Monthly Archives: November 2016

Residents raise concerns about new middle school location, PGCPS

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Langley Park at Langley Park-McCormick Elementary School

LANGLEY PARK – Residents who came out to the community listening session hosted by County Councilwoman Deni Taveras and Board of Education Members Dinora Hernandez and Mary Kingston Roche wanted to know if building a new middle school at the Mary Harris “Mother” Jones school site was a done deal.

They didn’t get the answer they wanted.

Last week, the three community leaders met with approximately 35 residents from in and around Langley Park at Langley Park-McCormick Elementary School to field residents’ concerns about the school system, student issues and future school construction.

While parents from across the area came to the meeting to advocate for their schools and ask questions about the quality of education their children receive, a group of community members from around Adelphi Road dominated the conversation with their concerns about building a new middle school near their homes.

Bob Butler, a resident who lives near Adelphi, said he wanted to know if it is a “done deal” for the middle school to go on the area of land near Mary Harris “Mother” Jones.

“The first question is, is the middle school there a done deal?” he asked.

The answer was a resounding yes, not only from the three community leaders, but the various Prince George’s County Public Schools (PGCPS) employees also in attendance.

The dozen or so residents who attended the meeting to voice their concerns about the school being built were visibly aghast at that answer, but Butler continued asking questions.

“When and how was the community able to be notified that this might possibly be happing? Because this really came as a surprise to all of us,” he said. “Suddenly we were told there was going to be a school here.”’

Lucian Coleman, the capital fiscal analyst for PGCPS, said Butler’s question was fair, and it was a question asked by many of the residents gathered at the meeting. Coleman, who took his position in March, said he didn’t have all the answers, but told those gathered that there had been a series of meetings for the public providing the options for middle school locations.

However, he said, now is the perfect time for the public to voice their concerns about the schools, because they are still in the designing stages.

“We’re still in the early stages of planning and it’s not too late for us to hear your concerns,” he said.

Several community members lodged complaints about the new middle school location, bringing up issues that arose from the construction and placement of the Mary Harris school. Residents pointed to issues with large rats patrolling the neighborhoods after being pushed out of the school location; they complained of traffic and gridlock in and around the neighborhood during drop off and pick up hours; and one resident complained of criminal activity around the school at night.

One resident even asked the community leaders to consider the area wildlife before building the school.

Despite the sway of some of those in the room, Taveras said she has seen this amount of pushback about school construction from several communities and it still doesn’t change the fact that the northern area of the county needs more schools and needs to address overcrowding.

“We assessed 18 different sites in the area and there really isn’t any other location. There is about three or four other locations and we need them all,” Taveras said.

However, the residents gathered from the Adelphi neighborhood were not fully convinced and said they want more time and more communication from the school system regarding the construction and the timeline for the project.

Taveras said she does plan on holding another meeting at the current school site to engage the surrounding community in the planning discussion. Roche and Hernandez said they would also take the conversation back to the school system to see if PGCPS can work on its outreach to residents who don’t have children in the school system.

“The point is well taken that this information clearly didn’t get to, perhaps, people who don’t have children in the system, so we’re taking that back, that it needs to reach the whole community. The whole community is affected by school construction – that’s a really good point,” Roche said.

Other concerns raised at the community meeting included transportation issues. Some parents complained of having to use taxis to get their children to school, others complained their children were not getting breakfast because the busses are late, and one mother claimed she was receiving letters concerning truancy violations due to late busses.

Another concern raised was about the perception of PGCPS and the quality of education students in the system are getting.

Lacy McDowell is a parent of a child at Hyattsville Elementary School, which he said he loves, but he is concerned about the quality of schools beyond elementary.

“He’s going to be going to high school in six years and that worries me,” he said. “I’m always concerned about perception of PG County schools. There’s so many people that I talk to and I tell them I have son in PG County schools and their immediate response is ‘oh my gosh, seriously?’”

McDowell said he wants to know his son is receiving an education where he is going to be prepared for high school, prepared for college and prepared for life.

Roche said the school system does have a problem trying to break through the perception about it, but she said that perception is not the reality.

“We are serving our students well. We are making progress, but we’re fighting a reputation that has been around for a long time,” Roche said.

via Prince George’s County Sentinel

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Dozens of PGCPS Students Walk Out of Class in Protest, 1 Arrested

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Students from Northwestern High School protest president-elect Donald Trump on Nov. 18. Photo by NBC4

Dozens of high school students in Prince George’s County walked out of their schools Friday to protest President-elect Donald Trump — despite warnings from school leaders.

