Tag Archives: Pgcps corruption

Former PGCPS elementary school aide charged in child porn case to appear in court Monday

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Deonte Carraway, 22, abused at least 17 children. (Photo Courtesy) 

A former elementary school volunteer arrested in a child pornography case involving at least 23 children is scheduled to appear in federal court next week for a plea hearing, public court files show.

It is not clear from the records whether Deonte Carraway, 23, intends to admit guilt in the wide-reaching case that roiled Prince George’s County. Online court records show a hearing is scheduled for a “Guilty Plea-Arraignment Hearing” in U.S. District Court in Greenbelt at 9:30 a.m. Monday.

The government has accused Carraway of persuading and directing several children to engage in sexual activities that were recorded on cellphones, with Carraway supplying some of the phones.

Some of the videos and alleged sex acts occurred on the campus of Judge Sylvania W. Woods Sr. Elementary School in Glenarden, Md., during the school day, federal prosecutors charge. Police and prosecutors said incidents also took place in private homes, a church, a public pool and a Glenarden government building, with Carraway leveraging his position as a teacher’s aide, school volunteer and community choir director to coerce the children involved.

No tentative plea agreement has been listed in public court files.

Plea agreements can be rescinded. A judge would need to accept any guilty plea at a public hearing.

Monday’s scheduled hearing comes almost one year after Carraway’s Feb. 4 arrest. Carraway pleaded not guilty at his first federal court hearing in March.

A federal grand jury indicted Carraway on 15 counts of sexual exploitation of a minor to produce child pornography. The federal charges involve 12 children. Carraway also faces 270 counts of child pornography and related charges in Prince George’s County. All told, local and federal investigators have said they believe Carraway abused at least 23 children between the ages of 9 and 13 over a year.

Carraway told police he gave children phones and told them to send explicit images of themselves through an anonymous messaging app, according to federal and local charging papers. Carraway’s federal public defenders have said in court filings that Carraway’s confession to the incidents should be considered invalid because he did not give it voluntarily and did not fully understand his rights when speaking with law enforcement.

The case shocked the Prince George’s County school system and angered Woods Elementary parents, who questioned why Carraway was allegedly allowed to be alone with students.

After Carraway’s arrest, the county school system created a task force to review how employees are trained to identify and report suspected child abuse. The task force issued a report in May, saying the system should make sweeping improvements to better protect students.

The criminal case has spawned at least nine civil suits against the school system or Glenarden officials, including at least one class-action lawsuit.

Via Washington Post 

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The Day Former PGCPS Executive Cornered With Corruption Walked Away.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Metro Schools director Dr. Shawn Joseph (Former PGCPS Executive) ordered his staff not to answer NewsChannel 5’s questions about his hiring practices, planning instead to attack the station’s reporting after a story aired.

That’s according to emails obtained under the Tennessee Public Records Act.

Joseph’s directive came after NewsChannel 5 Investigates questioned the hiring of two individuals with connections to the new schools director.

As previously reported, one of those hires, Kathleen Dawson, was named an executive lead principal to supervise other principals – even though she has never worked a full year as a lead principal in any school. Another hire, Tamika Tasby, was put in charge of professional development for teachers even though she has no classroom experience.

On November 10, in anticipation of that news report, NewsChannel 5 submitted specific questions to the district about the hiring of the two women.

According to the emails, the district’s senior communications director, Janel Lacy, forwarded that request to Joseph and other members of his leadership team.

“I believe it’s in our best interest to respond, since he’s likely to go forward with a story regardless,” Lacy wrote. “The story will be much worse without a response from us.”

Joseph’s chief of staff, Jana Carlisle, responded that same day: “Dr. J is disinclined to engage.”

The next day, Lacy again pushed Joseph’s team to respond to NewsChannel 5’s questions.

“I think at the very least we need to answer whether the positions were posted or not,” she emailed. “If they weren’t posted – and legally didn’t have to be posted – then let’s own that and the decisions to hire them…. Better to address it head on.”

