To be a certified school bus driver, you are required to:
Possess a Commercial Drivers License (CDL) with a “P” and “S” (passenger and school bus) endorsement. The HCPSS provides the behind-the-wheel instruction to acquire this license and the necessary endorsements.
Pass a physical and drug screening examination.
Provide a driving record that shows two or less current points. The driver will be able to acquire this from the MVA.
Submit to a criminal background check that results in no disqualifying convictions or outstanding criminal charges.
Complete an 18-hour pre-service training program for certification in Howard County provided by the HCPSS Pupil Transportation Office.
Wages and number of hours worked vary from contractor to contractor.
Discussion at the Howard County Council meeting with SAAC committee
I put up the speech last night and did not do much grammar check.
Chair Walsh, thanks for inviting me to this meeting. This is Dr. Chao Wu, chair of Howard County Board of Education. I am not speaking on behalf of the board, even though probably every board member agrees with me. I appreciate the county council for giving me the opportunity.
Since the release of the Spending Affordability Advisory Committee (SAAC) report, it has been a month and half. Our county executive already released his 2022 capital budget.
I would like to talk about the SAAC report and the ongoing challenges the school system is facing. I am also proposing two possible solutions.
First, let’s talk about 2022 school system capital projects. There is an urgent funding need for school maintenance and three new construction projects (Talbott Springs ES, Hammond High and HS 13). Under the county executive 2022 capital budget, the gap is as high as 30 million dollars for the school system.
The Board and HCPSS staff have continuously noted during public discussions with the County Council and State Delegation regarding the costs of these three construction projects. These projects moved forward with construction in 2021 because of the joint commitment to maintain this funding.
However, with the current capital funding level from the county’s 2022 capital budget, we have to defer many maintenance projects again. Some projects have been deferred for more than 10 years, even 20 years. That is one reason why the school system is having a 800 million dollars maintenance list since we keep deferring them. Here are some examples:
ARL Heating ventilation and Air Conditioning renovation, last replaced 1968. Older than many people here. The cost is 25 million dollars.
Centennial High School Renovation, Addition and HVAC replacement, last replaced 1997. Cost 90 million dollars.
Dunloggin Middle School, Renovation, Addition and HVAC replacement, last replaced in 1994, cost 41 million dollars.
Elkridge Landing Middle School, HVAC replacement, last replaced 1995. Cost 10 million dollars
Forest Ridge Elementary School, Heating ventilation and air conditioning system replacement, last replaced 1992, cost 42 million dollars
Fulton Elementary School, HVAC and Roof replacement, last replaced 1997, cost 18 million dollars
Hammond Middle School, Renovation and HVAC replacement, 41 million dollars
Harpers Choice Middle school, renovation and HVAC replacement, 17 million dollars,
Jefferson Hills ES, Boiler replacement, last replaced 1974, cost 0.5 million dollars; HVAC replacement, last replaced 1998, cost 51 million dollars
Long Reach High School, HVAC replacement, 38 million dollars
Manor Woods Elementary School, HVAC replacement, last replaced 1994, cost 10 million dollars
Mayfield Woods MS renovation, 41 million dollars
Oakland Mills High School, renovation, last renovated 1973, cost 110 million
Oakland Mills Middle School renovation, 51 million dollars
Old Cedar Lane, replacement of heating, ventilation, air conditioning, last replaced 1982, cost 10 million dollars
Patapsco Middle School, Renovation and HVAC replacement, last replaced 1996, cost 51 million dollars
Pointers Run Elementary School, renovation, 20 million dollars
St Johns Lane Elementary School, HVAC replacement, , 16 million dollars
Wilde Lake High School, HVAC and boilers replacement. Cost 5.5 million dollars.
New school construction is needed for our country’s rapid development and continuous student enrollment increase.
Maintenance funding is needed to provide a safe and pleasant working and learning environment.
Missing either new school funding or the maintenance funding will lead us to a more dire situation since we don’t see any relief coming soon: future county revenue projection is slowing down and the student enrollment keeps increasing due to fast housing development across the whole county.
Second, let’s talk about the operating budget. We are looking forward that a hold-harmless number (maintaining FY21 funding level) should be maintained. We did see the enrollment dip because of the pandemic. However, we should expect the student will come back in the fall when we expect HCPSS will have full five-day in-classroom instruction. We should have this confidence that HCPSS will continue to provide quality education to attract parents and students to come to our school.
