- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Prince George’s County Public Schools’ chief executive officer kicked off the new academic year on Tuesday by going to five schools to highlight the county’s $53 million plan to expand support and services for students and campuses.

“We are helping students before they walk through our schoolhouse doors by expanding social and emotional supports,” schools CEO Monica Goldson said in a press release. “The Blueprint for PGCPS is an investment in high-quality education across Prince George’s County Public Schools.”

Schools reopened Tuesday in Prince George’s, Montgomery and Arlington counties, welcoming parents and students after Labor Day weekend for the first day of the school year.

About 700 students in pre-kindergarten through sixth grade arrived at Ridgecrest Elementary School in Hyattsville Tuesday morning, some with smiles on their faces and excited to see their friends.

Serica Campbell, an adult who was walking her 7-year-old brother to school, said the staff at Ridgecrest “take really good care of the kids.”

Ms. Campbell said she wasn’t sure about the school’s bullying prevention program, but added that if her brother should have any problems, “he would talk to the teacher and she would fix it.”

Angela Blackwell said Ridgecrest’s anti-bullying policies make her feel “comfortable” that her 10-year-old son is safe.

The school is “very strict” and “on top of everything,” she said.

“It’s family oriented and tight-knit, so everybody knows everybody,” Ms. Blackwell said, adding that she appreciates the resources Ridgecrest receives as a Title I school.

Title I schools receive federal funds to help serve their high concentration of families in poverty.

Many parents said they like Ridgecrest Elementary because of its proximity to their homes.

But Dudley Cole, a parent of a 6- and 11-year-old, said he wished the school provided transportation for students, especially kindergarteners, who live within a mile of the school and otherwise have to walk or be driven to school by their parents.

“I don’t think that’s fair,” Mr. Cole said, adding that he often is late for work after taking his children to school.

A mile walk for kindergarteners can be difficult, especially when the weather turns cold, he said.

Along with its new chief executive office, the Prince George’s County school system welcomed more than 132,000 students and 22 new principals on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, Arlington Public Schools estimated about 28,500 students have enrolled for the new academic year.

“As I visited schools on the first day, I was inspired by the positive energy focusing on modeling, relationships building and engagement from the start,” interim schools Superintendent Cintia Johnson.

On Tuesday, the Arlington County Police Department conducted high visibility traffic enforcement around school zones to remind drivers to slow down and watch out for bikers pedaling to school.

And Montgomery County Public Schools welcomed 164,000 students and opened a new facility — Snowden Farm Elementary School in Clarksburg.

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