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Advocating to Improve Our Local Schools

Yesterday was the deadline to submit requests for our local schools in the PGCPS’s FY24 school budget. Based on the feedback I received from the wonderful school community, I submitted the following requests to be included in the budget for Hollywood Elementary School.
1. Funding for Before & After Care tutoring service at Hollywood for the school students to help strengthen subject comprehension, boost confidence, and build essential learning skills. It appears that PGCPS provides similar programs at other schools in its jurisdictions: Child Care Programs (
2. Funding to purchase an electronic School Marquee to better communicate with the school community.
3. Funding to help improve the school’s curbside appeal to the school grounds and make the school appear more attractive.
4. Funding to build signs at different entry locations to help improve the safety of the school children.
The City has a longstanding partnership with Hollywood Elementary through various programs the City supports. Every year, we provide grants for specialized school programs. Additionally, last year, the City provided funding for supplemental individualized literacy services for 29 students for a full school year. To help improve the safety of the school children, we’ve also recently worked on new traffic patterns and signs on the nearby City streets. The City is also working to implement an online tutoring program for College Park’s students.

Council Asks County Exec and PGCPS to Restore Crossing Guards at Hollywood Elementary School

At last Tuesday’s meeting, the Council approved a letter to the Prince George’s County Executive and the Chief Executive Officer for Prince George’s County Public Schools requesting Crossing Guards for Hollywood Elementary School. The Prince George’s Police Department manages the crossing guard program, and in the past, City staff reached out to PGPD multiple times on this matter but without any effect. We hope this letter to the County Executive and the PGCPS CEO, Dr. Goldson, will make a difference.

PG County School Moves to Virtual Again until January 14

Hollywood Elementary School

Yesterday, the PG County school system announced to take all classes to virtual until January 14.

The statement reads “In light of the stark rise in COVID-19 cases throughout our school system, all students will transition to virtual learning, effective Monday, December 20 through Thursday, December 23. Winter Break will proceed as scheduled, Friday, December 24 through Friday, December 31, and virtual learning will continue Monday, January 3 through Friday, January 14. In-person learning will resume Tuesday, January 18, following the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. holiday; students in the K-6 Virtual Learning Program will return Monday, January 31.

Over the past few days, I have remained in daily contact with the Prince George’s County Health Department regarding appropriate steps for maintaining safe environments across more than 200 school communities. Educators, administrators and support staff must be able to deliver in-person instruction and other activities in conditions that prioritize their own health, as well as the wellbeing of the school community. The increased positivity rates have significantly challenged the ability to do so, causing anxiety among many school communities and disruption to the school day.”

Earlier, the PGCPS closed 3 schools, until January due to COVID infections


City to Send Letter to Prince George’s County School Board Regarding Bus Transportation

At tomorrow’s Council meeting, the Council will consider approving a letter with its concerns about school bus transportation.

There have been many reports of buses not picking up students or being chronically late to bring or return students from the school. This critical situation is a public safety issue, prevents students from learning, and is a disruption to all students in the school.

Recently a group of parents sent a petition from over 350 County residents who are concerned about the current situation. Currently, the school board has brought together a task force that is looking at the issue both in the short and long term.

The letter asks (1) to evaluate and ensure proper use of the app called “Here Comes the Bus (2) to ensure all bus drivers understand their rout (3) to coordinate with school, administration to ensure attendance policies do not wrongfully punish students whose day is disrupted by a late bus (4) to ensure that all students whose bus is late still have the option to eat breakfast

Parents Share Concerns about County School Bus System

A group of College Park school parents has started an online petition asking the Prince George’s County Board of Education to address the school transportation issue. According to the petition, School-age children are repeatedly left standing at bus stops until well after school has started. The schools do not fully take into consideration these tardies that are not their responsibility.

It looks like these issues are somewhat caused by a school bus driver shortage issue that the PGCPS is experiencing for some time. PGPCPS still needs to hire about 100-150 drivers to fully staff the 97 of the 1,142 routes that don’t currently have assigned drivers. PGCPS is holding bi-weekly job fairs to fill the positions, however, they are fighting an uphill battle to attract candidates who are taking their expertise to Metro or other local school systems. Unfortunately, other neighboring school systems are also facing a driver shortage issue to some degree.

A few months back, the PGCPS CEO Dr. Goldson issued the following statement about the scheduling issues: “Your child’s bus route does not currently have an assigned driver and we are covering the route through other means, including substitute drivers and splitting routes. Unfortunately, there will likely be delayed arrivals and drop-offs until further notice”.

Unfortunately, it’s hard to know how many busses are arriving late in a given period. Last month the Fox5 – D.C. also reported the school system isn’t tracking how many buses are seriously behind schedule.

To fix the problem, the school board has formed a transportation task force that has been meeting monthly. Members are working to develop a plan that would combine routes to offset the driver shortage. An interim report is expected sometime this month. However, by March, the task force is expected to make scheduling recommendations for arrival and departure times, bus driver recruitment and retention and any changes that should be made for the next school year. The full report from the task force is expected to be released by spring break. Dr. Goldson is hoping to have a solution in time to implement for the 2020-21 school year.

Our City Council has limited influence over the PGCPS, however, we can share concerns with them in a letter approved by the Mayor and Council.

Dr. Monica Goldson Named New CEO of Prince George’s County Schools

Earlier this week, Dr. Monica Goldson was selected to be the permanent CEO for Prince George’s County Public Schools.

