BOE meeting recap 2022-1-13

BOE meeting recap 2022-1-13

Public forum:

  • topics include: environmental literacy, mask breaks, concerning about covid-19

Student Representative:

  • Homewood

Student Board Member (Peter Banyas) Report:

  • talked about the student townhall on covid, board virtual coffee hour, HCASC virtual general assembly.

Superintendent report:

  • promotions and transfers
  • Student Board Member Peter won the United States Senate forum in DC.
  • 25% salary increase for substitute teachers

Howard County Educator Association (HCEA) presentation

  • presentation from Prof. Meagan Fitzpatrick

Policy

  • Policy 1025 Title IX Sexual Harassment, Report
  • Policy 2010 Student Representation, approved
  • Policy 4100 Investment, approved
  • Policy 4070 Fund Balance, deferred
  • Policy 9090 Wellness through Nutrition and Physical Activity, approved.

Public Forum Evening

topics included: reading strategic plan, covid-19 mitigation strategies and loss

Administrative Agenda

  • Bids and contracts
  • Class Size Report
  • School Start Times
  • Operating Budget Review Committee
  • 2022-2024 Proposed Academic Calendar

I am attaching some student’s art work hanging in the BOE central office.

HCPSS Seeks Members for Instructional Technology and Library Media Advisory Board, by Dec. 21, 2021

HCPSS Seeks Members for Instructional Technology and Library Media Advisory Board, by Dec. 21, 2021

Apply by Tuesday, Dec. 21, 2021

HCPSS is currently seeking Howard County parents/guardians, community members and staff interested in joining the Instructional Technology and Library Media Advisory Board. Committee members share their expertise and exchange ideas to advise, support, and advocate for the continuous improvement of the instructional technology and library media program and support students in becoming college and career-ready.

The advisory board supports HCPSS staff in:

  • Establishing short and long range goals for services, resources, and technology integration
  • Maintaining a current collection policy/collection development plan
  • Implementing special program activities and celebrations
  • Advocating for the instructional technology and library media program by encouraging community support and funding

The committee will meet periodically during the school year, with the first meeting on Friday, Jan. 7 from 7:30-9 a.m., which will be held virtually. Future meeting dates will be determined at the Jan. 7 meeting.

Interested participants are asked to submit a statement of interest by Tuesday, Dec. 21, 2021.

For more information, please contact the Office of Instructional Technology and Library Media at 410-313-7141 or email Melissa_Daggett@hcpss.org or Julie_Wray@hcpss.org.

Board meeting recap 2021-12-16

Board meeting recap 2021-12-16

Public forum:

topics: covid concern at some high schools, school sports cancellation issue,

Superintendent Report

As of yesterday, December 15, our seven-day total of positive COVID cases among students was 333 and 49 among staff, and we had 3,712 students and 132 staff members in quarantine. We have 26 current active outbreaks but please note that this number is not fully reflected on the Maryland Department of Health website due to its recent hack. We have a total of 170 students who were initially identified as close contacts and ultimately tested positive over the
14-day quarantine period.

The numbers speak for themselves. For reference, on Nov. 18, our seven-day total of positive COVID cases in schools was 75, with 1,151 students and 34 staff members in quarantine. As of yesterday morning, we were nearing 300 positive COVID cases in schools for the first three days of the week. Since that announcement yesterday we have already seen over 250 additional positive COVID-19 cases and that is just as of 1 pm today.

We have all witnessed too many stories of violence and threats at schools across the nation. Unfortunately, we have experienced similar situations right here in Howard County schools.

Dr. Russo talked about Oakland Mills HS and Hammond HS’s outbreaks. Dr. Rossman talked about testing for athletes as one mitigation method. Dr. Rossman also said there was no higher infection rate in cafeteria.

Motion Passed:

  1. Move that the Board direct the Superintendent to immediately resume all in-person outdoor activities and indoor activities which has mask mandating and to initiate a test to play for sports on January 3, 2022.
  2. Move that, for SY21-22 only, Midterms be suspended, and finals be given a grade weight of 10%.

Student Representative Report

Wilde Lake High School

Student Board Member Report

Personnel

A lot of promotions and transfer

Policy 6010 School Attendance Areas

approved with some revisions

Board meeting recap 2021-12-7

I am beginning to document some board discussion and voting for easy digestion.

If you register to speak virtually, please make sure your name on Zoom matched your registered name such that our tech team will move you to be a speaker.

