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Summary of the Current Environment

PGCPS District Profile

Prince George’s County Public Schools (PGCPS) is committed to what matters most – the quality education of our students and the safety and prosperity of our entire school community.

According to the National Center of Education Statistics 2014-15 data and 2021 Niche data from the United States Department of Education1, PGCPS is one of the nation’s 25 largest public PreK-12 school districts and the second largest in Maryland with 206 schools and centers, more than 136,000 students, and nearly 20,000 employees in SY 2019-20.

PGCPS proudly serves a diverse student population from urban, suburban and rural communities. As shown in the demographic snapshot of SY 2019-20 enrollment (Table A), 55.2% of students are Black or African American and an increasing percentage of students (36.5%) represent Latino races. PGCPS’ Free and Reduced Meals (FARMS) student group comprises nearly 63.5% of the student population, while the Limited English Proficient (LEP) student group and Special Education student group remained relatively flat in SY20 compared to SY19 at 21% and 11% respectively.

We value the diversity of all members of the PGCPS community regardless of race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, language of origin, or special needs. We achieve equity by ensuring that staff and students are culturally responsive.

In order to build culturally responsive environments, all adults must understand the role of institutional racism and systemic oppression within our national and local contexts within which our school system exists. In addition, adults must understand how individual & collective biases, discrimination and deficit-thinking negatively impact the school experience of students, staff and families.

Having this understanding, PGCPS community members are working together to create a school system that outwardly acknowledges that the variety of identities and cultural ways of being in PGCPS are valid and valuable forms of art in our collective masterpiece.

To this end, PGCPS believes that being culturally responsive means creating healthy learning partnerships that allow for rich, rigorous and safe learning environments to exist where everyone can process information, think and create.

TABLE A: PGCPS Demographic Snapshot SY 2019-20

Student Group



Latino – All Races



Native American/Alaska Native






Black or African American



Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander






Two or More Races















Special Education (SPED)



Limited English Proficient (LEP)



Free and Reduced Meals (FARMs)



Source: FY20 PGCPS Enrollment on 9/30/19

PGCPS Fiscal Climate

The FY21 Operating Budget for PGCPS is $2.3B representing the ninth consecutive year of slight increases in annual funding. Comparable levels of funding resources for PGCPS are projected to continue over the time horizon of this plan. Such resources are supported by federal, state and local sources including, but not limited to the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act); Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act (CRRSAA); American Rescue Plan Act (ARP); Maryland Governor’s Emergency Education Relief (GEER) Fund; and the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future (aka, Kirwan). These supplemental funding resources are the result of federal and state legislative actions, which project availability and/or continued infusion of funding resources for targeted education needs over, and in some cases beyond, the implementation period of this plan.

Strengths and Challenges

Broad areas examined throughout the strategic planning process included analysis of quantitative data and stakeholder perceptions of priorities surrounding district leadership, teaching and learning, district culture, and resources and operations. Analysis of results from surveys, focus groups and student equity data trends yielded substantial commonalities among stakeholders. Feedback about district strengths, challenges, priorities and performance demands of greatest importance for PGCPS was provided. Consistent themes emerged in four discrete areas of focus including:

  1. Academic Achievement
  2. High-Performing Workforce
  3. School Safety and Support
  4. Operational Effectiveness

Academic Achievement

In the latter semester of school year 2020, COVID-19 required the closure of all schools across the state of Maryland. At  that time, PGCPS safely, rapidly and successfully transitioned from a complete shutdown of in-person teaching and learning to entirely virtual distance learning and hybrid learning models for the balance of SY20 and throughout the 2021 school year. These progressive and creative models served to lessen, to the extent possible, the damaging effects of student learning loss attributed to pandemic-imposed disruption of traditional classroom instruction.

Prior to the abrupt shift to distance learning, student achievement as measured by standard assessments revealed varying levels of success. Assessment results also confirmed a number of academic performance challenges, which continue to be the focus of creative, evidence-based interventions and supports.