Third, over the last three budget cycles, HCPSS has realigned and reduced spending considerably by eliminating positions, increasing class sizes and cutting programs to balance our budget. We can only do so much with limited funding.
Finally, I strongly believe and propose a solution: our county’s capital project funding ,operating budget funding and our county’s planning and zoning (by the way, I mean HoCo by Design or the general plan) should always put HCPSS in the center of every decision.
Proposal for MOE formula for deferred maintenance
I also propose that we create an MOE (maintenance of effort) for deferred maintenance too, which will hold our county executive and county council accountable for our school system’s maintenance funding. Once a current aging HVAC system fails catastrophically and no replacement parts will be available due to the old aging system, we have no wiggle room to defer them any longer. The longer we kick the can further away, the higher cost it needs in the future. Keeping deferring them is to cheat ourselves and jeopardize our short term and long term financial health. Past decisions not funding them sufficiently and aggregating to such a large number should be a waking call for us all.
More than 90% of our county’s tax comes from personal income tax and property tax. We should value our parents’ trust in our education system. So all stakeholders, including the county executive, county council and the school board should work hard, both on the funding side and planning side to maintain HCPSS’s reputation.
The first addresses the addition of a public ethics report to be made by applicants for development regarding campaign contributions/business with County Council members and/or the County Executive.
The second would prohibit action on proposed zoning regulation amendments during a period leading up to the adoption of a new Howard County General Plan (specifically, nine years after the implementation of the current plan up until the new plan is adopted – this plan is currently on a 10-year cycle, thus this would apply one year before adoption).
While staff cannot estimate a direct impact on HCPSS without knowing what proposed regulations may be delayed by the bill, generally they would agree with the notion that if changes to the General Plan are imminent within the next year, passing new zoning regulations may be counterintuitive to the purpose of the plan itself to provide guidance.
While we are gradually returning to normal, I urge our parents, students and staff to contact schools if you have any questions. The school will strive to find solutions to challenges faced by families, which may have been overlooked.
Please note that for the school board itself and individual board members, we could not comment publicly on personnel matters, teacher contract, etc. The school will try our best to accommodate the individual needs for every student and staff, but we have to function as a healthy, financially feasible organization for the sake of the whole community.
I want to talk about the recent Atlanta massacre which killed eight Americans, six of them are Asian Americans. The board and the superintendent sent out a statement to parents and we want to make sure our Asian American community feels safe and protected. There is an ongoing crisis where violence, physical attack and hate towards Asian American in this country. It has been in existence for a long time. The Atlanta shooting has brought this crisis upfront. Yesterday, several board members, myself and Dr. Martirano attended a rally at Downtown Columbia to support AAPI community. It’s heartwarming to see the support from the community.
At the same time, I feel very sad when the Atlanta Police Spokesman Jay Baker said the killer just had a bad day. That remark literally says that eight lives are nothing. I truly wish the government, the media and the general public can look directly at the struggles and challenges Asian Americans are facing. One key problem is that Asian Americans are not treated as Americans.
We need to support each other to move our society forward. Only when we support each other fighting against discrimination and racism, respect each other, value everyone’s effort of pursuing their dreams, are we a full American country.
We may have different approaches to address these problems. However, we should be able to stand up for those who are suffering discrimination and racism, lift their voice, listen to their concerns and support them. We should take care of our community, elders, weak, ill, handicaped, children, women and everyone in need.
Asian Americans will not go away. Our struggles are the struggles of Americans. We should always stay united and find solutions to address this issue.
Ellicott City, Maryland — Howard County Public School System is currently seeking candidates among Howard County teachers, community members, and HCPSS students in grades 8-11 to serve on the Secondary Language Arts Criteria and Instructional Materials Review Committee.
Committee members review the selection criteria for instructional materials and recommend revisions, as needed; review any materials requested for reevaluation; and advise, support, and advocate for the continuous improvement of the HCPSS Secondary Language Arts program.
Membership is for two academic years, continuing through June 2023. All meetings will be held virtually for the remainder of the current school year, and copies of texts for review will be provided.
The Howard County Public School System is considering a virtual school option for students in grades K-12 who wish to remain virtual for the 2021-2022 (upcoming) school year. Once finalized, the Digital Education Center program will give students the option to access synchronous (real-time) instruction and digital assignments while receiving support services from the student’s districted home school.