Lacy prepared a draft statement in which Joseph would say he felt “confident that time will show we have the right people in the right places – and that we are moving at a rapid pace to give our students higher quality instruction in every school.”

Joseph responded: “No, I do not like it.”

“I don’t want us to respond,” he continued. “If he does a story, we will follow up with a very direct statement towards his conduct…period.”

JOSEPH: “I DON’T WANT US TO RESPOND” (p. 1)

http://www.documentcloud.org/documents/3226375-Shawn-Joseph-Emails.html#document/p1/a329264
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It’s not clear what Joseph intended, but the district ignored NewsChannel 5’s questions and never gave any explanation about why no statement was issued.

Since there was no response to our questions, NewsChannel 5 Investigates filed a public records request for the emails in an effort to determine Joseph’s thinking and understand his refusal to respond.

That attitude followed an earlier on-camera interview in which Joseph had become agitated about questions about his use of district employees as chauffeurs.

Ironically, in a separate exchange, emails show that Metro Council member Russ Pulley told the district’s lobbyist that “taxpayers should be more concerned about the money we are spending answering these open record requests from Phil Williams.”

That comment came after NewsChannel 5 Investigates raised questions about spending by the district under Joseph’s leadership.

Pulley shared his response to a constituent about Joseph’s spending. He told the constituent, “I agree the optics of this or [sic] not the greatest, but the reality is we can do a much better job of finding waste other than this.”

But, then, in an email to the district lobbyist, Pulley showed no concern over “the optics.”

“Please let Dr. Joseph know that he has my full and complete support,” Pulley wrote. “And I also have absolutely no problem with how he conducts his business.”

via NewsChannel 5

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Shawn Joseph was the Prince George’s district’s deputy superintendent of the teaching and learning division and oversaw numerous departments, including the early education department that oversaw the Head Start grant in which the federal government revoke a $6.4 million due to teachers mistreating students.

The notice of the revocation, sent to the PGCPS district on Aug. 12, 2016 found that teachers used corporal punishment on children, as well as humiliated them in the county’s Head Start program in the Maryland district, according to a Washington Post report.

Shawn Joseph was not listed in the report or in the notice of revocation. He officially began the Metro Schools job on July 1, 2016 in Nashville. However, emails shared later shown that, Mr. Shawn Joseph was made aware of the issues but failed to act.

The first incident of child neglect was first reported in December 2015, according to the report, and the revocation document says that a 3-year-old boy at a Prince George’s early learning school was forced to mop his urine in wet clothes.

The teacher sent a photo of the student mopping the urine to the parent, the report says. It adds that a family services worker likely discouraged the parent from filing a complaint, which was eventually filed in mid-January 2016.

The deficiencies in reporting the incident of neglect were shown to be corrected in April 2016 during a follow-up visit, according to the report. And Shawn Joseph said the investigation was handled by human resources personnel.

But further incidents occurred on June 10 2016 and June 15, 2016 according to the report, and led to the eventual revocation of the federal Head Start grant. It said efforts to ensure staff followed the standards of conduct training outlined by administrators weren’t effective.

Other issues were also found including during that time where a student left the school’s campus and walked home unnoticed by employees. Staff did not know the child’s whereabouts for more than an hour. Rather than address the issues, Prince George’s County public schools personnel together with others engaged in cover ups rather than address the issues properly.

Just like Tennessee Metro School District under Shawn Joseph,  Prince George’s County Public Schools is run in similar version in which appointments are made based on family or friends without proper regard to their qualifications to positions of authority.

Read more >>>BOE political cronyism-nepotism refresher

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PGCPS Student Shot Near Suitland High School; Search for Gunman Underway

A bullet flew through the window of a school building with a student and teacher inside

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A high school student opened fire near a high school in Prince George’s County, Maryland, Friday afternoon, shooting a fellow student and sending a bullet through the window of a school building, police say.

The student fired multiple shots in an apartment building parking lot within sight of Suitland High School in District Heights, police said.

The search for the shooter is ongoing.