An equity analysis of five- year trend data of PGCPS student behavioral and academic outcomes revealed, among other key findings, the following disparities across ethnic, economic, gender, English learners and special needs student groups:

  • Across most academic outcomes, three student groups (Asian, White and Non-Economically Disadvantaged) met performance standards at percentages that substantially exceeded their representation in the PGCPS student population. These same three student groups were also overrepresented among students who were identified as eligible to receive gifted
  • Students with limited English proficiency (LEP) and students receiving special education services (SPED) were consistently underrepresented across academic performance indicators;
  • Female students outperform male students across the following academic indicators: a) kindergarten readiness; b) PARCC ELA performance; c) MAP Reading performance; d) students earning a 3.0 grade point average; e) students taking AP exams; f ) college enrollment; and g) 4-year college enrollment.
  • In addition, female students were slightly more likely to be identified as eligible to receive gifted services. On the other hand, male students were more likely to receive special education

Stakeholder perceptions reported in the Strategic Planning Diagnostic survey provided additional insight into the district’s priorities and performance toward academic excellence. Data emphasizes the importance of setting high expectations, providing high-quality, relevant, accessible instruction, and offering challenging curriculum with necessary academic supports as key priorities for the district.

Stakeholders also prioritize the delivery of a relevant curriculum to support both student engagement and an equitable and inclusive classroom environment. Students further emphasized the need for more relevant curriculum that connects lessons to life outside of the classroom.

Targeted student supports was highlighted as an area for continued growth and improvement, particularly for students that may be under-performing or that may have fallen behind due to school closures, for students learning English as speakers of other languages (ESOL), and for students receiving special education services.

The academic and educational gaps revealed in the data were exacerbated as the COVID-19 pandemic forced the district to transition to remote learning.

Despite the heroic dedication of PGCPS educators and the support of families and communities, the effects of learning disruption experienced by students may be far reaching and will likely demand both local and national attention for years to come.

Historically, vulnerable student groups (e.g., FARMS, ESOL, SPED, and Black and Brown student races) are at even greater risk if widening education gaps are allowed to continue and “undermine growing efforts and momentum toward equity, poverty eradication, and economic and social justice on both the local and global landscapes.”2 PGCPS supports rapid movement in public education toward innovative and transformative approaches to education. Such approaches must not only arrest the damaging effects of the pandemic but go further to create a culturally responsive3 educational environment where every student has equitable access to high-quality instruction, resources, tools, opportunities and supports for educational excellence.

The health, safety and equitable support of students, staff and families remain at the forefront of PGCPS operating decisions as the shift toward a post-pandemic environment becomes more promising. On June 8, 2021, PGCPS Chief Executive Officer Dr. Monica Goldson confidently announced plans for the 2021-22 academic year in Prince George’s County Public Schools. The district welcomed most students back to classrooms for full-time, in-person learning beginning in the fall of SY22. In addition, a limited virtual learning program and new Online Campus were options for families, revealing the district’s commitment to serve targeted student/family needs with the implementation of innovative solutions.

High-Performing Workforce

Stakeholders acknowledge and emphasize the important role that teachers, leaders and staff play in supporting the district’s strategic goals. They highlight the following key areas as priorities for creating a transformational workforce.

Attracting, Developing and Retaining High-Quality Teachers

Historically, PGCPS has been plagued with a number of resource staffing challenges. Chronically high teacher attrition is one such challenge. Teacher attrition has hovered around 13% annually. Data indicate that PGCPS loses, on average, approximately 10% of its teaching workforce annually with about half (50.1%) of the vacancies resulting from resignations to positions in neighboring, higher-paying jurisdictions. Large class sizes, inadequate resources and limited instructional latitude are also reasons suggested by survey data and stakeholder feedback.

In the education economy, the inherent shortage of teachers nationwide is made even more challenging in PGCPS because Maryland schools of education have historically been unable to produce enough graduates to fill teacher vacancy demands each year. In addition, the number of undergraduates majoring in education in Maryland is falling.4

Thus, attracting, developing and retaining high-quality, highly-effective teachers in the district is a top priority for stakeholders.

Professional development for building teachers’ skills and providing students with high-quality instruction are valued as critical success factors. Stakeholders viewed the district’s current professional development opportunities as a strength, while the retention of high-quality teachers was identified as an area for improvement for the district.

Supporting Effective Leadership Practices

In the Strategic Plan Equity Diagnostic survey, nearly half (49%) of all staff respondents cited the development and placement of effective school and district leaders as a top priority. Also highlighted is the need for stronger connections between district leaders and school-level issues and concerns as well as a greater understanding of staff perspectives in district decision-making.

