Student board member Juwan Blocker has created a petition urging the Prince George’s County CEO Dr. Kevin Maxwell to keep Hyattsville Middle School’s creative writing program.
The Petition states:
Dear Prince George’s County Public Schools students, parents, and community leaders,
My name is Juwan Blocker and I am the Student Member of The Prince George’s County Public School Board, representing all PGCPS Students. The Creative Writing Major at Hyattsville Middle School has been planned to be terminated after the 2017-2018 school year. Hyattsville is a Creative Performing Arts (CPA) Middle School that requires students to audition to get into one of five CPA programs Dance, Music, Theatre, Visual Arts, TV/Media Production, and Creative Writing.
The Creative Writing Program has been in existence for 15 years. Since its start, the program has helped strengthen the writing and critical thinking skills of students by having them analyze various literary genres and providing opportunities to express themselves through speaking and writing. Many students have tremendously benefitted from the program.
A recent PTSA Meeting and letter from Dr. Maxwell’s administration have changed the future of the program. The letter states that the Maryland State Department of Education does not recognize the Creative Writing Program as a fine arts major. The letter then states that based on parent input and concern the program will be continued for the 2017-2018 school year, but will be offered as an elective course for subsequent school years.
There are several problems and concerns with this sudden change.
1. Why weren’t School Board Members made aware of this change?
2. Why were parents and students just notified about this change?
3. Why weren’t parents and students apart of the decision-making process?
4. Has Dr. Maxwell’s administration evaluated all possible options to keep the program the way that it is?
5. How do you terminate a program without evidence that proves that the program isn’t effective or needed to better prepare students for college or a career?
6. Why are we cutting a program that helps strengthen the writing and critical thinking skills of our students?
The reality is that if our county indefinitely terminates this program then the rest of the Creative Performing Arts Program will not be the same, we will be taking away the additional opportunity for students to increase their writing and critical thinking skills that prepares them to be college and or career ready. This program attracts students and families from various backgrounds and if this is cut then we will also see a decrease in diversity at the school.
Replacing the Creative Writing Program with offering it is an elective course would extremely water down the course. The way that Dr. Maxwell and his administration is handling this situation is unacceptable and we deserve better!