With the arrival of new schools comes an inevitable neighborhood ripple effect: new school boundaries.
In August, Prince George's County plans to open Dr. Henry A. Wise Jr. High School in Upper Marlboro. (It's not a junior high; that was the full name of a well-known county doctor.) An elementary school in west Hyattsville, which officials plan to name for the late civil rights icon Rosa Parks, also will open that month.
Last week at a school board meeting in Upper Marlboro, officials unveiled a plan to fill the new campuses. It's a complicated sequence of moves.
The high school would draw nearly 2,300 students from areas now served by several other schools in the county's central and southern sectors. The largest portion, about 1,000 students, would come from the Marlboro/Melwood area now served by Frederick Douglass High in Upper Marlboro.
An additional 750 would come from the South Perrywood/Longfields/North Forestville areas covered by Largo High and Suitland High, 200 from the Morningside/Skyline area covered by Crossland High in Temple Hills and 300 from the Andrews Air Force Base/Dangerfield/Alexander Ferry neighborhoods served by Surrattsville High in Clinton.
Also, hundreds of students would shift to and from other schools. Examples: nearly 250 to Douglass from the Rosaryville/Cheltenham areas served by Gwynn Park High in Brandywine, and nearly 500 to Largo High from the Lake Arbor area served by Charles H. Flowers High in Springdale.
The elementary school would draw 660 students from inside the Beltway in the county's northern sector, including about 180 from Cesar Chavez Elementary neighborhoods, 200 from Hyattsville Elementary neighborhoods and 150 from Thomas Stone Elementary neighborhoods.
These changes, among others, would bring some much-needed elbow room to Thomas S. Stone, the county's most crowded elementary school. Its enrollment, 919, would drop to a projected 767. That's still well over the nominal capacity of 540.
Public meetings to discuss the high school boundaries will be held Nov. 30 at Largo High and Dec. 7 at Douglass High, both at 7 p.m. The elementary school boundaries will be discussed at 7 p.m. Dec. 6 at Nicholas Orem Middle School in Hyattsville.
700 Parent Volunteers
At the board meeting, officials talked up a parent volunteer initiative they hope will reap dividends in school achievement and morale.
Interim chief Howard A. Burnett said the school system planned to train more than 700 applicants in December and January to help in classrooms.
Board member Judy Mickens-Murray (Upper Marlboro), who spearheaded the initiative to get at least five parent volunteers for each school, said she was "overwhelmed" by the response. "Without the support of parents, we cannot succeed with our kids," she said.
Spanish Is the Top Choice
A new report shows that Spanish classes, as expected, are by far the most popular foreign language offerings in county high schools, drawing more than 16,700 students, many in Advanced Placement programs. But high schools continue to offer several other languages. Eleanor Roosevelt High in Greenbelt has 115 students in a thriving Russian program, and Largo High has 90 students taking Chinese, a first for county schools.
Countywide, nearly 4,000 high school students are taking French, 550 Japanese, 353 Italian and 235 German.
CDVIII (408) are taking Latin.
Get Your Resume Ready
Wanted: someone to run 199 public schools, raise test scores, motivate 19,000 employees and 134,000 students, balance a $1.4 billion annual budget and navigate the choppy political currents in Upper Marlboro.
Pay: minimum of $250,000, plus benefits, bonus incentives and unlimited priceless classroom photo opportunities.
Title: chief executive officer of the Prince George's schools.
Qualifications: According to a new brochure, a top asset for the ideal candidate is a demonstrated ability in raising student performance and closing achievement gaps. Another desirable quality, the brochure stated, is a demonstration of "high standards of integrity and personal performance."
Interested? The school system's Web site (www.pgcps.org) posted a bulletin last week for applicants for the job last held by Andre J. Hornsby. The alert had a link to the search firm Ray and Associates. The deadline is Jan. 5.
The brochure added: "Both traditional and nontraditional candidates will be considered."