My Interview with Columbia Flier

This was published on Nov. 16, 2017. I was email interviewed by the reporter Mr. Andrew Michaels. He asked me the top ONE priority as a new school board member and I honestly just presented one point.

Here are what I believe important to the students, parents and the community:

  1. Motivate all students to learn and achieve their dream
  2. Expand learning opportunities for all students
  3. Have accountability and transparency in HCPSS. Just check the other news that 23M deficit from school health fund.

The online version is here: http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/howard/columbia/ph-ho-cf-board-candidates-20171109-story.html

As many can see under the candidate introduction, there is the news about $23M deficit from school health fund.  I talked about this problem long time ago and it is the exact example why we need transparency and accountability in HCPSS.

Final 2018 HCPSS School Redistricting

Final 2018 HCPSS School Redistricting

After this long summer and fall with the first feasibility study version, two Area Attendance Committee versions and the superintendent version, the final 2018 HCPSS School redistricting result is out tonight. After the vote, each board member and the superintendent Dr. Martirano shared their thoughts about the process and the result.

To find your polygon number and Final Adopted School Year 2018-19 Attendance Areas (each house is assigned a number( called polygon) and the school is attached with that number) at: ttp://hcpss-gis.maps.arcgis.com/apps/webappviewer/index.html?id=69b81ef51ffa4bf8b7160a5432e40bed

The original document is here http://www.boarddocs.com/mabe/hcpssmd/Board.nsf/goto?open&id=ASRRFW6CD61C. But the polygon number is not there yet and it is hard to read. I will make sure the following polygon numbers are correct. Email me if you find inconsistency.

Elementary School Changes

Sending School          Receiving School      Polygon Number

Bellows Spring            Rockburn                     83,1083

Clements Crossing     Pointers Run               127

Deep Run                     ES #42                           30,1030,2030

Ducketts Lane             ES #42                          33,35,1035,1036,2035,4035

Rockburn ES               ES #42                          32,1032

Manor Woods            Triadelphia                   1171

Manor Woods            Waverly                        304

Manor Woods            West Friendship          171, 178, 179, 1178, 1179

Middle School Changes

Sending School             Receiving School           Polygon Number

Burleigh Manor             Mount View                       171

Harpers Choice             Wilde Lake                          66, 134, 1066, 1134, 2134

Lime Kiln                       Clarksville Middle              117, 118, 120, 123, 126, 127, 296, 1117, 1120, 1123, 1296

Mayfield Woods           Elkridge Landing                83,1083

Thomas Viaduct           Mayfield Woods                  82,2082

High School Changes:

The school uses Jump Start and  Direct Open Enrollment to alleviate the overcrowding schools.

Other Policy Changes:

  1. Allow students at Howard High School, Centennial High School, and Long Reach High School to enroll in the JumpStart Program at Oakland Mills High School or River Hill High School, and to also allow trailing siblings, who will share at least one year in the high school together to enroll at the school of their older sibling in the Jump Start Program. HCPSS will provide transportation through collector sites for the duration of the JumpStart program.
  2. Move that, as capacity allows at Oakland Mills High School or River Hill High School and after students and their siblings are enrolled in the JumpStart Program that students from Centennial High School, Howard High School, and Long Reach High School may apply for directed open enrollment to Oakland Mills High School or River Hill High School. HCPSS will provide transportation through collector sites for the duration of the JumpStart program.
  3. Move to direct the Superintendent to propose revisions to Policy 9000 to support the JumpStart Program, enrollment of siblings of students enrolled in the JumpStart Program, and directed open enrollment, for review on December 7, 2017.
  4. Move that parent(s) may request that their rising eighth grade student remain at their 2017/2018 middle school with transportation provided by parent(s). The parent(s) must apply using the Student Reassignment process as outlined in Policy 9000 Implementation Procedures, Section IV. Student Reassignment Initiated by Parents. Deadlines to request reassignment are to be announced.
  5. Move that parent(s) may request for their student with an Individualized Education Plan or Section 504 plan to remain at their current school until completion of that school level with transportation provided by parents. If transportation is included in the IEP or 504 plan transportation would continue to be provided by HCPSS. The parent must apply using the Student Reassignment process as outlined in Policy 9000 Implementation Procedures, Section IV. Student Reassignment Initiated by Parents. Deadlines to request reassignment are to be announced.
  6. Move that parent(s) who, as defined by Policy 9000, is/are currently active duty military personnel, may request for their student(s) to remain at their current school until completion of the school level, with transportation provided by parents. The parent(s) must apply using the Student Reassignment process as outlined in Policy 9000 Implementation Procedures, Section IV. Student Reassignment Initiated by Parents. Deadlines to request reassignment are to be announced.
  7. The board will continue discussion on the school redistricting if further changes are needed.

