Prince George’s elections: Faculty board candidates pitch covid restoration plans


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As Prince George’s County Public Faculties recovers from one other pandemic 12 months, college board candidates within the upcoming main race pitched how they might deal with studying loss gaps confronted by college students.

The varsity system is the state’s second largest, with roughly 131,000 college students. It has historically been probably the most stringent with coronavirus protocols, because it stored a masks requirement in place whereas different college methods dropped it. Prince George’s was additionally the final college system within the state to return to in-person studying.

In the meantime, its college board has been tormented by polarization that observers say stems from its hybrid make-up of appointees and elected members. As state officers revise the board’s format, voters head to the polls starting this week to decide new members.

There are 4 seats up for election, however just one has a main: District 6. Solely two candidates every are on the poll within the remaining districts, that means they’ll mechanically advance to the final election.

Whereas the election is on July 19, early voting begins July 7.

Beneath are questions posed to the candidates by The Washington Put up. There are 5 candidates competing for the District 6 seat; three responded to questions by deadline. Responses had been edited for brevity and readability.

Jenni Pompi, 44, is a senior editor within the periodicals division of a nonprofit. She resides in Greenbelt, Md., has been a county resident for about 25 years and has two kids enrolled in Prince George’s County Public Faculties. She stated her earlier expertise as a journalist masking District 2 offers her a powerful understanding of native politics and deep understanding of municipal budgeting.

Prime points: Making a secure, wholesome surroundings for educators, kids and fogeys; clear and constant communication; restorative practices in lecture rooms; strengthening group colleges.

How would you assist college students recuperate from studying losses and psychological well being challenges seen in the course of the pandemic?

I’m a powerful supporter of the position that group colleges will play as a part of the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future. Participating college students and households by means of wraparound providers reminiscent of extra counselors and enhanced studying alternatives by means of discipline journeys throughout college and after-school hours and thru partnerships with organizations; and specializing in enhancing scholar attendance and father or mother engagement (together with academic alternatives for fogeys and different relations), are confirmed to extend scholar success.

I can even work to make sure every college has a totally funded psychological well being providers coordinator place and help instructor and workers skilled improvement round recognizing signs of psychological well being issues.

What’s your place on the varsity board returning to a totally elected board by 2024?

I help the Board of Training’s return to a totally elected board by 2024.

How would you help retaining and recruiting educators?

I’ll commit to totally implementing the Blueprint, and with that, it’s promised set beginning wage of $60,000 for all academics by 2026. I additionally help wage will increase within the union contract for aggressive pay with surrounding counties. I help an actual profession improvement system with skilled improvement alternatives and guarded skilled improvement days to retain each new and veteran licensed academics.

How would you enhance college security?

I help enhancing exterior security options already in place and being constructed in new PGCPS buildings, reminiscent of safety vestibules and safe entrances. Simply as necessary is constructing a powerful sense of group by means of restorative practices and wraparound providers that improve the protection and safety of our college students.

Incumbent Board member Joshua M. Thomas didn’t reply to questions.

Incumbent Board member Pamela Boozer-Strother, 53, is an affiliation sector guide for sponsorship applications. She lives in Brentwood, Md., and has a son within the college system. She helped lead the system by means of the disaster of the coronavirus pandemic she stated, and is deeply educated of the programming and budgeting of the $2.6 billion system.

Prime points: Household and group engagement revered as essential to tutorial achievement; college building; Blueprint for Maryland’s Future applications and funding, together with the Neighborhood Faculties wraparound helps mannequin and extra helps for English Language Learners and particular schooling; and, local weather change motion planning in operations and the curriculum.

How would you assist college students recuperate from studying losses and psychological well being challenges seen in the course of the pandemic?

I help the tutorial restoration plans developed by CEO Dr. Monica Goldson. PGCPS has been a pacesetter in pandemic response, constructing tutoring and summer season applications to supply year-round helps for learning-loss gaps in addition to implementing the Blueprint for Maryland Future’s group colleges mannequin with wraparound providers that embrace psychological well being practitioners at school buildings.

What’s your place on the varsity board returning to a totally elected board by 2024?

I’m proud to be an elected Board Member who’s effectively regarded by my constituents as accessible and responsive, and who works collaboratively with the Board chair, colleagues and administration. I can present stability and continuity when the Board returns to totally elected.

How would you help retaining and recruiting educators?

With the help of the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future laws, PGCPS continues to extend pay steps and annual price of dwelling changes along with a aggressive advantages bundle. I voted to develop the price range for tuition reimbursement, incentive pay and to lift the hourly pay price for substitutes to $30/hour to make it doable for academics to take day off for skilled improvement and relaxation.

How would you enhance college security?

I’ll proceed to advocate for funding for brand new clear vitality college buildings which are constructed with the options of safe entrance entrances and trendy doorways and locks; enhance secure strolling paths to varsities and advocate for a totally staffed crossing guard program; promote mitigating covid-19 unfold by means of a excessive vaccine price; and, help budgets with elevated providers for bullying prevention and restorative approaches to battle decision.

