Sunday, May 31, 2009


From: Eileen Collins, LES PTA Treasurer and Playground Project Chairperson

First, I want to thank all of you for making our playground build an exciting, wonderful, community build event. I believe that the final volunteer count was at 221. A BIG THANK YOU goes out to all of those who participated in planning the children's events, to the beautification team, to the build captains and construction volunteers, to the component teams to the post/deck teams to the outdoor classroom teams, to the food and safety teams, to the volunteer recruitment and management teams, to the concrete and borders teams, to the planning teams, to the City of Laurel (Mayor and City Council, Public Works and Parks and Rec) and Southern Management (Spruce Up Our Schools team), Lanham Construction, Legends Builders, Mike Collins, Modell's, Laurel VFD, Executive Electrolysis, PNC, Laurel School of Music, Patrons for Peace, Freedom Landscaping and Construction, Exec-U Lawn, Daycon, Lowe's, American Legion Post 60 and the Ladies' Auxiliary, Laurel Board of Trade, DF Foundation, Jim Rosapepe, Tom Dernoga, to the volunteers with no ties at all to Laurel Elementary School or even Laurel itself, and most especially to KaBOOM! and Stonyfield Farms for giving Laurel Elementary School the opportunity to complete this massive overhaul of our playgrounds. We were blessed with beautiful sunny skies to complete our tasks. The final group of about 6 volunteers left around 7 or 7:30. The playground is up except for the tetherball and one trash can (but only because we ran out of concrete for the second time). Some nuts and bolts have to be tightened and the mulching and borders need to be completed, the concrete has to dry as well as our inspection by the certified playground specialist. But it is DONE!

6,800 Women Honored By PGCPS:

By: Michael A. Robinson, Coordinating Supervisor, Parental Engagement

May 11, 2009 will go down in the history of Prince George's County Public Schools, as 6,807 women were honored by staff, teachers and school system administrators for their commitment to impacting the lives of children as part of the first annual PGCPS Women’s Day.

Over 130 schools invited mothers, grandmothers, aunts, sisters, nieces and other significant female role models in the lives of Prince George's County Public Schools students to celebrations in their honor. The women were treated to an assortment of celebrations, gifts and surprises. Celebrations included songs and poems performed by students, mother children Tea Parties, guest speakers from community and government organizations and at several of the schools professional photographers were on hand to take photos of the women. As gifts, some women received gifts card to local stores, certificates of appreciation from staff, teachers and students, free professional photos and CDs of their day in the school.

Carmody Hills Elementary School provided a full-course breakfast to over 70 women, which was followed by an opportunity to observe classrooms. Not to be out done, Clinton Grove Elementary School held a Mother-Daughter Tea program; and professional pictures were taken for more than 70 mothers and grandmothers. At Eugene Burroughs Middle School the women in attendance were treated to breakfast followed by a discussion on specific issues impacting student success at the middle school level. Yorktown Elementary had over 108 women participate in their celebration. Women dropping off their children, who were unable to attend, were provided a breakfast to-go packaged in a pink lunch bag with orange juice, a multi-grain breakfast bar and a banana. Bowie High School celebrated the women of Bowie with a dazzling array of events. Women were greeted in the morning with coffee and provided an opportunity to observe classrooms. The day concluded with an evening program, entitled “Phenomenal Women." The program honored women volunteers, who have worked with the students and staff of Bowie High School for over 10 years.

Women's Day provided a forum for these significant role models to share stories; ideas and strategies. Participants were also able to develop supportive networks to address challenges and successes of having such an important role in the lives of Prince George’s County students. It can never be said enough, how important a role women play in the success of students in Prince George's Public Schools.

Prince George's County Public Schools acknowledges the role and significance these women have and as such we wanted to show our appreciation as a school system.

Perhaps the late rapper Tupac Shakur said it best, “there's no way I can pay you back But my plan is to show you that I understand. You are appreciated”

Friday, May 29, 2009


Name: Karen Thomas
Age: 33
Capitol Heights, MD
Spouse: Martinus Thomas
Martia, 8, Kiya 3

What school does your child attend?
William W. Hall Elementary

What is your child’s greatest academic success?

Best Parental Engagement Tip?
Try to attend as many programs and assemblies as possible, this makes your child happy that you are aware of their accomplishments and achievements. They will tend to do great things for your attention.