A teen boy was shot in the leg and is expected to recover.
The school was placed on a lockdown that later was lifted.
Many parents rushed to the school, fearful that their children had been shot.

“Police can’t tell you anything, the school can’t call parents and let anybody know anything,” one mother said, nearly in tears. She said she had two daughters who attend the school.

Upon learning that boys had been involved in the shooting, not girls, the mother exhaled and clutched her hand to her chest.
“Thank you,” she said.

According to the initial investigation, a group of students left the school and argued in the apartment building parking lot, a Prince George’s County Police Department spokeswoman said.
One student opened fire and hit the teen. A classmate dragged him into the high school for help.

Prince George’s County police and fire and rescue was called to the scene about 12 p.m. Soon after, they found the victim near the school annex building, which houses art and music classes.
He was taken to a hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.

Police later found a bullet lodged in the ceiling of that school building. A student and a teacher were inside the classroom but were not hurt.

At least five shell casings were found.

Suitland High is a performing arts school known for its students’ achievements.

A witness told News4 he saw three students involved in the conflict: one who was shot, one who helped the victim and another who ran away.

Prince George’s County Fire Chief Marc Bashoor posted on Twitter that this was “NOT an active shooter” situation.

“The investigation has moved into the neighborhoods, where we’re currently searching for the suspect,” Lt. David Coleman said.

Student Kelai’ah Wheelen said she just wanted to go home.
“It was terrifying,” she said.

Anyone with information for police is asked to call 301-772-4910. To leave a tip anonymously, call 866-411-TIPS, send a text message with PGPD plus your message to CRIMES or visit http://www.pgcrimesolvers.com.

Source: Student Shot Near Suitland High School; Search for Gunman Underway | NBC4 Washington http://www.nbcwashington.com/news/local/Student-Shot-Suitland-High-School-prince-georges-co-410650005.html#ixzz4VnEWjIue
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Police: PGCPS Student involved in shooting near Suitland High School

– Police say a student was shot after an argument with another student near a Prince George’s County high school.

The incident happened around 12 p.m. at an apartment complex adjacent to Suitland High School in Suitland, Maryland.

Police spokeswoman Jennifer Doneland told the press that police believe two students left the school and walked to the nearby apartment complex when an argument broke out.

One of the students pulled a gun shot the other before fleeing the area. The Injured student made their way back to school for help. The school was placed on lockdown at that time.

The victim is being treated on the scene with what were believed to be non-life-threatening injuries.

A medic treated him on the scene. The victim is now being taken to a hospital.

Police are searching for the suspect at this time.

The school is on lockdown.

Prince George’s County Fire Chief Marc Bashoor posted on Twitter that this was “NOT an active shooter” situation.

Suitland High School is located in District Heights, Maryland.

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Education leaders in Maryland involved in Corruption wary of Gov. Hogan’s plans

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Governor Larry Hogan

 

SEABROOK – In the same week that Prince George’s County Public Schools (PGCPS) Chief Executive Officer Kevin Maxwell announced his proposed budget, seeking more investment in the public school system, Gov. Larry Hogan announced his plans to put more state money toward private schools.

On Dec. 13, at a private school in Baltimore, Hogan announced his intent to double the funding for private school vouchers over the next three years. Last year Hogan, in partnership with the Maryland General Assembly, passed a bill to launch the Broadening Options and Opportunities for Students Today (BOOST) program with an initial funding amount of $5 million.

“Our administration has made education our number one priority, and we are working hard to ensure that every single child in Maryland is given the chance for a great education, regardless of what neighborhood they happen to grow up in,” Hogan said.

The BOOST program helps low-income families pay for their students to attend non-public schools by providing scholarships to students. When the program started, BOOST had an advisory board that determined the criteria for eligible students and the schools the students could attend. That board also set the scholarship amount.

During the inaugural year BOOST received more than 5,000 applications statewide, from which more than 3,000 were approved for the program.

Hogan believes the overwhelming response shows a need for further investment in the program.

“This year, we will again be funding the BOOST program, and we will be doubling the total funding over the next three years to $10 million in scholarships by Fiscal Year 2020,” he said.

