HCPSS Seeks Citizen Member for Educational Equity Policy Development Committee

February 8, 2019

HCPSS Seeks Citizen Member for Educational Equity Policy Development Committee

Applications Due February 19, 2019

Ellicott City, Maryland — The Howard County Public School System (HCPSS) invites citizens to take an active role in developing school system policies as members of policy development/revision committees.

HCPSS is currently seeking a general citizen candidate for membership on the Policy Development Committee for Policy 1080 Educational Equity (new). Committee members take an active role in developing HCPSS policy proposals. Their knowledge, experience and perspective improve the policy development process and ensure transparency at every stage of the committee’s work.

The committee is scheduled to meet on several dates during March 2019 to discuss draft policy language that aligns with forthcoming State requirements regarding educational equity.

Citizens interested in participating may submit a statement of interest online or contact HCPSS policy staff at policy@hcpss.org or 410.313.8954. The deadline for submissions is Tuesday, February 19. 

MD Educational Equity Policy

Attached is the MABE sample policy on Educational Equity. As all MABE member school boards format and configure their policies in different ways, this sample policy is offered as an aid to MABE members for the creation or revision of that member’s State Board required policy on Educational Equity. This sample policy aligns with the requirements of the new COMAR 13A.01.06.01-05 – Educational Equity.
This sample policy is not required to be adopted in the current format, as it needs to be formatted and configured in light of your school system’s policy requirements and the specific educational equity concerns of each local board. Additionally, there are portions of the sample contained in [brackets] that may or may not be included in your school system policy at the discretion of your board.
MABE’s strategic plan for 2019-2024 calls for the Association to assist member boards in developing a shared understanding and vision of educational equity; by helping them to formulate and implement an equity policy that provides educational equity for each student by creating and maintaining equitable, inclusive, and diverse environments. The MABE Board of Directors and Ad Hoc Equity Committee appreciate your consideration of this important topic.
MABE does not offer legal advice, only information, and urges each member board to seek the advice of your legal counsel.

HCPSS FY2020 operating budget factors

Tonight, the board voted to send our school budget to HoCo County government with 9.2% increase of MOE (Maintenance of Effort). Here are the two key documents for you to read and analyze. Please share your feedback. Note that if the board does not ask for it, the county will not give money to the school.

The board will continue to work on the budget. We want to make sure the school uses the money with great care and puts our student, teacher and staff in the center of the discussion. I also want to put the budget in a perspective for the future. We need allocate money for those initiative.

2016 Consultant Study on HCPSS enrollment, capacity and redistricting

The following areas are discussed in the report.

1.Enrollment projection methodology
2. Evaluation of school capacity
3. Redistricting scenario testing
4. Adjustment to feeder system
5. Evaluate income disparity among schools

The document is attached here for your reference.

2016 consultant study on redistrictingDownload

Please share your feedback here or with chaowu2016@gmail.com or boe@hcpss.org.

HCPSS redistricting process started again

Tonight, HoCo BOE directed the superintendent to restart the redistricting process again for the year 2020. I want to make sure we are doing it right this time.

I specifically asked the following to be investigated:

1) if redistricted, HCPSS will probably open all schools for development. Considering our continous debate on APFO, I want to know how this affect school open/close chart and how many more students will be generated. Right now, our school construction(capital projects) just could not catch up with our student growth. This is why we are crowded now. By comprehensive redistricting, we will have more capacity issue even we temporarily solve the number issue for the moment. Please see the open seat calculation based on each school https://chaowu.org/2019/01/21/2018-hcpss-open-seat-calculation-and-projection/.

2) check how many students will be redistricted twice or how many isolated island in polygons. considering the new high school #13 will open in two years (after this)with more than 1600 capacity.

3) what are the travel time, transportation cost for the redistricting proposal? for example, the same distance on 108 may cost 5 minutes, but 25 minutes on Route 1. Maybe the new proposal will save time or cost. maybe not. We need a baseline number.

My suggestion on defining the objective of this redistricting before hiring a consultant was rejected unfortunately by other board members. I want to make sure this BOE will not make the same mistake as the previous BOE on the school starting time investigation. They spent money on consultant and found the solutions were not acceptable at all.

My suggestion on quantifying Policy 6010 was not up. We should put more objective performance indicators in the process. We know redistricting will put many people in high emotion with various reasons. Without sorting this out from the start, it will face obstacles in the future. There are people who want to move other people’s kids. There are people who dont’ want to move at all even at a crowded school. There are people who value their community schools, etc. I saw them all and talked to them all.