Survey on HCPSS superintendent search

The choices are:

1.     INTEGRITY:  Honest and ethical, with strong moral principles, self-confidence and personal performance. Inspires trust and optimism.

2.     PEOPLE SKILLS: Builds relationships and interacts with others respectfully.  Develops productive working relationships to minimize conflict and maximize rapport. Presents a positive image of the school system.

3.     CULTURAL PROFICIENCY:  Responds to the challenges presented by a culturally diverse community.  Demonstrates cultural competence on issues of equitable educational outcomes and diversity.

4.     COMMUNICATION & LISTENING SKILLS: Strong oral and written communicator, willing to listen to stakeholder input. Possesses the ability to work with the media.

5.     INNOVATION & CONTINUOUS IMPROVEMENT: Knowledgeable regarding emerging research and best practices in education.  Change agent who leads large organizations in innovation and focusses on continuous improvement efforts to enhance student achievement.

6.     STUDENT ACHIEVEMENT:  Able to enhance student performance, as well as identify and close or narrow the gaps in student achievement. Establishes a culture of high expectations for all students and personnel.  Focusses on student needs, and provides for the urgent needs of underachieving students.

7.     WHOLE CHILD & STUDENT FIRST PHILOSOPHY: Committed to a “student first” philosophy.  Creates a learning climate for student achievement and promotes positive student behavior. Addresses the educational and social/emotional outcomes of all students.  Emphasizes preparing every student to maximize his/her potential and graduate from HCPSS ready to enter the job market or begin college.

8.     MOTIVATIONAL LEADER:  Possesses a deep understanding of the teaching and learning process, and promotes the importance of providing a safe and caring school environment. Respects and inspires teachers, administrators, and staff to be student-focused and innovative. Recruits and retains high-caliber staff and teachers throughout the school system. Ensures all staff members receive relevant professional development. Selects school and central office administrators who advance the vision of the school system.

9.     COMMUNITY PARTNERSHIP & COLLABORATION: Community-focused and fosters a collaborative, positive, and professional climate of mutual trust and respect among all stakeholders – faculty, staff, administrators, students, parents, Board of Education, and community members.  Knowledgeable about Howard County, Maryland and HCPSS.  Can build consensus and commitment among individuals and groups. Establishes meaningful, long-term partnerships with a wide range of civic, community, educational, and governmental organizations throughout Howard County and Maryland. Develops and maintains a mutually beneficial relationship between the business community and the school district.

10.  LEGISLATIVE EXPERIENCE:  Can lead an organization throughout the legislative process and works with legislators on key topics.  Works cooperatively with the Board of Education and keeps members informed.

11.  EDUCATION LEVEL & EXPERIENCE:  Has a record of success as an educational leader of a large school district or other institution of similar complexity with and has demonstrated strong leadership skills in previous positions. Possesses an earned Ed.D. or Ph.D. degree.

12.  STRATEGIC PLANNING – VISION & MISSION:  Develops and communicates a vision of quality education for HCPSS students.  Implements educational priorities consistent with the interests and needs of students, staff, board and community. Develops both short and long-range district goals.

13.  BUSINESS MANAGEMENT & FINANCIAL ACUMEN: Demonstrates sound management practices, includes stakeholders in planning and decision-making. Experienced with employee representative groups/unions. Able to delegate authority appropriately while maintaining accountability. Knowledgeable regarding sound fiscal procedures.  Manages the long-term fiscal health and stability of the system.  Ensures efficient daily operations and long-range planning for the school system.

14.  DATA DRIVEN & DECISION MAKING: Clarifies the nature of the problem before deciding on an action, recommendation or decision. Generates alternatives and efficiently selects the best option based on data rather than assumptions or anecdotal input.

15.  RISK TAKING:  Calculates appropriate measures of risk when pursuing goals.  Actions are highly strategic and enhance the overall achievement of the school system.

