In 2015, my service on the Prince George's County Board of Education began. I was unanimously confirmed by the County Council to represent District 7, the district I was born, raised, and educated in. My goal for that year was simple: reestablish this seat's legitimacy. After numerous unethical actions by former individuals, I knew my first task was to make sure District 7 had an unclouded voice at the table.
In 2016, with more than 60% of the vote, I was elected to serve my first full term on the Board of Education. My goal for that term was simple: get things done through collaboration. That is exactly what we, as a district, have done.
Through collaboration with our Teacher's Union, we drafted and enacted a Community Schools policy that mandates wraparound supporting services for our school communities who need it most. From mental health services to linkages to businesses and non-profits who provide meals, clothes, and mentorship, the Board of Education and Prince George's County Public Schools (PGCPS) have committed more than $20 million to 45 of our most deserving schools. I had the privilege of co-authoring this policy and now serve on the school system's Community Schools Steering Committee.
Through collaboration with the PGCPS Central Office, we started a Joint Task Force on Educational Equity that developed a list of nearly two dozen recommendations to close the achievement gaps for our three most at-risk student populations: students living in poverty, students with special needs, and students identified as English Language Learners. I co-chaired that task force and our work around educational equity is being recognized later this month by the National School Boards Association's Council of Urban Boards of Education.
Through collaboration with our county elected officials, both past and present, District 7 will have several school construction projects, including the rebuilding of Suitland High School and Drew-Freeman Middle School. After nearly three decades of advocacy, we are now ready to put shovels in the ground and cranes in the sky.
Through collaboration with our community leaders, we launched the District 7 Roundtable, a place where PGCPS officials come to our communities to engage us, instead of us coming to them, so that we can obtain information on key areas of interest such as our budget, operating services, academic programs, school construction, and vision for our school system.
While there have been numerous more times where, through collaboration, we have done great work, I would be dishonest if I did not bring up our shortcomings. From the grade inflation scandals at some of our schools and air quality/maintenance scandals at other schools to employee misconduct activities and Board in-fighting with the previous administrative leadership, there is no denying that, over the years, severals issues that have rocked our Board and system have fractured the trust many stakeholders had placed in our hands.
My faith teaches me to be optimistic and to seek the good in all things and my parents have raised me to always see the glass as half full. So, while I must admit that these headlines and scandals have put a shutter in our step, we still have work to do!
Until every child has the access to academic excellence, regardless of what zip code they go home to, we will continue to build a better tomorrow, today.
Until every school has the right tools, staff, and supports to be a community resource, we will continue to build a better tomorrow, today.
Until every employee, no matter if they teach in the school, clean the school, or drive the students to school, feels empowered, valued, and fairly compensated, we will continue to build a better tomorrow, today.
Over the past five years, I have had the honor to represent my neighbors and communities on the Board of Education and, together, we have not only made history but we have changed the perspective of our district. It is my hope and intention to continue the work I was elected and sent to Upper Marlboro to do - Build a Better Tomorrow, Today!
That is why, today...my birthday, I am launching my re-election campaign for the District 7 seat on the Board of Education for Prince George's County! Visit www.KAlexWallace.com to learn more, join our team, or contribute in any way.
See you out there in the community,
~ K. Alexander Wallace