Although Hogan has made his intentions clear, and believes in the BOOST program, some in the public school realm believe the move is a step in the wrong direction. Especially when the public school system in Maryland, inspite of gains, requires new investments to further programs and address a backlog of capital improvements needs.

Maryland State Educators Association (MSEA) President Betty Weller called Hogan’s plan a “Trump-like initiative” that would send Maryland taxpayer money away from public schools to private schools.

“According to independent experts, Maryland’s public schools currently have $2.9 billion less than what they need to help every child succeed,” she said. “Our kids rely on strong neighborhood public schools to prepare them for a college education and stable career, and we have a moral obligation to fill those equity gaps.”

While $5 million over three years may be a drop in the bucket for the state’s budget, MSEA sees the investment in BOOST as a redirection of funds from the public school system. Weller called the BOOST program wasteful and said the General Assembly should stand with public schools by eliminating the program.

“Maryland educators are deeply frustrated by Gov. Hogan’s proposal to drain twice as many resources from our public schools to subsidize private schools. The governor’s alliance with President-elect Donald Trump – who has proposed the idea of using $20 billion in taxpayer money for private school vouchers – on privatizing our public schools should be alarming to every Marylander who believes in the importance of public education,” Weller said.

Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker, III shared similar thoughts, urging Gov. Hogan to reinvest in the public school system rather than on private school vouchers.

“Gov. Hogan’s proposal to spend $10 million on private school vouchers sends the wrong message about Maryland’s commitment to a great public education for every child,” Baker said in a statement. “Our public schools serve students from every neighborhood, every socioeconomic group, and every race, religion, gender and learning level. Instead of diverting money away from students who need it most, I urge Gov. Hogan to reinvest in Maryland’s public schools.”

In Prince George’s County, Maxwell just proposed a $2.05 billion schools budget, and while that budget will be looked at by both the county board of education and the county council, the budget asks for a large increase in state funding.

This year’s proposal requests more than $1.12 billion from the state, which is more than $33 million more than the previous year, and a move like Hogan’s may cast doubt on how far the state is willing to go to see improvements in local public school systems.

“Diverting public funds towards private school vouchers is the wrong approach. Now is the time to increase on our investment in public schools so that every student receives the 21st-century education they deserve,” Baker said.

Still, the state received more than 5,000 applications for the program, which specifically targets “areas with under-performing schools,” showing that there is interest in the program.

Ultimately, the General Assembly will decide the fate of the funds.

via Prince George’s County sentinel

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Pr. George’s liquor commissioner accused of bribery resigns –

img_7911A Prince George’s County liquor commissioner accused of accepting bribes resigned from his post Friday, and Gov. Larry Hogan called for the reform of Maryland’s system of regulating alcohol sales, which he called “antiquated” and “without oversight.”

Commissioner Anuj Sud was one of four people charged Thursday in a long-running federal corruption investigation. The others were two business owners and the administrator of the liquor board.

Sud, 39, is accused of taking money from a lawyer representing restaurants and liquor stores with business before the Prince George’s Board of License Commissioners.

In court filings, law enforcement authorities indicated that they expect to charge more people in connection with the case, including a former elected official and a state lawmaker, whose names have not been released.

Liquor board members are appointed by the governor. They wield significant regulatory power over about 600 business outlets in the county — authorizing alcohol sales, imposing fines for infractions and suspending or revoking licenses in response to serious violations.

U.S. Attorney Rod Rosenstein, shown through a video camera viewfinder, speaks to news organizations at the U.S. District Court in Greenbelt, Md. (Bonnie Jo Mount/The Washington Post) 

In an interview Friday, Hogan (R) described the case involving the liquor board as a “real mess” and said he had accepted Sud’s resignation.

The governor said he is bound by tradition to appoint to liquor boards people who are nominated by state lawmakers and party officials from the specific counties. He also said the state government does not have the power to oversee the actions of liquor boards.

