(19) 2020 Interview with Caio Goolsby, Centennial High School, UMCP

(19) 2020 Interview with Caio Goolsby, Centennial High School, UMCP

Mr. Caio Goolsby graduated from Centennial High School in 2020. He will join University of Maryland, College Park, majoring International Relations and Economics.

In this interview, Caio shared the online learning challenge due to covid-19. He also talked about “staying healthy” as a priority while juggling many tasks. Learning to say no is something extremely important.

He was a teacher aiding to help some teachers in high school, which greatly impacted him. He shared that he was bullied in middle school unfortunately and he overcame that.

He joined the “It’s Academic” team in Centennial High, which he enjoyed so much and the team was ranked 7th in the nation in 2018 . Another club is Model United Nations, where he was president for two years. There are more to learn about Caio.

Please tune in.

(18) 2020 Interview with Wyatt Currie, Mt. Hebron High School, University of Pennsylvania

(18) 2020 Interview with Wyatt Currie, Mt. Hebron High School, University of Pennsylvania

Mr. Wyatt Currie graduated from Mt. Hebron High School in 2020 and will join University of Pennsylvania , majoring Finance and Computer Science.

Wyatt shared his time management skills in high school. He also took classes in the dual enrollment program from University of Maryland, Baltimore County by calling them.

He was on the Mt. Hebron’s Economics Challenge team, led by Mr. Vann Prime. The team won numerous awards on state and national levels, and worldwide. He even went to Saint Petersburg , Russia for the international competition last year. Here is HCPSS news update: https://news.hcpss.org/news-posts/202…

There are more to learn. Please tune in.

Affordable Housing and Pay As You Go Loophole

Howard County Citizens Association is asking the County Executive and County Council to adopt a bill to remove a loophole for developers. I came to know this loophole when Howard Hughs was proposing a new large scale downtown development with county finance help in 2016-2017. The TIF (Tax Increment Finance) was 170 million. They did not build the affordable housing units as promised in their previous developments and then they used affordable housing units again as a wedge to get their new deal approved. Here is the article I wrote four years ago on this issue: https://chaowu.org/2016/07/27/columbias-downtown-and-affordable-housing/: Columbia’s Downtown and Affordable Housing .

We should not allow developers to pay a tiny fee to skip the affordable housing requirements in their project. I am especially looking forward to affordable housing proponents to put the pressure on the county council and the county executive and remove this loophole.

We should put the developers’ interest aside and the residents’ interest first.

(17) 2020 Interview with Ambika Siddabathula (SMOB), River Hill High, NYIT

(17) 2020 Interview with Ambika Siddabathula (SMOB), River Hill High, NYIT

Ms. Ambika Siddabathula graduated from River Hill High School in 2019. She is attending a 7-year doctor program in New York Institute of Technology(NYIT). Ambika was the student board member (SMOB) of Howard County Board of Education.

In this interview, Ambika shared her experience serving as a student member of our school board, her role in the advisory committee for ARL, her long-lasting love with her dance. She is professional dancer.

There are more to learn. Please tune in.

(16) 2020 Interview with Chelsea Baker, River Hill High School, Harvard College

(16) 2020 Interview with Chelsea Baker, River Hill High School, Harvard College

Ms. Chelsea Baker graduated from River Hill High School. She will join Harvard College this fall. She has not made her mind on her major.

Chelsea shared why she has not decided her major yet because she wants to explore more possibilities in college. Chelsea talked about her school experience. She was the team captain of her school varsity soccer team and the team won three consecutive championships before.

She talked about overcoming the difficulty in her AP chemistry class, then learned a lot from that experience. She also talked about her learning at an academic camp ( her term nerd camp) in Naval Academy.

She shared her experience on how to overcome cyberbullying in her middle school.

There are more to learn. Please tune in.

(15) 2020 Interview with Rachel Lin, Howard High School(2016), UC Berkeley

(15) 2020 Interview with Rachel Lin, Howard High School(2016), UC Berkeley

Ms. Rachel Lin graduated from Howard High School in 2016 and graduated for UC Berkeley this year. Her college major was Cognitive Science and Legal Study. She was a student board member (SMOB) of Howard County Board of Education in 2015-2016.

Now she started her own business with college friends while preparing for LSAT exam. Her Study Hall College Consulting is now live! The website link is: http://www.shcollegeconsulting.com. Here is her youtube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCWiV… She shared both her wonderful high school experience and her unforgettable college life.

Please tune in.

HCPSS to Introduce Small Group, In-Person Supports for Selected Students

I am glad to see small group, in-person instructions are introduced. I hope this operation will help us to understand HCPSS’s Spring 2021 instruction model.