In addition, stakeholder feedback from strategy validation sessions emphasized the need for leadership standards, expanded professional learning opportunities and career development pathways for support personnel and central office staff.

Continued Focus on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

Stakeholders value the district’s current efforts to support staff and student Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) and view this as a priority for continued focus and growth. Substantial emphasis is placed on the importance of providing all staff with broader access to DEI-related trainings to ensure the systemic success of DEI initiatives.

School Safety and Support

Stakeholders believe that a safe and supportive environment is an important foundation for student academic learning and success. Data highlight the following areas as important for creating a safe and supportive environment.

Social-Emotional, Mental Health and Well-Being

Stakeholders believe that the district should plan for deep and lasting impacts related to COVID-19 on student and staff mental health and well-being.

Availability, access, and acceptance of social-emotional and mental health and well-being support for both students and staff is highlighted as a top priority and an area for district improvement consistently noted by many stakeholders. Stakeholders further perceive inclusion of family supports as a priority toward ensuring a safe and healthy learning environment beyond the schoolhouse.

Welcoming and Inclusive Climate and Culture

The creation of a positive culture and climate that is welcoming and inclusive to individuals from all backgrounds is a top priority for PGCPS. In the Strategic Plan and Equity Diagnostic survey, 97% of respondents rank creating a positive culture where all feel welcome as medium or high priority.

Stakeholders also highlight parent involvement in student learning and schools as a high priority. Consistent with the challenges exacerbated by the pandemic, some stakeholders identified parent involvement in student learning as an area of relatively lower performance in PGCPS and one in need of improvement.

Community-Building and Collaboration

Stakeholders believe that schools should prioritize the creation of a strong sense of community to support inclusiveness and collaboration. They highlight both the parent community and internal staff community as important components of a supportive environment. Additionally, community partnerships are prioritized for providing resources to students and their families.

Operational Effectiveness

Stakeholders understand the importance of ensuring ongoing enhancements to both the physical infrastructure as well as operational aspects of the district. The following often-interrelated themes emerged across stakeholder groups.

Ensuring Equitable and Efficient Funding
  • Stakeholders view equitable funding as a top priority Similarly, they highlight the need for a greater focus on ensuring funding for programs and resources that support historically disadvantaged students. While stakeholders highlight some initial successes in funding to support greater student equity, they see this as an area for continued focus and work.
  • Efficiency in budgeting is also a priority among stakeholders. Some view district leaders’ management of the district budget as an area for improvement while leaders themselves highlight this as a top priority area.
Goal-Setting, Assessment and Monitoring

Stakeholders are largely satisfied with, but also continue to prioritize, the district’s work to set and monitor goals and assess and evaluate outcomes. School and district leaders rank setting long-term goals and objectives that reflect a commitment to equity and fairness, establishing, and monitoring performance measures as

among their top leadership priorities. Staff similarly rank long-term goals that reflect equity and fairness as among their top priorities.

Addressing Site-Level Inequities

Stakeholders see a need for the district to address inequities found across school sites, including those related to building quality and renovations, technology access, and student access to instructional programming. Some view this as an area of recent improvement as well.

Transformation in PGCPS is already underway. Recovery from learning disruptions stemming from the global pandemic, stabilizing and resuming enrollment growth and student engagement, addressing systemic equity and disproportionality challenges exposed by the global health crisis, and increasing safety, well-being supports for students and staff are the current and future priorities. Further enhancing the facility and technology infrastructure and strengthening workforce development resources and supports required to deliver collectively a quality educational experience summarize the current climate and strategic journey ahead for PGCPS.

PGCPS Strategic Path Forward

Notwithstanding our challenges, we have many strengths, efforts already underway, and numerous opportunities on the horizon to reverse the declining achievement trends, eradicate barriers to equity, transform our educational environment, and improve our strategic position to prepare generations of distinguished leaders and learners to realize their dreams in a world we all envision.

The PGCPS Strategic Framework (Figure 2) emerged from this planning work and formed the foundation of this strategic plan.

Prioritizing, addressing and overcoming our challenges will require steadfast focus, collaboration, transformational leadership and a culture of organizational learning as we execute the plan and broad strategies outlined in this framework.