16.  DEMOCRATIC LEADERSHIP:  Invites stakeholders to participate in the decision-making process.  Open and collegial style allows ideas move freely with open discussion.

 

My testimony on the School Redistricting

School Redistricting Issues facing our school system

By Chao Wu

Unfortunately I could not speak at the public forum due to a time conflict. Here is my written testimony.

2017-11-07

My name is Chao Wu, a candidate running for the 2018 school board. Thanks for the board taking  extraordinary time and discussion on the very important issues we are facing now. I would like to share my thoughts:

1)     Allow walkers be walkers to keep communities together and to minimize the extra transportation time and resources. There are many guidelines in the Policy 6010 to keep contiguous community together.  Walkers are a key and stable part of the community. We hope the board and the superintendent will keep this principle in mind while we find ways to alleviate overcrowding.

 2)     Have a back-up plan and prepare for redistricting to alleviate the overcrowded schools if the superintendent’s JumpStart could not enroll enough students.

 3)     Accelerate the construction of high school #13 and new elementary schools that are much overdue. There is an immediate need for the new high schools and elementary schools. I hope the board can keep working with the county council, county executive, and state government and allow the construction to start as soon as possible.

 4)     Don’t forget the effort on pursuing a more scientific school start time that affects all the County’s children. There are much research indicating the advantages of starting school later.  Some of our high school children have to get up as early as 5:30 AM to board the school bus which is clearly not healthy for our school age children. Last year’s proposals were not able to correct the high school student school time problems without creating new problems. We hope the board and superintendent will not forget this important priority that affects all our children.

 I believe we are a student focused education system. We can do better. We need to find a common sense solution and seek common ground for the benefit of all our students.

First Baltimore Sun Report on my BOE Campaign

This is the first Baltimore Sun report on my BOE campaign. The reporter Andrew Michales emailed me questions and I answered them by email.

Extracted from the newspaper:

http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/howard/columbia/ph-ho-cf-board-candidates-20171109-story.html

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Wu, who currently has children in the school system, said his time on the Columbia Association’s Board of Directors has shown him how to incorporate diversity and equity into the decision-making process. Wu has represented the Columbia Village of River Hill on the association’s board and been a board member of the River Hill Village Association since 2015.

Giving children the motivation to achieve is crucial to his platform, Wu said.

“If our children are motivated to learn and excel, there will be no difficulties we could not overcome,” he said. “Each child has different potential and the teacher and school should help to find it and drive the student to achieve that with help from their families.”

The photo was taken from that report.

Some update on JumpStart program

Since the superintendent proposed to use JumpStart to alleviate the high School overcrowding problem in his 2018 HCPSS School Redistricting proposal (https://chaowu.org/2017/10/03/hcpss-superintendent-redistricting-proposal/), more details were discussed. The following is shared from somebody who attended Thursday night’s BOE meeting.

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Many details about the JumpStart Program has been shared by the HCPSS staff at the BOE work session yesterday. Here is my quick summary FYI:

1. Tuition will be about 50% off the regular Howard County Community College (HCC) tuition rate at about $100 per credit on average. Cheaper if courses are offered at HCPSS and more expensive if on HCC campus.

2. 60 credits will cost a student/family $6,000 and 30 credits $3,000. 60 credits is sufficient for a 2-year HCC Associate degree.

3. FARMs students can take early college credit courses in the JumpStart Program for free. This is paid for by HCPSS.

4. Total JumpStart Program cost for HCPSS is about $1 million per year. About 1/3 of that go to tuition waiver for FARMs students in the program and 2/3 go to transportation and other small items.

5. Admission process will ensure equal opportunity to high achievers, middle of the pack and low achievers.

6. The Program focuses on providing career paths to high school students with many career paths to choose from.

7. Students can start the program at the beginning of the 9th grade or later.

8. No impact on students who choose not to enroll in JumpStart and no impact on school staffing other than what HCPSS already does every year for staff rotation based on enrollment changes among HS.

9. HCPSS has been briefing the five schools involved and the parents and school staff, and has received much positive feedback. BOE asked for a survey to gauge how much capacity relief the Program can bring to HHS, LRHS and CHS. There is more than 350 combined receiving capacity at RHHS and OMHS, if there are more than 350 interested students in this rosy scenario.