Prince George’s County schools chief Kevin Maxwell has named two administrators with experience addressing the needs of immigrants to head two new schools designed specifically to help recent immigrants and second-
generation students adapt and succeed in school.
Carlos Beato, the former chief operating officer for New Visions for New Schools in New York City, and Alison Hanks-Sloan, the coordinating supervisor for international programs for Prince George’s County Public Schools, were selected as “design leader/principals” of the county’s International High Schools.
“They bring the necessary experience and leadership needed for a successful launch and implementation,” Maxwell said in a statement. “In a school district where our English-language learners hail from over 150 countries and speak over 160 languages, there’s no question why these new high schools are important and necessary. It’s one more way we’re strategically shaping PGCPS to ensure all of our students, no matter where they are from, are college and career ready.”
Beato previously served as an assistant principal at New Visions, according to the Prince George’s school system. He has served as director of college counseling for the Young Women’s Leadership Network and as an Advanced Placement Spanish teacher. He holds degrees from Middlebury College, City University of New York and New York University.
Hanks-Sloan has worked for county schools for 10 years. Her job involves support for the English for Speakers of Other Languages program (ESOL), the International Student Counseling Office, the Office of Interpreting and Translating and the Office of Library Media Services. She began her career as an ESOL teacher at Parkdale High School and later became an ESOL supervisor. Hanks-Sloan graduated from the University of New Mexico and George Washington University. She is a PhD student at the University of Maryland at College Park.
Maxwell and representatives of two groups that advocate for immigrants — the International Network for Public Schools and CASA of Maryland — announced in July that the Carnegie Corp. of New York had provided a $3 million grant to open two schools for English-language learners who are struggling academically.
The plan to open the schools came under fire last month when Bob Ross, president of the county NAACP, told Maxwell and school board members that the group is opposed to the new schools. Ross said the chapter has questions about whether the schools move the district back toward segregation.
Ross said he thinks the schools may be counter to the 1954 decision in Brown v. Board of Education. The landmark ruling declared that separate public schools for black and white students violated the Constitution.
There are 19 schools across the country that focus on English-language learners, including two programs in the Washington area. T.C. Williams High School in Alexandria opened an academy in 2012; Cardozo High School in the District opened its program in August.
The organizers of the schools — CASA of Maryland and the county school system — said they are not aware of questions regarding the legality of the schools being raised elsewhere.
“These are schools of choice,” Maxwell said. “They exist across the country, and there has been no legal issue that I’m aware of.”
The schools, which will open in August 2015, will be the first of their kind in Prince George’s.
The school system has not announced where the schools will be located.
Largo High School has been identified as a possible location. The new school would operate as a school within a school, similar to the international schools in the District and Virginia. The other school will be in Langley Park and will specifically serve students from that community, where many immigrants from Central America live.