AAC community input sessions start tonight 2019-7-10

Reminder: Attendance Area Community Input Sessions begin this evening:

Wednesday, July 10, 7–9 p.m. at Oakland Mills High School

Families currently zoned for Centennial HS, Howard HS, Mt. Hebron HS, Oakland Mills HS

Saturday, July 13, 9–11 a.m. at Long Reach High School

Available to any family that is unable to attend their regional meeting.

Tuesday, July 16, 7–9 p.m. at Atholton High School

Families currently zoned for Atholton HS, Hammond HS, Long Reach HS, Wilde Lake HS

Thursday, July 18, 7–9 p.m. at River Hill High School

Families currently zoned for Glenelg HS, Marriotts Ridge HS, Reservoir HS, River Hill HS

While it is not required, community encouraged to RSVP

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSeYQv-p8CQ0pjb6P1sF6MH-Ne9e1IF4wCwihEvkQP2CUNjC7g/viewform

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2019 BOE OBRC Final Report

The BOE Operating Budget Review Committee (OBRC) presented a year-end final report. They identified four critical areas:

  1. Create a multi‐year Operating Budget that is integrated with a Strategic Plan
  2. Key Performance Indicators for programs
  3. Next Level with Equity, Inclusion and Diversity: Social Determinants of Health
  4. Revenue

I truly appreciate the committee’s year long commitment to provide the school board an independent angle to look at our operating budget.

Here is the document.

06 27 2019 OBRC Final Report BR

2019 HCPSS Equity Work Update

Here are some reports related to HCPSS Equity session on June 5th, 2019.

05 21 2019 Promoting Diversity through Student Assignment Initiatives PowerPoint

06 05 2019 Diversity and Inclusion WS Docs

06 05 2019 Equity Report BR

How to find the triangle between technical correctness, organizational implementation and political support and provide opportunities for all students is always a challenging work.

  1. Technical correctness analysis needs establish a baseline for the outcome we expect.  For example, when we talk about 100% high school graduation rate, we should know that is not technical correct. However, it will gain political support. A controlled study for technical correctness will be an important study to create a baseline.
  2. Organizational implementation needs check the reality due to the limited budget the school has. How to pull the resources together to support the equity work is not straightforward. Then organization change may happen if a new superintendent comes online. We should remember nationally a superintendent’s tenure is 3.2 years which is less than a four year contract. So a sustainable long term, organizational implementation plan should be created.
  3. There is no doubt that political support is always here. However, due to different understanding on how to achieve the goal and help our students’ to achieve their full potential, there is a high possibility that different opinions will arise. How a program should start and be implemented will vary.  Unfortunately these different opinions may be viewed as not supporting school equity.   We need overcome this type of accusation.

HCPSS 2019-2020 Feasibility Study

  1. Here is original document. 06 13 2019 Presentation of Feasibility Study BR
  2. The presentation is shorter and easier to read. 06 13 2019 Presentation of Feasability Study PowerPoint
  3. Note this is NOT the final boundary adjustment. Here is the timeline for the redistricting process: https://chaowu.org/2019/06/05/2019-boundary-review-process-in-hcpss-schools/This is the feasibility study which projects and proposes the boundary adjustment to the superintendent.
    1. The superintendent makes his redistricting proposal to the board in August.
    2. The BOE will have three public hearings on the superintendent’s proposal.
    3. Final vote will happen in Nov.
    4. Here are the three important dates. https://chaowu.org/2019/04/02/three-important-days-about-2019-2020-hcpss-school-redistricting/
  4. Here is the link to how to find your polygon number based on your home address: https://chaowu.org/2017/06/24/how-to-find-hcpss-school-polygon-map-number/

Proposed Sample Elementary School Adjustment

Sample_Elementary_Move

Proposed Sample Middle and High School Adjustment

Sample_Middle_High_Schools_move.JPG

Proposed High School 13 Boundary

high_school_13_boundary.JPG

————————————————————————————————————————————-

Here are the breakdown by regions how the boundary adjustment has been proposed. Each of them has several options for considerations.

