August 7, 2012 Minutes

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


Members Present Dr. Segun Eubanks, Chair
Heather Iliff
Bridgette Blue
Betsy Ramirez
Dr. Donnette T. Dais
Kathleen Teaze
M. H. Jim Estepp
Desiree Griffin-Moore
Members Not Present Dr. Donna L Wiseman
Dr. Leslie T Fenwick
Aimee Olivo
Keith Singletary
Others David Beard, Advocates for Youth and Children
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
L.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 move the item “Opening Meetings Statute Briefing” to an administrative closed session after the public portion of the meeting. Mr. Estepp made the motion to accept the agenda, with the modification. The motion was seconded by Ms. Teaze.

Regular Business

Chair Eubanks informed the Panel that due Dr. Charlene Dukes’ appointment as Chair of the State Board of Education, she will not serve as a member of the Commission. She was replaced by Dr. Leslie T. Fenwick, Dean of the College of Education, Howard University. He also advised that due to scheduling conflicts, Aimee Olivo and Keith Singletary were unable to attend this meeting.
The information notebook provided to each commission member was reviewed. The notebook material included: Meeting Agenda, List of Members, Education Transition Team Report, Conceptualization Plan, and Opening Meeting Statute.
Chair Eubanks began a discussion of the Conceptualization Plan document. He informed the Commission members that this document was a draft of the Commission’s charges, as understood by the Chair; it was developed solely as a guide to help launch the Commission’s thinking.
The problem statement and the purpose portion of the document come directly from the Education Transition Team’s Report. The discussion focused on solidifying and understanding the Commission’s charges.
The proposed charges for discussion were as follows:

Charge #1: Develop an aggressive and proactive outreach agenda to significantly improve the image and desirability of the Prince George’s County Public Schools among both current and potential residents.

  • Discussion
    Chair Eubanks opened the discussion by noting that he would like the Commission to develop an outreach agenda and an aggressive outreach campaign.
    Publicize Existing Awards and Recognitions: Ms. Iliff stated that she saw potential benefit in a combined focus on Charges #1 and #4, which addresses developing and implementing award recognition programs. She illustrated that current recognition award programs and ceremonies fulfill Charge #4, however, they are not well-publicized, nor attended by officials or the media. She stated there may not be a need for more awards, but a need to do better outreach to publicize the existing awards and accomplishments of the schools, students, teachers, etc. A Countywide communications campaign led by the Office of the County Executive was an initial suggestion.
    More Focus on Public Engagement: Ms. Griffin-Moore indicated that she would like to see the Commission focus less on outreach to manage public image and more on engaging the public by marketing factual information on the opportunities, accomplishments and benefits of the Prince George’s County Public Schools (PGCPS) and allowing for public response. She believes this will motivate families to begin thinking about what is good in the system for their children.
    Broad Community Conversation about Education: Mr. Estepp shared that when he was a member of the Prince George’s County Council in the 1990s, only 30% of families in the County had children in public schools; that meant that 70% were not engaged in PGCPS. Ms Griffin-Moore stated that a conversation about the image and value of the PGCPS is needed, especially for families that have children in private schools and, to particularly, answer the question “What am I getting for my [tax] money?” It was determined the Commission should take a macro approach and gather data to determine the demographics the school system currently represents, public attitude, etc. Ms. Teaze, Director of the Prince George’s County Memorial Library System, indicated that some school data is readily available through the library.
  • Consensus Items The following are the Commission’s initial consensus items regarding what Charge #1 means and requires:
    • More about public engagement - less about public outreach
    • Data needs to be gathered
    • Community engagement is needed, e.g., conversations with public, polling, talking to stakeholders.
    • Marketing and engagement activities needed to target the whole community (parents, tax payers, prospective parents, etc.)

Charge #2: Work with education experts and industry professionals to study evidence-based and other education innovations occurring in the state and across the country. In addition, the Commission may make recommendations to the County Executive about programs for investment.

