BY ROSANNA LANDIS WEAVER — The opening of Hyattsville’s new elementary school has been delayed until 2014, but some elementary school students may start the next academic year at a new school under a plan that would shift sixth-graders to Hyattsville Middle School.
The news came at the Prince George’s County Public Schools forum on “Boundary, Grade & Program Improvements” held at Nicholas Orem Middle School on December 4.
Studies suggest that a three-year transition between elementary and high school serves students better and allows for more academic opportunities. The county has been focused on such a move “as opportunities allow,” according to Johndel Jones-Brown, Director of Public Accounting and School Boundaries.
Hyattsville Middle School is one of five county schools that may include sixth graders next year.  Under the current plan, sixth graders from Hyattsville Elementary and Riverdale Elementary would attend HMS beginning next school year.
During the meeting, school officials also shared the news that the elementary school under construction in West Hyattsville will not open for another 19 months
— a surprise to some parents, still under the impression that it would open in for the 2013 school year. While the school system presented detailed prospective versions of boundary changes for two other schools, the presentation on the new Hyattsville elementary school was shared for informational purposes only.
The presentation did, however, include a map that highlighted the approximate area covered by students who live within walking distance. Jones-Brown noted that given the population density near the school, it was possible that the school could be filled with those students, but ”that’s not a discussion we’re having right now.”
That discussion is scheduled to begin next fall, with hearings associated with the naming, the boundaries and the consideration about whether this school should include a TAG (Talented and Gifted) program. Boundary decisions are unlikely to be settled before spring 2014.
“This school will be what we make it as a community,” noted interim superintendent Dr. Alvin Crawley, “We want to build this with you.”
Crawley and other PGCPS representatives urged parents to email comments and questions to
Following two additional public forums in December, the school system plans to incorporate input and move to the next component of the timeline: plan refinement and public hearings.  While the locations of these hearings have not been determined, they are scheduled for January 22 to 24.