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News Release: Plug In PGCPS: Distance Learning to Continue for Students and Families

August 30, 2020
For Immediate Release

Office of Communications

School buildings are closed for first semester, but learning is in session for new school year

UPPER MARLBORO, Md. — Prince George’s County Public Schools (PGCPS) will begin the 2020-21 school year on Monday, Aug. 31 with a continuation of distance learning, part of a district-wide strategic shift towards 1:1 personalized technology-based instruction. 

Chief Executive Officer Dr. Monica Goldson will start the school day at Cooper Lane Elementary in Landover Hills with Prince George’s County Teacher of the Year Mary Piccirilli. Afterwards, she will visit virtual classes, assist with distributing “grab and go” meals, and stop by one of nine new Parent Support Centers

“This school year we are ‘virtually together,’” said Dr. Goldson. “We are embarking on new territory and I am confident that our students and teachers will face this challenge head-on. Whether learning at home or in the classroom, our standard remains the same: high-quality teaching and learning.”

“We thank Dr. Goldson, our teachers and staff for the excellent work they have done to prepare for the opening of school. We also acknowledge the support that all segments of the community have given to our children and their families as we embark on the new school year,” said Dr. Alvin Thornton, Board of Education Chair. “We will go the extra mile together in all respects with patience, during this altered learning environment, to ensure that our children's access to excellent education is maintained." 

By continuing distance learning through the end of second quarter in January, PGCPS is providing a safe learning and working environment amid the COVID-19 pandemic for more than 136,500 students and 10,000 teachers and staff, focusing on academic excellence and equity. More than 60,000 students have received PGCPS-issued devices since April with another 70,000 slated for distribution this fall. The school system is also covering the cost of internet access for families in need through the Connect PGCPS initiative in partnership with Comcast and Verizon. 

“With the onset of distance learning, we have an opportunity to transform education in Prince George’s County,” said Dr. Goldson. “Students and families consistently express a desire for instruction that better utilizes technology and meets individual needs. By going ‘1 to 1,’ we will deliver more personalized learning and equip all students with the academic tools and resources needed for success in a digital learning environment.”

Parent Resources

Nine Parent Support Centers will open across the county on Monday to provide assistance with technology, navigating online platforms and other issues. The school-based centers will be open by appointment Mondays and Wednesdays from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. In addition, the PGCPS Distance Learning Hotline at 240-696-6229 will offer help with technical/equipment issues, lessons and more. The hotline will be open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. 

Student Meals

Multi-day, pre-packaged breakfast and lunch will be available for pick up at most schools and delivery in many communities on Mondays and Wednesdays between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. Students who are not eligible for free and reduced-priced meals can purchase breakfast and lunch. 

More highlights:

  • new middle school Spanish language immersion program will serve more than 100 sixth-graders at Kettering Middle School. PGCPS offers elementary Spanish immersion programs at Capitol Heights, César Chávez, Phyllis E. Williams and Overlook. 
  • 19 schools have new leaders, a combination of first-time administrators and veteran principals new to their school communities.
  • James Ryder Randall Early Childhood Center and LEGENDS Public Charter School are opening this fall, bringing the total number of schools to 208.
  • Academy of Health Sciences at PGCC is celebrating its tenth year of producing students who receive their high school diploma and associate degree on graduation day.

The first day of school schedule is as follows:

7 a.m. — Cooper Lane Elementary School, 3817 Cooper Lane, Landover Hills
Dr. Goldson will start the first day of school visiting third-grade teacher Mary Piccirill, the Prince George’s County Teacher of the Year. 

9 a.m. — International High School at Langley Park Virtual Classroom Visit
Dr. Goldson will virtually visit an Advanced Placement English language class via Zoom.

11 a.m. to noon — Drew-Freeman Middle School, 2600 Brooks Drive, Suitland
Dr. Goldson will assist with serving student meals.

6 p.m. to 7 p.m. — Parent Support Center Visit: Gwynn Park High School, 13800 Brandywine Road, Brandywine
Dr. Goldson will visit one of nine new Parent Support Centers.