A piece of advice on helping you child succeed academically?
Make sure you help them with homework when needed and challenge them with other work or fun activities. Reading to them is important as well.

Best family organizing tip?
Try to prepare in advance to eliminate rushing!

How do you ensure your child is prepared to succeed in school?
You can ensure your child's preparation of succeeding in school by testing them with their spelling words or going over their papers they bring home to see if they understood, talk to them and see what they need help with, keep communication open with your kids, and teachers.

How does your family stay healthy/relax?
My family stays healthy/relax by exercising eating the right foods, keep a happy environment, and keep religion in our lives.

PGCPS Mourns the Loss of Ms. Suzi Johnson

The Department of Family and Community Outreach would like to extend condolences to the Robert Goddard Montessori School for the loss of their principal Suzi Johnson. Ms. Johnson passed away on the morning of Wednesday, May 27th after a long illness. Ms. Johnson knew each student by name and loved her students and her work. Professional School Counselors will be available, along with other school district staff, to support students and families during this time. If your child needs any additional support or help dealing with grief or loss, please contact us for additional assistance.

Raising Him Alone (Up coming Activities)

The Raising Him Alone Campaign will be hosting several FREE opportunities for families to get connected to valuable community based resources. Please mark your calendar for upcoming events.
Summer Resource Fair For Parents

DATE: Saturday May 30, 2009
TIME: 12:00 noon - 4:00 p.m.
LOCATION: Boylan Recreation Center, 955 South Orange Ave, Newark, NJ

DATE: Saturday, June 6, 2009
TIME:12:00 p.m. until 4:00 p.m.
LOCATION: Sojourner Douglass College, 200 N. Central Ave, Baltimore, MD
PARENTS: Parents can register children and youth for valuable summer programs.
Special Baltimore Guest: Harrine Freeman author of Get Out of Debt (First 50 parents will receive FREE signed copies of Ms. Freeman's book)

For more information please contact 410.467.1605

Organizations interested in setting up exhibitor tables please contact us at 877.339.4300.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Men Missing From The Pk 12 Classroom

Parent Engagement

Check out this SlideShare Presentation:

Borders’ Summer Reading Program

Kids Reading Challenge
Here's how it works:

Kids 12 and under read any 8 books.

  1. List the books you've read on the Reading Challenge Worksheet.

  2. Have a parent/guardian sign the completed worksheet.

  3. Bring your completed worksheet to any Borders or Waldenbooks store between May 26 and August 31 to save 50% or more on selected items.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Women's Day: A Wonderful Day

Wonderful images from Women's Day!

Clinton Grove ES:{401C8467-3300-47E1-BB6C-E83127E9B41D}&ndx=0&AlbumId={0A5A220C-4A5A-4536-B7F5-1B0B226EB888}&GroupId=&screenheight=800&autostart=1

The Department of Family and Community Outreach is seeking articles from parents and community partners

The Department of Family and Community Outreach is seeking articles/postings from parents and community partners on any subject related to parental engagement, wellness, community events and or activities.

There are a few criteria for submitting your article/posting:

  • All content must be created by you. No exceptions

  • If your content has been published elsewhere, make sure you still own the copyright to it

  • Content needs to be at least 300 words in length

  • Poetry is excluded from word limits

  • Content must contain correct grammar, sentence structure, spelling and punctuation

Community Colleges: A Viable Option to a College Degree

Parents did you know by 2010 over 85% of all jobs will require some form of postsecondary education (McCabe, 2001). Also a recent report released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics claimed more than 46% of the jobs today did not exist in 2004. The need for an educated workforce, skilled to meet the demands and challenges of an ever changing technological society will be required if countries, states, local municipalities and individuals hope to remain competitive in the 21st century.

There is an ever increasing demand from business and industry for an educated workforce. Their demands comes on the heel of reduced funding from federal and states to support financial aid programs for students who aspire to attend college. As a resutl parents and students will need to develop strategies to ensure college does not become unaffordable. One such strategy has been for students to attend community Colleges.