Western Elementary Move Option 1

western_elementary_option_1.JPG

Western Elementary Move Option 2

western_elementary_option_2.JPG

Southwestern Elementary Move Option 1

Southwestern_Option_1.JPG

Southwestern Elementary Move Option 2

Southwestern_Option_2.JPG

Southwestern Elementary Move Option 3

Southwestern_Option_3

Columbia Move Option 1

Columbia_Option_1

Columbia Move Option 2

Columbia_Option_2.JPG

Columbia Move Option 3

Columbia_Option_3.JPG

Student Number Projection

If you have any feedback on the predicted numbers, please share it with me, especially the New Construction(NC) column.

Projection_High_SchoolProjection_Middle_SchoolProjection_Elementary_School

 

 

 

 

Thoughts before 2020 HCPSS budget vote

It is my first school budget. The process is painful and the result is painful.

It was so painful that I have to see so many dedicated technology teachers, math support teachers, reading support teachers, math instruction support teachers, and paraeducators will lose their positions due to our vote. Fortunately they will not lose their job and income.

It is not your fault at all. When a math resource teacher called me and cried, I really don’t know what to say that point. We don’t have much choices.

increasing class size, cutting music teachers, cutting GT teachers , cutting technology teachers, cutting paraeducator, cutting math support teachers or reading support teachers or more. There is no good choice and we have to balance the budget.

I am looking forward to seeing how to make next year budget better. The reality is very tough. We will have a 37 millions dollar health care deficit and around 12 million dollar operating budget deficit starting at our next budget discussion.

We need revenue and find efficiency.  We need clean our house first before any new initiatives.

  1. Managing our temporary worker system will bring some money.
  2. Charging daycare center running on school facility will bring some money. Right now, the rent is 1 dollar.
  3. Charging some school facility usage fee will bring some revenue
  4. We need increase school fundraising effort. (added after the post loaded here)
  5. We need examine every aspect of our operation.
  6. We need figure out how to increase our starting teacher salary to 50k to make our salary competitive . We need examine our health care benefit and reform it, and make it more sustainable as soon as possible. Our teachers and staff need our support.
  7. Running a school system is also like running a business. We need find efficiency. We need find result. We need innovate.

Furthermore, we need our county executive and county council’s continuous and strong support.

  • We need increase our development impact fee to at least 8 dollars per square fee, which is still lower than neighboring counties. This will bring tens of million dollars to the county revenue and ease the school over-crowding a little bit. This will decrease our need to rely on debt to fund county capital budgets.
  • If people consider increasing property tax and other tax, please make sure the development impact fee will be increased first
  • also make sure the increased revenue will go into education. We should always be mindful increasing tax will create an extra financial burden to many families too.

The school system can only do so much with limited revenue. I will make sure our school system will not go back to the same faulty path as previous school administration.

We don’t have a rosy road ahead of us at all. Let’s all work together to fix the problem, bring our school back to the right track gradually and still be one of the best.

Our students are counting on us. Thanks.

2019 High School Graduation Speech

Embrace the change

2019 High School Graduation Speech

River Hill (Wednesday, 5/29/2019, 7:00PM-9:00)/ Mount Hebron (Thursday, 5/30)

By Dr. Chao Wu

It is a great honor to speak with you, our seniors. You will soon fly around the world to find your passion, work on your dream and enjoy a new chapter of your life. I would like to encourage you to “embrace the change”.

As one of the great ancient Chinese philosophers, Lao Zi in Taode Jing, 2400 years ago, wrote:

Dao that can be talked about is not the eternal Dao itself;
A name that can be given is not the eternal thing itself.

I am extending a little bit here: you today will not be the same you tomorrow. Change always happens.

My life has been full of changes.

I did not have a high-school graduation ceremony, neither did some of the parents here. When I was in high school, our main purpose was to work hard and to get into college because there were very few other opportunities. At that time, there were only 30% or less high school graduates who can go to a college.

