Thursday, December 15, 2011

Announcements from around Prince George's County, MD and Beyond

Happy Holidays!

In this message you will find announcements about:

· Prince George’s County Planning Department of the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission (M-NCPPC) public meeting on December 13, 2011 to discuss the Purple Line Light Rail Transit (TONIGHT @ 6:30 PM)

· 2011 Holiday Basketball Camp - Lake Arbor Community Center – December 27, 2011 – December 30, 2011 (information below & flyer attached)

· Ardmore Elementary School’s Request for Judges for their Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Science Fair on January 19, 2012 . Judge attendance confirmation needed by January 6, 2012. (see letter attached for details & contact information)

· Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Banquet ($) on January 15, 2012 with keynote speaker: Rev. Dr. Jeremiah A. Wright, Jr. (flyer with ticket information attached)

· SPEAK! Oratory League 2012 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Oratory Competition on January 16, 2012 (flyer attached)

· The 17th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Prayer Breakfast will be held on Monday, January 16, 2012. with keynote speaker: Maryland Lieutenant Governor Anthony G. Brown

· Maryland State Department of Education Press Release: MARYLAND PARENT INVOLVEMENT MATTERS AWARD PROGRAM ISSUES CALL FOR 2012 NOMINATIONS. Nominations must be postmarked by January 31, 2012.

· The American Society of Interior Designers Foundation’s (ASID) announcement of 2012 scholarships and awards. All applications are due by March 12, 2012. (Scroll down for further information)

Governor O’Malley Appoints Nakia Ngwala to Maryland Citizens Review Board for Children

Springdale, MD December 13, 2011: Governor Martin O’Malley appointed Nakia T. Ngwala as a member of the Prince George’s County Citizens’ Review Board for Children Number Seven for a term of four years from July 1, 2011.

The Citizen Review Board for Children (CRBC) reviews cases of children in foster care to evaluate what progress has been made towards their permanent placement. Cases are reviewed in pursuant to priorities established by the Prince George's County Department of Social Services and the State Citizens Review Board for Children and contained in a memorandum of agreement. For each child reviewed, a recommendation is sent to the County Department of Social Services and the local juvenile court. With concurrence of the Social Services Administration, the State Board may establish categories of foster children for whom a satisfactory permanent arrangement has been made and who may be exempt from local review. The children’s legislative action committee (CLAC) is the legislative committee under the authority of State Board charged with implementing CRBC’s legislative agenda.

Each local review board has seven members. They are appointed by the Governor to four-year terms in accordance with Code Family Law Article, secs. 5-540 through 5-547.

Nakia T. Ngwala is a public servant and a published columnist who has written subjects on economic development and education. Her articles have been published in The Sentinel, the Gazette, the Bowie-Blade, and the Baltimore Sun newspapers. She is one of the pioneers who pushed for the creation of a Preschool Task Force in Prince George’s County. She is the former President of the Ardmore-Springdale Civic Association (ASCA); Chair of the Bellehaven Action Plan Committee; Member of the United States 2010 Census Complete Count Committee in Prince George’s County; Enterprise Woods Community Liaison for the Art in Public Places, Public Art Project Advisory Committee, Prince George’s County; Committee Member/Community Liaison for the Prince George’s County Memorial Library System Steering Committee. She currently serves as Chair of the Civic Engagement Committee for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), Prince George’s County. She lives in Springdale with husband Mayi Ngwala and their two sons.

For more information about CRBC, please visit

Schwartz selected as senior vice president by national association

Schwartz selected as senior vice president by national association

WASHINGTON, Dec. 15, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- As community colleges work to develop a national road map to guide their work into a new era of change and work to answer President Obama's call to raise college graduation rates, they will need skilled leadership and support. The American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) has selected Dr. Gail M. Schwartz as senior vice president for academic, innovation and student success to help lead that effort.


"I am thrilled to assume this role during this extraordinarily exciting time for community colleges," said Schwartz. "I look forward to working with President Bumphus, the 21st Century Commission and the association's membership, as we work toward meeting the President's 2020 completion goal."

Schwartz comes to AACC from the U.S. Department of Education, where she has served as senior advisor for community colleges since 2006 within the Office of Vocational and Adult Education. She crafted a vision for the department's community college outreach and led efforts on student access, completion and retention issues.

She also served as director of the Division of Academic and Technical Education at the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Vocational and Adult Education. She administered the $1.1 billion Carl D. Perkins Career & Technical Education State Grant Program. She also served as the director of the Discretionary Programs and Innovation Group, as director of the New American High Schools Initiative and director of the Office of Correctional Education.