I am afraid we will end the same cycle as last year. Let’s try to disrupt our students as less as possible.

Keep tuned. I am looking forward to your feedback again. The board email is boe@hcpss.org.

Howard County School Construction Financing(presentation on 2019-1-12)

This presentation was presented by the Howard County Administration to the HoCo State Delegate Work session on Saturday 2019-1-12.

There is a surcharge comparison among different counties. Among 13 counties, we are at bottom three. Montgomery almost charges 10 times more than our county.

surchange comparison

Predicted new revue under new law:

increased revenue

Note: Every new student costs around 15,000 dollar per year in HoCo in the operating cost. Recently, we are adding around 1,000 new students per year, which is 15 million dollars. 

The presentation is attached here for reference.

DelegationHearing 1-12

Delayed reward

The  algorithm backing Google’s AlphaGo which beat all top human “Go” players is called reinforcement learning.  There is a concept called “delayed reward”. This idea is very interesting and shares some analogy with human’s intelligence handling process.

Delayed reward asks the agent/action to think about the objective in a little longer (at least not the next step) term, not instantaneous. Thinking about today’s social media,  which is a a quite contradictory. The social media is a great way to communicate and gather information. At the same time, it puts a lot pressure for a quick response and a fast judgement. There is no much time thinking of delayed , but more accurate response in some cases even before all the facts are gathered or the truth is known.

For a normal human who always looks for a short term, instantaneous reward will have difficulty handing failures, barriers and hardships. It takes courage and persistence to prevail under hardship since reward probably is not at the near horizon for a long time. We need always stay optimistic and put our hope and faith high.

In the algorithm, it is always consistently monitoring the output, computing the reward, thinking of the next action. Constant feedback into the system will help the system to gather information and improve the decision making process.


APFO Overview_2019_1_12

This is the APFO overview presented to HoCo State Delegation Work Session.

Some slides :

  • Each year a 6-year capital improvement plan (CIP) is adopted by the County Council
  • The CIP covers roads, schools, fire, police, parks, libraries, community college, water and sewer, stormwater, and other county facilities
  • Based on general plan and individual department plan objectives
  • There are 3 test associated with APFO – 1) Allocations, 2) Schools, 3) Roads
  • Allocations test is conducted at initial plan stage approval
  • Schools test conducted once plan has allocations
  • For roads test, traffic study must be conducted, and adverse impacts must be mitigated by developer

Recent changes to APFO

  • Major change is lowering capacity utilization rate to 105% for ES, 110% for MS, and added HS test at 115% — effective in July 2019
  • Other significant changes include:
    • exempting moderate income housing units from needing allocations
    • a stricter roads test
    • adjusting allocations in the Growth & Revit. and Est. Comm. areas and eliminating shared pool
    • allowing the County Council by resolution to exempt LIHTC projects from Schools Test

Here is the heat map for future development. Look at those blue dots scattering around.

development heat map

The presentation is attached here:

Howard County Delegation Meeting – APFO Overview

2020 HoCo County Economic and Fiscal Outlook

During last night’s board meeting, Dr. Holly Sun from the County Government shared their Economic and Fiscal Outlook. Several key takeaways:

  1. recession is possible
  2. county revenue growth is slow (1.8% in 2017, 1.3% in 2018)
  3. APFO legislation may have a negative impact on the revenue
  4. During last two economic downturns, County revenue plunged by $35 million ($26-$43 million) on average
  5. County revenue: 49% from property tax, 41% from income tax
  6. County real property tax rate (1.014% general + 0.176% fire) is the 2nd highest in MD counties. For those living on CA, there is another 0.067% annual charge.
  7. County income tax rate (3.2%) is at the highest level in the State
  8. Howard County ranked 3nd among all 24 counties in Maryland for County spending per pupil for public schools. County spending per student totaled $10,321 per year, 41% higher than the State average of $7,323.
    • No.1. Worcester: $13,526 • No.2. Montgomery: $10,599 • No.3. Howard: $10,321
  9. A (Significant) Structural Gap Anticipated in Next 6 Yearscounty economical and fiscal outlook

Here is the document.

2020 HoCo Economic & Fiscal Outlook



2019 Two Important Space Missions

I am always fascinated and intrigued by space exploration. It will super cool to take a time machine or teleportation to explore a new world other than the earth such as in Star Trek.