One student was arrested and another escorted out during a demonstration at Dr. Henry A. Wise Jr. High School in Upper Marlboro, Maryland. The student arrested is accused of threatening a police officer, according to a spokesperson for Prince George’s County Public Schools.

According to Fox5DC, Students at Dr. Henry A Wise, Jr. High School in Upper Marlboro, Maryland attempted a walkout protest on Friday. But after school denied them, they decided to protest in cafeteria and hallway, yelling and carrying Black Lives Matter and gay pride flags.

“They came into the cafeteria and they were holding up signs of Black Lives Matter and gay pride flags, and that is when they told me I couldn’t stand on the tables and stuff in the cafeteria, so they sent them into the hallway,” said one student describing the scene. “That is when everyone started going into the hallway and they were protesting.”

“Everybody was yelling, everybody was screaming, people getting pushed around,” another student told us. “It wasn’t necessarily what school officials did. They did their best to try to keep it under control, but there are 3,000 children in our school. So when it came to having a protest inside the school, it just wasn’t a good idea.”

“It kind of got disruptive and out of control, but that is what you kind of expect with protesting and stuff,” said another student.

There were reports of some students being trapped in the cafeteria, but a school staff member told FOX 5 that personnel lowered a partition in the cafeteria, but other cafeteria doors were open where students were able to leave. Some students also said they were not trapped.

Elsewhere, according to NBC 4 Tracee Wilkins demonstrations were largely peaceful and reflective. Some students said they didn’t have the opportunity to vote, but want their voices to be heard.

“We were not old enough to vote so this is how we are going to represent,” said a young woman participating in Parkdale High School’s protest.

A large group of Parkdale students walked out at noon and chanted “Love is love.”

“When we have people who are saying that we need to stop protesting because we can’t change the election, they’re missing the point. They’re missing our message,” said Juwan Blocker, a student member of the Prince George’s County School Board.

At Northwestern High School in Hyattsville, students recited politically charged chants as passersby beeped to show their support.

Both Northwestern and Parkdale are diverse schools made up of large immigrant and first-generation American populations.

Students organized the protests through social media. The Prince George’s County School system warned the students in advance that they would receive unexcused absences for walking out of school.

“If Trump will be in office for four years, guess what? We’re going to be out here for four years,” said one Parkdale High School student according to NBC4.

Read more;  Read more Hyattsvillelife.com, 

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Thugs who beat Trump voter make GIANT mistake…

The day after the presidential election, a man in Chicago was beaten by a group of thugs and had his car stolen. Why was he a target? Because they assumed he voted for President Elect Donald Trump, of course.

As fifty-year-old David Wilcox was beaten, a woman recording the video can be heard saying “You voted Trump. You voted Trump,” then “don’t vote Trump!”

Now, you know how most crimes are committed at night to reduce the number of potential eyewitnesses? These criminal gangs were apparently unaware of that, and opted not only to commit a crime in broad daylight, but to record the entire thing and post it on social media for all to see their illegal agenda.

That didn’t end too well. As the Chicago Sun Times reported: Four people have been charged in connection with a West Side carjacking last week that was caught on video, showing people heckling a man about voting for Donald Trump while he was beaten. About 12:45 p.m. on Nov. 9, officers responded to a battery in the 1100 block of South Kedzie, according to Chicago Police. The 50-year-old man told police he was beaten up after a traffic-related argument with three males and two females, police said.

One of the male suspects got in the man’s car and left the scene in high speed, police said. The man was dragged as he held onto the car’s window. He was taken to Mount Sinai Hospital for treatment and released. He was later interviewed by NBC 5 news channel (See below). 

Julian Christian, 26, of the 2500 block of South 14th Avenue in Broadview; Dejuan Collins, 20, of the 9500 block of South Avalon; Rajane Lewis, 21, of the 7800 block of South Euclid; and a 17-year-old girl were each charged with a felony count of vehicular hijacking in connection with the incident, police said Friday.

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The four were taken into custody Thursday, police said.

Oddly enough, there wasn’t even any confirmation that Wilcox voted for Trump until he told the press that he did vote Trump, but there was no way his attackers would know.

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Grand jury indicts 18-year-old former PGCPS Student in two killings.

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Left: Arthur Baldwin Jr., the Secret Service officer shot and killed in a robbery on Dec. 15. Right: Devonte Washington. (Family photo, left; Courtesy of Victor Leonard, right)

An 18-year-old District resident who was once a Prince George’s County student was indicted Thursday in two slayings. The indictment includes the December shooting of a Secret Service officer during a robbery and the March shooting of Davonte Washington who was 15-year-old at the Deanwood Metro station.