The board elected Ms. Vicky Cutroneo as Chair and Ms. Antonia Watts as vice chair.

Public forum topics: LGBTQ+ textbooks, Musgrove Farm Shared Septic, African American/Special Education, plastic bag usage in lunch, mask requirement for stage performance.

Report from Howard County High School

SMOB report: school visits, etc

Superintendent Report:

Celebration:

● This year’s Merrill teacher honorees include Samuel Polack, GT resource teacher at Rockburn Elementary School, who years ago taught 4th and 5th grade GT math to UMD Merrill student honoree William Gerst.
● Next, Paula Roberts, a math teacher at Howard High School, was recognized by her former student Eunice Braimoh.
● Two teachers at Atholton High School are also being honored: Lynette Burns is a GT teacher, whose former student was Ally Merwitz.
● The other Atholton honoree is Jennifer Street, a world language teacher and instructional team leader, whose former student was Selena Cen.

Covid Update:

I have an update on our school health metrics. As of yesterday, December 6th, our seven-day total of positive COVID cases in schools was 95, and we had 1,172 students and 31 staff members in quarantine. We have 16 current active outbreaks; please note that this number is not reflected on the Maryland Department of Health website due to
its recent hack. We have a total of 58 students who were initially identified as close contacts and ultimately tested positive over the 14-day quarantine period. Overall, our numbers remain similar to those that I reported on November 18.

I am pleased to note that as of Friday, December 3, 85.2% of Howard County 12-17 year olds are fully vaccinated, with 92.6% having received their first dose. It is also encouraging that 37.4%, or approximately 12,000 children ages 5-11
have already received their first dose.

At this time there will be no change to our current protocol requiring indoor masking for all students, staff and community members, regardless of vaccination status.

Tents:

All tents are now being removed in decreasing order of school capacity utilization, which is the same as the order in which they were installed. They will be reinstalled outside each elementary school at the beginning of March 2022, with the specific timing dependent on weather condition

Staffing shortage and hiring effort

Incident at Howard High School

Special Education Statement:

I will not remove students receiving special education services from their classroom or school, or reduce or eliminate special education services.

Motion:

The board approved a motion: student performers have the same standard as student athletes on mask protocol.

Appointments

HCEA (HoCo Education Association) and HCASA(HoCo Association of Supervisors and Administrators)

School Construction Report

  • Hammond High School, 45% completed, ready in 2023
  • HS 13, 39.6% completed, ready in 2023
  • Talbott Spring ES, 42.9%, ready in 2022

Policy Discussions

  1. Report: Policy 6060 Community Improvement to School Sites or School Facilities Charter
  2. Report: Policy 4050 Procurement of Goods and/or Services Charter
  3. Report: Policy 8020 Grading and Reporting: Middle and High School (new cycle)
  4. Approved: Policy 8100 Field Trips.
    • The purpose of this modification is to allow JROTC instructors to accompany students on field trips as they are not MSDE certified. The definition of Teacher-in-Charge was modified to include Department of Defense (DoD) Certified JROTC Instructors.
  5. Approved: Policy 8010 Grading and Reporting: Prekindergarten through Grade 5
    • The purpose of this modification is to clarify that during SY21-22, students who must quarantine due to COVID-19 exposure or possible exposure but can otherwise participate in instruction would still receive additional days to hand in assignments as occurs when students have lawful absences.
  6. Approved: Policy 8020 Grading and Reporting: Middle and High School
    • For year 2021-2022 year only
    • The purpose of these modifications are, for SY21-22 only, to revise the final course grade to 5% for midterms and 5% for final examinations and clarify that during SY21-22, students who must quarantine due to COVID-19 exposure or possible exposure but can otherwise participate in instruction would still receive additional days to hand in assignments as occurs when students have lawful absences.
  7. Approved: Policy 3030 Research Involving Employees and Students

Evening Public Forum

topics covered: SMOB election, student wellness and student search and seizure

Public Hearing on Policy

  1. Policy 2010 Student Representation
  2. Policy 9090 Wellness through Nutrition and Physical Activity
  3. Policy 9260 Student Search and Seizure

Administrative Agenda

  • The board denied the charter school application ( Reading Opens Doors Charter School)

THE IDEAS BEHIND THE BLUEPRINT FOR MARYLAND’S FUTURE

THE IDEAS BEHIND THE BLUEPRINT FOR MARYLAND’S FUTURE
A Presentation To The Accountability And Implementation Board

National Center on Education and the Economy (NCEE) Briefing on the Ideas Behind the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future in Four Parts

Marc Tucker, President Emeritus
Betsy Brown Ruzzi, Vice President Emeritus

Quick summary: The presentation is not of high quality, and some key facts are wrong because the authors mixed things together.

