UPPER MARLBORO, Md. (WJLA) - There will be a lot of new faces around Prince George's County public schools this year; PGCPS is welcoming a whopping 800 new teachers for the 2014-15 school year.
The large group of new teachers is being "inducted" into the school district this week, beginning with a welcoming ceremony Monday morning.
Monday's ceremony kicks off the Professional Educator Induction Program (PEIP), which features a week of activities designed to help ease the transition of incoming, as well as seasoned, teachers into the daily classroom settings of PGCPS.
During the training sessions, master teachers will introduce the new educators to the curriculum and resources of the school system, and familiarize them with beginning routines and procedures to help them transition into the first month of school, the school district said in a news release.
The welcoming activities and training sessions will take place at the two neighboring campuses of Dr. Henry A. Wise Jr. High School and Barack Obama Elementary School, both located on Brooke Lane in Upper Marlboro.
School officials acknowledge the majority of the district's 800 new teachers were hired because of attrition, with staff retiring or seeking better-paying jobs. According to the Washington Area Boards of Education, neighboring jurisdictions like Arlington and Montgomery counties on average pay their teachers about $10,000 more a year.
Enrollment in Prince George's County is also a factor, with numbers increasing after a decade of declines. School officials say this year an additional 1,200 students are projected to enroll, resulting in nearly 300 new teaching positions.
"We're turning children back to public schools," said Douglas Anthony, executive director of the district's Office of Talent Development. "We're really excited. We have a great new superintendent, and so there's a lot of great energy and synergy in Prince George's County. So, we're excited to have all the folks join us."
The recruited teachers say they were attracted to Prince George's County in part because of the new leadership of CEO Kevin Maxwell.
"I definitely want to be a part of more innovation and the new ideas that are coming into the county," said new teacher Heather Swann.
New teacher Alfred Barnes said, "I see now the leadership of the school district wanting to take that to the next level."
Students return to class for the new school year on Tuesday, Aug. 26.