Greenbelt Middle is Prince George’s newest ‘green’ school

WASHINGTON – As roughly 123,000 students went back to classes in Prince George’s County Monday, Greenbelt Middle School students had something other students didn’t — a new school.

Students at Greenbelt Middle School started the school year in a new $32 million facility, the third such facility in the county to be designated as energy efficient with certification as a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design facility.

The building includes a plant-covered green roof, interactive white boards that serve as projectors and television production studios.

The 972 students at Greenbelt Middle headed back to classes in uniform. This year, sixth graders are wearing green polo shirts, seventh are in white and eighth graders are in black.

With every new school year, students across the county will need to adjust to new bus schedules. Director of Transportation Thomas Bishop recommends families establish regular after-school routine and have a contingency plan, if they don’t have someone to meet their children at the bus stop.

“You need to have a backup plan, an emergency plan for what does that student do when they get off the bus. Where do they go? Is there a neighbor they can stay with for a short time?”

Monday morning, Prince George’s County school board members and outgoing Superintendent of Schools Dr. William R. Hite greeted students at various schools around the county.

Hite, who stepped down to lead Philadelphia’s school system, will be replaced on an interim basis by Alvin Crawley, the deputy chief of programming for D.C.’s special education office. He takes over Sept. 4.

“The school system has made significant academic strides in recent years and I look forward to helping students and teachers continue on that path. I will work with the Board of Education over the next few weeks to address immediate challenges and enhance successful programs and services,” says Crawley, in a news release announcing his selection.

The Board of Education says Crawley will be instrumental in assessing five priority areas: high student achievement, highly-effective teaching, safe and supportive schools, strong community partnerships and effective and efficient operations.

Board of Education Chairwoman Verjeana M. Jacobs tells WTOP the board is expected to appoint the new, permanent superintendent on July 1, 2013 after community forums.

In Fauquier County, students also went back to school. Fauquier County is the first Northern Virginia system to hit the books. Most Virginia schools return to classes after Labor Day.

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