 report card period will be eligible to be entered into a drawing to win a $250 Mall at Prince George's Gift Card and (4) Roundtrip tickets on Southwest Airlines. Eligible students will be entered into the drawing each time that they qualified during the year (maximum 4 entries). The winner will be announced in a ceremony. A Grand Prize package will be awarded to a student in each school segment (elementary, middle, high schools, and special centers).

Scholar Dollar Eligibility and Participation
Students do not register to participate in the Scholar Dollar Program. Eligible students will be identified by each school and will receive Scholar Dollar Discount Certificates from Prince George’s County Public Schools through their individual schools. Eligible students simply show their Discount Certificate to participating merchants during the discount period in order to receive the discount.

Scholar Dollar Program Special Events
Various programs will be held throughout the year at The Mall at Prince Georges to promote the program and encourage academic excellence.

Photos of the 2010 Parental Engagement Conference

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The Middle School Years

Visits From Engaged Parents and Dedicated Educators