Pr. George’s schools chief addresses Bowie education forum


Kevin M. Maxwell, left, chats with Prince George's County Executive Rushern Baker in July 2013. (Marvin Joseph/The Washington Post)

Kevin Maxwell, chief executive of the Prince George’s County schools, told a group of parents Tuesday night that one way he intends to improve academic achievement in the struggling school system is to address the inconsistences in instruction throughout the district.

“There are inconsistencies from classroom to classroom and school to school,” Maxwell said at an education forum in Bowie. “That’s one of the things we’re going to look at.”

Maxwell, a longtime Bowie resident who started his career in Prince George’s, first introduced himself to the crowd, then answered about 10 questions from the audience about speciality programs, repairs to school buildings and his first impressions of the system since his return.

Maxwell said he has always had a strong interest in environmental literacy, art integration and language immersion.

He said his staff is doing an inventory of the speciality programs, and he once again indicated a desire to create a Spanish immersion program.

A resident said Bowie High School is “dilapidated” and needs to be replaced, or at the very least is in need of a facelift. The audience applauded.

Maxwell said he wasn’t opposed to the idea, but the district would need to look at the capital needs and the maintenance plan for the school and make sure they worked together.

Maxwell said he has been largely pleased with what he has seen since he started in August. But he is concerned with inconsistencies in instruction.

“Facility-wise, some of them look great, and there are some that need a lot of work,” he said.

Maxwell said it was “inexcusable” that the school system had to return more than $1 million in capital funds to the state because it did not spend the money in the allotted time.

He said the period was prior to his arrival, and he has made some staffing changes in that area. “I think we’ve turned a corner there,” he said. “I think we’ll see improvements there in that area.”

The majority of the questions centered around Common Core, the new academic standards that are changing instruction. The standards have been adopted in 45 states and the District.

Maxwell told the group that the new standards were created “to increase rigor and to make our students more competitive internationally.”

Ovetta Wiggins writes about K-12 education.
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