Davonte Washington, 15 was a Prince George’s County Public Schools (PGCPS) Student  who was being raised in Maryland by his stepfather so he could have a chance to attend better schools. He was a student at Largo High School in PGCPS District. We covered his story here.

After investigations and an arrest, a D.C. Superior Court grand jury indicted Maurice Bellamy, 18, on multiple charges, including first-degree premeditated murder while armed, first degree felony murder and robbery. Bellamy, who was 17 at the time of the killings, was charged as an adult. The Washington post covered Maurice Ballamy’s story here. (Four ways schools failed in the case of Maurice Bellamy, a 17-year-old charged with two killings)

Bellamy’s alleged violent criminal spree rippled through the District.

Authorities say that on March 26 Bellamy gunned down 15-year-old Devonte Washington, who was on his way to get a haircut for Easter. Authorities say Washington was targeted simply because he or a sibling looked at the shooter the wrong way at the Deanwood Metro station.

Bellamy was also charged in the Dec. 15 slaying of Arthur Baldwin Jr., a Secret Service officer who was shot during a robbery in Southwest Washington, where he was waiting for a friend.

Charles Sims, 30, Bellamy’s co-defendant in the December robbery and murder, pleaded guilty Wednesday in D.C. Superior Court to second-degree murder while armed and armed robbery of Baldwin. Sims is scheduled to be sentenced on Jan. 12.

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Davonte Washington, 15, was being raised in Maryland by his stepfather so he could have a chance to attend better schools. He was a student at Largo High School in PGCPS (Courtesy of Victor Leonard)

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Former PGCPS Student arrested for threatening mass violence at former high school on Twitter.

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Alejandro Avelar, 20, of Adelphi

The Prince George’s County Police Department Homeland Security Division detectives arrested a suspect in connection with a threat of mass violence to High Point High School in Beltsville. The suspect is 20-year-old Alejandro Avelar of the 2200 block of Tecumseh Street in Adelphi.

The preliminary investigation reveals the suspect used his Twitter account to threaten to bring guns and explosives to High Point High School this afternoon. Avelar, an alumnus of High Point High School, is charged with Threat of Mass Violence and other related charges. During this investigation, detectives have been able to verify that Avelar does not have access to firearms or explosives.

Detectives ask that anyone who sees threats of violence on social media to please call police immediately instead of forwarding that post. This helps detectives trace the origin of the threat more quickly.

“The Prince George’s County Police Department will continue to take seriously all threats against targets in this county and will work aggressively to arrest whoever is responsible for sending those threats,” police said Tuesday.

Anyone with information about these cases is asked to call Crime Solvers at 1-866-411-TIPS (8477), text “PGPD plus your message” to CRIMES (274637) on your cell phone or go to http://www.pgcrimesolvers.com and submit a tip online.

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High Point High School in Beltsville – MARYLAND.

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How Former PGCPS Executives continues To Scheme Taxpayers in Nashville.

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Dr. Shawn Joseph

By Phil Williams

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Nashville’s new director of schools makes a lot more money than the mayor.

So why have you been paying for his rent and the security deposit on his house?

It’s the latest question raised by an exclusive NewsChannel 5 investigation.

Back in July, Dr. Shawn Joseph took charge of a district that’s often stretched for resources… where teachers sometimes resort to GoFundMe drives to furnish their classrooms.

His contract gave him a $285,000 salary, and the district bought him a $55,000 Tahoe to drive.

Still, we discovered that, when he found a new house to lease, he charged taxpayers another $10,000.

NewsChannel 5 Investigates asked, “Why are you charging taxpayers for your rent?”

Joseph responded, “My contract was negotiated and like many executives there is that transitional housing that occurs — and that occurred in my contract.”

We checked, and Joseph’s contract does say the school board will pay for “three months of reasonably priced temporary housing.”

Joseph’s landlord confirms he signed a one-year lease on this Bellevue-area house at $2,500 a month.

We asked, “Twenty-five hundred dollars a month — is that reasonable?”

“You tell me,” Joseph answered. “I’m not a real estate broker.”

“So you consider that one-year lease to be temporary housing?” we continued.

“The terms of my lease are my business — I’m transitioning,” he replied.

NewsChannel 5 Investigates noted, “You’re charging taxpayers for it, so it’s the public’s business.”

“No, no,” he insisted.