Goldson was assigned to the post as an interim CEO after the controversial severance package for departing CEO Dr. Kevin Maxwell was voted on by the board July 12, last year.

She has served as Deputy Superintendent of Teaching and Learning since 2016. In this role, she led school support initiatives in the areas of curriculum and instruction, special education, testing, college and career readiness and student services, according to the school board. Prior to Deputy Superintendent, she served as Chief Operating Officer.

Goldson will oversee preparations for the 2018-19 school year and join forces with the Board of Education on the school system’s five focus areas: academic excellence, high-performing workforce, safe and supportive environments, family and community engagement and organizational effectiveness.

Prince George’s County Public Schools are nationally recognized for innovative programs and initiatives that provide students with unique learning opportunities, including arts integration, environmental and financial literacy and language immersion.

Not only a product of the county schools, Goldson has spent her entire 27-year career in Prince George’s County Public Schools, steadily climbing the ranks from the classroom to district leadership. Goldson began her career at Suitland High School as a mathematics teacher. She served as assistant principal for Forestville and Frederick Douglass high schools and principal of Frederick Douglass and Dr. Henry A. Wise Jr. High schools.

Council Awards Local Schools for Sustainability Practices

At this week’s meeting, the Council ]recognizes College Park neighborhood schools for their sustainability practices with the goal of energizing schools to become and maintain their status as green schools through the Maryland Association for Environmental and Outdoor Education’s (MAEOE) Green School program.

City’s Education Advisory Committee in collaboration with the College Park City-University Partnership teamed up to introduce this program.

The City through it’s Education Advisory Committee/Partnership Green School Award is external recognition of their programming and a boost for their application.

The College Park Green School Award, in this its first year, was open to neighborhood schools serving College Park students. It included the following categories for awards:

  • Energy Conservation
  • Water Conservation
  • Pollutions Prevention
  • Recycling/Re-Use measure
  • Air Quality

“Green-o-vation” project (STEM + Green + Innovation)

Criteria for receiving an award includes completing a questionnaire about their initiative, a number of students involved, the success of the program, challenges faced and how the projects/initiatives will be sustained in the future. Schools provided photos in addition to the documentation.

Schools approved for the award by the Education Advisory Committee for Council recognition:

  • Berwyn Heights Elementary
  • Hyattsville Middle School
  • Paint Branch Elementary
  • Hollywood Elementary

This Saturday: Maryland Day, Yard Sale, and School BBQ

This Saturday, celebrate Maryland Day, a day of learning, fun and discovery. You’re invited to bring the whole family and enjoy hundreds of fun-filled activities, demonstrations, exhibits, performances and other events demonstrating the impact and value of our world-class university.

Maryland Day 2019, Saturday, April 27, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Free admission and parking.

Al-Huda School Community BBQ
Also, this Saturday, from 2pm – 4pm join the Al-Huda school community at their school. The school community will be excited to have you come chat and chill and have some good tasty Burgers, BBQ Chicken, Hotdogs, and some good snacks! meet and greet others!

When: 2 pm – 4 pm

Where: Al Huda School, 5301 Edgewood RD


College Park United Methodist Yard Sale: 
Before you head over to Maryland Day or when you’ve gotten tuckered out from yard work, swing by College Park United Methodist to get some good finds. This will be a sale like no other! Don’t miss clothes, furniture, crafting items, books, and more!

When: 9 am – 1 pm

Where: College Park United Methodist Church




Prince George’s County Public Schools Dismissing 2 Hours Early Today Due to Heat

Prince George’s County Public Schools students will be dismissed two hours early Wednesday due to the hot temperatures impacting the region.

This comes as other Maryland schools have closed or released students early because of the extreme heat.

Students at more than 60 Baltimore City schools without air conditioning were let go three hours early on Tuesday while 10 schools in Baltimore County were closed on the first scheduled day of the school year.

A Prince George’s County Public Schools spokesperson told that while all 208 schools in the school district have air conditioning, 40 schools are having different levels of problems with their air conditioning.

Temperatures are expected to exceed 90 degrees again in the D.C. area on Wednesday.

Prince George’s County Public Schools said on Twitter it will reassess its plans for Thursday.
[Source : Fox5 DC News]

City to Honor College Park Student Essayists

Every year, the Maryland Municipal League sponsors a contest for 5th-grade students around the State, where students are asked to write an essay about what they would do if they were the mayors of their towns. Each school selects a winner of the essays submitted, and the winner goes on to a regional contest and then a State-wide contest.

At tomorrow’s meeting, the winners from Al-Huda School, Hollywood Elementary School, Friends Community School, and Holy Redeemer will read their essays. Congratulations to all the winners!

This year’s outstanding essayists include
(a) Fahey James, Holy Redeemer – MML District Winner
(b) Sarah Collins, Holy Redeemer – MML Semi-finalist and School Winner
(c) Alusine Fadiga, Al-Huda – MML Semi-finalist
(d) Fahima Shaikh, Al-Huda – School Winner
(e)Jawad Hejazi, Al – Huda – School Winner
(f) Iain Knighton, Paint Branch Elementary, MML Semi-finalist
(g) Yailiana Zelaya, Paint Branch Elementary, School Winner
(h) Autumn Grimes, Hollywood Elementary, School Winner
(i) Seneca Oehrle, Friends Community School, School Winner

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