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Family and Community Involvement

Family Involvement

School Visitation

HCPSS welcomes visitors to our schools. American Education Week, held in November, offers an excellent opportunity for school visits. At other times, visitors are asked to follow the procedures below, in order to limit interruptions to instruction and maximize safety for all.

  • Contact the principal at least 24 hours in advance to discuss the purpose of the visit and to establish a convenient time for both the visitor and the school. Visitors must receive prior approval from the principal before entering a classroom. Teachers may request that visits be rescheduled to serve instructional needs and students’ best interests.
  • Sign in at the main office and receive a visitor badge. Visitors may be required to provide a photo ID.
  • Schedule any desired follow-up meetings with school staff at a mutually convenient time.
  • To avoid interrupting instruction, students may not shadow other students.
  • Interactions between visitors and school staff or students will be limited.

School Improvement Teams

Each school has a School Improvement Team made up of school staff, parents and other community members, which oversees the process of improving instruction and academic performance in that school.

Parent Teacher Association

Every public school in Howard County has an active parent-teacher association (PTA) or parent-teacher-student association (PTSA). The local PTA provides an opportunity for parents, educators, students, and community members to work together to benefit the school. Meeting dates and times should be confirmed with individual schools.

The first Monday of each month is reserved for the meeting of the PTA Council of Howard County. Three representatives – two council delegates and the PTA president – from every school in the county make up the PTA Council. This group addresses broad issues that affect the entire HCPSS community. For more information, contact your child’s school or the PTA Council office (410-740-5153 or ptachc@gmail.com), or visit www.ptachc.org.

Community Advisory Council to the Board of Education

The Community Advisory Council (CAC) draws members from all sectors of the community and serves as a channel for concerns, advice, and information from the public to reach the Board of Education. This enables the community to participate more effectively in the educational process and to make the process more responsive to the community.

The CAC, which meets monthly during the school year, also raises new initiatives, researches issues and makes recommendations to the Board. All citizens are welcome to attend CAC meetings. For more information, contact the CAC at CAC.hcpss@gmail.com.

Advisory Committees

Schools are strengthened when communities are actively engaged in the education process. Community members are encouraged to provide input on school system policies and programs by participating on advisory committees. Ad hoc committees review proposals and make recommendations to the Board on specific matters such as budget priorities, school construction, attendance areas, the school calendar, and policies. Curriculum Advisory Committees make recommendations about instructional content for specific subject areas. View additional information on our Advisory Committee page.

Use of School Facilities

(Policy 10020)

The use of public school facilities by community organizations is encouraged by the Board of Education. Facility rental, staffing and energy charges may apply under certain conditions.

For specific information regarding space availability, charges, policy and procedures, visit the community services page, or contact the Use of Schools Specialist at 410‑313‑6750.

Volunteer Opportunities – Single Day Commitment

Junior Interviewers

HCPSS juniors develop a resume and participate in a 20–30 minute
interview to fulfill World of Work graduation requirements. Each high school guidance office coordinates community volunteers to conduct interviews.

When:

January through March 3 hours; scheduled per school

Where:

High schools throughout county; schedule to be determined

HCPSS Contact:

High School Guidance Office

Passport to the Future – Interviewers

Through the Passport to the Future partnership, the Howard County Chamber of Commerce and HCPSS share the commitment for developing workforce-ready students who plan to pursue a career immediately after high school. One of the final requirements of the Passport program is to successfully complete an “employment-like” interview. Local professionals are needed to help interview Passport students.

When:

Friday, March 23 8 a.m. – noon

Where:

Howard Community College – Rouse Company Foundation Building

HCPSS Contact:

Career Research and Development
Stephanie Discepolo
410-313-7493
stephanie_discepolo@hcpss.org

Countywide History Day – Judges

The HCPSS History Day competition promotes the study of history while providing students a forum to compete for excellence in one of several categories: documentary, performance, exhibit, web page and historical paper. Judges review and evaluate student work based on criteria set by the national History Day Commission. Assignments are sent to judges with instructions and other details prior to the event.

When:

Saturday, March 10, 8 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.
Snow date: Saturday, March 24

Where:

Reservoir High School

HCPSS Contact:

Secondary Social Studies
Kelly Reichardt
410-313-6622
kelly_reichardt@hcpss.org

MESA (Mathematics, Engineering and Science Achievement) Day – Judges

Small teams of judges assess student competitions in bridge building, trebuchet, communications, and other events against a set of defined parameters. The Maryland MESA (mathematics, engineering and science achievement) program prepares students for academic and professional careers in mathematics, engineering, science and technology.

When:

Regional Competition, Thursday, April 19, 8:00 a.m.–2:00 p.m.

Where:

Meeting House in Oakland Mills

HCPSS Contact:

Diane Martin
Director, Community Outreach and Engagement
410-313-5673
diane_martin@hcpss.org

Simulated Congressional Hearings – Coaches and Judges

The simulated congressional hearing is the culminating activity of the 5th grade curricular program, “We the People: The Citizen and the Constitution.” Students play the role of constitutional experts and demonstrate their knowledge and understanding of the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights by presenting oral statements before a panel of judges. Coaches help students locate resources, synthesize information, develop a speech and prepare for follow-up questions. Judges listen to the students testify, ask follow-up questions and provide feedback.

When:

May and June

Where:

Elementary schools throughout county

HCPSS Contact:

Elementary Social Studies
Kim Eggborn
410-313-5678
kimberly_eggborn@hcpss.org

Volunteer Opportunities – Multiple Day Commitment

Bridges over Howard County

Community learning centers at 18 schools (Title I, or schools with many low income families) provide students with academic enrichment opportunities and additional services to both students and families.

