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


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.

HCPSS Postpones Fall High School Athletic Season

HCPSS Postpones Fall High School Athletic Season

In accordance with the Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association MPSSAA Roadmap to Recovery for Interscholastic Athletics, the Howard County Public School System (HCPSS) established a Return to Play committee to assess opportunities for a return to athletic participation. This committee has connected regularly with the Howard County Health Department and MPSSAA to help guide our decision on whether athletics could safely be resumed this fall.

MPSSAA or the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) have not yet announced any changes regarding the fall athletic season. HCPSS has made the decision that fall athletic programs will not begin on August 12, 2020, which is currently designated as the MPSSAA start date. As we await more direction, HCPSS will delay the start of the athletic season until at least September 8, 2020, when students are scheduled to begin virtual instruction.

At this time, coaches may continue engaging with student-athletes through virtual meeting sessions to provide conditioning routines and drills and promote health and well-being. The HCPSS Return to Play committee will continue planning for reopening to be ready for September 8 or when the state and school system determine that it is safe to do so.

We anticipate further direction by the Maryland State Department of Education and MPSSAA soon and hope to have a decision and timeline finalized and communicated to our student-athletes and families as soon as possible. Registration will be closed temporarily and the community will receive notice when registration reopens.

Decisions regarding extracurricular activities for all levels are also under consideration. 

Information about athletics is provided on the HCPSS website and will be updated as new information becomes available. 

HCPSS Board Memo on 4×4 Block Schedule

I have been receiving many concerns on the 4×4 block schedule for middle school and high school in the fall. Here I am sharing a board memo for your reference.

I know the 4×4 schedule will create difficulty, especially, for AP classes and exams. It also creates some discontinuity in some classes in terms of knowledge retention. I already encourage the superintendent to find ways to help our student who need to take the AP tests, who may find the old, year-round education is more suitable for them.

HCPSS 2020 Fall Reopen Discussion

Here are three documents for you. Decision 5,4,3 passed by the board. The superintendent will come back later with the removal of Digital Education Center and a revised plan. Updated: 2020-07-09 22:30.

The first two are the superintendent’s recommendation on the fall schedule.

The second one is from Howard County Educator Association (HCEA).