I believe the authors for this report failed to separate the Maryland, Maryland counties, USA, world cities, city-like countries and provide a much more solid analytic solution/suggestion for us. I know the comments may be a little harsh. Unfortunately, this presentation will be used for policy makers to make important policies. AIB has to figure out a way to fund the blueprint first.

  1. Starting the report, there is a problem. Comparing with Finland, Ontario(Canada), Shanghai (China) and Singapore, four of the highest performing jurisdictions on OECD’s PISA surveys. This is a wrong comparison. In order to have a better comparison, beyond the education part, the demographics, political, culture, economical aspects should be included in the discussion. Education is not alone in this discussion. Education is intertwined with other parts of the society. If we could not compare or change other part of our society, we should not expect we can change/reform education as other societies are doing.
  2. Ignore AAPI students in their report. I got it. It is a typical stereotype that AAPI students are not American students such that they did not realize they miss their presence in their presentation, or they are doing very well academically, they don’t count AAPI students in their discussion.
  3. Put the wrong facts to support their point of view. For example, in Maryland, students in poor counties actually receives higher(or no less) spending per student. NCEE probably used some talking points from their templates and they did not look at the numbers in Maryland.
  4. Childcare supports are much strong in many other countries as the report correctly stated. One key reason is that they have much lower birth rate. The government has to put the incentive to encourage the birth rate.
    1. By the way, if you have more kids, each kid will receive less attention and resources given everything else is the same.
  5. Make CTE attractive and prestigious. This an important point. I totally agree with it.
  6. There is some made-up stuff: for example (Page 71, the PDF page number): For more than 20 years, accountability in the United States has meant threatening schools with takeovers and teachers with firing if their students failed to meet state targets for student performance. There may be some marginal discussion on this in other states, but I never heard this in Maryland. The report focuses on Maryland blueprint but puts the wrong/inappropriate content in the presentation. At the same time, the report did not discuss/mention another dominant policy maker on the table: the teacher union.

There are many other points I don’t want to highlight. The report is very long.

One suggestion based on my personal experience

  1. Don’t lower the admission bar for teachers in college application but offer free tuition for students who choose teaching as career. A few of my relatives (brothers and sisters) studied hard and became great teachers following this philosophy.
  2. Can Maryland do this? Yes. It can. Assume $30k per student per year, for 1000 teacher. The cost is 30 million dollars in the state budget. Furthermore, if we consider 10% of teachers (in total, we have around 60k teachers in MD) coming from this trajectory, it costs only 180 million dollars per year. At the same time, we can get rid of many promotional or wasteful programs for this purpose.

The presentation is attached below:

Howard County APFO 101

Howard County APFO ( adequate public facility ordinance) 101

The Adequate Public Facilities Ordinance (APFO) provides a growth management process that will enable the County to provide adequate public roads, schools, and other facilities in a timely manner and achieve general plan growth objectives. This process is designed to direct growth to areas where adequate infrastructure exists or will exist.

HCPSS Commits to Incentive Pay for All Bus Drivers, Attendants and Contractors

HCPSS Commits to Incentive Pay for All Bus Drivers, Attendants and Contractors

HCPSS Commits to $5,000 Incentive Pay for All Bus Drivers and Attendants; Up to $4,000 Incentive Pay for Newly Hired Drivers; Up to $3,000 for Bus Contractors to Help Fill Inactive Routes

The Howard County Board of Education took action today to begin addressing the bus driver shortage that has impacted HCPSS since the beginning of the school year. The Board approved amendments to transportation contracts to provide a financial incentive for school bus drivers and attendants. This action would not have been possible without a $2 million commitment from County Executive Calvin Ball. The remaining costs will be covered with transportation savings in HCPSS’s budget. The additional funding will provide:

  • $5,000 in one-time incentives for all current bus drivers and attendants;
  • $1,500 signing bonus and up to a total of $2,500 in monthly incentive payments for all newly hired bus drivers and attendants;
  • $3,000 over three months to help bus contractors with driver shortages recruit and hire new staff to activate the remaining 95 routes; and
  • A 10% payment to bus contractors for each incentive bonus paid to bus drivers and attendants for overhead costs.

