The starts of the 2012-13 school year marks a season of change for Prince George’s County public schools. However, that doesn’t diminish the hope Prince George’s County Executive Rushern L. Baker III has in the school system.

At a Maryland Department of Public Works meeting earlier this year, Baker said he would dedicate his second full year in office to education. At the start of school, he spent the first two days of class touring different schools throughout the county.

“The visits were great,” Baker said. “The best part of this job is going out and visiting the students at the various schools.

“It’s the first time in over 20 years that I didn’t have to take a child to school,” he said. “It was a neat experience not only to watch as county executive, but as a citizen and a parent.”

Just in time for the start of school, the Prince George’s County Board of Education announced the hiring Alvin Crawley as an interim superintendent to replace outgoing Superintendent William Hite, Crawley comes to Prince George’s County after recently serving as deputy chief of programming in the Office of Special Education for D.C. Public Schools.

Before that, Crawley worked in top positions in Arlington, Va., Chicago and Boston. He has over 32 years of experience in education. Baker is optimistic about Crawley.

“I haven’t met the interim superintendent. I hear good things about him,” Baker said. “Clearly I want to make sure whoever is the permanent superintendent is the best fit for Prince George’s County and he continues the progress that’s being made.”

He was picked despite Hite’s recommendation that the interim position go to either acting Deputy Superintendent Duane Arbogast or acting Chief Operating Officer Monica Goldson. Arbogast has been the school systems chief academic officer. Goldson used to be assistant superintendent of the High School Consortium.

Crawley starts Sept. 4 and is to work closely with Hite until his predecessor leaves to take the helm of Philadelphia’s public schools on Sept. 30.

The school year also brings possible change on the school board. Prince George’s County Young Democrats have backed several candidates running to unseat current board members. In April’s primary election, with the Young Democrats’ support, three of the four victorious candidates are under 20 years old– Edward Burroughs, David Murray, and Raaheela Ahmed. The fourth Micah Watson is a former State Department Foreign Service employee and is the father of two Prince George’s students.

There are several new things going on with the school system this year. Greenbelt Middle Schools opened its brand new two-story building. Students there will join middle school students from all over the county in having 40 additional minutes of instructional time every day.

Meanwhile, Gwynn Park High now joins Fairmount Heights as the two high schools in the county where students will be able to obtain professional IT certificates upon graduation. Seeing the need for more fire and EMS employees, C.H. Flowers high is now home to the first High School Fire Cadet Program. Students who graduate from this program will have 17 college credits.


George Barnette

Special to the AFRO