Meeting The Parents: New Northwestern Principal Shares Some Goals For Hyattsville's High School
After a five-year stint working in Howard County schools, Edgar Batenga returned to the school that was once the rival of his own alma mater.
Edgar Batenga, Northwestern High School’s new principal, met the parents of some of the students he will be overseeing starting later this month.
He offered them hope tempered with truth: it’s going to be a challenging year.
“My desire is to open up more programs and dance is one of them,” Batenga said during a meeting held Wednesday evening at Nicholas Orem Middle School. “One of my biggest priorities is to get more money from our … delegates.
Some academic classes this year will have 30-some students, while some electives likely will have more than 40.
“It’s a strain,” he said. “I’m squeezing. I’m squeezing all the resources.”
Batenga, a graduate of High Point High School in Beltsville, replaces Jerome Thomas, who left earlier this summer to take a job elsewhere within Prince George’s County Public Schools.
After a five-year stint working in Howard County schools, Batenga returned to the school that was once the rival of his own alma mater.
“My calling is for the students of Prince George’s County,” he said. “I want Northwestern to be the shining star, the leader of the pack.”
One issue Batenga is targeting first is parent/teacher communication about students’ grades. The county uses a computerized system called SchoolMAX to record academic marks. Teachers input the grades and parents and students can access the data from home.
The “family portal” of SchoolMAX should be open Aug. 15, Batenga said. In the past, grades have not always been entered in a timely fashion, one parent offered.
“My goal is to make sure teachers are accountable,” Batenga said, adding that at least two grades per student must be entered into SchoolMAX each week.
But another communication issue has to do with how the school promotes itself through its website.
Batenga said he has a teacher who will be working on the site to make sure it’s “up to date.”
“We got to have a partnership to get the students where we want them to be,” he said.
Here are some other changes coming to Northwestern this school year:
- Students will have several tracks to choose from to get them to graduation day;
- Generally, ninth-graders will have a generic schedule;
- Add/drop priority will be given to seniors needing changes to graduate, students who have not met prerequisites for graduation and to students who took summer classes boosting them into other classes; and
- Past ninth-grade, students will have the same guidance counselor throughout their high school career at Northwestern