From 1983-1990, Schwartz served as project director and faculty at George Washington University, where she designed graduate-level teacher training curriculum, taught graduate level courses, coordinated interdisciplinary programs and managed federal grants.

She worked as the training and staff development coordinator for the District of Columbia Department of Human Services Youth Services Administration and as diagnostic team coordinator and instructor. She also worked as vocational development coordinator for Prince George's County Maryland Public Schools.

Schwartz earned a doctorate in education in 1989 and a master of arts degree in special education in 1983 from George Washington University. She earned her bachelor of science degree at Ohio State University.

AACC President and CEO Walter G. Bumphus, who assumed leadership of the association last January, says the addition to his senior leadership team reflects the growing importance and visibility of community colleges. "Community colleges are increasingly regarded as central players in U.S. economic recovery and global competitiveness. Dr. Schwartz understands our colleges and will bring solid experience and dynamic leadership to our work."

Headquartered in Washington, D.C., the American Association of Community Colleges is the leading advocacy organization representing close to 1,200 community, junior and technical colleges nationwide. Community colleges are the largest sector of higher education, enrolling more than 13 million credit and non-credit students each year. To learn more about the AACC, visit

SOURCE American Association of Community Colleges

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Obama, Family Attend 'Christmas In Washington'

WASHINGTON -- The Obamas celebrated the holiday season with musical stars Justin Bieber, Cee Lo Green, Jennifer Hudson, Victoria Justice and the Band Perry at the 30th annual "Christmas in Washington" concert Sunday night.

President Barack Obama, his wife Michelle, daughters Malia and Sasha, and mother-in-law Marian Robinson attended the concert to benefit the Children's National Medical Center.

The concert of Christmas carols and songs_ which took place at the National Building Museum_ was hosted by comedian Conan O'Brien.

In honor of the "season to celebrate miracles," Obama spoke about the story of Jesus' birth during his brief remarks to the crowd.

He said the story of Jesus Christ has changed the world by teaching basic values such as loving one another, helping and serving the less fortunate, forgiving, drawing closer to family, being grateful and keeping faith.

"Those are values that are shared by all faiths," Obama said. "So tonight let us all rededicate ourselves to each other, and in that spirit, from my family to yours: Happy holidays, Merry Christmas, God bless you all, and God bless the United States of America."

Before the concert, the Obamas greeted patients of the children's medical center dressed as elves and presented them with a basket of children's books. Obama playfully struggled to lift the basket and asked the elves to help him place it under a Christmas tree.

Other entertainers included the United States Naval Academy Glee Club, Washington Youth Choir, American Family Choir, United States Army Band Herald Trumpets, Ian Fraser and the Christmas in Washington Orchestra.

The concert will air Friday on TNT.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Prince George’s County Public Schools (PGCPS)

Prince George's County Public Schools recently announced their e-alert enrollment has reached 70,000. We are encouraging all members of the network who have not enrolled in PGCPS' e-alert program to do so quickly. This is a great way to stay informed.

Below, find the information regarding how to enroll.

Prince George’s County Public Schools (PGCPS) announced today a record-high enrollment of 69,868 in its new e-Alert system. The enrollment campaign goal was 50,000 by Jan. 1. However, as a result of an aggressive marketing campaign, the school district easily surpassed the goal. The e-Alert system made its official debut in November.

Parents, students, employees and community members can get real-time information by clicking on the PGCPS Alerts button on the school system’s website ( Alerts can be sent to a cell phone or an email address.

“Our number one priority is the safety of our students,” said Superintendent of Schools William R. Hite Jr. “This system allows us to communicate emergency information faster and keep the public informed about the latest events taking place in our school district.”
For more information about this topic, visit

Friday, December 9, 2011

The Maryland Parent Involvement Matters Award

The Maryland Parent Involvement Matters Award

Maryland Parent Involvement Matters Award Program Issues Call For 2012 Nominations

The Maryland Parent Involvement Matters Award (PIMA) program is the first of its kind in the nation to shine a spotlight on parents and those with legal responsibility for a child who have had a positive impact on public schools and to encourage all parents to get involved in whatever way they can. The slogan is Choose Your Seat, Get Involved.

Shawna CapotostoShawna Capotosto Named 2011 Statewide Winner Of Comcast Parent Involvement Matters Award

Video: 2011 Comcast Parent Involvement Matters Award, May 20, 2011
The 2011 Comcast Parent Involvement Matters Award celebrates parents from across the state who give their time and effort to better schools. See the winners from each district across Maryland at the gala in Anne Arundel County, and celebrate the statewide honoree, Shawna Capotosto from Frederick County!