HCPSS to Introduce Small Group, In-Person Supports for Selected Students

https://www.hcpss.org/2020-2021/small-groups/

Recently, Superintendent Martirano announced that in-person supports and services will soon be offered to small groups of selected students. Following is an overview of the programs and services under consideration and the criteria that will be used to identify students for participation.

HCPSS has developed a virtual instruction program for first semester 2020-21 that replicates as closely as possible what students would experience in the classroom. Educators recognize that virtual instruction is not ideal for most students; however, some students have been especially impacted and more urgently need the kind of support that can best be provided in an in-person model. 

HCPSS is preparing to offer a roster of half-day or full-day, face-to-face small group programs that will be phased in over the next several weeks and offered to selected students and families. The programs that HCPSS anticipates offering include: 

  • Special education services for children receiving the most intensive services  

  • School-Based Learning Centers for students who are experiencing significant barriers to attendance or virtual learning, or who need intensive mental health or behavioral support

  • Family conference opportunities to address barriers to student learning

  • Teen parenting program

  • Homewood Bridges program


A descriptive list of all in-person programs currently targeted for availability is provided online

Student Identification Process. Each school will identify students who would most benefit from the in-person programs, and will reach out directly to their parents/guardians next week with a survey that will provide detailed information and ask their interest in participating. Schools will also assess the availability of appropriate staff to support each program, based on anticipated student participation. In cases where there are not enough staff available to offer a specific in-person program at a school, eligible students may be able to participate at another school where space is available. 

Future Expansion of Small Group Supports. We realize many students would benefit from face-to-face instructional support; however, due to limitations of space, staffing availability, and health and safety requirements, HCPSS is currently only able to offer in-person small group supports for students who most critically need these services. HCPSS will continually assess and refine the programs based on these initial experiences, with the goal of expanding in-person offerings and participation. 

Details about the in-person programs under consideration, health and safety precautions, transportation services, answers to frequently-asked questions and additional information is provided on our website, which will be updated as new information becomes available.

(14) 2020 Interview with Alex Eapen, Long Reach High School, University of Pennsylvania

(14) 2020 Interview with Alex Eapen, Long Reach High School, University of Pennsylvania

Mr. Alex Eapen graduated from Long Reach High School in 2020 and will join University of Pennsylvania, majoring neuroscience.

He shared how to balance school life, how to find his interest and passion until his junior year. He also shared how to find true-self in order to fit himself in different roles. There are much more he shared ranging from college application, leadership position in student government and clubs, G&T intern, clubs, etc.

Please tune in.

(13) 2020 Interview with Lorelei Loraine, Mt. Hebron High School, Columbia University

(13) 2020 Interview with Lorelei Loraine, Mt. Hebron High School, Columbia University

Ms. Lorelei Loraine graduated from Mt. Hebron High School in 2020. She will join Columbia University, majoring Economics and Mathematics.

She was on the Mt. Hebron’s Economics Challenge team, led by Mr. Vann Prime. The team won numerous awards on state and national levels, and worldwide. Here is HCPSS news update: https://news.hcpss.org/news-posts/202…

She shared her feelings when she received her first college rejection letter. However, she learned lessons and moved on to the next round.

There are much more to learn. Please tune in.

Board Member Report 2020-9-10

Board Member Report 2020-9-10

Modified for publication.

This is the first board meeting since our full virtual education started. We have mixed feelings about it, doubt, uncertainty, disappointment and excitement. As a parent myself, I totally understand some frustrations from parents and also appreciate what has been done given the constraints. 

First, I would like to take this opportunity to thank our students and parents, our teachers and staff,  and our community to take a fresh start for the new semester. September 10 was Teacher’s Day when I grew up in China. I always appreciate so much help I received from my teachers when I grew up. Students, parents, the community and the system showed gratitude to our teachers. 

It is especially difficult for our young learners, kindergarteners, first graders, students with special needs and high school seniors, students who are transitioning from one school to another. However, we are keeping to change, improve and adapt our work to help all students. 

Our school system keeps exploring ideas of bringing a small group of students into the classroom settings and provides much needed service for them, especially for students with special needs. The situation is unprecedented and we are working slowly but steadily on this. We must put safety as our highest priority. We are crossing the river while feeling the pebbles in the water. 

Second, I would like our staff taking the community inputs and feedback, reflecting on what we learn during this process, and thinking about our second semester ASAP. What is the criteria we can aim to reopen school safely, smoothly and gradually? 

Third, I know some of our parents’ confidence in our school system has eroded during our struggle to offer education services for our students while dealing with covid-19. We saw 300 less enrollment in kindergarten, more than 2200 withdrawals from our school system. How to regain parents’ confidence will be a challenge for us. 

Finally, we are entering Phase III recovery for the state and the county. However, we still need to keep vigilant until the covid-19 is under total control. Please keep wearing a mask and keep social distancing. The quicker we can keep the numbers down and covid-19 under control, the faster we can get back to the normal life. We are almost there.

