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Hite Backs Off Of Plan to Move Gifted Program

By Nelson Hernandez
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, February 14, 2009

The interim chief of the Prince George's County school system has backed away from plans to shift a talented-and-gifted program from one of its most successful elementary schools, saying a separate change in his proposal to close a dozen schools rendered the move unnecessary.

The decision not to move talented-and-gifted students from Glenarden Woods Elementary School to Robert R. Gray Elementary School in Capitol Heights came after parents sharply protested the plan, saying that uprooting the program would damage a top school and cause teachers and parents to leave the county.

The change was a side effect of another decision, interim Superintendent William R. Hite Jr. said yesterday. He added Dodge Park Elementary School in Landover to a roster of schools that might be closed and removed Judge Sylvania W. Woods Elementary School in Glenarden from the list.

Because Sylvania Woods is not closing, there is no longer a need to clear space for its students at Glenarden Woods, Hite said.

Arnold Kee, president of the Prince George's County Association for Talented and Gifted Education, which had protested against the change at Glenarden Woods, said he was pleased but cautious.

"It appears that the board and/or the administration is hearing concern, and so we wanted to give them credit for that," Kee said. But Kee said a final decision hadn't been made -- the Board of Education votes on the plan next month -- and he promised to "follow the process to completion."

Hite said the school system would continue to take parent opinion into account.

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