The HCPSS Digital Education Center (DEC) is currently in the planning and design phase. The DEC would allow students to take all classes and earn credits virtually while maintaining a relationship with their assigned home school. The final DEC scope and options are subject to funding, staffing and final Board of Education approval.
HCPSS students and families interested in learning about the DEC option can register to attend a virtual information session Wednesday, March 31 at 1 or 7 p.m. Register using the links below to receive login information for the applicable session.
Please select one of the links below to register for a session:
Information presented during the session will be made available online following each session for those who are unable to attend. Answers to frequently asked questions and additional information on the DEC are forthcoming.
Please note that decisions on the 2021-2022 academic year, in terms of students returning in person, hybrid or virtually have not yet been determined, and will be communicated as soon as possible.
HCPSS Response to Recent Violence and Incidents of Anti-Asian Hatred
March 18th, 2021
The following statement was issued by the Howard County Board of Education and HCPSS Superintendent Michael Martirano on March 18, 2021:
We are deeply saddened by the tragic shooting in Atlanta on Tuesday, March 16. Eight people were killed, including six Asian Americans. This tragedy is particularly painful to members of our Asian community in Howard County, and many Asian students are understandably fearful. One month ago on the Lunar New Year holiday, six local restaurants, including four owned by Asians, were burglarized and vandalized. Two weeks ago, a hateful and racist speech against Asian Americans, Hispanic Americans and immigrants was delivered during the Howard County Racial Equity Task Force Public Hearing held on March 4th.
Unfortunately, these are not isolated incidents. We are witnessing in horror the recent increase in incidents of violence, attacks, hatred and discrimination against Asian Americans. Recent reports indicate there have been thousands of incidents targeting Asian Americans across the nation. The Howard County Board of Education and Superintendent Dr. Michael J. Martirano unequivocally condemn all anti-Asian violence, crimes and incidents.
HCPSS is committed to providing a safe, welcoming and inclusive environment for everyone in our community. We are enormously proud of our diverse and inspiring Asian American students and families. We are also very appreciative of the Asian American community’s contributions to HCPSS and Howard County. We reaffirm that Asian students are an integral part of diversity, equity, and inclusion in Howard County and our nation. HCPSS staff are committed to offering full support at this time of great stress for our Asian American students and families.
First and foremost, it is critical that we tend to the well-being of our students who require support. HCPSS will not tolerate bullying in any form; we ask that any child who feels victimized to reach out to a trusted adult. Students, staff and family members can easily and confidentially report incidents of bullying on the HCPSS Stop Bullying website. Counselors and staff in all of our schools are prepared to support any students who need someone to talk to. Additional resources are provided below that may be helpful for parents and educators as you discuss these recent events with your children.
We encourage everyone to stand in solidarity with our Asian American community. We urge the leaders of our country, as well as our county, to work harder to stop the hatred and take concrete actions to protect vulnerable minorities, including Asian Americans. As Martin Luther King said: “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” An inclusive, just, and compassionate Howard County starts with treating all citizens and community members with kindness, respect and trust.
Resources The National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) provides the following information for parents and educators to talk with children about violence:
HCPSS Class of 2020 Graduation Rate Continues to Rise
The percentage of HCPSS students who receive high school diplomas continues to rise and to outpace statewide results, according to data recently released by the Maryland State Department of Education.
At 93.4%, the graduation rate for the HCPSS Class of 2020 exceeded the Maryland average of 86.8%, and is up from 92.8% for 2019 and from 92.0% in 2018. Howard County’s rate remains the highest among the six Maryland school systems having enrollment of more than 50,000 students. The statistics reflect data for the cohort of students graduating within four years after entering high school.
HCPSS dropout patterns echo the graduation rate trends. At 3.6%, the dropout rate for the Class of 2020 shows a significant improvement compared to 4.5% in 2019 and 4.8% in 2018. The HCPSS dropout rate is well below the state average of 8.3% and compares favorably to other large Maryland school systems.
