January 22, 2013 Minutes

Meeting Minutes/Notes for Tuesday, January 22, 2013 6:00 p.m.


Commission Members Present Dr. Segun Eubanks, Chair
Heather Iliff
Bridgette Blue
Aimee Olivo
Dr. Donnette T. Dais
Betsy Ramirez
Desiree Griffin-Moore
Keith Singletary
Kathleen Teaze
Dr. Donna L. Wiseman
Commission Members Not Present M. H. Jim Estepp
Dr. Leslie T Fenwick
Board of Education Members Present Verjeana M. Jacobs, Chair, District 5
Carolyn M. Boston, District 6
Zabrina Epps, District 1
Peggy Higgins, District 2
Amber Waller, District 3
Carletta Fellows, District 7
Edward Burroughs, III, District 8
Donna Hathaway Beck, District 9
Board of Education Members Not Present Patricia Eubanks, District 4
Guests Mr. Rushern L. Baker, III, Prince George’s County Executive
Dr. Charlene Dukes, President, Maryland State Board of Education
Dr. Mary Gable, Assistant State Superintendent, Division of Academic Policy, Maryland State Board of Education
Staff Betty Hager Francis
Mary Lou Anton
Christian Rhodes

Welcome and Introductions

Dr. Eubanks and Mrs. Jacobs opened the meeting at 6:20 p.m. They welcomed all attendees, introduced Mr. Baker, and Dr. Dukes. Dr. Eubanks then requested everyone at the main table introduce themselves to the room.

Opening Remarks

Mrs. Jacobs stated the Board of Education is very much interested in hearing about the Commission and their ideas/recommendations. The School Board members are hard at work, committed, and welcome additional help in order to reach their goals for the greatly-needed, education improvements of our County’s students.
Mr. Baker agreed with the Board’s Chair and expressed that this is a great opportunity to work together. Mr. Baker stated that upon his election there were two areas that he particularly wanted to see major improvements made. One was public safety and the second was public education. He immediately begun scheduling weekly meetings with two agency heads held by elected officials, the State’s Attorney and the Sheriff. These meetings were held each Monday and the theme was how to reduce crime and make the quality of life better in Prince George’s County. The Transforming Neighborhoods Initiative (TNI) was created for six areas within the County with the highest crime rates. As a result of TNI, crime has been reduced by thirty-three percent, and that is why we are here tonight. I would like for the Board and the Commission to focus on the schools these six TNI communities serve. Let’s work together to improve the education within these six communities by utilizing the Schools Board’s resources, combined with the resources of the Prince George’s County government offices.
Dr. Dukes stated that the State of Maryland received approval for flexibility from adhering to certain federal requirements for our public education system. The Elementary and Secondary Act (ESEA), commonly known as “No Child Left Behind”. Maryland is one of thirty-four states and the District of Columbia to receive approval on its flexibility request. Schools must meet three requirements:

  • Adopt common core state standards
  • Adopt new state assessment system
  • Adopt new accountability system (implement new teacher and principle system)


Presentation on School Progress Index:

Dr. Mary Gable, Assistant Superintendent, Division of Academic Policy, Maryland State Board of Education. Dr. Gable gave a power point presentation on The Principles of The Elementary and Secondary Act (ESEA) Flexibility. A copy of the link is provided for anyone wishing to see the complete details of the presentation - Presentation on School Progress Index

Introduction of Commission Work Plan:

Chair Eubanks provided everyone a copy of the Commission’s Work Plan. The transition team outlined the County Executive’s priorities regarding education in the County’s public schools. The Commission’s job is not to fix any school, but to work collaboratively with the Board to build consensus and support for high-quality, public and private education in our County’s schools. The Commission has identified four key strategies:

  • Celebrate Our Educational Success
  • Identify and Support Innovation
  • Partnerships and Alignment of Services
  • Champion Great Teachers and Principals
  • Chair Eubanks stated that each of the four strategies above has identified a sub-team and has been assigned one of the key strategies. The Commission, collectively, will look at all of the issues and will then make recommendations to the County Executive.


  • The practicality of the Commission Work Plan as it relates to innovative projects
  • The School Board stressed their need for more financial resources
  • Recommendations for innovative ways to support, recognize, and retain teachers
  • Summer programs to reinforce what students have learned through the school year
  • Additional funding to promote emersion programs that have been proven to work
  • Possible enhancement to schools in TNI communities, i.e., students not prepared when entering kindergarten – reach out to grass roots churches to provide mentoring/assistance
  • Have a discussion with the County Executive regarding TNI and how best to utilize resources
  • Change kindergarten back to a full-day instead of a half-day
  • Provide transportation through high school
  • Non-profits that offer mentoring ensure the mentoring being done is where it is most needed and on the topics most needed
  • The image of our districts- why families aren’t sending their children to public school

Mrs. Jacobs provided an update on the Superintendent search. The search firm advised that they have received several good candidate applications and will provide a report to the School Board by mid-February. Interviews will begin in March 2013. The Superintendent must be in place by July 1, 2013. For more information concerning Prince George’s County schools, or a specific school’s progress, please visit: http://www.mdreportcard.org/