Then I received a really great score from the three-day college entrance exam and entered one of the best universities in China. It opened the door to me for many more opportunities.  Later I went to Singapore and then came to University of Maryland. Then I settled in Howard County and ran for the school board in 2018. With a dedicated campaign, I won a seat on the school board eventually.

In my life, I have been working really hard and preparing for the opportunities when it becomes available. There is no other way around since I came from a very humble, unprivileged family. I kept moving forward, and adapted myself to the three different societies that are quite different in culture, economic and political environments.

I strive to be the better of myself.

Change is permanent in our lives. Embrace the change.

The same for you, our proud and young graduates. Your new chapter of life will be different. You will not be under your parent’s radar any more. You will face never-ending changes and encounter differences in all spectrums. You will have countless opportunities to shape your own future.

The world is so big. You will be like a water drop in the ocean. However, please don’t forget your High School friends. Remember: your classmates next to you, may be your colleagues or even start-up co-founders. Can you have a hug with them now?

Embrace the change and follow by action

Embrace the change, understand the challenge and lead by action, not just words. Trust me, your future will be mainly decided by your own action.

The society is changing so much in recent years which is driven by the societal, economic and political landscapes not only in this country, but across the globe.

You are not immune to this change. For example, Artificial Intelligence will remove many repetitive, and non-challenging jobs. The call center and online service centers have been downsized dramatically. We need to educate and inform ourselves to avoid the risk going in this type of industry that is soon obsolete.

So invest yourself in the areas which require creativity and passion. Make sure those jobs will not be easily displaced by robot and AI.

Please take care of yourself, find new friends, and pursue the purpose of the life. It can be long. It can be complicated. It can have set-backs. However, never ever lose hope and call home often for support.

Finally, congratulations. The New World is waiting for you!

img_0521

Photo credit to Deb Jung, Howard County Council Member District Four.

 

Promoting Student Diversity in Schools

This is the presentation delivered to the school board by Mr. Mark Blom, General Counsel. He presented this at the National School Boards Association’s annual conference on Promoting Student Diversity through Student Assignment Initiatives.

Promoting Student Diversity in Schools by Mark Blom

There is a survey data on this topic and very interesting.

pew survey on school versus diversity

Here is another post related to Mr. Blom’s article.

https://chaowu.org/2019/04/05/a-roadmap-from-desegration-to-diversity-in-americas-public-schools/

 

Tough choices

Make tough choices and share the burden together

I would like to tell a story: A poor family had five kids. One year,  there was a shortage of food because of the natural disaster. They had to make a tough choice:

  • Every family member had less food and work through the tough year together.
  • Give two children to other families such that with less people they can have more food for each remaining family member.

This was a true story happened in my “Wu” family two generations ago. Due to severe food shortage, one of my grandfather’s brother was given to another family and even changed his family name. It was 70 years ago. My great grandparents regretted that decision when the family condition changed for better later. Now all of them experienced that passed away.

Now 70 years later in Howard County, we are facing a very tough budget shortfall. At the same time, we are facing a tough choice. Are we going to surplus our teachers out, who are our best assets and make our classrooms even more crowded, or all of us stay together and find a way to get through the tough time? Or every stakeholder shares the burden collectively?

Cuts and Savings, HCPSS FY 2020 Budget Update

Wednesday afternoon’s work session on the FY2020 school budget was tough. After the discussion, here are some highlights:

  1. After the discussion, increasing class size by 2 and surplusing teachers (123.7 cut: elementary technology teacher from 62.2 to 42; music teacher from 52 to 26; GT elementary from 79.5 to 42; GT middle from 60 to 20) and para-educators (104 cut: elementary paraeducator from 216 to 132; middle school math paraeducator cut 15, middle school reading paraeducator, cut 5),  are on-hold with a 10 million dollars deficit. There are a small number hiring increase (para-educator) in several areas too because of cutting teachers.
  2. At the same time, we are increasing the health care deficit with another 7 million dollars to 44 million dollars next year. We are creating an operating budget deficit for FY2021 since we are using a 10 million fund balance to fund incurring operating cost.
  3. We are not able put extra fund on the student mental health and well-being, restorative and inclusive support. program innovation, deferred maintenance and balancing capacity and changing school start time.
  4. We are now waiting for the county council to give us extra 10 million dollars if they can.
  5. The school budget discussion will be difficult for this year and many years forward.