The school system wants to help bus drivers during this difficult time by getting these funds directly into their pockets. The initial $2,500 incentive bonuses for current bus drivers and attendants will be disbursed to all bus contractors within ten days of execution of the amended contracts and the remaining $2,500 will be paid monthly through the end of the school year.

The Howard County Public School System contracts its bus services to several local vendors, who will distribute the bonuses to their employees and will be required to provide verification to HCPSS that bus drivers and attendants received their payments timely.

While these short-term financial incentives are necessary to remain competitive as many other districts explore similar incentives, the long-term sustainability of transportation operations will require several strategies. HCPSS will work with bus contractors to examine the feasibility of increasing bus driver pay and benefits to support the recruitment and retention of high-quality bus drivers.

Since the start of the school year, HCPSS has experienced a shortage of approximately 95 bus drivers. The driver shortage has required many doubled bus routes, causing many students to arrive at school early or remain later at the end of the school day and resulting in significant challenges and inconvenience for drivers, families and school staff. Addressing the bus driver shortage requires a sustained effort and multiple action pathways. HCPSS has implemented a number of outreach initiatives, including recent hiring fairs, in order to attract new drivers and staff in other critical shortage areas, and will continue to work with bus contractors in an effort to reduce the number of driver shortages.

The Superintendent and Board of Education members thanked the County Executive for the county’s commitment of American Rescue Plan funding to help support this effort.

A new proposal for 2022 Maryland Congressional District

A new proposal for 2022 Maryland Congressional District

Jerry Gao, a junior at River Hill School, spent a few months working with me, came out with a new proposal for Maryland Congressional District. The main purpose is to get rid of gerrymandered districts like eagle or butterfly, especially MD Congressional District 2 or District 3 as following. Both of them are arbitrary, capricious and illegal at some sense.

Current US Congressional District 2

Current US Congressional District 3

Newly Proposed US Congressional Districts

  1. No more peculiar district shapes borders. Majority of counties will stay in one Congressional District.
  2. Less population deviation for each district from the average (6,398 vs. 48,059)
  3. Will stay in 7 democrats, one republican status.

Demographic Data ( 7 Democrats, 1 Republican, no change)

The whole presentation

2022 HoCo State Delegate Proposed Legislations

2020 HoCo State Delegate Proposed Legislation

https://www.howardcountymd.gov/state-delegation/2022-proposed-local-legislation

2022 Proposed Local Legislation

Howard County Board of Education – School Safety Personnel (Delegate Atterbeary School Resource Officers Act of 2022), Ho. Co. 1-22

By: Delegate Atterbeary

FOR the purpose of requiring the Howard County Board of Education to develop a plan to implement certain school safety guidelines that replaces school resource officers in public schools in Howard County with adequate law enforcement coverage provided by school coverage officers, effectively addresses the need for certain personnel, and requires school coverage officers and school security employees to complete a certain model training program; defining the term “school coverage officer”; requiring the county board to solicit and incorporate input from stakeholders in the Howard County Public School System and school community; and generally relating to school safety personnel in Howard County.

Howard County – Due Process Proceedings for Children With Disabilities – Burden of Proof, Ho. Co. 2-22

By: Senator Hester

FOR the purpose of requiring the Howard County Board of Education to bear the burden of proof in due process proceedings that initiate from a due process complaint regarding the provision of special education services or a program for a child with disabilities in Howard County except under certain circumstances; and generally relating to the burden of proof in due process proceedings and the Howard County Board of Education.

Howard County — Sheriff — Salary, Ho. Co. 3-22

By: Chair, Howard County Delegation

FOR the purpose of altering the salary of the sheriff of Howard County; and generally relating to the salary of the sheriff of Howard County.

Howard County – Department of Housing and Community Development – Housing Opportunities Trust Fund, Ho. Co. 5-22

By: Delegate Feldmark and Senator Guzzone

FOR the purpose of establishing the Housing Opportunities Trust Fund as a non-reverting special fund to be used to promote equitable access to affordable housing for households of limited income in Howard County; requiring the Department of Housing and Community Development for Howard County to report on the activity of the Fund during the prior fiscal year on or before a certain date each year; and generally relating to funding for affordable housing in Howard County.

