Thursday, May 30, 2013

NAACP Education Forum

Hello Engaged Parents and Dedicated Educators,
Do not forget about the NAACP Education Forum this Thursday, May 30th at 7pm...District Heights Municipal Center (2000 Marbury Drive). The Moderator is Mr. Curtis Valentine, former Executive Director,  MarylandCan (Maryland Campaign for Achievement Now)

NAACP Prince George's County, Maryland Branch Announcement
NAACP Prince George's County, Maryland Branch
9201 Basil Court, Suite 115
Largo, Maryland 20774

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Parent Talk Live: The Importance of Summer Reading

Dr. Mike Robinson, host of Parent Talk Live, discussed the importance of summer reading with his guest, Victoria Baker, Director of Community and District-wide Partnerships Scholastic Classroom and Community Group.
In a 2009 government web cast, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan described summer learning loss as “devastating.”  This is what researchers have often referred to as the “summer slide.”  It is estimated that school summer breaks will cause the average student to lose up to one month of instruction, with disadvantaged students being disproportionately affected (Cooper, 1996). 
Researchers conclude that two-thirds of the 9th grade reading achievement gap can be explained by unequal access to summer learning opportunities during the elementary school years, with nearly one-third of the gap present when children begin school (Alexander, Entwistle & Olsen, 2007).  The body of existing research demonstrates the critical importance that the early development of summer reading habits can play in providing the foundation for later success.  Summer learning research can be broadly categorized under the following themes:
  1. The impact of summer learning loss on disadvantaged youth
  2. Access to books and time devoted to reading
  3. The importance of successful reading experiences
  4. The impact of innovative summer reading programs

Pr. George’s BOE responds to adding 15 new employees

The Prince George’s County Board of Education released an e-mail statement Wednesday about its decision to hire 15 new employees to work for the school board.
The board voted 7-1 on May 9 to approve the emergency measure. School board member Donna Hathaway Beck (District 9) was opposed, and Carletta Fellows (District 7) was absent.
Hathaway Beck said previously that she didn't think that the measure qualified to be considered as an emergency. She said it didn't allow the public to have input on the spending.
“The Prince George’s County Board of Education voted to realign funds within their FY2014 operating budget to accommodate the addition of 15 new positions. The positions were created in response to HB 1107, Section 4-401, which charges the Board to “(1) raise the level of academic achievement of the students in the Prince George’s County Public School System, and (2) raise the level of engagement of the parents, students, and community as a whole,” the statement reads.
The hiring action, which was approved with no discussion, comes with a $145,000 one-month price tag for the remainder of the current fiscal year and is projected to cost the school system nearly $2 million next year.
The statement also said: “The addition of nine District Liaison positions will significantly improve the Board’s ability to raise the level of community and parental engagement in all Board districts. In addition, five new administrator positions will directly support schools by providing technical assistance and professional development that support efforts to raise student achievement. To accommodate the four new appointed members of the Board, staffing resources were realigned to cover the cost of adding these members, as well as add an additional secretarial position to provide administrative support.”

Crawley plans to stay in Prince George’s

Prince George’s County School Board Chairman Verjeana Jacobs (District 5) said Friday that Alvin Crawley, the county’s interim school superintendent, has agreed to stay in his position until school reopens in August.
Crawley did not return repeated calls for comment on Friday.  County Executive Rushern L. Baker III (D) said Thursday that he planned to ask Crawley, who has served since September, to rescind his resignation. His original contract was scheduled to end on June 30, but Crawley submitted his resignation last month and was scheduled to leave on June 3.
Some worried that Crawley’s decision would create additional uncertainty for the school system, which has had rapid turnover. The decision came after the General Assembly approved legislation that gives Baker the power to select the new schools chief, appoint three school board members and name the board chairman and vice chair.
Crawley has served as interim superintendent since September, replacing William R. Hite Jr., who left to take the top job in Philadelphia. Crawley became the school system’s seventh schools chief in 14 years.
Jacobs said during a “unity” breakfast hosted by Baker that the board knows changes are coming, and “we are doing what we need to do to make the shifts.”
Jacobs used the breakfast to provide those in attendance with information about successes in the system: 235 of the 250 graduates at Largo High School are headed to college; Central High School seniors received $2.9 million in scholarships, and Oxon Hill High School seniors received $4.6 million.
“At the end of the day, if adults fail, kids fail,” Jacobs said. “It is our obligation.”
Christian Rhodes, Baker’s education liaison, said Baker has been meeting with members of the school board, union leaders and employees.
He said a committee has been selected that will review the 160 applications for the three new appointed spots on the school board. M.H. Jim Estepp, president of the Greater Prince George’s Business Roundtable and a member of Baker’s education commission, will serve as chair.
Baker told the group that he apologized for the timing of his legislation to take over the school system. But he did not apologize for doing it.
“Whether you are for what we did or not, we are all tied to it now,” he said.