“Maybe that is something we can talk to the legislature about: How do we revamp the system? . . . It’s the last vestiges of the patronage system,” Hogan said. “We could have problems in other places, and this may be the tip of the iceberg, but certainly this is the worst case I’ve ever heard of.”

Maryland law requires governors to appoint local liquor board members from a list drawn up by party officials from the particular county. But it also allows the governor to reject those choices and demand new options.

A Hogan spokesman said the governor reappointed Sud, a College Park lawyer, to the board after the legislative session and after consulting with the office of Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. (D-Calvert).

Miller could not be reached Friday to comment on Sud’s resignation.

FBI investigators were monitoring the commissioner as he met with a lawyer representing liquor sellers in September 2015, according to the charging documents. Sud allegedly promised that he could “make s— happen” on the county liquor board and asked how he could “start getting paid.”

The lawyer — who was cooperating with the FBI as an informant — offered to charge his clients an extra $1,000 that he would steer to Sud in exchange for favorable votes, the charging documents state.

In the months that followed, prosecutors say, illicit payments greased the wheels of routine liquor motions made by Sud, such as a restaurant’s request for a new liquor license and permission to sell alcohol on Sundays right before Christmas 2015.

According to minutes from that meeting, a representative for the restaurant promised that proceeds from some of those alcohol sales would help children through donations to St. Jude’s Hospital and soccer jerseys for local schools. Sud made a motion to grant the request, which was unanimously approved.

Two weeks later, Sud got into the lawyer’s car outside a restaurant, took $1,000 from the lawyer and put it into his left pocket, authorities say.

Almost a year later, charging documents and meeting minutes state, the lawyer greeted Sud at his office to thank him for helping a client with a drive-through sales application and offered a “wedding gift” — another $1,000.

Sud made a brief court appearance Thursday and was released until his next hearing.

In his legal practice, Sud has represented a company that federal and state agencies say violated the law by taking advantage of victims of lead-paint poisoning, many of whom are mentally impaired. The company made millions of dollars by persuading lead-poisoning victims to sell “structured settlements” from personal-injury suits for lump-sum payments worth a fraction of the settlements’ many incremental payments.

 Sud’s resignation on Friday follows the December resignation of the liquor board chairman, Charles Caldwell, who was arrested on suspicion of drunken driving while leaving the grand opening of the MGM National Harbor casino.

David Son, who became the board’s chief inspector in 2015 after serving nearly a decade as a commissioner, was also arrested Thursday.

Authorities accuse him of facilitating three bribes to an elected official between 2012 and 2014 — while Son was a commissioner — and arranging bribes from a liquor store owner to that official and a state lawmaker in 2015 and 2016 for their work on legislation expanding alcohol sales.

Kenneth Miles, one of the three remaining Prince George’s liquor commissioners, welcomed Sud’s resignation and the governor’s call for changing oversight of liquor boards.

“They should monitor us,” said Miles, a former part-time liquor inspector and local Democratic Party official. “This should have never happened.”

But he disputed that local liquor regulation and politics were closely intertwined, saying he never hears from elected officials under normal circumstances.

 Earl Howard, another commissioner, said the governor was overreacting by calling for an overhaul of liquor boards.

“You can get a bad apple in any barrel,” said Howard, who is the husband of Del. Carolyn Howard (D-Prince George’s).

“It can happen at the state level, it can happen at the county level, it can happen at the federal level.

“And it does happen.”

Via Washington Post

Ulysses Currie

Sen. Ulysses Currie  (Seen here) In 2012, The ethics panel urged Maryland senators to strip Sen. Ulysses Currie of all but one committee assignment and to bar him from any role in House-Senate negotiations to resolve differences over bills due to his rampant corruption which became too much until he got arrested by the FBI >>> Read more

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To enable the eating to proceed smoothly, institutions like the Ethics and Anti-Corruption offices got crippled largely through appointment of user-friendly top brass. County Executive Rushern Baker III should not pretend he was not aware of these violations. He has enabled corruption to flourish in many ways including to the schools. 

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PGCPS’ year a mix of loss and success.

