August 28, 2012 Minutes

Meeting Minutes/Notes for Tuesday, August 28, 2012 5:30p.m.


Members Present Dr.Segun Eubanks, Chair
Aimee Olivo
Bridgette Blue
Betsy Ramirez
M. H. Jim Estepp
Kathleen Teaze
Keith Singletary
Dr. Donna L. Wiseman
Heather Iliff
Members Not Present Dr. Donnette T. Dais
Dr. Leslie T. Fenwick
Desiree Griffin-Moore
Community Members The Honorable Joanne Benson, Maryland State Senator, District 24
Tia Holmes, Prince George’s County Council, Legislative Aide for Councilman Mel Franklin
Melody Spruill, Member, Parent Teacher Association
Bernard Holloway, Office of the County Executive
Staff Betty Hager Francis
Denise Hall
Christian Rhodes


Call to Order

Chair Eubanks called the meeting to order at approximately 5:45 p.m.

Adoption of Agenda

The Chair reviewed the agenda and announced the agenda would be modified to include comments from Senator Benson. A motion to adopt the agenda, with modification, was made and seconded.

 Adoption of Minutes

The Chair asked for comments regarding the minutes. No changes were made, and a motion to adopt the minutes was made and seconded.

 Comments from Senator Joanne Benson

After providing brief comments about her background as an educator, Senator Benson expressed her hopes for the direction and tasks of the Commission. She also outlined her perception of issues related to education in Prince George’s County.

Senator Benson also addressed questions from Commission members.

Regular Business

Discussion of Charges

 Chair Eubanks continued the discussion of the Commission’s charges, which were tabled from the August 7, 2012 meeting.  He requested that any discussion or suggestions also consider the human resources and financial resources needed for ensuring the charges are realized.  He summarized the basic themes that run across all charges:

  • Data Gathering
  • Community Marketing and Engagement
  • Process Design
  • Focus on outside-inside school innovations
  • Promotion of current school successes and innovations

Charge #4: Develop procedures and awards for giving recognition to Prince George’s County teachers, administrators and educational support professionals who exhibit excellence in helping students achieve high standards.

  1. Discussion
    It was established the goal for awards and recognitions should not simply be about creating awards, but also about providing public recognition and attention to those that are excelling. The discussion focused on if there is a better way than awards to get this done and how the County can improve on what is currently being done.
    As a point of clarification, the Chair sought consensus on the School Board’s role regarding awards and recognitions. The body’s opinion was that the Commission was designed as an advisory body and should, therefore, make recommendations to the County Executive regarding awards. It was noted the Commission should also be mindful of its macro vs. micro involvement. Additionally, as issues come back to resourcing questions, Commission members cautioned the body to be mindful of recommendations that would drive or increase workflow for those outside the County Executive’s purview
    The Commission also noted that whatever is done to award teachers and staff should done in a public manner so parents and the community can see the successes and credentials of its teachers. Other points of discussion included:
    Awards and Recognition Ceremonies: There is a periodic award ceremony, with large and prestigious awards. However, it is only attended by the awardees and those familiar with the awards. Logistical, cost, and attendance problems related to the current awards ceremony were discussed. The broad suggestions offered by Commission members regarding awards include:
    • Develop an awards process comparable to the County’s First Responders Awards process and ceremony.
    • Form partnerships with the business community to create awards. An example of this is the Wizard’s award for providing free tickets.
    • The County Executive should raise the profile of the existing awards ceremony by adding a County Executive’s award centered on his top education priorities.  Example: a Best Pre-K - 12 Integrations Award 
    • The County Executive should raise the profile of the existing awards ceremony by adding a County Executive’s award centered on his top education priorities.  Example: a Best Pre-K - 12 Integrations Award 
    • Highlight the Agnes Myer Award to increase interest.  Since the award has a lengthy application process, it was suggested that application and preparation support be provided to teachers.
    • Encourage and support awards at the school level.  It was noted that these local awards are quite meaningful to teachers.
    • Review local, regional and state level best practices for the government and business community involvement.
    Awards and Recognition as a Factor of Teacher Retention:  The body discussed the issue of losing “irreplaceable” teachers because enough is not being done to ask them to stay.  The recognition of National Board Certified teachers was discussed as a key component to teacher retention.  Information on the County Executive’s effort to reinstate the stipend to National Board Certified teachers was explained.
    The importance of providing administrative support and teacher development as a factor   in the retention effort was also discussed.  The Commission noted that it is important to ask these questions:  What can best be done to recognize and retain teachers? What can the County Executive do to support administrators in this effort?
    Ways to raise support and profile excelling teachers and staff were also discussed.  The current efforts of Commission member Keith Singletary owner and operator of several Chick-fil-A establishments in the County were highlighted.
    Also discussed was improving the sense of community spirit and identification as a factor in raising the County’s profile and messaging its success.  Unlike major cities, e.g., Washington, DC, Atlanta, Dallas, and Los Angeles, etc., the County is not one distinct community.  It is an amalgamation of distinct municipalities and towns.  It was noted the common threads that unite the County as a community need to be identified and marketed.   It was suggested the Commission review the City of Bowie’s model for recognizing their own. 
  2. Consensus Items
    The following are the Commission’s initial consensus items regarding what Charge #4 means and requires:
    • Improve the County’s messaging on the successes of teachers and staff
    • Form business and community partnerships for awards and recognition
    • Increase administrative and staff development support for teachers as a method for retention
    • Gather data on best practices
    Charge #5: Provide the County Executive with meaningful, thoughtful, and critical advice and feedback based on the ongoing, changing, and/or urgent educational policy issues facing the County.
  • Discussion: The Commission deemed this as their “other duties as assigned” and viewed their role as reviewing the timely issues of the day and advising the County Executive.

Charge #6: Develop quarterly reports of progress towards these charges and produce a comprehensive report at the end of the year.

  • Discussion: This charge is self-explanatory. It was decided that, as a means to facilitate full-member participation in the reporting process, subcommittees would be formed and tasked with developing reports for specific charges and/or issues.
  • Role of County Executive in Education:  The historical and ceremonial role and the County Executive’s statutory limitations were explained by staff. Subsequent discussion included:
    • The formal role of the County Executive
    • The role of the County Executive in developing the Board of Education’s budget
    • How the Commission sees the County Executive’s role in the upcoming legislative cycle.
    • Whether the County Executive should have a role or make recommendations in the selection of a new superintendent.

Summary of Public Comments

Tia Holmes, Legislative Aide for Councilman Mel Franklin expressed concern that the subject acceleration process should be more publicly known so students do not leave the PGCPS system for higher-level courses. There was discussion that this information is already readily available to all parents, through the school and the Parents Teachers Association.

Next Meeting

September 26, 2012, 5:30 p.m.

Administrative Business

Website: A Commission Website is being developed. In addition to commission data, the site will house Commission Members biographical information and photos, agenda, and minutes.
Action Items

  • The Chair will provide a summary pertaining to the discussion of the County Executive’s role by next meeting.
  • Staff will create another draft around the charges discussed.
  • On the next agenda, allot time for an executive session to discuss the Superintendent search.


Meeting adjourned at 7:56 p.m.

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