While graduation rate gaps persist among student demographic groups, several groups showed notable improvement compared to the prior year. At 91.2%, the graduation rate for Black/African American students increased by over 2 full percentage points from 88.7% in 2019. The graduation rate for Hispanic/Latinx students also showed improvement at 80.4% in 2020, up from 79.3% in 2019. Among students receiving special services, the Limited English Proficiency (LEP) group showed the greatest improvement, increasing by over 10 percentage points to 57.9%, from 47.2% last year. The rates for students eligible for free and reduced-priced meals, which is an indicator of poverty, improved by over 5 percentage points to 84.3% for 2020, compared to 79.1% last year. Graduation rates for students receiving special education services rose to 73.8%, up from 70.5% in 2019. The group designations are assigned by MSDE to track year-over-year performance.
“Our focus on equity to give all students the supports they need to be successful is driven by the goal to ensure all students are college and career ready, and the graduation rate is a key performance indicator,” said Superintendent Michael J. Martirano. “The improvements in graduation rates among several student groups that have been most impacted by achievement gaps are encouraging, and reinforce the importance of initiatives around attendance, access, achievement and acceptance, which are closely associated with student achievement. As we recover from the pandemic, we must amplify our support for students who have been most acutely impacted, and we are preparing a robust summer learning program to provide learning recovery and acceleration.”
“High school graduation is one of the most critical milestones in preparing for a satisfying, successful life, and much of our success as a school system can be evaluated by our effectiveness in graduating every one of our students,” said Board of Education Chair Chao Wu. “I am pleased that Howard County graduation rates continue to improve, which is a testament to the hard work and dedication of our outstanding staff.”
HCPSS focuses improvement efforts targeted to all of the major factors contributing to student engagement, achievement and ultimately, graduation. The school system’s Strategic Call to Action: Learning and Leading with Equity includes multiple strategies and performance measures aimed at improving achievement and learning engagement, with individualized instruction, equitable access to learning experiences, and special supports for at-risk and struggling students. The instructional program emphasizes education as a birth-through-graduation continuum and involves families and the community as essential partners in student success. System and school leaders continuously work to identify and address the root causes of equity gaps that influence achievement and graduation levels. Multiple HCPSS initiatives are targeted to overcome factors that contribute to achievement gaps, which begin in the early grades.
MSDE posts details on graduation and dropout rates for HCPSS and other systems and individual schools on its Maryland Report Card site.
HCPSS Board of Education Transition to Hybrid Meetings
March 5th, 2021
The Howard County Board of Education will transition to a hybrid board meeting format beginning with the March 11, 2021 meeting, with some Board members and staff participating in person while others continue participating remotely.
As the Board transitions to a hybrid meeting model, it is the Board’s desire to provide the public an opportunity to attend Board meetings in person, while keeping the option to participate and view virtually as the public has done since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Board will continue evaluating state guidelines and Board processes and protocols and will make adjustments as necessary to accommodate additional public participation.
During the Public Forum portion of the meeting, members of the public may continue to participate and speak virtually. However, should any speakers wish to attend and speak in person, they will be able to do so beginning with the March 11, 2021 Board meeting. Additionally, the public may register to attend the March 11 Board meeting in person. In order to adhere to safety protocols, there will be limited space for people to attend and observe, with capacity set for 16 public attendees.
Upon arrival, guests will check in at the front desk of the Department of Education building and follow signage into the Boardroom, while adhering to the guidelines and requirements for wearing masks and maintaining social distance. Those speaking at Public Forum will have assigned seats and will be directed to the podium when Public Forum begins. If there is more than one in-person speaker, the podium will be sanitized between speakers.
The deadline to sign up to participate in the March 11 Public Forums or to view the meeting in person is Tuesday, March 9. Please contact Kathy Hanks via email at Kathleen_hanks@hcpss.org to register. Speakers must select their preference to attend in person or virtually at the time of sign up.
Today the FY 2022 Howard County Spending Affordability Advisory Committee issued their report. I was a non-voting committee member, representing HCPSS and I don’t agree with some of their recommendations.
Starting from March 1st, next Monday, we will have several thousands students returning to the classroom. This is the first step and large scale of our bridge to normalized in-person education. The phase by phase return helps us to have a capacity for a socially-distanced classroom and other logistic arrangements.
It is important for the community to fully understand the unprecedented actions the Board and administration have taken to ensure the health and safety of our students and employees.
I know some of our staff have complex feelings. Some are excited to return to the classroom, and some have anxieties. Some even quit their jobs. For our teachers, staff and administrators, I truly appreciate what you have been doing for our students during this difficult time.