  • Discussion: Chair Eubanks noted that this charge has two focuses: (1) Searching for innovations to move the County’s education forward. (2) Developing criteria and process for reviewing and determining which of the many ideas and innovations proposed to the County Executive are appropriate to move forward. Christian Rhodes, Executive Director for the Commission, explained the County Executive is not looking for new ways to implement the same programs; he is looking for more “out-of-the box” approaches to education.
    Establish the Process of Vetting/Exploring Innovations: Ms. Griffin-Moore requested clarification on the Commission’s role for researching new programs. She expressed that she felt the Commission’s charge was to gather information on approved and evidence-based innovations to present to County Executive, rather than making recommendation for specific programs. Chair Eubanks expressed that the Commission should ensure that its work under this charge does not devolve into micro areas. She echoed the suggestions that an agreed-upon strategy for the Commission to collect and review information on evidence-based programs be established.
    Innovative Resources Already Exist: Ms. Iliff expressed there is a lot of innovation that already exists; the problem is how to resource and overlap with other programs. She noted that there is also a connection between Charges #2 and Charge #3 (below) and recommended working with other agencies to explore ways to encourage students learn in another context.
    Going Beyond Traditional Education Strategies and Promoting Out-of-School Strategies: Ms. Griffin-Moore also expressed concern for “disconnected youth” who have no family involvement in school, as well as, the need for a continuum of educational opportunities that go beyond 9:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m., and partners with nonprofits and the business community. Mr. Rhodes explained how these concerns and the work of the Commission fit perfectly into the County Executive's "Transforming Neighborhoods Initiative" effort.
    Miscellaneous: Ms. Ramirez expressed concern that PGCPS’s budget is a large consideration in discussions of identifying and moving innovations forward. Chair Eubanks explained that while this is true, there are innovations that can be proposed in areas currently under the County’s Executive’s purview, which can be moved forward.
  • Consensus Items
    The following are the Commission’s initial consensus items regarding what Charge #2 means and requires:
    • Focus on innovations outside traditional school
    • Decide which innovations are the right ones to support
    • Promote current innovations
    • Develop process for reviewing and moving innovations forward

Charge #3: Work with the County agencies, institutions of higher learning and community organizations to ensure services and resource alignment in support of school system needs in targeted areas.

  • Discussion: Inclusion of Business Sector and Nonprofits: Mr. Estepp noted that the business sector is perhaps one of the best partners for this charge. However, there is no reference to the business sector in the charge.
    The Chair agreed this is a part of the conversation that was missed. Ms. Griffin-Moore suggested the Commission also look at including nonprofits.
    Current Efforts to Align Services and Resources: Ms. Francis and Mr. Rhodes explained some of the things County government has done to survey/scan services already provided by the Health and Human Services (HHS) agencies to identify where improved alignment of County services is needed. Both felt that survey/ scan can be expanded or utilized to identify County and private entity services and resources that may support school system needs. When questioned about information on how the education related services and resources already identified by the survey/scan can be accessed, Mr. Rhodes and Ms. Hager explained that County is in the process of developing a handbook and is considering the best method for distribution, i.e., online vs. print or both. The discussion of the distribution and sharing of information included a recommendation that options for training sessions and community fairs be considered.
    Need for Wrap-a-Round Services: Ms. Francis stated that HHS agencies recognize the issue of student achievement relates directly to what is going on in the home. Also, HHS is being aligned to provide wrap-a-round services for family and students as funding permits. The issue of student achievement as it relates to what is going on in the home was briefly discussed with emphasis on the Commission looking at alignment of resources that address wrap-a-round services for family and students.
    Commission’s Contribution to This Charge: In addressing questions and concerns regarding the Commission’s contribution to this charge, the Chair Eubanks assured the Commission that this charge does not assume an accountability role. He did, however, express that if the Commission found that accountability is an issue, it will detail that in its report to the County Executive. It was noted the Commission’s contributions under this charge may include:
    • Serve as a neutral mechanism to bring people together to discuss alignment.
    • Review innovations to strengthen Pre-K programs in response to the Education Transition Report’s finding that the County does not have a strong Pre-K program.
    • Find new and creative ways to strengthen parental involvement and parent-school relationships.
  • Consensus Items
    The following are the Commission’s initial consensus items regarding what Charge #3 means and requires:
    • Explore business partnerships and alignments of partnerships across spectrum
    • Determine what is being done and where the work of the Commission can fit in.
    Discussion of Charges 4, 5, 6, and the remainder of the public meeting agenda was tabled until the next meeting.

Summary of Public Comments

Melody Spruill, Parent Teacher Association: Ms. Spruill expressed a need for more outreach around the success of the PGCPS. Prior to making the decision to send her children to public school, she did research and found the achievement rates in public schools were comparable to those of private schools.
David Beard, Advocates for Children and Youth: Mr. Beard expressed appreciation for the Commission’s work and offered his and the help of his organization, where needed.

Administrative Business

  • Next Meeting: August 28, 2012, 5:30 p.m.
  • Future Meetings: The last Tuesday of each month. The date of the December meeting will be announced at a later date.
  • Meeting Location: Meetings will be held in County Administration Building, Media Conference Room, 1st Floor, 14714 Governor Oden Bowie Drive, Upper Marlboro, Maryland 20772
  • Proper notice will be provided regarding the exact room locations, if the Media Conference Room is unavailable.

Action Items

  • Ensure agenda, minutes and other meeting materials are distributed at least twenty-four (24) hours in advance of meeting date
  • Provide the Chair with a gavel by the next meeting


Meeting adjourned at 7:56 p.m.​​