UPPER MARLBORO, MD—With an estimated 123,500 students and an array of new academic programs, class is back in session for Prince George’s County Public Schools (PGCPS).
“Students came to school today ready to learn, thanks to our outstanding faculty, staff and parents,” said Verjeana M. Jacobs, Chair of the Prince George’s County Board of Education. “Teachers and principals spent countless hours up until the first bell rang to prepare their classrooms and students. In dealing with all of the moving parts that a new school year brings, parents have been patient and flexible. We are pleased that the school year got off to a smooth start and look forward to a great year.”
The Board of Education announced Friday that Dr. Alvin Crawley will serve as Interim Superintendent. Dr. Crawley, deputy chief of programming in the DCPS Office of Special Education, will join PGCPS on Tuesday, Sept. 4.
First day of school highlights include:
- Greenbelt Middle School opened the doors on its new $53.6 million two-story building. The school is LEED Gold-certified and includes a media center, gymnasium, cafeteria and specialized classrooms for science, music, technology education, ESOL and special education. It will house an estimated 1,000 students in sixth through eighth grades.
- Gwynn Park High School will host the school system’s second information technology-focused program, which provides students with the opportunity to obtain professional IT certifications. Fairmont Heights High School launched the program last August with more than 70 ninth-graders. Sophomores in the program are taking AP Computer Science, focusing on Java fundamentals and programming, and engineering classes. A third program will begin next fall at DuVal High School. PGCPS technology distribution centers and repair shops are housed at the schools.
- The High School Fire Science Cadet Program, in partnership with the Prince George’s County Fire/EMS Department, will kick off this year with 20 students from Charles Herbert Flowers High School in Springdale. Students will train to become firefighters and emergency medical technicians, and graduate with up to 17 college credits.
- As part of the Secondary School Reform initiative, new career academies will be implemented at various high schools focusing on Architecture and Design (Suitland), Engineering and Science (DuVal), Graphic Arts, Media and Communication (DuVal), Health and Biosciences (Wise and Bladensburg), and Military Science (Suitland and Forestville).
- This year, middle school students will have extended school days that include 40 minutes of additional instruction to enhance learning and accommodate revised bus routes.
On Thursday, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and other special guests will visit Northwestern High School in Hyattsville to participate in a discussion about hunger in the classroom. Gov. Martin O’Malley and Maryland State Superintendent of Schools Lillian Lowery are also invited to attend the event, which starts at 9 a.m.
Last weekend, more than 6,000 parents and students attended the PGCPS Back to School Fair at Show Place Arena. Saturday’s event included school supply and backpack giveaways, health screenings and workshops to prepare families for the new school year. An estimated 1,000 people attended last year’s event. Major sponsors included NBC4 (WRC-TV), Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission, Dunkin’ Donuts and Comcast.
“The Back to School Fair exceeded our expectations in giving parents and students the tools they need for success this school year,” said Jacobs. “I am thrilled that so many people benefited from this event.”
Parents can find information about registration, transportation and upcoming Back to School nights on the PGCPS website.