It's a big day in Prince George's County—not only are the 125,000 students that attend public schools are returning to classes today, but Dr. Kevin Maxwell is welcoming them as the system's new leader. Maxwell was appointed the Prince George's County Public Schools CEO in July, having led the school system in Anne Arundel County before that.
Standing outside Bladensburg Elementary School this morning, Maxwell said he planned on remaining available to teachers and parents and helping increase student achievement in the county school system.
"One of [my goals] is what I'm doing right now—being out and out, seeing how things are operating, seeing what facilities look like, seeing what class sizes are, seeing what curriculum is being taught and what the pedagogy and instructional methodologies are," he said.
"Another one would be to work very hard to increase student achievement at a more rapid rate. It has been improving, there's no question about that, there's a good foundation here so how do we accelerate that? Third is adding some additional programs. There's certainly some demand in the community—I've heard that at my meet-and-greets, I've seen that in the wait lists for different programs like the Montessori program, I've heard a lot about the need for additional foreign language immersion programs," he said.
Segun C. Eubanks, who leads the 14-member Board of Education, similarly said that he hoped to use the partnership between the board and Maxwell to usher in new energy to public schools and raise test scores.
"I think the number one item is to share the excitement and enthusiasm of a new era in Prince George's County public schools," he said. "To help our teachers and students recognize that we have a leadership team that's there to support excellence in our schools. To make sure that our board of education supports the agenda of our new CEO and that we work together as a team on behalf of our students."
"We want to be able to see that we are keeping the steady academic improvement that we've achieved over the last five years, we want to see that academic achievement continue and we want to see if we can accelerate it," he said.
Schools are also opening today in Frederick County in Md. and Fauquier County in Va.; schools in D.C. and Montgomery County open next week, while most Va. school districts will open after Labor Day.