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PRINCE GEORGE’S COUNTY EDUCATION BRIEFS: Maxwell Celebrates 40 Years

Prince George’s County Schools CEO Kevin Maxwell is celebrating 40 years of service in the education arena.

“We are so proud to be part of your family of @pgcps @PGCPSImmersion #ThanksDoc #PGCPSCEO40,” said students from Phyllis E. Williams Elementary Spanish Immersion School in Upper Marlboro.

Audit Response

Maxwell recently presented a detailed action plan in response to the Maryland State Department of Education audit of high school graduation rates.

The school system’s plan is designed to enhance accuracy and accountability in grading, while ensuring the academic integrity of the school system’s graduation certification process.

“We took the audit findings and recommendations very seriously and have begun making improvements to ensure a Prince George’s diploma accurately represents our students’ academic achievements,” Maxwell said late last month in a statement. “There is no more serious matter than preparing children to graduate with the knowledge and skills they need to be successful after high school.”

Meanwhile, several changes are underway to strengthen PGCPS’academic integrity. New processes for monitoring excessive grade changes and weekly grade input reports are being implemented, including a review of the number of grades entered per week in the gradebook, missing report card grades and excessive absences.

The school system also will hire an independent third party to help with implementation of the audit recommendations and to conduct a random sampling of student grades and graduation requirements at select high schools annually.

In addition, PGCPS will announce a series of community conversations this month, designed to provide more information about the audit response.

Embracing Digital Instruction

In the latest issue of “e-School News,” Maxwell shares ways for integrating technology with instruction:

• Prioritizing Professional Development – As a main key to PGCPS’ transition success, “the technology integration framework allows administrators and teachers to identify where instructional activities fit, complemented by professional development around core classroom technology, such as Google tools and interactive whiteboards;”

• Taking Time – In developing “plans for identifying and understanding technology-enabled curriculum before providing devices to students. For example, PGCPS did not eliminate traditional textbooks in the transition to digital textbooks, but instead targeted new textbook adoptions and provided a class set of books as a backup;”

• Resisting One-Size-Fits-All – Such as the discovery that “a great way to advance digital adoption from school to school is by identifying early adopters–those who are excited about technology and know how to use it effectively-to help lead the effort. Once these leaders are identified, train them first and give them authority to develop activities to model and coach their colleague;”

• Thinking Ahead – Tackling “the issue of device sustainability early. District leadership should address how devices and digital resources will be sustained for at least five years, and beyond. Develop a plan in advance that addresses these issues as well as others, such as maintaining a robust network infrastructure and collaborating with internal and external partners;” and

• Finding Good Partners – Considering that “collaboration is key in preparing instructional leaders to optimize learning tools and resources within a digital curriculum, Discovery Education takes an innovative approach to teaching and learning, especially through the use of the Discovery Science Techbook.”

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Dorothy Rowley – Washington Informer Staff Writer

I knew I had to become a writer when at age nine I scribbled a note to my younger brother’s teacher saying I thought she was being too hard on him in class. Well, the teacher immediately contacted my mother, and with tears in her eyes, profusely apologized. Of course, my embarrassed mother dealt with me – but that didn’t stop me from pursuing my passion for words and writing. Nowadays, as a “semi-retiree,” I continue to work for the Washington Informer as a staff writer. Aside from that, I keep busy creating quirky videos for YouTube, participating in an actor’s guild and being part of my church’s praise dance team and adult choir. I’m a regular fixture at the gym, and I like to take long road trips that have included fun-filled treks to Miami, Florida and Jackson, Mississippi. I’m poised to take to the road again in early 2017, headed for New Orleans, Louisiana. This proud grandmother of two – who absolutely adores interior decorating – did her undergraduate studies at Virginia Union University and graduate work at Virginia State University.

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