New programs, 800 new teachers in Prince George's Co.

UPPER MARLBORO, Md. (WUSA9) -- More than 126,000 students will return to Prince George's County Public Schools on Tuesday morning.

We spoke to PGCPS CEO Kevin M. Maxwell about the first day of school and the changes that it brings. The school system welcomes 800 new teachers and 30 new principals. Maxwell told us about how they prepared, "We had a voluntary boot camp for teachers a couple of weeks ago. A week ago we had new teacher orientation which went really, really well, covered a lot of different topics."

Last week, the rest of the teachers returned to set up classrooms and get things ready for Tuesday.

Is 800 an unusually high number of new teachers? Maxwell said, "I think it's not atypical. We have over 9,000 teachers here. Eight hundred represents less than 10%. When you think about retirements and those kinds of things, I don't think it's an unusual number."

In addition to new teachers, there are new programs this school year. "We're so excited. We have international programs opening up, Spanish immersion programs, Montessori programs, a new aeronautics program, brand new elementary school themed around the arts --- just very, very excited," shared Maxwell. Maxwell says the school system has partnered with NASA for awhile but there's a new opportunity "focused on aeronautics, on space, on flying" and he thinks "it's going to be a really high interest program for kids."

To transport all the students to and from school, the school system has additional buses with new technology.

"As you know, bus drivers have their backs to everyone. It's hard to see the things that are going on. We're starting to equip buses with more and more cameras so they get an idea of what's going on on the bus and can make sure things are safe for children," shared Maxwell.

When asked if there were any words he wanted to share with parents or students get them excited and ready for their first day, Maxwell said, "Education is just really, really important. It's the most important function of government from my perspective and working together with parents and students, great teachers that we have, we can have a really great year and kids can learn a lot and be ready, you know, when it's time to get those scholarships to pay for college, mom and dad, so you don't have to do it. Just work hard."


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