We showed Joseph’s contract to Metro Council member Steve Glover, who served four years on the Metro School Board.

“I think it’s taking advantage of the taxpayers,” Glover said.

“When I look at a temporary housing clause in a contract, I assume that’s for like a Residence Inn until you can find your permanent housing, where you are going to live, where you are going to go home to every day.

“If in fact, he took a lease on July 1st, that’s permanent housing.”

WATCH: Did Board approve security deposit?

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We also discovered that Joseph, for the first month, billed taxpayers $5,000 — for the first month’s rent and a $2,500 security deposit.

That means that if he damages the house or breaks the lease, taxpayers have already paid for it.

NewsChannel 5 Investigates asked, “In looking at your contract, I don’t see anywhere that it says you can charge taxpayers for the security deposit on your house.”

“Sure,” he acknowledged.

“Can you point that out to me?” we asked, offering him a copy of the contract.

“No, you can hold that,” he declined. “I don’t need that. Thank you.”

“Is it in there?” we asked. “I don’t see it in there.”

Joseph replied, “I am just following what the board saw was appropriate.”

Glover didn’t see it either — even though Joseph’s request for reimbursement *was* signed by then-School Board Chair Sharon Gentry.

“I certainly don’t see where we’ve agreed to pick up a $2,500 security deposit,” he said. “The taxpayers should never be responsible for picking up his security deposit. Never. Never, ever.”

We also discovered that Joseph had a school maintenance worker come to his house to paint. The schools director insists the worker was off the clock — and that he paid him out of his own pocket.

But our investigation also uncovered evidence that Joseph arranged for another maintenance worker to come to his house to mount a television.

Joseph’s assistant emailed staff, saying the worker “will be on the clock” — meaning you would pay for it.

We asked, “So where did she get the idea that he would be on the clock? Did that come from you?”

“No,” Joseph said, “and that’s why I corrected it in an email.”

His email to staff explained that the issue was “time sensitive because the cable company needs to install the cable on a tv that will be on the wall.”

He said that the worker would simply “adjust his start time” and then work a full day.

NewsChannel 5 Investigates noted, “Your words were: ‘I have approved the adjustment of his time.’ You were approving him changing his schedule.”

“If he was going to be late,” Joseph explained, “I was approving that he would work eight hours.”

We continued, “Why would you even think that mounting your television was more important than him being at work on time?”

“It’s not more important at all,” he said.

The worker’s time card shows he ended up taking 3.5 hours of vacation time, finally coming into work just after 11 on the morning he had been scheduled to work at the boss’s house.

WATCH: Discussion of use of maintenance worker

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Still, Joseph claimed, the worker never showed up at his house.

“Though he wanted to help me and I appreciated the help, it just wasn’t worth the overall potential headache. So we chose not to do that.”

As for the security deposit on that one-year lease, Dr. Joseph said that he’ll pay it back if the school board decides it’s something that needs to be returned to taxpayers.

But, so far, there’s no sign that the board is inclined to openly question anything that he’s done.

Via Channel 5

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Shawn Joseph breaks down and cries while in PGCPS.

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Downtown Nashville – Tennessee 

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Critic Sees ‘Cronyism’ In former PGCPS Executives in Nashville Tennessee Hiring Fiasco.

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How PGCPS Executives transferred Cronyism in Nashville Tennessee and hired their friends pretending to be the best in the nation only to get caught. The Tennessee Nashville Metro Schools Hiring fiasco is facilitated by illicit affair and corruption.

Phil Williams a reporter in Nashville Tennessee pulled no punches when he launched an extensive coverage against the former Prince George’s County Public Schools (PGCPS) Executives and now Nashville Metro School’s  “corrupt political elite.” They  appear to be embezzling funds from the district without any mercy.

Nashville parents and local bloggers have singled out the “scandalous” Dr. Shawn Joseph transaction in which long time friends and close members and friends controversially received thousands of dollars in suspect pay. Others are engaged in a culture of pay to play within the same district using the Nashville Metro as a flat form for an illegal agenda to do Business.

“We’re headed for a predator state where a powerful, corrupt and demagogic elite of political hyenas are increasingly using the state money to get rich,” said one parent after reading about the story in the blogs.

Just like the “hyena and her daughters” eat first in nature, the “School chief and his family eat first” in Nashville Tennessee. The same scenario is playing out in Prince George’s County were they learned this trade and advanced to the next level only to get caught. Remember our story early this year ….Mr. Bodyguard Hyena and why his escort is unfair through a jungle.