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Maxwell and Eubanks 

UPPER MARLBORO – Prince George’s County Public Schools (PGCPS) was no stranger to front-page news in 2016.

This year was marked by multiple tragedies in the school systems, headline-grabbing scandals, and quiet successes. PGCPS celebrated 30 years of The Science Bowl, increased testing scores and graduation rates and saw grand achievements from their students, but the school year was also marred by allegations of child sexual abuse and the loss of the federal Head Start grant.

Two of PGCPS’s leaders, Chief Executive Officer Kevin Maxwell and Board of Education Chair Segun Eubanks, reflected on the school year and how they gauged PGCPS’s progress and shortfalls.

“There’s no doubt that there were certainly some big, significant challenges for our school system this year, and certainly the issues about reporting and child abuse and those kind of things have been big conversations, as was the loss of the Head Start grant,” Maxwell said. “That said, I have to tell you, I’m pretty proud of how people reacted and responded to it.”

PGCPS had a pretty rocky start to its year. In February, then-school aide Deonte Carraway was arrested in connection to the alleged making of child porn and other child sexual abuse allegations at Judge Sylvania Woods Elementary School in Glenarden.

Carraway allegedly produced more than 50 videos with children between the ages of 9 and 12 that included at least 23 alleged victims. A grand jury later indicted Carraway on approximately 270 counts of sex offenses, child porn and sexual abuse of a minor.

In response, the school system set up a Student Safety Task Force to guide PGCPS on what it can and should do to ensure student safety. That task force made several recommendations to Maxwell and the county board of education, which the board then started to put into place during an emergency summer session.

Since then, the system has been actively updating policies and retraining teachers, principals and school employees on appropriate behavior, reporting policies and knowing the signs of child abuse.

“We have been doing the retraining and we have been very aggressive, I think, in our response ,” Maxwell said. “We’re a lot farther along and we’re a lot better educated in terms of training of our staff and in the issues surrounding that work.”

In August, PGCPS faced another setback when the system announced they would lose the more than $6 million federal Head Start grant after reported noncompliance with fixing concerns raised by the Administration for Children and Families (ACF).

The ACF had sent a report to the school system detailing deficiencies it found with the county Head Start program, which included examples of broken policies regarding student punishment. Though Maxwell and the report noted PGCPS did make efforts to correct the deficiencies, when the ACF reviewed progress, they found different instances of noncompliance and decided to rescind the grant.

Since then, Maxwell announced the school system would relinquish the grant rather than fight to keep it and initiated a similar program titled Early Start. The school system eliminated its office of Head Start and moved the new program into its early childhood office without a break in services to families and students.

“We were able to keep our promise with the Head Start work and made sure every single child that was affected continued to have service provided and we have done that,” Maxwell said. “I think we should be judged on how we responded and I think we responded well.”

PGCPS has faced other controversies and hardships as well. The decision to close both Forestville High School and Skyline Elementary was heavily debated and fought by the communities and families impacted by those schools.

Former Board of Education member Lyn Mundey was convicted in a school lunch theft scheme, a Forestville teacher was arrested for alleged sexual abuse of a student and the school system lost two teachers to domestic violence, lost students to both gun violence and vehicular accidents, and lost a principal to an undetected heart disorder.

“We know and understand that how we respond to these crises and how we get through them together, that we need to figure out how to be more unified after crises and loss than we were beforehand,” Eubanks said. “I think we’ve seen that kind of response through this year. I don’t know that we could have had a year with quite as much loss and difficulty as we had this year.”

However, 2016 was also a year of great improvements and successes for the school system.

In February, the school system received half of the state Excellence in Gifted and Talented Education (EGATE) Awards, and Angela Malone, an Oxon Hill Middle School teacher, received the acclaimed Milken Family Award, also known as the “Oscar of Education.”

In March, PGCPS celebrated a 2 percent increase in overall graduation rates from the previous year, according to state data. The 79 percent overall graduation rate is the highest on record for the school system and puts it just behind the national graduation rate of 82 percent, which is detailed in a U.S. Department of Education report.

