Candidate name: Carletta Fellows
Place of residence: Upper Marlboro
Date of birth: Feb. 1, 1970
Place of birth: Cleveland
Current occupation: Independent Consultant
Education: Kent State University, B.A. Psychology; Baldwin Wallace College M.A. Education
Community associations, involvement: Board member, Kings Grant Homeowners Association; Prince George’s County NAACP,
Professional associations: Association of Supervision and Curriculum Development-; National After-School Association; Children Youth Investment Trust Corporation Curriculum Advisory Committee- 2002-2006; Children Youth Investment Trust Corporation Standards and Outcomes Advisory Committee-2002-2006; DC Family Literacy Consortium-2001-2003
Campaign office address and telephone: P.O. Box 6845 Largo, MD 20792
Link to candidate's Web site: www.thefriendsofcarlettafellows.org
What are your top three priorities for the next four years, if elected?
Raising and sustaining academic achievement
Building working relationship with parents, community and business leaders
Ensuring Accountability System Wide
How would you rate the performance of the current school board: excellent, good, fair or poor? Why?
Rating the current school board would serve no purpose at this juncture. The appointed board served in its capacity which provided oversight of the Prince George’s County Schools. Now....as we move forward with reestablished elected body that will be accountable to the community and parents, we must work together to carry forth a vision that encompasses respect, accountability, forward thinking, partnership and innovation.
Is the county funding for schools too much, about right or too little? If too little, where would you find additional funds?
For the past three years, the county has provided the funding set forth by the school governing body. The schools responsibility is to the community in ensuring that the funding that is allocated is directed toward researched based and proven practices that foster high achievement across all grade levels and all schools.
If more money is needed due to socio-economic concerns or economic growth then strong lobbying to the county body will need to ensue along with data support.
What should the school system do to raise student achievement?
Whether we like to admit this or not, research has shown that: ”Instruction is the number 1 factor in raising student achievement.” with that in mind the following strategies should be adopted by the school system:
Establishing Professional Learning Communities – community of teachers planning together, creating common assessments, etc.)
Creating functional, focused teacher peer mentoring programs
Provide a link between professional development and what actually goes on in the classroom on a day to day basis (evaluation of effective professional development).
What would you do to recruit and retain quality teachers?
As a board member we must set strong policy that enables the CEO and principals to set rigorous hiring practices that is also accompanied by strong recruitment efforts and incentives. Incentives, such as signing bonuses, will allow Prince George’s the advantage to attract quality instructors and administrators.
Fostering strong and consistent ties with teacher preparation programs of area colleges and universities is another recruitment practice that is advantageous to Prince George’s because it coalesces home grown and community⁄student awareness.
Retaining teachers encompass a myriad of factors; pay increases being pivotal, but along with pay is ensuring that the teachers have optimal working conditions, opportunities for leadership within the county school system, county wide recognition for teaching excellence and county tax relief are all essential to this effort.
What would you do to reduce student truancy?
According to the research provided by the U.S. Dept. of Justice, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquent Programs, the root causes of truancy fall into four categories: 1. family factors, 2. school factors, 3. economic influences and 4. student variables.
Because of the aforementioned factors that influence truancy, it is imperative that Prince George’s County Standardize the Attendance and Truancy Policy to incorporate the following:
Parent⁄guardian and family involvement.
A continuum of support, including incentives and consequences for good, improved, and poor attendance.
Collaboration among schools, courts, law enforcement agencies, social service providers, businesses, and faith based and youth-serving agencies.
Tangible goals to measure program and student performance.
Effective record keeping tracking improvements in student attendance and truancy rates.
Establishment of a community standard in which school attendance is valued and expected.
Additionally the process should be streamlined so that support and or consequences are provided to the students and parents in timely manner.
Would you support having more charter schools in Prince George's County?
Charter Schools as it relates to education is a competitive model that provides choice for parents who have not found success or collaboration within the traditional public schools. As a board member, we have to take a look at the record of the charter school vying for a contract in Prince George’s County and assess them in the areas of student achievement, program implementation that differ from public schools and location to which charter is seeking establishment.
Do you think the current system for renovating and building schools is adequate or does it need changing?
I am not certain of the formula used for selecting schools for renovation to assess its viability. Fact finding is ongoing.
Should the school system's health curriculum include discussions of homosexuality and demonstrations of contraception use?
The health or science curriculum should be a comprehensive program that addresses the needs of all students. Parents after reviewing the curriculum have the option of allowing their child to be excluded from topics that are not in alignment with family values. In turn the school has the responsibility to provide an alternative course.
What do you think about the board's relationship to the community?
I believe the school board sets the standard for achievement in Prince George’s County, by incorporating the views of the community of what students should know and be able to do at each grade level. The school board is also responsible for working with the superintendent to establish a valid process for measuring student success and, when necessary, shifting resources to ensure that the school’s goals are achieved.
Does the County Council have too much, too little or not enough oversight of the school system?
The School Board is the governing body that provides oversight of the Prince George’s County schools. Therefore, two governing bodies providing oversight would only cause chaos and dissention within the county.
Do you think the school system is doing enough to meet the needs of special education students?<P> Based on the data provided Prince George’s County schools, 30% of the school funding is allocated towards special education programming. However, it is critical to look at how the funding is being used in areas of student and parent resources, facility outfitting and professional development.
Are the schools safe for students and school personnel? If not, what should be done?
According to Prince George’s County data provided under No Child Left Behind, there are currently no schools that are identified as dangerous or disruptive. So yes, schools are deemed safe for students and school personnel...until data provides otherwise.
Do you think the school system is doing enough to meet the needs of students and parents for whom English is not their primary language?
The needs of English Language Learners (ELL) students and parent are being met in the areas of Prince George’s County where there is a growing Hispanic⁄Latino population (ie. Riverdale and Hyattsville). According to the data provided, there have been incremental and consistent increases in math and reading despite the increase in the ELL population.
With uniforms becoming the norm at many county schools, would you want a countywide policy established?
The current policy in existence for establishment of school uniforms is an adequate policy which gives parents the autonomy to make decision around school uniform implementation.
What qualifications do you possess that make you a worthy candidate?
The qualifications that I possess that make me a worthy candidate is that I am a resident that cares about the academic, physical, emotional and spiritual health of all of our children. As a former educator, having taught in Prince George’s County Public Schools and in District of Columbia Public Charter Schools as a Lead Teacher and Instructional Director, I have an intricate knowledge of school standards and curriculum development along with implementation from the perspective of a classroom teacher and teacher supporter.
Lastly, having served as the director of extended learning programs for one of the oldest non-profits in the District of Columbia, it allowed me to develop youth programs that was tailored to the needs of community and schools that were considered disenfranchised. In this capacity I have worked with communities and gained a greater understanding of family and community factors that impact learning and social growth of children and youth. Therefore, with my professional experience, my love for my community in which I live and the children in which I advocate for, I believe I possess the necessary credentials to run for a seat on the Prince George’s County school board.