Approving the hybrid plan is one of the most difficult decisions for me as a board member. We need to safeguard the health of our workforce, students and community. We also have to meet our students’ needs. We have to find a middle-ground for these two and we are walking a fine line here.
There may be glitches, uncertainties and unknowns in the implementation of the hybrid plan. We are actively looking for your feedback on how to revise and improve our delivery of education. It is a complex and interwoven system and we are exploring something we had never tried at this scale before. We are patient and optimistic.
I sincerely hope all of us will work together to get through this unprecedented difficult time. The pandemic will be gone eventually, but the support and encouragement you render to our educators and our students will never go away.
You have two more weeks to apply for the 2021 summer ASPIRE high school internship! The application remains open until 11:59pm ET, February 28th. ASPIRE is JHU APL’s unpaid, hands-on, learning-based internship that provides high school juniors and seniors with the opportunity to explore careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. ASPIRE’s experiential and educational nature is designed to give students a chance to see inside the STEM industry.
High school junior or senior during program participation. Students applying to the summer program should be going into their junior or senior year. Students must be at least 15 years of age by the start date of the session to which they are applying.
This year, we have made some significant changes to ASPIRE, including:
Expanded opportunities for students residing more than 30 miles away
Virtual, hybrid, and in-person internship opportunities (if circumstances allow)
To learn more about this exciting opportunity (which is completely free!), as well as view our full eligibility requirements, please visit our website.
The purpose of this memorandum is to provide information on the 2021 HCPSS Summer School Programs. During summer 2021, it is anticipated that the Gifted and Talented Summer Institute, Extended School Year, Early Intervention Services, and BSAP Summer Institute will operate as they have in the past. They will be taught through a combination of online and in-person instruction reflecting the hybrid approach instituted for spring 2021.
Suggested changes to the Innovative Pathways Summer School Program for high school students and Academic Intervention Summer Program for students entering grades K-8 in fall 2021 are described below. The goal for summer is to double the number of students participating in summer options.
I received an email as following which calls CA to halt hiring their new CEO and campaigns for Columbia Association Board of Director Election. I have never seen such action before. When an organization in Baltimore put the money into CA election, it seems strange. What is the purpose of such campaign?
I saw a few developers’ names in the list and CA owns many lands in Columbia. That is one connection I can think of for the moment.
Here is the letter:
Your name was among those recommended by a Rouse Project Steering Committee Member to receive this early announcement of the organization’s launch. We hope you’ll take a moment to learn more.
The Rouse Projectis a budding coalition of leaders, residents and businesses that have come together to pursue a more vibrant and inclusive future for Columbia. Inspired by James Rouse’s vision and the ideals upon which Columbia was founded, we share a common belief that more can and should be done today to:Ensure our community is fully welcoming and inclusive.Protect and enhance amenities to meet the evolving needs of our residents.Promote equally connected and prosperous villages.Cultivate vibrant entertainment, art, culinary and cultural experiences.
PROGRESS IS ON THE BALLOT THIS APRIL
Our work begins with the Columbia Association (CA) Board elections on April 24th. As the “keeper of Columbia’s vision,” CA is responsible for leveraging the significant investments we make in annual CPRA assessments to protect and strengthen all of the unique attributes and values that have traditionally made Columbia a highly desirable place to live and work.
The many years of service by current Board Members is commendable, however, the glaring lack of diversity on the Board – in age, race and income – sits in stark contrast with the diverse communities they were elected to represent. We believe it is time for new leadership that:Reflects the diversity and experience of the people it serves.Reimagines the priorities and vision of the CA Board to better align with the needs of Columbia residents, businesses and nonprofit organizations.Addresses antiquated systems of governance that fall short of modern best practices.Promotes ongoing community engagement and participation.Addresses social issues like equity and inclusion in a more relevant and public manner. HELP RENEW COLUMBIA’S PROMISE
This is your call to action. The most important thing we can do now is spread the word to our neighbors, friends and colleagues. We’ll keep you updated as each village finalizes its voting and candidate processes. For now, we ask that you:Visit our website and pledge to vote in the CA Board election on April 24th.*Forward this email to 10 friends and encourage them to do the same.Like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter to receive timely information and help spread the word.If you are a dynamic and passionate CA lien holder interested in serving on the CA Board or know of someone who might be, contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.