Schedule problems plague Prince George's students, again
Parents say glitches that hindered start last year are occurring once more
After more than 8,000 Prince George's County students sat idly in auditoriums for the first week of school last year because of a massive scheduling snafu, parents are reporting that schedules available online are incorrect.
Problems have been reported at Charles H. Flowers High School in Springdale, where parents are saying students have not been signed up for required classes, such as science.
"I preregistered [classes for] my daughter through her middle school, and what we signed up for we didn't receive," said parent Nicole Miles of Mitchellville.
Cameron Miles, a freshman at Flowers, did not receive the science or language classes she signed up for and instead received Reserved Officers' Training Corps (ROTC), an elective class, her mother said.
Student schedules were published Monday online through the school system's online grade book, SchoolMAX, allowing students and parents to access schedules prior to the first day of school, which is Monday.
After the scheduling glitch last year, school officials promised a smoother transition and made many student schedules available online before the start of school.
County schools spokesman Darrell Pressley declined to say what caused the scheduling errors at Flowers High School and whether there were complaints from other schools.
Nicole Miles said Flowers High School failed to answer calls Monday, so she visited the school Tuesday morning and was told that guidance counselors, who handle student scheduling, were not available, and scheduling errors could take as much as three weeks to resolve, she said.
Calls to Flowers were not returned Tuesday, but a message on their website stated the school "will not be able to accommodate any schedule change requests."
Kim Duncan said her son, a sophomore at Flowers, also found errors in his schedule, including a missing Chinese language class.
"It's incredibly frustrating because I have a child who is going to be sitting in [the wrong] class missing weeks of instruction," Duncan said.
School board member Pat Fletcher (Dist. 3) said now that scheduling is nearly complete across county schools, guidance counselors will be addressing scheduling errors and class sizes.
In the first few weeks of school, schedules are usually adjusted to level out class size in county schools, Fletcher said, adding that the first week there could be as many as 40 students in a class. During this time, counselors will also be able to assess where there is demand for a specific course and add additional seats to that course.
"If there is demand, we can create another class," Fletcher said. "Hopefully, it can be completed between now and the first day of school, but no later than the first two weeks of school."
For David Miles, father of Cameron Miles, the adjustment period is not acceptable.
"We make academics a priority and for them to be putting her in any course is not right. They had the whole summer to get this straight," he said.
Schools will address any outstanding schedule changes after the first week of school "as part of our regular process," Pressley said, adding that scheduling changes will be prioritized by grade, with high school senior schedules being revised first.