HCPSS Contact:

Marty Cifrese
Program Manager
410-313-7185
marty_cifrese@hcpss.org

Maryland MESA (Mathematics, Engineering and Science Achievement) Program

MESA clubs prepare students for academic and professional careers in mathematics, engineering, science and technology. Special emphasis: to attract minority and female students who are traditionally underrepresented in MESA fields.

HCPSS Contact:

Diane Martin
Community Outreach and Engagement
410-313-5673
diane_martin@hcpss.org

Academic Intervention Programs

Programs offered before, during and after school hours, and on Saturdays include direct instruction and homework assistance to accelerate student achievement in mathematics, reading and other core subject areas. Enrichment activities expand students’ experiences and perceptions.

HCPSS Contact:

Academic Intervention Office
410-313-6762

Black Student Achievement Program

BSAP program volunteers provide academic assistance and/or social support for students in mathematics and/or reading, while encouraging and motivating them toward higher levels of academic achievement. Adult volunteers assist students with school assignments, tests, organization and study skills, graphing calculator applications, chess, and much more.

HCPSS Contact:

Patricia Branner-Pierce
Elementary BSAP Specialist
410-313-6771
patricia_branner-pierce@hcpss.org

Sheree Whitby, Secondary BSAP Specialist
410-313-6804
sheree_whitby@hcpss.org

Advisory Committee Contacts

Community Advisory Council to the BOE

Helen Nixon
Email CAC.hcpss@gmail.com or call Public Information, 410-313-6682

Textbook Selection Committee

Curriculum Coordinator

Academic Calendar Committee

Caryn Lasser
410-313-1270

Attendance Area Committee

Renee Kamen
410-313-1554

Instructional Materials Criteria and Review Committee

Nancy Czarnecki
410-313-6623

School Planning Committee

Scott Washington
410-313-6807

School Naming Committee

Frank Eastham
410-313-1274

Student Walking Route Committee

David Ramsay
410-313-6726

School Health Council

Kerrie Wagaman
410-313-6812

Policy Review Committees

Policy Office
410-313-6870

Superintendent’s Cultural Proficiency and Equity Advisory Council

Kevin Gilbert
410-313-1542

School Improvement Teams

School Principal

Subject Area/Program Advisory Committees

Bridges Over Howard County

Marty Cifrese
410-313-7185

Career Academy Clusters

Sharon Kramer
410-313-6797

Elementary Curriculum

Caroline Walker
410-313-1538

English

Nancy Czarnecki
410-313-6623

Gifted and Talented

Debbie Blum
410-313-6800

Interscholastic Athletics

John E. Davis
410-313-6630

Instructional Technology and Library Media

Julie Alonso-Hughes
410-313-7141

Melissa Daggett
410-313-7043

Mathematics

410-313-6635

Fine Arts

Gino Molfino
410-313-6634

Science

Mary Weller
410-313-6616

Social Studies

Christina Bos, Christina_Bos@hcpss.org
Kimberly Eggborn, Kimberly_Eggborn@hcpss.org

Special Education Citizens Advisory

Nancy FitzGerald
410-313-6656

Student Services Advisory

Linda Wise
410-313-6776

Technology

Justin Benedict
410-313-6844

World Languages

410-313-7485

Board of Education

The Board of Education includes seven elected members for four-year terms, and a student member elected by a plurality of student voters countywide. Under Maryland law, responsibilities of the Board include:

  • Exercising leadership and adopting policies for the operation of local schools.
  • Determining educational standards and goals.
  • Authorizing curriculum development and revision.
  • Allocating money for school operational needs and building programs, and authorizing specific expenditures from county, state and federal sources.
  • Expressing and representing the views of the community in matters affecting education.
  • Appointing and setting the salaries of the superintendent and, on the recommendation of the superintendent, all professional personnel.
  • Interpreting the educational program and needs to the community.
  • Acting in a quasi-judicial role in appeal hearings.

Public meetings of the Board of Education are generally held every second and fourth Thursday of the month at 4:00 p.m. Regular meetings may include two Public Forum sessions, which allow the public to address the Board regarding any education related topic. The meeting agenda may also include hearings, action items, reports, appointments, and a student government report. All meeting schedules are published on BoardDocs, available at http://www.hcpss.org/board/.

The agenda is released three days prior to each regular Board meeting. To obtain an agenda or to review any reports presented to the Board, interested citizens may visit BoardDocs at http://hcpssne.ws/2pEfPAN or call the Board office at 410‑313‑7194.

Periodically, the Board schedules a meeting to receive public input on a particular issue or policy. These hearings provide time for citizens to present their opinions to the Board in open forum. Citizens may also submit written testimony by mail or email at boe@hcpss.org. Note that written testimony is part of the public record maintained by the Board Office and is posted online in the appropriate part of the agenda following the meeting.

Board of Education Members

  • Cynthia Vaillancourt, Chairman
  • Bess Altwerger, Vice Chairman
  • Kirsten Coombs
  • Christina Delmont-Small
  • Mavis Ellis
  • Sandra H. French
  • Ananta Hejeebu
  • Anna Selbrede, Student Member

Work Sessions and Special Meetings

The Board also schedules special meetings or public work sessions, as needed, to discuss specific topics. These meetings provide an opportunity for the Board to publicly deliberate and discuss an issue.

Closed Sessions

The Board holds closed sessions to discuss personnel items, matters of litigation and other items as provided for in law. These meetings are held in accordance with the Maryland Open Meetings Law and the Maryland Code.

Correspondence to school board members may be mailed to:

Howard County Board of Education
10910 Clarksville Pike
Ellicott City, MD 21042
or emailed to: boe@hcpss.org