2011 Comcast Parent Involvement Matters Award Semifinalists

Contact Information

Maryland State Department of Education
Division of Student, Family, and School Services
Program Improvement and Family Support Branch
200 West Baltimore Street
Baltimore, MD 21201
Phone: 410-767-0286

Thursday, December 8, 2011

SPEAK! seeking 2nd-college level orators to honor the legacy of Dr. King at oratory competition

Nonprofit Public Speaking Organization to Host 2012 Student Oratory Competition in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

BOWIE, MD – SPEAK! MD Oratory League, Inc. is challenging area students from VA, MD and DC in grades 2 through college to honor the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. by presenting excerpts from Dr. King’s speeches (Grades 2-5) and original oratory based on grade appropriate pre-selected questions (Grades 6 - college). Orators will participate in the second annual Dr. MLK Oratory Competition on Monday, January 16, 2012 at the Publick Playhouse in Cheverly, MD at 1 p.m.

Community/business leaders have volunteered to judge the orator’s presentations. 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place winners at each level – elementary, middle school, high school and college - will earn cash awards sponsored by Paper Tiger of Alexandria, VA, The Links of Prince Georges County, MD, Attorney Vanessa Scott of Sutherland, Asbill & Brennan LLP of Washington, DC, and Frontline Security Services of Landover, MD.
We are grateful to have Mrs. Edith Johnson, Vice President of E.M. Johnson and Associates, an architectural firm in Washington, DC serve as the Mistress of Ceremonies for the SPEAK! 2012 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Oratory Competition – the premier event for young people to honor the legacy of Dr. King.

To learn more about SPEAK! MD Oratory League, Inc., please, call 1-877-773-2530 or visit the SPEAK! website at

WE challenge the community to be a supportive audience for our young orators. Tickets to this event may also be purchased online. SPEAK!, SPEAK!, SPEAK!

Friday, December 2, 2011


Hi. My name is Kimberly and I am a helicopter mom.

Hi, Kimberly.

By definition, a helicopter mom is a parent who hovers over her children and becomes too involved in their lives. I confess: this revelation was no surprise. What was surprising, however, is how hovering over my children has made them dependent on me in ways where independence is the norm. As the product of a stay-at-home mom, it was my destiny to follow suit. So for close to ten years, I basked in that position; when I returned to the workforce, I witnessed my enabling.

Recently over breakfast with my family, we engaged in our usual round table discussion. After taking care of business about school, calendar events, and chores, the dialogue shifted and each child had their say. While my daughter mapped out her wish list of places to go, people to see, and things to do, my sons honestly shared that I was “doing too much.”

That expression is the most common of vernacular amongst our youth today. “Doing too much” has different contextual meanings. The following are all such examples:

· Becoming a flash mob of one in an aisle at Target as I sing Fame and my children look the other way;

· Tickling my son while he’s trying to play the Wii;

· Spotting a French speaking security guard in the grocery store, telling him my son speaks

French, too, and encouraging the two to converse.

Simply put, my sons craved just a little space. They needed me to trust my expectations will be met without the consistent reminders laced with frustration. They wanted to spread their wings and fly, not have them clipped. So, I obliged and for seven consecutive days I stopped “doing too much.”

Letting go, albeit briefly, was truly an art. It required me to relax, relate, and release so my sons could…breathe. The move was so spontaneous it left me with very little time to give my game plan thought. Yet, I kept moving forward and developed my approach around these three important components:

1. Believe. Every decision begins with a thought. I had to believe I was capable of letting go. I had to believe that, even if they found themselves at a cross roads, they would employ their internal GPS and navigate themselves accurately.
2. Trust. By hovering over my children, I demonstrated a certain lack of trust. All things considered, the tasks assigned were not foreign. They’ve demonstrated responsibility in the past. Why not trust them to go forth in like manner?
3. Shift. Less hovering equates with more time on my hands. My newfound freedom caused me to shift my attention to tasks I’ve left incomplete. I even managed to get in much needed “Mom-me” time. I never knew a 2005 movie could be so good!

The insight I gained is too numerous to name. So, let’s just say this helicopter mom has landed.

Kimberly K. Parker is the President and CEO of Writing Momma Publishing, LLC ( On December 10, 2011, she is hosting a workshop on effective essay writing at People’s Community Church in Washington, DC. Visit a click on the “Writing Program” tab for more information. Kimberly is a ghostwriter, author, publisher, and blogger living in Maryland with her husband and three children.

Photos of the 2010 Parental Engagement Conference

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The Middle School Years

Visits From Engaged Parents and Dedicated Educators