Circuit Court for Howard County – Judges Sitting as Orphans’ Court, Ho. Co. 06–22

By: Delegate Atterbeary

FOR the purpose of requiring the judges of the Circuit Court for Howard County to sit as the Orphans’ Court for Howard County; repealing a requirement that the qualified voters of Howard County elect three Orphans’ Court judges for the county; exempting Howard County from a provision of law authorizing a party to appeal a final judgment of an orphans’ court to the circuit court of the county; and generally relating to the Circuit Court and Orphans’ Court for Howard County.

Howard County – Commercial Building Excise Tax – Board of Education Deferred Maintenance, Ho. Co. 8-22

By: Delegate Atterbeary

FOR the purpose of authorizing the County Council of Howard County to impose an excise tax on commercial building construction; requiring the excise tax revenue to be used only for deferred maintenance needs identified by the Howard County Board of Education; and generally relating to a commercial building excise tax in Howard County and deferred maintenance in the Howard County Public School System.

Howard County – Public Schools – Alternative Instruction Model Policy, Ho. Co. 9-22 (Final Draft Pending)

By: Delegate Watson

FOR the purpose of providing that the use of an alternative instruction model constitutes a certain public school being open for pupil attendance for the purposes of meeting certain school day and hour requirements; authorizing the Howard County Board of Education to adopt a policy allowing a public school in the county to use an alternative instruction model under certain circumstances; and generally relating to an alternative instruction model policy in Howard County public schools.

Howard County – Property Tax – Credit for Seniors to Offset Property Tax Rate Increase, Ho. Co. 10-22

By: Senator Lam

FOR the purpose of authorizing the governing body of Howard County to grant, by law, a certain property tax credit against the county property tax imposed on a dwelling owned by an individual who meets certain age, income, and residency requirements; authorizing the governing body of Howard County to provide, by law, for certain matters relating to the credit; and generally relating to a property tax credit for senior citizen homeowners in Howard County.

Legislative Bond Initiatives

Accessible Trail Extension: $130,000

Bain 50+ Center: $350,000

Barnard Fort House: $150,000

Blandair Mansion: $500,000

Centennial Park West Area Playground: $200,000

Days End Horse Farm Rescue Firehouse Redevelopment: $500,000

Existing East Columbia 50+ Center: $250,000

Ellicott City Drop-Arm Barriers: $175,000

Ellicott City Jail Rehabilitation: $500,000

Grassroots Crisis Services: $500,000

Historic Ellicott City Downtown Wayfinding: $250,000

Howard County Last Mile Fiber and Public Wifi: $500,000

Howard County Veterans Monument: $650,000

Leola Dorsey Community Resource Center: $150,000

Maryland Innovation Center: $300,000

Patuxent Commons: $500,000

Rockburn Branch Park Playground: $150,000

Route 40 Pedestrian Bridge: $150,000

Safe Haven Equine Warriors, Inc Capital Campaign: $100,000

Waterloo Park Playground: $150,000

West Friendship Park: $400,000

HCPSS Seeks Members for Policy Advisory Committees

HCPSS Seeks Members for Policy Advisory Committees

Application Deadline: Friday, Nov. 12, 2021

Ellicott City, Maryland — The Howard County Public School System (HCPSS) invites county residents to take an active role in developing and revising school system policies as members of policy advisory committees. The knowledge, experience and perspective shared by community stakeholders are used to improve the quality of HCPSS policy.

HCPSS is currently seeking candidates for membership on the following Policy Advisory Committees:

  • Policy 4050 Procurement of Goods and/or Services
  • Policy 6060 Community Improvement to School Sites or School Facilities

The committees will include at least one member representing the general resident stakeholder group. Members of this committee attend 3-4 meetings to discuss and make policy recommendations to the Superintendent. Meetings will be held virtually and are tentatively scheduled as follows:

  • Policy 4050: Dec. 9 and 20, 2021; Jan. 3 and 10, 2022 
  • Policy 6060: Dec. 9 and 15, 2021; Jan. 5 and 12, 2022

Committee members are expected to attend/participate in all committee meetings. 

Residents interested in participating may submit a statement of interestonline by Friday, Nov. 12, 2021. A confirmation email with additional details will be sent to the individual selected to participate on the committee.

Please contact HCPSS policy staff at policy@hcpss.org with any questions. All current HCPSS policies can be viewed online.