Prince George's CountyWilliam J. Ford

Goddard Students Staying Put in Wake of Protests

After careful consideration — and protest — students at Robert Goddard Montessori School in Seabrook will remain in a building that’s been their home away from home, Prince George’s County Public Schools officials decided.

According to a letter Thursday from PGCPS CEO Monica Goldson, the Montessori students will share space with students from Hyattsville Middle School. That’s because a new Hyattsville school will be built and scheduled for completion in 2023.

“There were many factors to consider in making this decision, but we believe this is the best course of action,” Goldson wrote. “Prince George’s County Public Schools will continue working diligently to ensure a smooth transition. Thank you for your support and engagement during this process.”

Not all of the 1,000 middle school students will call Goddard home when the 2021-22 school year begins. Hyattsville’s sixth graders and seventh- and eighth-grade students in the Creative and Performing Arts program will continue their academics at Goddard, while the remaining students will relocate to the former Meadowbrook Elementary School in Bowie.

On Wednesday, more than 100 Goddard parents, students and alumni rallied in front of the school system’s administration building in Upper Marlboro protesting a previous decision by school officials to relocate the 500 students to Meadowbrook. Hyattsville students would’ve moved into the Goddard building, which houses students in prekindergarten to eighth grade.

Besides parental concerns in moving their children from the school in Seabrook about seven miles away to Bowie, some said they didn’t know about the school system’s final decision until reading it on another school’s social media page.

“I am happy that the concerns of the RGMS community were heard and that [the] administration acted accordingly,” school board member Joshua Thomas, who attended Wednesday’s rally, said in a text message. “That was not an easy decision on their part, but it was the right thing to do. I’m committed to finding policy solutions to make sure a situation like this never occurs again.”

Goddard parents released a statement not only applauding the decision to keep their children at the school, but also working with Hyattsville parents and students.

“We realize this was a very difficult decision with no good answer,” said Jasmy Methipara, president of the school PTSA. “We commend Dr. Goldson and her team for doing their best during what has been an immensely stressful time for our kids, our teachers, and our communities.”

William J. Ford – Washington Informer Staff Writer

I decided I wanted to become a better writer while attending Bowie State University and figured that writing for the school newspaper would help. I’m not sure how much it helped, but I enjoyed it so much I decided to keep on doing it, which I still thoroughly enjoy 20 years later. If I weren’t a journalist, I would coach youth basketball. Actually, I still play basketball, or at least try to play, once a week. My kryptonite is peanut butter. What makes me happy – seeing my son and two godchildren grow up. On the other hand, a bad call made by an official during a football or basketball game makes me throw up my hands and scream. Favorite foods include pancakes and scrambled eggs which I could eat 24-7. The strangest thing that’s ever happened to me, or more accurately the most painful, was when I was hit by a car on Lancaster Avenue in Philadelphia. If I had the power or money to change the world, I’d make sure everyone had three meals a day. And while I don’t have a motto or favorite quote, I continue to laugh which keeps me from driving myself crazy. You can reach me several ways: Twitter @jabariwill, Instagram will_iam.ford2281 or e-mail, wford@washingtoninformer.com

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