Five elementary schools are kicking off the new year with praise from the Maryland State Department of Education for excellence in gifted and talented education.

The 2019-20 Talented and Gifted (TAG) program lottery is open through March 12.

Meals Discounted for Shutdown

As the government shutdown continues, PGCPS assures that no parent should fear their child will not eat because they cannot afford to pay.

The school system’s existing policy ensures that every child within its system receives something to eat, even if they cannot pay.

While no schools within the district have reported students missing meals because of the shutdown, the PGCPS team, at the request of the Board of Education, examined a proposal to provide free meals to all affected students. Under ordinary circumstances, more than 83,000 of the system’s 134,000 students already receive free and reduced-price meals.

Given the unknown length of the shutdown, expanding the program for weeks to include additional students is cost-prohibitive, totaling an estimated $190,000 a day — an unbudgeted expense that would be fiscally irresponsible and take funding away from other school district services, PGCPS officials said.

Taking this into consideration, effective immediately, any student who requested a meal due to the federal government shutdown will receive the standard hot entrée available at their school. PGCPS is also providing qualifying families the opportunity to temporarily apply for the free and reduced-price meal program and is expediting the processing time for affected applicants.

‘Invention Convention’

How can students be innovators of better living? That’s the question Carmody Hills Elementary fourth-graders sought to answer at the recent “Invention Convention.”

Students presented inventions to improve everyday routines: mobile-phone charging, alternative energy sources, music and art accessories and more.

Surprise Visit

Two Fairmont Heights High School seniors received gifts during a recent surprise visit from Thiel College.

Ayodele Ogunibe was awarded a full-tuition academic scholarship worth about $129,000, while Jekhia Williams received an $8,000 Dean’s Scholars Award.

Chess Champs

The Phyllis E. Williams Spanish Immersion Elementary School chess team won first- and third-place trophies in the recent Chess Wizards tournament at American University.

The team competed in the annual tournament against 10 public, charter and private elementary schools throughout the D.C. region.

Meals Challenge

The Excellence in Education Foundation and Prince George’s County Public Schools requests public support for students who cannot afford a hot meal during the federal government shutdown and beyond. The PGCPS 10,000 Meals Challenge fund will cover breakfast and lunch costs for students in need.

To donate, make checks payable to Excellence in Education Foundation for PGCPS or mail to Excellence in Education Foundation for PGCPS, Inc., Attn: Estelle Ferguson, Assistant Treasurer, 14201 School Lane, Suite 116, Upper Marlboro, MD 20772.

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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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