community connections

Community Connections: First Day of School

Dear Prince Georgians:

Today, August 31, is the first day of school for Prince George’s County Public Schools (PGCPS). This is a year unlike any other we have experienced, and I know this school year will be unlike any other we have seen, with students and teachers starting the first semester in a distance learning posture. I want to reassure students and their families that we are working closely with Dr. Goldson’s team and doing everything in our power to ensure our distance learning model is successful.

We have been deeply concerned about the achievement gap, which has the opportunity to widen when our students are not in the classroom. That’s why my office took several actions during this summer to provide enrichment opportunities for our young people. We allocated funding to support the PGCPS/Higher Achievement Virtual Summer Program for rising 8th grade students at four middle schools. The four-week program included virtual sessions in math, language arts, and other academic content related to current events.

We also partnered with the Prince George’s County Memorial Library System (PGCMLS) to provide free online tutoring in the areas of language arts, math, ACT/SAT prep, as well as other resources to assist students over the summer break. These resources are still available for students this fall and can be found on the PGCMLS website here, under the Activities and Educational Resources tab. The Library is also planning to introduce additional resources to support our students this fall, so stay tuned to their website for more information.

Finally, our 2020 Youth@Work/Summer Youth Enrichment Program (SYEP), initially cancelled due to the pandemic, provided a number of paid virtual learning opportunities and limited in-person employment opportunities for young people ages 14-22. Participants were given an opportunity to take part in programs with a focus on clean energy, leadership, entrepreneurship, health lifestyles, and food distributions to those in need.

I am also proud that PGCPS is offering several resources to students and families to ensure they receive some of the same support systems as in a traditional classroom, and to help alleviate any technology issues that may be associated with distance learning. PGCPS has been distributing Chromebooks and hotspots to those who need them as the school system works to ensure every student has access to technology for distance learning.

To assist with technology issues, a distance learning portal and hotline have been set up. The distance learning portal provides a number of resources and links to assist with common technology issues that students may experience. In addition, the distance learning hotline is now available to assist with technical/equipment issues and/or instructional guidance and support. Parents can call 240-696-6229, Monday through Friday from 9 AM to 5 PM for assistance.

In addition to these resources, PGCPS has launched Parent Support Centers across the County to support parents with issues in person. These centers will be open Mondays and Wednesdays, 8 AM to 10 AM and 6 PM to 8 PM. Parents can book appointments online or by phone. For more information about Parent Support Centers, please click here.  

PGCPS is also streaming elementary instructional videos and lessons (Pre-K through fifth grade) through PGCPS-TV. These videos will start today and run through September 18, 2020, covering all core subjects. PGCPS-TV is available on Verizon Channel 38, Comcast Channel 96 and online. Learn more here.

Finally, breakfast and lunch are available for pick-up at most schools (and delivery in many communities) on Mondays and Wednesdays between 10 AM and 1 PM. Students who are not eligible for free and reduced-priced meals can purchase breakfast and lunch. Get the most up-to-date information on PGCPS meals here.

Earlier this year, I convened the Prince George’s Forward Task Force to help us chart our path forward in recovering from the pandemic. I tasked this group of subject-matter experts with focusing on several different areas of our recovery, one of which was education. They have submitted their first set of recommendations to me, 47 in total, and I am currently reviewing them to decide which we will implement in the coming weeks.

Several of these recommendations are ways we can enhance the distance learning model and provide additional resources for our students, teachers and staff. I look forward to announcing some of these new ideas and resources that will benefit our community in the coming weeks. To stay updated on the work of our Forward Task Force, please click here.

As we start this new school year, I want to thank Dr. Goldson and her team for working hard to provide our students with the resources they need while protecting their health and safety. I want to thank all our PGCPS teachers, administrators and staff, who I know are doing their level best to ensure students have engaging virtual lessons and all the additional support they need. Finally, I want to thank all our students and families for their patience and understanding as PGCPS works to deliver an effective distance learning model during an unprecedented year.

While we are in uncharted territory, remember that today and throughout this school year, we are all in this together. I truly hope everyone has a great first day of school and a great school year.

Yours in service,

Angela Alsobrooks

Prince George’s County Executive


Video Message from County Executive Alsobrooks


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