Community colleges educate over 11.5 million Americans in more than 1,200 institutions located throughout the United States. In the state of Maryland there are 16 community colleges. These institutions have an enrollment of over 500,000 students annually (Maryland Community College Fact, 2009). The Maryland Community Fact guide also indicates that more college bound Maryland students opt to attend a local community college over state colleges and universities.

Community colleges offer an institution that is responsive, adaptive and growing according to Kenneth Walker (2007). These three factors combined with a myriad of others have position the community college to offer the necessary postsecondary credentials needed to effectively prepare students to compete in world that is driven by globalization.

Community colleges are an affordable option for parents and students. Tuition at community colleges can be thousands of dollars less than most public and private 4-year institutions. They are also significantly less expensive than for-profit/career colleges such as Strayer University, University of Phoenix and Sanford Brown. Kristen Watson a student at Clemson University explains the benefit of attending a community college, "It makes no sense to take a summer course here at Clemson due to the high tuition. It makes more sense to go to a technical college and pay a few hundred dollars instead of a thousand dollars here at Clemson" (, 2009).

So exactly what are the advantages of attending a community college? In my opinion, there are at least 15 advantages to attending a community college:

  1. Four out of ten college students nationwide begin their education career at a local community college (College Board, 2009).

  2. Community colleges are open access (accepting all that apply)

  3. Attending a community college can help a student to boast their GPA

  4. An affordable option
    a. Enrolling at a community college prior to completing your degree at a 4-year institution has the potential to save thousands of dollars in tuition cost (American Association of Community Colleges, 2009).

  5. Attending a community college can prepare a student for the rigors of postsecondary education

  6. Community colleges offer two year degree programs and vocational programs with certification, such as Carpentry, Automobile Technician, Nursing and HVAC

  7. Many of the academic and vocational programs are supported by local business and industry, increasing potential for employment placement upon completion of an enrolled program

  8. Community colleges have articulation agreements with most state 4-year public and private institutions, this makes it easier to transfer credits earned at a college to an institution of choice

  9. Most credits earned at a community college can be transferred to most accredited 4-years institutions throughout the United States

  10. Community Colleges are accredited, thus ensuring state, regional and federal standards of operations

  11. Close to home

  12. An effective way to transition from high school to postsecondary education

  13. An opportunity to take all General Education courses

  14. Smaller classes

  15. State of the art technology

By: Michael A. Robinson (

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Bullying Goes High Tech

Michael A. Robinson, Coordinating Supervisor Parental Engagement

The issue of bullying is an ever increasing problem. Today, the act of bullying is no longer confined to the hallways and playgrounds of schools. Students have moved their bullying, teasing and harassing to the internet, otherwise known as cyberspace. The use of text messaging, social networking and instant messaging has made the ability to bully a technological nightmare for many students and parents.

Cyber-bullying as defined by the National Crime Prevention Council's is “the use of Internet, cell phones or other devices to send or post text or images intended to hurt or embarrass another person." When the sender or receiver of the messages is a minor, this constitutes cyber-bullying, if the sender or receiver is an adult, this becomes an issue of cyber-stalking or cyber-harassment. The phenomenon of cyber-bullying has been on the rise since the earlier 2000s, when a study suggested that as many as 10% of middle schools students admitted to being cyber-bullied. By the year 2006, a new study suggested as many as 43% of teens indicated they have been cyber-bullied (Harris Interactive, 2006). The Harris Interactive study also indicated that 23% of middle school students reveled they have been cyber-bullied via email, another 35% indicated their bullying took place in chat rooms and 41% stated they had been bullied via of text messages (Harris Interactive). It gets worse, additionally, 41% of the students professed they were unable to identify who was responsible.

While the majority of bullying does not occur in the virtual world, there are some real issues inherited only to internet bullying. First, the bully has the ability to remain anonymous. Secondly, with the ever increasing technological advances cyber-bullies are less fearful of being discovered and therefore may increase the intensity of their attacks. Thirdly, cyber-bullies are for the most part unsupervised. Lastly, cyber-bullies are very knowledgeable of technology and in some cases more tech savvy than many of their parents and as a result it decreases the possibility they will be discovered.