Here is document: 05 08 2019 Budget Work Session Document

The link is here:

https://go.boarddocs.com/mabe/hcpssmd/Board.nsf/files/BBYRJY6E4AC8/$file/05%2008%202019%20Budget%20Work%20Session%20Documentss.pdf

 

HCPSS School Start Time repo

There have been continuous investigations/discussions on the school start time over the years. The cost of implementing a new high school start time later varies a lot. Here is a summary for various proposals. The starting time proposals ( elementary, middle and high) are different from one to another. 

The difficult part for this discussion is “what is the better school start time and what is the cost”. I will continue engage in this conversation and put our student’s health and growth in the center of the focus. 

The following cost is the extra money we need spend on the current $40 million dollars school transportation budget. 

In the 2014-02-20 report, the estimated cost is $20 million dollars (high schools start at 8:15).

In the 2015-06-11 report, the estimated cost is 13.8 million dollars.

In the 2015-10-22 report, four models were discussed.

  1. Model 2 costed extra 9.3 million dollars,
  2. Model 3 costed extra 12.6 million dollars,
  3. Model 4 costed extra 4 million dollars. 
  4. Model 5 costed extra 12 million dollars. 

In the 2016-11-17 report, four new models were discussed (all four models start elementary schools at 7:30-7:45. There were the four models where I established a parent group and testified on behalf of them ):

  1. Model 1 costed extra 1.7 million dollars. 
  2. Model 2 costed extra 0.9 million dollars. 
  3. Model 3 costed extra 5.3 million dollars. 
  4. Model 4 costed extra 3 million dollars. 

In the 2017-12-19 report, four models were discussed (All start after 8:00)

  1. Model 1 costed extra 6.3 million dollars. 
  2. Model 2 costed extra 7.62 million dollars. 
  3. Model 3 costed extra 9.3 million dollars. 
  4. Model 4 costed extra 8.36 million dollars. 

———————————————————————

Here is the list of usual historical documents for your info.

—————-begin———————–

February 20, 2014

June 11, 2015

October 22, 2015

April 28, 2016

November 17, 2016

January 12, 2017

February 7, 2017 Public Hearing

February 23, 2017 – Internal Audit – Costs of Later Start & Dismissal Times

February 23, 2017

December 19, 2017

—————-end———————–

 

2019 Spring Board Corner

2019 Spring Board Corner

By. Dr. Chao Wu

Board Member of Howard County Board ofEducation

This article represents only my personal view. It does not represent the Howard County Board of Education. This article was revised by Tess Yu.

It has been a totally new experience for me after winning the election in November 2018. I have strived to work hard for our students, parents, and school system from this important position. I read all the documents and prepared for board meetings, joined many community and school activities, and visited many schools in my cluster.

This is my first attempt to write an open and quarterly letter to communicate with our community members on what has happened in our school system.

Budget

The first large and most important agenda came to the board was the HCPSS 2020 operating budget. HCPSS superintendent Dr.Michael Martirano proposed a nearly $1 billion, comprehensive school budget aligned with his “A Strategic Call to Action,” which defined the needs and priorities for our school system as determined by Dr. Martirano. During the budget discussion,I realized that HCPSS was not able to provide sufficient resources to support our students due to budget constraints, among other things, that have occurred in the past. On Feb. 19, 2019, the BOE board approved the school budget after six work sessions. The budget is now under the county government and county council’s hands for evaluation and approval. Here are some of my take-aways from the work sessions:

  • After the whole process, I believe the budgeting process needs improvement. For example, without knowing how much HCPSS will receive, the school already signed contracts with several parties. We promise many programs and contracts without money at hand. The superintendent, the BOE, the county council and the county government need figure out a better way to work together on the timeline of the budget in the future. An earlier negotiated range of budget increase/decrease will be better for the budget process. It will reduce the pressure on our staff to manage the whole progress, detailed budget book and a following-years’ planning.
  • At the end, the board and the community have to realize that we are not able to afford many services we have before. The state legislature created a formula which does not favor our county in terms of funding. The local economy is growing slow and highly relies on the property taxes and personal income taxes, and our county tax is the third highest in Maryland. For people living in Columbia, there is an extra 0.67% annual charge too. Our county needs find a way to attract more business and diversify its’ revenue channel.

  • Our need in the school is changing. Every year, we are going to see another extra 800-1000 students into the school system. Among the new enrollment, about 20% students are students with special needs while right now on average around 10% HCPSS students are of special need. In the last several years, the percentage of Free and Reduced Meal (FARM) student population is increasing, now reaching around 22%. We need more resources and a more efficient and effective method to support our special needs students and low-income students while maintaining a robust academic curriculum for our students. We need a partnership with the community members to address this fast changing scenario. I also see technology and innovation can help to improve the delivery of our   education service to our students.

  • Our employee health care cost is facing two pressures. One is from the existing 37 million dollars’ deficit accumulated over the last several years. The other is the quick increase (over 10%) per year, which means more than 10 million dollars increase each year for the moment. I have already advocated that we should look at more flexible health care plans for our employee and other ways to curb the quick increase of health care cost.

 

Others in the agenda

  1. The board approved the schematic design on High School 13 on Mission Road, which is set to open in2023.
  2. The board also approved the renovation plan for Hammond High School, which is set to finish in2022.
  3. The board is interested in another comprehensive redistricting due to several crowded schools. We are going to hire a consultant company to do the work. The HCPSS feasibility study will come out in June, the Area Attendance Committee will start to work in in summer and the board will host public forum on this infall. The new changes, should they happen, will take place in 2020 fall.
  4. The board is also interested in the “starting high school later” initiative.
  5. The board is working with the county to install “STOP” sign camera on our school bus. On average every day, there are 290 drivers who do not stop while our school bus is stopping on the road. This is a great safety hazard for our students.

Thanks for reading.

Dr. Chao Wu, Board Member
Howard County Board of Education

www.chaowu.org

chaowu2016@gmail.com

HCPSS High School Grading Policy

  • The markup copy includes original language from the current policy. The charter for the committee was presented to the Board on May 4, 2017; an update report was conveyed to the Board on May 3, 2018; the committee’s recommendation was submitted to the Superintendent’s Cabinet on February 11, 2019; and a public hearing will be held on April 11, 2019.

Here is the policy for you to review. Public hearing is on April 11, 2019. The board welcomes your feedback at boe@hcpss.org.

One Page Proposed HCPSS 2020 Budget



This is a summary for people to understand the current budget quickly.








I am a little disappointed that redistricting tool and transportation routing are in the optional category. I am glad they are  included in the budget with my push, but they are still not receiving enough support. Starting high school late, bus route optimization and student safety, school redistricting require us to have the necessary tool and software to get it right. Without the right data to  support, it is hard to make the right decision.

Here is an article “Why UPS drivers do not make a left turn” https://www.businessinsider.com/ups-efficiency-secret-our-trucks-never-turn-left-2011-3.

At the same time, please read my original post from the 2020 County Spending Affordability Advisory Committee report: https://chaowu.org/2019/03/05/2020-county-spending-affordability-advisory-committee-report/.The county projected revenue growth is around 10 million dollars.





We are in short of money to provide the same level of service for our school system. We need innovate to educate.