Varinia V. Sandino didn’t reply to questions.

Pat Fletcher, 72, is a retiree and former member of the varsity board from 2006 to 2010. A number of relations, together with her two daughters who grew to become academics, have been or are college students in PGCPS. She has twenty years of expertise within the discipline of psychological well being and resides in Landover, Md.

Prime points: Pupil achievement, accessibility to psychological well being providers, wholesome and efficient studying surroundings.

How would you assist college students recuperate from studying losses and psychological well being challenges seen in the course of the pandemic?

Presently, PGCPS is providing credit score restoration over the summer season for free of charge. I want to see this program proceed after college when it begins in August for the whole college 12 months. I want to see PGCPS companion with the county well being division and have psychological well being counselors/staff in each college.

What’s your place on the varsity board returning to a totally elected board by 2024?

I participated within the open public boards of the committee that the county government initiated to do analysis and supply suggestions about this subject and am in settlement that the varsity board be absolutely elected.

How would you help retaining and recruiting educators?

Aggressive salaries equal extra licensed academics equal smaller lecture rooms, which end in an efficient studying surroundings for our college students. When companies come into the county, as a substitute of [the] tax breaks that we give them, have them make a dedication to offer a share of their annual earnings to the colleges or a portion of their taxes that they pay to the county come to PGCPS earmarked for workers pay.

How would you enhance college security?

I want to see coaching of all workers (not simply the academics) to have the ability to acknowledge when a scholar is in hassle and in a position to direct the scholar to the correct assets. Psychological well being counselors/psychologist in all colleges and in-school suspension with counseling. I’d additionally advocate security officers within the colleges.

Brandon D. Jackson didn’t reply to questions.

Dannine Johnson didn’t reply to questions.

Ashley Kearney, 32, is a whole-child and anti-racist methods integration supervisor for D.C. Public Faculties. She lives in Seat Nice, Md. She is an completed coverage adviser with demonstrated success in educator effectiveness coaching, driving scholar achievement and managing a congressional schooling portfolio.

Prime points: Making a secure, empowering, joyous and Twenty first-century studying surroundings, having extremely certified and supported educators.

How would you assist college students recuperate from studying losses and psychological well being challenges seen in the course of the pandemic?

College students’ readiness to study begins with the relational constructions within the local weather and tradition of faculties, and the energy of the varsity’s relationship with households, caregivers and group companions. Along with the Blueprint’s response, I’d advocate for utilizing the real-time website and inhabitants knowledge analytics from the brand new knowledge administration system rolled out in March to make sure providers rendered, and workshops and coaching offered to households and workers straight [to] meet the wants of the scholar reported [as] frequent issues outlined within the PGCPS Psychological Well being Companies updates.

What’s your place on the varsity board returning to a totally elected board by 2024?

I help the return to a totally elected board by 2024, in addition to the advice of the duty drive to not enable candidates to seem on slates. I’d additionally advocate for alternatives for community-based board coaching workshops to supply entry to these certified individuals looking for workplace, and help the required pipeline given the duty drive’s extra term-limit advice.

How would you help retaining and recruiting educators?

I’d enhance the alternatives for paid instructor management, guarantee alternatives for complete skilled improvement, elevated recognition, develop pipelines for substitute academics and educating aides with reciprocal college and district partnerships that present alternatives to permit educators time to decide to additional research and [give] instructor candidates extra medical follow or entry to instructor apprenticeship. I’d additionally work with county management to discover extra property tax credit for educators who personal a house within the county and serve for a decided quantity of years.

How would you enhance college security?

I’d set up a college security work group to incorporate academics, college students, involved group members and leaders who would think about the findings of the Optimum Faculty Security Process Drive to deal with issues of follow in making certain Optimally Protected Faculty standing. I’d additionally work with the school-to-prison pipeline work group to contemplate collaborating with the Maryland Affiliation of Faculty Useful resource Officers to extend the variety of district college directors, counselors, dad and mom and academics to co-create finest practices and institution of faculty security metrics as an efficient stopgap to the long-term efforts of the Optimum Faculty Security Process Drive for restructuring and/or phasing out of SRO and safety personnel.

Sean Michael Wilson, 28, is a municipal liaison and particular assistant to the chief of workers for the Prince George’s County State’s Lawyer’s Workplace. He’s a Prince George’s County native, who graduated from the varsity system and resides in Seat Nice, Md. Wilson stated his expertise as a public servant having labored at each stage of presidency makes him certified for the board seat.

Prime points: Aggressive instructor pay, attracting and retaining extremely certified academics, college security, increasing vocational/profession technical applications.

How would you assist college students recuperate from studying losses and psychological well being challenges seen in the course of the pandemic?