Thank you.

Superintendent’s Proposed FY 2022 Capital Budget and FY 2023-2027 Capital Improvement Program

This is the first step in the annual capital budget process which will conclude with the approval of the Board of Education’s final Capital Budget in May 2021. The Capital Budget is submitted much earlier than the Operating Budget to accommodate deadlines associated with submission of the State Capital Budget.

The FY 2022 Capital Budget request totals $108,012,000, the FY 2023-2027 Capital Improvement Program request totals $363,556,000, and the FY 2022-2031 Long-Range Master Plan totals $821,657,000.

The Board of Education must approve the capital budget request state priority listing prior to its submission to the State by the October due date to apply for State funding for eligible projects in the FY 2022 Capital
Budget. A copy of the state priority list is attached.
The capital budget priority list is developed based upon criteria for State participation and assessed capital
needs presented in the Superintendent’s Proposed FY 2022 Capital Budget.

The document is attached here:

Some Discussion on 2021 HCPSS Operating Budget

While we are preparing for the fall school virtual opening, the 2021 budget cycle started already. In order to help parents and community understand it better, I am putting some materials together. Hopefully it will help you understand our budget process and challenge better. If there is anything not correct, it is my fault and I will correct it. Here is the PDF file.

HCPSS SAT/ACT test center opens again

HCPSS school facilities will be available for the remaining Saturday administrations of the SAT/ACT. The schools registered for upcoming dates are as follows:

SAT Saturday Test Dates

  • September 26: Centennial, Glenelg, Oakland Mills and Reservoir high schools
  • October 3: Centennial, Glenelg, Hammond, Mount Hebron, Oakland Mills, Reservoir, River Hill, and Wilde Lake high schools

ACT Saturday Test Dates

  • September 12: Glenelg and Wilde Lake high schools
  • September 19: Wilde Lake High School
  • October 24: Wilde Lake High School

Here is the link.

https://help.hcpss.org/grades-testing/sat-act

(12) 2020 Interview with Bill Tong, Atholton High School

(12) 2020 Interview with Bill Tong, Atholton High School

Bill Tong graduated from Atholton High School in 2020. He will join Cornell University and majoring Finance.

Bill talked about his experience, starting from convincing his Middle School friends to continue his passion on the environment and education with Bioma Project, which was reported in the Baltimore Sun: https://www.baltimoresun.com/maryland…. Quoted: The group, now in high school, started putting aquariums in elementary and middle school classrooms the following year — along with sharing their 40-page curriculum — to inspire younger students to become the future caretakers of the natural world. The teens have worked with 900 students at 29 schools, 20 of which have already indicated they will continue with the project, in which aquariums stand in for local stream ecosystems.

Bill shared his formula on how to evaluate opportunities whether he should take it or not, which helped him to navigate and success in high school. There are more for you to tune in.

(11) 2020 Interview with Cooper Stepke, Marriotts Ridge High School(2019)

(11) 2020 Interview with Cooper Stepke, Marriotts Ridge High School(2019)

Today we are going to interview Mr. Cooper Stepke. He graduated from Marriotts Ridge High School in 2019. He is attending Cornell University and majoring Industrial and Labor Relations.

Cooper shared his experience balancing among standardized tests, sports, academics and college applications. He also shared how to plan out his courses in the high school to make high school life easier. Sports and clubs helped him to learn people skills and team spirit.

There are more for you to tune in.

(10) 2020 Interview with Jessica Bu, River Hill High School

(10) 2020 Interview with Jessica Bu, River Hill High School

We are crossing another milestone. The interview comes to the tenth episode. We are interviewing Ms. Jessica Bu. She graduated from River Hill High School in 2019, and is studying at New York University, majoring Economics and minoring Film Production. She shared the difficult time when she lost a friend in her senior year and changed her mindset about the world. She also talked about the difficult time while transferring from another school system into HCPSS. Music and choir played a big role in her high school life. There are many more for you to tune in: cross-country sport, FBLA, student government position, accelerated growth, inclusion, diversity, racism, etc. There is one sentence from Jessica which really reckons with me: life is not linear. We are not able to pre-design our own life trajectory and just follow it. Instead, we put out our heart and effort, and move forward with dedication.

(9) 2020 Interview with Adya Joshi, Howard High School

(9) 2020 Interview with Adya Joshi, Howard High School

In this episode, we are interviewing Ms. Adya Joshi. She graduated from Howard High School, and will join University of Maryland, College Park, majoring computer science. She shared her research experience on cryptography, published a paper and presented her result in a conference where she was the only high school students! Her intern and research experience helped her to college application and major selection. There are more to cover. Please tune in.