Audit: Prince George's County schools used stimulus funds for principals' watches, microwave ovens

A federal audit shows that Prince George's County schools misused nearly $167,000 in stimulus money on things like a microwave oven and mini fridge for a school administrator, engraved watches for principals and a legal book on the firing of school employees.
The audit by the U.S. Department of Education's Office of the Inspector General also found that Prince George's schools couldn't produce adequate paperwork to back up an additional $124,000 in stimulus expenses, including electric bills, over payments to vendors, catering end-of-year events and a mother-daughter tea.
The report reviewed how Prince George's and Baltimore City schools spent federal grant money in 2009 and 2010. It also found that Prince George's school teachers and officials were using tablet computers for personal use and had downloaded unauthorized applications, such as the games Angry Birds and Words With Friends, the Bible and instant messaging service Skype.
Those unallowed expenditures include $8,736 for 145 engraved watches and velvet bags to hold them, 100 engraved laser pens that doubled as USB drives and 150 personalized folders that were handed out during a 2011 principals' meeting. Prince George's schools also spent $525 for a trip to a skating rink for students who improved their behavior and $1,083 for a rental car that the school district can't provide a receipt for.
"We are aware of the draft audit report findings, and have responded with our comments," Prince George's County Public Schools spokesman Briant Coleman wrote in an email. "While we do not concur with a number of the findings, we do agree there is room for improvement and we will continue to work with [the U.S. Department of Education] to rectify this matter."
Prince George's County argued in a response to the government that $124,369 of the $166,606 in expenditures that auditors found to be unallowable were actually permitted under the rules of the grants. The county said it did indeed have documentation to back up $95,994 of the $123,889 in inadequately supported or unsupported expenditures.
Prince George's County Executive Rushern Baker has pushed for more control over a school system that has lagged behind neighbors in test scores and has had trouble keeping superintendents. The General Assembly earlier this year passed a bill to allow Baker to appoint a superintendent from a list provided by an independent committee, as well as add new members to the school board.
A spokesman for Baker did not respond to a request for comment.
The audit recommends that Prince George's County return the money it wasn't authorized to spend and any money for which it can't provide proper documentation.
Maryland Department of Education spokesman Bill Reinhard said the state is providing more information and working with the federal government to resolve the findings of the audit and wouldn't comment further until that process is complete.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Pr. George’s official tapped as chief of staff for Montgomery schools superintendent

Katherine Frey/The Washington Post - Montgomery County Schools Superintendent Joshua Starr on July 25, 2011, at Richard Montgomery High School in Rockville.

Andrew Zuckerman will serve as Montgomery County Schools Superintendent Joshua P. Starr’s new chief of staff starting June 17.

Zuckerman is an associate superintendent in Prince George’s County public schools and will replace Brian Edwards. Edwards has been chief of staff since October 2007, but added duties overseeing the school system’s communications department when the chief communications person left in 2010.

Starr said having a chief of staff dedicated solely to overseeing the operations of the superintendent's office will be important as Montgomery takes on new initiatives to redefine the county’s definition of a successful student. Starr has added social emotional well-being and creative problem solving to the cadre of skills students should have upon graduating Montgomery schools, along with the traditional academic competencies.

The switch will allow Edwards to focus on communications, which will become increasingly important as the system grows and the district plans to expand Curriculum 2.0 in grades 4 and 5 next school year.
“Despite the most heroic efforts, it’s not always possible to do two jobs at once,” Starr said of splitting the chief of staff’s responsibilities.

Edwards was a key part in helping Starr transition as head of Montgomery County schools after Starr left his job leading the school system in Stamford, Conn. Starr has been superintendent in Montgomery County since July 2011.

Before coming to Prince George’s, Zuckerman served as an administrator for public charter schools in Brooklyn, N.Y., and New Haven, Conn. He also worked as dean of students at KIPP DC: Key Academy in Washington, D.C.