I’d create remedial applications and applications for English language learners to study their core research of their native language. I’d enhance psychological well being workshops for fogeys and college students, and add to the variety of in-school clinicians supporting the county Psychological Well being Coordinator.

What’s your place on the varsity board returning to a totally elected board by 2024?

I absolutely help an all-elected college board as I consider it returns democracy to the residents of District 6 and Prince George’s County.

How would you help retaining and recruiting educators?

We recruit to not fill a emptiness however to teach a baby, thus we’d like one of the best and the brightest extremely EFFECTIVE academics. I’d help the varsity board making certain that we foster a supportive and nurturing work tradition that values academics and presents a compensation/reward system that incentivizes academics to excel in supporting educating and studying. I help elevating salaries to be regionally aggressive, making certain up to date trainings are supplied of their topic space in addition to skilled improvement.

How would you enhance college security?

With the current uptick of violence and gun incidents in our colleges, we should do all the things in our energy to maintain them secure, reminiscent of making certain that our school-based safety have all the required assets and coaching to ensure they will successfully do their job. We should take a look at methods to observe social media for varsity and struggle actions and interact our dad and mom to grasp scholar tradition. Additionally interact extra group members to function scholar mentors.

Kent Roberson, 38, works in authorities relations. He’s a graduate of Prince George’s County Public Faculties. He has two kids within the college system, and beforehand was the vp of the PTSA. He lives in Clinton, Md.

Prime points: Infrastructure, help methods.

How would you assist college students recuperate from historic learning-loss gaps and psychological well being challenges seen in the course of the pandemic?

I consider reinforcing the alternatives for continued on-line applications which are at present supplied by means of the varsity system could be a method to assist with studying loss. This contains working with the varsity CEO to determine methods we are able to work collectively to seek out psychological well being companions in the neighborhood that may converse to the wants of our students.

What’s your place on the varsity board returning to a totally elected board by 2024?

I help the varsity board returning to a totally elected board by 2024.

How would you help retaining and recruiting educators?

I consider we should always work with the Maryland State Board of Training to permit the educators which were substituting for lengthy intervals of time to obtain credit score towards their certifications and be employed as full-time educators. I additionally consider there must be alternate options to educators having to take the PRAXIS examination, once they have been evaluated as efficient educators. Lastly, I consider we should always work extra intently with our state faculties and universities to supply tuition help and tax incentives for these people that decide to work within the college system or dwell inside their college district.

Lolita Walker, 44, is an authorized life, management and government coach, keynote speaker, and small enterprise proprietor of a private {and professional} consultancy. She is a graduate of the varsity system and resides in Accokeek, Md. Her schooling, coupled with work, dwelling and life experiences allow her to convey a large number of expertise to the desk, she stated.

Prime points: Psychological well being, college security, parental engagement.

How would you assist college students recuperate from studying losses and psychological well being challenges seen in the course of the pandemic?

Studying-Loss Gaps: Constructing upon our Summer season Studying Spark Program, I’d goal to create linkages between our highschool and elementary college students, whereby high-schoolers in eleventh and twelfth grade are afforded the chance to mentor and tutor our youthful students. This, alongside partnerships with current group tutoring assets, will be sure that we start to bridge the learning-loss gaps.

Psychological Well being Challenges: Although there are programming and assets obtainable by means of mindfulness curriculum at present supplied to academics, it’s crucial that skilled and private improvement can also be supplied to college students and workers by the use of cultural range coaching and credentialed assets which are each inside and outdoors of the varsity system.

What’s your place on the varsity board returning to a totally elected board by 2024?

It’s my perception that a mixture of elected and appointed positions are value-added for any board. Elected officers symbolize the chosen leaders who certified voters have trusted to symbolize them, which frequently drives a deep sense of accountability. An appointed place presents the chance to assemble a harmonious bridge that results in stability and ahead development, minus what could possibly be a political stalemate, at instances.

How would you help retaining and recruiting educators?

Highschool educating internships, incoming credit score for educating within the district to which you had been educated, and involvement in early mentorship of our students from schooling majors in native universities can start to construct a lane to recruitment of profitable academics. To retain academics, some issues are the continuation and/or implementation of bonuses (signal on, loyalty, efficiency, to incorporate scholar and peer suggestions, and many others.), funding for academic development by way of coursework and certifications, and each native and nationwide media to focus on wins.

How would you enhance college security?

Partnerships with native police departments to extend safety presence and affect in and surrounding the colleges; cellphone and web suppliers to sponsor workshops on cyber security and its affect on psychological and bodily well being; group facilities to draw retirees, offering extra classroom protection for small-group studying and hallway monitoring; therapists and counseling providers to supply secure areas for our students to uncover what they could be holding internally; leisure facilities to supply earlier than and after college actions and programming; and with artwork establishments to companion with our artwork workers and college students to create murals, constructive affirmations and inventive methods to have fun the wins of our students, encouraging them to persevere by means of the hardest of instances.


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