The impact of cyber-bullying on students is vast. It has been suggested that cyber-bullying has led to students running away from home, leaving school, becoming withdrawn, increase negative behavior, poor grades, and suicide. Suicides linked to teasing have been on the increase and the number of youth who have taken their own lives due to cyber-bullying is rising. Expectations among experts propose the number of cases regarding cyber-bullying will increase due to the use of technology. Everyday, new words are introduced to the American lexicon which are linked to the way youth are using technology. This is best evident by the new phase of Sexting. Sexting is the act of sending sexually explicit pictures via cell phone. This is primarily done by teenagers. Many of whom have no idea the extent to which these pictures can effect their lives. Sexting is another way by which cyber-bullies can harass, tease and bully.

To combat cyber-bullying, students, parents, teachers, school administrators and community members are ask to do the following:
  1. Report the first case of cyber-bullying to a school official or local law enforcement authority
  2. Parents be role models and not tolerate bullying of any kind from your child

  3. Parents monitor your child’s activity on the internet

  4. Whenever possible personal notebook and desktop computers should NOT be used in a child’s bedroom

  5. Treat the computer as you would the world outside your home.

  6. There should be certain sites your child and teen should NOT be allowed to go

Thursday, May 7, 2009


Parent Name: Larry Juhans
Martial Status: Single
Student's Name: Eugene Juhans

What is your child’s greatest academic success?
Improvement in his Math grades

What is your Best Parental Engagement Tip? Parent Classroom Visitation. It’s a sacrifice to take time from work; however I find it helpful to see my son in the classroom environment, to see the different teaching styles of his teachers, and to see how he interacts with his classmates. I take notes during my son’s classes; after class we discuss the notes that I took compared to the notes that he took. I attempt to put myself in the role of a student on day of visitation.

What example would you give that has been successful in helping your child succeed academically? I tend to read a lot. When we spend time together, I encourage him to read to gain knowledge rather than participate in social or sports activities. I stress that knowledge is power and that reading is an avenue to knowledge. My son is required to attend Math tutoring each Monday and Thursday (after school with ERHS NHS tutoring) which has helped bring his grade up from an “E” to a “C”.

What is your best family organizing tip? As a father (not in the household); my son “must” call me every day. I will ask him what did he learn or what did he do in each of his classes that day. He must have an answer. I also ask what tests or quizzes are forthcoming in each of his classes. Subsequently, we prioritize how and when he will study for these tests and quizzes. I review his weekly progress report that is signed by each of his teachers. His Guidance Counselor showed him how to organize his notebook; weekly, he presents his notebook to this Counselor to see if it is still organized the way that she did it originally. I call his counselor weekly to check on how is his notebook being maintained.

What school does your child attend? Eleanor Roosevelt High School

How do you ensure that your child is prepared to succeed in school? He must call me every day. After we discuss homework and quizzes, I discuss what he has laid out to wear to school the next day. Next I speak to his mother to be sure that he is describing it accurately.

How does your family stay healthy and relax? I stress the importance of a healthy diet and getting to bed on time. My son knows that going to school is his “job”; he must get enough sleep to wake up on time and to be at school on time.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

PGCPS: Keeping You Informed and Updated About H1N1 Flu Situation

Due to the outbreaks of H1N1 influenza across the United States, Prince George's County Public Schools (PGCPS) is working to keep you informed and updated on the current H1N1 influenza situation. Being prepared and taking preventative measures are essential in keeping you and your family members protected.

PGCPS is ensuring that all schools and offices are stocked with soap and paper towels in the bathrooms for frequent hand washing by students and staff. Every public school bathroom in the county has a sticker detailing appropriate hand washing.

Prince George's County Health Department H1N1 Information Line: (301) 583-3100 or 1-866-952-7426

Hours of Operation: 8 a.m. until 8 p.m. Monday - Friday and 1 p.m. - 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

Related Links

Montpelier ES Closed Up To Two Weeks

CDC Interim Guidance on School Closures

Interim Superintendent's Letter to Students, Parents and PGCPS Employees en espaƱol

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Website on Swine Flu Influenza porcina (gripe porcina)

Pandemic Flu Information

Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene Swine Flu Preparedness Guide

MD State Flu information line at 1-877-MDFLU4U (633-5848)

Photos of the 2010 Parental Engagement Conference

Your pictures and fotos in a slideshow on MySpace, eBay, Facebook or your website!view all pictures of this slideshow

The Middle School Years

Visits From Engaged Parents and Dedicated Educators