2020 County Spending Affordability Advisory Committee Report

Here is the link: https://www.howardcountymd.gov/LinkClick.aspx?fileticket=BE0JFBVqnOY%3d&portalid=0

Some highlights:

Issue 1. Operating budget revenue level and growth lags far behind requested expenditure growth

Issue 2. Capital budget continues to see requests 2-3 times affordable level; debt capacity depleted

Recommendations

  1. Projections of Revenue for Fiscal Year 2020

The Committee recommends development of the FY 2020 budget based on projected revenue of $1.15 billion, an increase of 2.7% ($30 million) over FY 2019 budget (excluding use of fund balance).

2: A Recommended Level of New County Debt Authorization

The Committee recommends limiting authorized new General Obligation bonds in FY 2020 to $70 million.

The report is really helpful for those who are interested in understanding the county financial situation from this report.

Talking about APFO part, the report only focuses on the revenue part, not on the cost side.

Discussion on HoCo school segregation

I am deleting the original post since It caused some controversy and misunderstanding regarding my position on this topic. My original intent for the post is to provide a discussion opportunity whether our school redistricting policy purposely segregate students. However, people brought my attention that some contents in the original post may be not appropriate.

I totally agree with Jim Rouse’ vision where people from all walks of life can live together harmoniously. Columbia has been a model for such an integrated community from the beginning. I believe strongly in diversity and inclusion which I myself benefited from. There is no way I support segregation. I apologize for this misunderstanding.

However, I do want to see a discussion on whether our school system indeed used school redistricting policy to segregate students. If that is truly the case, as a new board member, I will take every step to correct that and I wish you join me in this effort.

HCPSS Special Education First Step

Source: https://www.hcpss.org/special-education/program-details/

There are three intervention stages for children: under 3 years old, between 3 and 5, beyond 5 years old. Please contact the hotlines below for the resources to help your child.

中文

根据孩子的年纪不同,有三个干预阶段:三岁以下,三岁到五岁,五岁以上。这些评估和帮助都是免费的。希望大家积极利用上面的资源,帮助你自己的孩子。

한국어

3 세 이하, 3 세 ~ 5 세, 5 세 이상 자녀의 나이에 따라 세 가지 중재 단계가 있습니다. 이러한 평가와 도움은 무료입니다. 모든 사람들이 위의 자료를 적극적으로 활용하여 자신의 자녀를 도울 수 있기를 바랍니다.

Identification

Children may be referred through the Child Find Program. “Child Find” is the term used for the process of locating, identifying, and evaluating children and youth who may be in need of special education services and programs. A referral may be made by anyone who suspects that a child may have special needs, a delay in development, or a disability. Screening and assessment must be completed prior to identifying a student as eligible for special education.

How do I Refer a Child?

For children who are below the age of three, call the Howard County Infants and Toddlers Program at 410-313-7017 or write to:

Howard County Infants and Toddlers Program
8930 Stanford Blvd.
Columbia, MD 21045

Parents may also email anne_hickey@hcpss.org or jennifer_harwood@hcpss.org

For children who are 3 through 5 years old, call the Child Find Team at 410-313-7046 or write to:

Child Find Team
County Diagnostic Center
5451 Beaverkill Road
Columbia, MD 21044.

For school age children who are enrolled in the Howard County Public Schools, speak with the child’s teacher or the principal.

For school age children who are enrolled in private or religiously affiliated schools, call the County Diagnostic Center at 410-313-7046 or write to:

County Diagnostic Center
5451 Beaverkill Road
Columbia, MD 21044

Eligibility

Children with disabilities from birth to age 21 may be eligible for special education. School-age children who are eligible usually receive special education services in the public school. Preschool children may receive services at school, at home, or both. Students with disabilities who attend private or religiously affiliated schools also may be eligible for special education services.

Federal law, IDEA 2004 (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act) defines “children with disabilities” as having any of the following types of disabilities:

  1. Autism
  2. Deaf-blindness
  3. Deafness
  4. Developmental delay (State option)
  5. Emotional disturbance
  6. Hearing impairment
  7. Intellectual Disability
  8. Multiple disabilities
  9. Orthopedic impairment
  10. Other health impairment
  11. Specific learning disability
  12. Speech or language impairment
  13. Traumatic brain injury
  14. Visual impairment (including blindness).