“We said that in order for us to really improve as a district in dramatic ways, we need to improve not just as everybody else is improving but faster than the state average,” Eubanks said. “We’ve done that in both our kindergarten readiness assessment and in our graduation rate.”

The school system also saw a 1.2 percent improvement on the overall pass rate for Advanced Placement tests, a 1.7 percent overall increase in International Baccalaureate pass rates, and a slight increase in ACT scores, according to the state department of education. At the same time the system did see a slight dip in Maryland School Assessments and SAT scores.

Both Maxwell and Eubanks attributed these increases to a large effort from all school employees. Maxwell said the school specifically tackled graduation rates by taking a new approach to the matter, including utilizing a credit recovery system and systematically identifying which students needed support.

And the hard work put in by teachers and administrators alike has not gone unnoticed, considering the school system welcomed nearly 1,000 more students this year and a growing list of public-private partnerships with community businesses and large names like Venture Philanthropy, Junior Achievement, and County Executive Rushern Baker, III’s Transforming Neighborhoods Initiative.

“Even through all of those things with the head start and what happened early in the year with Carraway, we didn’t lose enrollment in our schools. None of our parents took their children out of the head start program,” Baker said.

Baker also lauded recent changes the system has made to improve the overall culture at PGCPS and touted the improving and trailblazing arts and language programs, something that Economic Development Corporation President Jim Coleman also applauded.

“The results are clear: 2,000 more kids are enrolled in our school system today versus when County Executive Baker went into office. Second thing is 11 out of 24 of our high schools saw double-digit improvements in SAT scores last year. And lastly, he’s got so many hotshot programs going on in technology and STEM. It’s off the charts,” Coleman said.

In 2016, PGCPS also launched its Family Institute to increase and improve family engagement across all facets of the school system, celebrated 30 years of French Immersion, and began the year with only 33 teacher vacancies, which is no small feat for a system of its size.

The body also increased the number of arts integration schools to 65, continued expanding its language programs and is now home to more than 300 National Board Certified Teachers.

“To see the work that we’ve done in Prince George’s County is really incredible, especially considering that, not too long ago, people said that teachers who teach high-need students, teachers who teach in predominantly urban schools and teachers of color have a significantly harder time achieving National Board certification,” Eubanks said. “We’re breaking the mold in all three of those categories.”

PGCPS was also home to a number of Gates Millennium Scholars, the regional Science Fair champ, numerous Ivy League acceptances, and millions of dollars in college scholarships.

In addition to academic successes, county school students also shone bright in athletics. County students claimed three state titles and broke records at the state track and field championships; Prince George’s dominated the basketball scene with both Forestville and Largo girls winning their divisions and Eleanor Roosevelt boys doing the same; and Dr. Henry A. Wise, Jr. High School also just won back-to-back state championships in football.

“We end 2016 moving into 2017, I think in many ways, more united, more determined as a board and as a team with the administration,” Eubanks said.

via Prince George’s sentinel.
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PG County Teen killed in Capitol Heights police-involved shooting

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Terrence Thomas Jr.

CAPITOL HEIGHTS, Md.

A 19-year-old Prince George’s County teenager was killed Thursday morning and another man was taken into custody following an officer-involved shooting in Capitol Heights.

Prince George’s County police said they responded at around 8 a.m. to Byers Street when two officers were sent to check on a report of a suspicious vehicle.

Police found two men sleeping inside. Terrence Thomas Jr. was in the driver’s seat and a second older man was in the front passenger seat when police arrived to check out the car.

“The male officer was on the driver’s side and the female officer was on the passenger side,” said Prince George’s County Police Chief Hank Stawinski. “As they woke the individuals, the passenger immediately moved to exit the vehicle and simultaneously – and this is important, these things all occurred at the same time – simultaneously, the driver of the vehicle armed himself with a handgun and then pointed it at both the passenger and at the female officer.”

The police chief said the officer on the driver’s side of the vehicle fired two shots, which appear to have gone through the windshield.

