UPPER MARLBORO – The Prince George’s County Board of Education received an update from the school system Thursday on its strategic plan focused on improving student achievement through literacy. “Literacy unlocks the key to being critical thinkers, to being creative, to communicating, to collaborating,” said Prince George’s County Public Schools Deputy Superintendent Shawn Joseph. “If […]
UPPER MARLBORO – The Prince George’s County Board of Education received an update from the school system Thursday on its strategic plan focused on improving student achievement through literacy.
“Literacy unlocks the key to being critical thinkers, to being creative, to communicating, to collaborating,” said Prince George’s County Public Schools Deputy Superintendent Shawn Joseph. “If you are not literate you cannot function in todays fast paced society.”
The strategic plan, which goes into effect in the fall, consists of surveys of thousands of parents, teachers and students to see where their priorities lie.
Both internal and external respondents said the two most important skills students need for 21st century success are mastery of reading and mastery of communication skills.
The biggest challenge respondents said PGCPS must address is to recruiting and retaining qualified staff.
The surveys also included open-ended questions, which PGCPS Performance Director Lisa Price said revealed the eagerness of respondents to have their voices heard.
“The volume of responses from this was just incredible,” Price said. “It was as if folks were waiting to be asked their opinion and they really shared a lot with us.”
The strategic plan includes a visual strategy map with the tagline “Great schools, great staff, great community, Great by choice,” which Joseph said reflects the importance of quality schools.
“As we look at our tagline we recognize that our stakeholder feedback revealed a strong belief that great schools not only result in outstanding academic achievement but they also contribute to a great county and a great community,” Joseph said.
The school systems is using the plan to focus on five areas: academic excellence, high performing workforce, safe and supportive environments, family and community engagements, and organization effectiveness.
Board Member Curtis Valentine said he has studied several school systems and thinks it is important the school system has a clear mission statement which can be easily understood by everyone.
“The most effective (statements) are the ones where the mission of the school system can be articulated from the top all the way down to those who are rank and file,” he said. “The custodial worker, the lunch lady, the teacher the principal, there is a common language of we are here to do something and here’s how I fit into it. The idea that I’m not just doing a small role everyday but that I’m a part of a much larger process.”
Valentine also said he wants to see parents take a more active role in improving their child’s academic achievement.
“Over the course of a child’s life they spend 15 percent of time at our schools and 55 percent of time at home and in the community,” he said. “I would say the numbers aren’t going to move if were not seeing more parental involvement at home over the summer, nights and weekends. The impact of parents on our school system has to be elevated”
The board will spend the summer working on planning the implementation of the strategic plan, including reviewing performance indicators and annual targets to help track the improvement of the school system.