  1. US New Horizon reaches new far https://www.nytimes.com/2019/01/03/science/ultima-thule-pictures-new-horizons.html

Then I read BBC’s report on this, New York Times did not keep this science news away from political maneuver. It spread the wrong info to fit into its narrative. The People’s Daily has a front coverage on it. The following is from BBC report which is more objective.

3. China Moon mission lands Chang’e-4 spacecraft on far side


Last Call for Nominations for the 2019 Howard County Women’s Hall of Fame

Nomination deadline is 5:00 p.m. on January 2, 2019
Nominations are due January 2 for the 2019 Howard County Women’s Hall of Fame

Reminder! Nominations for the 2019 Howard County Women’s Hall of Fame are due by 5 p.m. on Wednesday, January 2, 2019. The Commission for Women will select up to five notable Howard County women; induction ceremonies will be held in March 2019. Nominate someone today!

For more information and to download a nomination form, visit www.howardcountymd.gov/CFW.


Superintendent’s Proposed FY 2020 Operating Budget Summary

Superintendent 2020 proposed budget 998.4 million


More details are located at https://www.hcpss.org/about-us/budgets/fy20/.

The Board is looking forward to your feedback.

The following is the scheduled meeting on the superintendent’s budget in January 2018.

January 15 – 7:00 p.m.

Public Hearing I on Superintendent’s Proposed Budget

January 17 – 1:00-5:00 p.m.

Board of Education Budget Public Work Session I on Superintendent’s Proposed Budget

  • Revenue
  • Operations
  • Communication, Community & Workforce Engagement

January 22 – 1:00-5:00 p.m.

Board of Education Budget Public Work Session II on Superintendent’s Proposed Budget

  • Human Resources & Leadership Development
  • School Management & Instructional Leadership
  • Academics
  • Academics – Curriculum and Instruction

January 29 – 1:00-5:00 p.m.

Board of Education Budget Public Work Session III on Superintendent’s Proposed Budget

  • Academics – Curriculum and Instruction (continued if necessary)
  • Academics – Program Innovation and Student Well-being

January 29 – 7:00 p.m.

Public Hearing II on Superintendent’s Proposed Budget

January 31 – 1:00-5:00 p.m.

Board of Education Budget Public Work Session IV on Superintendent’s Proposed Budget

  • Academics – Special Education
  • Executive
  • Business & Technology
  • Other Funds
  • Capital
  • Unresolved issues and tentative budget decisions

Wisdom of The Day (1)

There are many Chinese/Asian wisdoms I would like to share. For now on, I would like to share some wisdoms frequently. These wisdoms usually came with a true story dated many years ago and influenced my thinking when I grew up. I really love to draw a picture for each one and make a comic book based on this. If somebody would like to help, that will be great. We can make a great Children book.

The first wisdom comes from my colleague who began to learn Chinese in college and had a roommate from China in the graduate school. He thinks this is a fun wisdom when I asked him what is his favorite. I actually was surprised by his choice. This types of wisdom is called 成语, Cheng Yu, idiom or proverb.


  1. In English: sandpiper and clam fight each other; neighbors who can’t agree lose out to a third party
  2. In Chinese: 鹬蚌相争,渔翁得利

There is a great website explaining the story and the origin of the quote very well: https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/鷸蚌相爭,漁人得利

When Zhao was about to attack Yan, Su Dai spoke to King Hui of Zhao on behalf of the king of Yan. He said, “On my way here today, as I crossed the Yi River, I spotted an oyster that had opened its shell to sun itself. Just then, a snipe began to peck at the flesh inside its shell. The oyster closed its shell on the beak of the snipe so that it could not get away.

The snipe said, “It is not raining today, nor will it rain tomorrow. You shall die, Oyster.”

To which the oyster replied, “You shall not escape my grip today, nor shall you escape it tomorrow. It is you who will die (of hunger), Snipe.” Neither side would yield, at which point, a fisherman came by and snatched them both into his net.

Today, Zhao is on the verge of attacking Yan. Yan and Zhao have been at odds for a long time, and have caused their people to suffer. I am afraid that the fisherman in this case will be the mighty Qin. For this reason, I hope that your highness will give the matter your mature consideration. King Hui said, “ok fine” and called off the attack. (Wiktionary translation)

There is a youtube video:


It is a kind of mutual destruction by not thinking in other people’s shoes.