Police released photographs on social media of a handgun on the floorboard of the driver’s side of the car, and a long gun, which was taken from the car and laid out on the street.

Stawinski said officers immediately took the passenger into custody and began CPR on Thomas. He also said the vehicle the officers walked up on was one they had been looking for.

“This vehicle does match a description for a vehicle that we believe to be involved in some robberies and shootings in this vicinity,” Stawinski said. “That is not for certain, but that is one of the investigative leads we are currently, actively working on for you.”

The shooting took place just a few blocks from Thomas’ home. He was well known here in this neighborhood.

“Everybody knew him, he was funny, he stayed around here laughing,” said Darnell Bell. “He was a serious dude, but he was also a funny dude too.”

Bell said Thomas was all about looking out for his family and friends.

But according to online court records, Thomas has recently been in trouble with the law. He pleaded guilty to a drug charge and had an upcoming court date on a gun charge. He had also been convicted on an assault charge in D.C. He went on trial and was found guilty. The judge in that case sentenced him to 180 days in jail, but all of those days were suspended.

“I just want to say that I’m very proud of our officers this morning,” said Stawinski. “Under tremendously stressful conditions, they responded well, they were measured in their response.”

Watch the video below for the full media briefing held Thursday morning by Prince George’s Police Chief Hank Stawinski:

Via Fox 5 ~~~~ See video here

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Two PGCPS Teens Charged in Death of Man Found Burned in Maryland Park

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Demiko Aiken

Homicide Unit detectives arrested and charged two teenagers in connection with the homicide in Capitol Heights on Monday. One of the suspects is being charged as an adult. He’s 17-year-old Demiko Aiken of the 5600 block of Rollins Lane in Capitol Heights. He’s charged with first and second degree murder. The second suspect, a 16-year-old, is charged as a juvenile with accessory-after-the-fact.

On December 19th, at about 9:50 am, a citizen flagged down a patrol officer after seeing the victim, Rayshand Cotton, on the ground in the 1100 block of Brooke Road. The victim was suffering from severe burns and was pronounced dead at the scene. An autopsy determined Cotton died from a gunshot wound.

Through the course of the investigation, Aiken was developed as a suspect. He and the second suspect were arrested last night. They were driving the victim’s stolen SUV in the area of Rollins Lane in Capitol Heights. Detectives believe the motive for the murder was the robbery of the SUV. Aiken and the victim were acquaintances. The 16-year-old has admitted to helping Aiken dispose of the body after the murder. He is charged as a juvenile with accessory after the fact, police said.

Aiken is in the custody of the Department of Correction on a no-bond status. He is being charged as an adult with first- and second-degree murder.

Anyone with information on this case is asked to call the Homicide Unit at 301-772-4925. Callers wishing to remain anonymous may call Crime Solvers at 1-866-411-TIPS (8477), text “PGPD plus your message” to CRIMES (274637) on your cell phone or go to www.pgcrimesolvers.com and submit a tip online.

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VIDEO: Cafeteria brawl breaks out at PGCPS Central High School in Md.

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– A brutal fight at a high school in Prince George’s County put three students in the hospital on Friday.

The lunch room brawl at Central High School was caught on camera and shows a large number of students attacking each other as three adults try to break it up.

A spokesperson for Prince George’s County Public Schools said a group of African-American students assaulted a group of Hispanic students.

Spokesperson Raven Hill told FOX 5 that the principal is working with the school district’s diversity officer to bring students together and “developing a plan of action that addresses students and parents’ safety concerns and encourages students to celebrate cultural differences in the wake of this incident.”

Hill said all students were part of an assembly Monday in response to what happened and that the three students hospitalized have now been released.

Prince George’s County police said the school resource officer called for backup after the fight started and there were no arrests.

The school district said students were punished according to school guidelines.

FOX 5 spoke to two students who said they heard at the assembly that the aggressors in the fight have been expelled. They also said they don’t think there is a racial divide at their school and they believe there were other issues that prompted the fight.

Click here >> to see the VIDEO

via >>>> Fox5DC

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