The following were among actions taken at the Dec. 7 meeting of the Prince George's County Board of Education. For more information, call 952-6000.
SUSPENSIONS DECLINE -- The number of students being suspended in Prince George's schools has declined, according to a report presented to the board.
In the first two months of the school year, the number of students suspended fell to 2,118 from 2,843 in the same period last year, according to officials in the Department of Pupil Personnel.
Superintendent John A. Murphy attributed the drop in suspensions to officials developing such alternatives as after-school suspension, which does not require a child to leave the campus, instead of suspending students. The county has been developing alternatives to suspensions since a recent report showed that the county suspended students at a rate twice that of other large school districts.
STANDARDIZED TESTS -- Board member Marcy Canavan withdrew a resolution she proposed to eliminate three standardized tests from the school system.
Canavan had said that throwing the tests out would allow students to have more time for class work and to prepare for other state-required tests. But she withdrew her resolution when she failed to get support from other board members.
The members said they could not vote for the resolution because the superintendent already is beginning to phase out two of the tests. Some members also said they did not want to throw out a third test because it is given to students at the discretion of school principals and should remain that way.
Two of the three tests Canavan sought to elminate were the Gates MacGinitie reading achievement test for elementary and middle school students and the California Achievement Test for 11th-graders. Both are being phased out. The third, a visual materials test that measures students' knowledge of maps, graphics and charts, is optional and given to elementary students when principals deem it necessary.
NEW CHAIRMAN -- The board unanimously elected Barbara F. Martin as its new chairman. Doris Eugene was elected vice chairman.
Martin, 65, who succeeds Thomas R. Hendershot, said she will address concerns about access to magnet schools and try to improve minority staffing.
Martin, who served this year as vice chairman, was first elected to the board in 1984. She represents District 6, which includes the Seat Pleasant and Landover areas.
Eugene was appointed to the board in 1978 and has since served as chairman once and vice chairman twice. She represents the Beltsville area.
Martin and Eugene will serve one-year terms.