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


  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.




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.


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


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).

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.