Zuckerman’s position doesn’t increase the budget since the school system plans to use existing funds to make the change, according to school officials.

Samuel Ogle educator named 2013 Christa McAuliffe Outstanding Teacher

2013 McAuliffe Award

William Moulden, science teacher at Samuel Ogle Middle School, was recently selected as recipient of the 2013 Christa McAuliffe Outstanding Teacher Award. Moulden was selected for this honor by a peer committee of Prince George’s County Public Schools (PGCPS) educators. “Mr. Moulden exemplifies the creativity and excellence in instruction that we strive to recognize through the Christa McAuliffe Award,” said Dr. Alvin L. Crawley, Interim Superintendent of Schools. "To be selected by a committee of fellow educators makes this honor all the more meaningful."

Moulden will be honored by the Prince George’s County Board of Education and school system administrators during the annual Employee Recognition Dinner on May 30. In addition, his name will be inscribed on a plaque displayed in the Board of Education Meeting Room at the Sasscer Administration Building in Upper Marlboro.

Moulden is a veteran educator with 36 years of experience. Twenty-five of those years have been spent serving PGCPS students, and he has been teaching sixth-grade science at Samuel Ogle for the past eight years. School staff nominated him for the award not only for his experience and effectiveness in the classroom, but also for his enthusiasm, charisma and ability to excite students about science.

“William Moulden is an outstanding teacher – one of the best in our school,” said principal Mark Covington. “He influences students and peers alike, and like Christa McAuliffe, he is fully committed to education.”

A leader at his school, Moulden is Grade Level Chair, member of the School-Based Leadership Team and photo assistant for the school’s Yearbook Club. Colleagues describe him as having a “highly-engaging” and “student-driven” teaching style that appeals to all students. As testament to his success in the classroom, outgoing eighth-graders have voted him the “Teacher That Makes Learning Fun” for the past three years in a row.

Moulden earned a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Baker University in Kansas. He went on to earn a master’s degree in education administration from the University of Missouri at Kansas City, just because he felt that he “should have some appreciation of schoolhouse administrative burdens.” He has kept his teaching “fresh” throughout his career by taking part in many professional development opportunities, both inside and outside of the school system. In 2005, he earned national board certification – the highest certification a teacher can achieve – from the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS). He also received his principal licensure certification in 2007.

Moulden has been an active member of the National Education Association (NEA) since 1975, serving in a variety of positions, and is currently his school’s representative. A former Green Beret Sergeant, Moulden continues to support the military community by leading the “Treats for Troops” initiative at Samuel Ogle that to date has sent more than 93 parcels – or 8.4 tons – of comfort items and treats to those serving in Afghanistan, Iraq and at sea. He is also a political advocate for education, and in wake of the incident at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newton, Connecticut, initiated legislation in Maryland that would provide a death benefit to children of teachers killed in action.

The Christa McAuliffe Award honors an outstanding educator based on competitive standards of excellence established by other teachers. The award is a tribute to McAuliffe, America’s Teacher-In-Space, who was lost in the January 1986 explosion of the Space Shuttle Challenger. McAuliffe taught in Prince George’s County from 1971 to 1978.

The following teachers joined Moulden as nominees for this year’s award: 

Sarah Barias, Panorama ES
Cassandra Daniel, Lamont ES
Gina Losey, Brandywine ES
Michelle Macanlalay, Oxon Hill ES
Cynthia Manos, Lake Arbor ES
Marivit Mariano, Panorama ES
Melanie McLaughlin, Riverdale ES
Sharada Muralidaran, Adelphi ES
Ibrahim Omar, John Hanson French Immersion
LeAnn Reddick-Weatherspoon, Cool Spring ES

Prince George’s school board adds 15 new employees weeks before Baker takeover

In one of its final actions under the current school governance structure, the Prince George’s County Board of Education voted to hire more than a dozen employees who will work for and report to the board. The emergency measure, which was approved with no discussion, comes with a $145,000 one-month price tag for the remainder of the current fiscal year and is projected to cost the school system nearly $2 million next year.

The action comes just weeks before state legislation is scheduled to take effect that allows Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker III (D) to select the school system’s school superintendent, known as the chief executive officer. Baker will also be able to appoint three board members, creating a hybrid school board, and choose the board chair and vice chair.

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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