>>>Read more

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Shawn Joseph is overcome with emotion and cries while in PGCPS.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Has Metro’s new director of schools hired some of the nation’s best — or just his best friends?

That’s the question being raised by critics of Dr. Shawn Joseph’s hiring practices.

NewsChannel 5 Investigates discovered that one of the common factors behind a lot of those hires is that they’ve previously worked with him in Maryland or Delaware — or they’ve got connections to members of his inner circle.

“We have to hire and attract the best people in the country,” Joseph insisted in a recent interview.

One of those people — Kathleen Dawson — serves as an executive lead principal, helping to supervise other principals.

We pulled her application and it claims that, in her last job as an executive principal, Dawson was “responsible for leading the turnaround” of a troubled high school, increasing the graduation rate by 4 percent, while decreasing the dropout rate by almost 1 percent.

Local education blogger T.C. Weber found that laughable.

“This was good for a chuckle,” he remarked. “Kathleen has done everything but hire all the janitors, build the school, train all the parents.”

Weber is a Metro Schools parent whose blog is followed by a lot of district employees.

He noted that a simple Google search shows that Dawson took the job in New Bedford, Massachusetts, in July 2014.

By November, there were reports of trouble inside the school.

By January, Dawson had called it quits.

NewsChannel 5 Investigates asked, “Realistically, there’s no way she could have accomplished that?”

“No, no, no,” he insisted.

In fact, we discovered that, while Dawson’s resume shows plenty of experience as an assistant principal, she’s never worked a full year as the lead principal at any school in her career.

“My conclusion when I look at that,” Weber said, “is that she is overseeing a whole bunch of principals that are a lot more qualified than she is.”

But Joseph recently told NewsChannel 5 Investigates, “I feel real good about who we have.”

He defended the fact that, when he wanted the best chief academic officer in the country, he hired a longtime colleague from Maryland, Monique Felder.

The best chief of schools he could find: another colleague, Sito Narcisse.

The best executive officer for diversity: Narcisse’s then-fiance, now wife, Maritza Gonzalez.

The best executive officer for priority schools: another colleague, Mo Carrasco.

Two other executive lead principals — Karen Desouza Gallman and Linda Iverson — are also from Maryland.

“If I know extraordinary people,” Joseph said, “then I think it’s great for me to do what I can do to recruit them.”

We asked, “Is it possible that there were extraordinary people already here that you overlooked?”

“No, not for the positions that I hired for,” he answered.

WEB EXTRA: Joseph discusses Central Office size

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Weber’s reaction: “Well, he would have had to talk to people to know that.”

The education blogger noted that, in the case of Kathleen Dawson’s position supervising other principals, there were plenty of options in a district that’s been honored in recent years for its innovative programs.

“At the high school level across the board we have some rock stars,” he said. “Down in the middle schools, we have some rock stars. We have some quality principals. That’s one strong point we have.”

He also pointed to Joseph’s hiring of another former colleague, Tamika Tasby, to head professional development programs used to train teachers across the district.

Her resume shows that, until just five years ago, Tasby was in sales.

“A lot of teachers that I talk to get angry about that one,” Weber said.

Why?

“Because she has absolutely no classroom experience and absolutely no experience in developing professional development.”

Joseph, however, has been unapologetic.

“For the initial start, I thought in this instance and this time the people that I chose are pretty extraordinary — and I’m very proud of the work they are doing.”

While Joseph insisted he’s just being the change agent that the School Board hired him to be, Weber has another word for what he sees.

“I think it’s safe to say that cronyism would be the right word.”

NewsChannel 5 Investigates reached out to the school district four days ago, asking for comment about these specific hires.

We wanted to know if anyone else was given a chance to interview — and we wanted to know why district leaders think the two women we highlighted were so qualified for these jobs.

So far, Dr. Joseph and his team have ignored our request for comment.

Meanwhile, we obtained an email in which Doctor Joseph’s longtime mentor cautioned him about hiring so many outsiders.

That came after Joseph hired an outsider as his chief of staff. That meant that three of the four people on his leadership team were from out of state. The only Metro Schools veteran was former interim director Chris Henson.

“Chief looks good and well rounded. BUT she is another outsider,” Joseph’s former boss, Jerry Weast cautioned.

“Be careful and try to find someone besides Henson who is local. He will attract conversation since people know him…. I am advising you you must have someone you trust and is a local — that is until you become the local.”

Joseph told NewsChannel 5 Investigates that he just doesn’t agree with Weast’s concerns.

Read more >>> A Look at How PGCPS Executives transferred Corruption to Tennessee.

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