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Support Services

Black Student Achievement Program (BSAP)

The elementary Black Student Achievement Program (BSAP) provides academic support for students who are on, below or above grade level in reading and mathematics. Adult volunteers tutor/mentor students with school assignments, projects, organizational skills and much more. For more information, please visit the BSAP webpage or call 410-313-6771.

At the secondary level, the BSAP promotes opportunities for students to maximize their academic potential and become college and career ready. BSAP works in partnership with administrators, teachers, families and the community to deliver information and services that inform and empower students and families. For more information, visit the BSAP webpage or call 410-313-6804.

Hispanic Achievement Program

The Hispanic Achievement Program works collaboratively with central programs and schools to achieve the school system’s goals for Hispanic students. The program also provides professional development for staff, facilitates the engagement of Hispanic families, develops leadership skills among Hispanic youth, and partners with community agencies. For more information, call 410-313-6667.

Mathematics, Engineering, Science Achievement (MESA)

MESA is a structured, multi-year program that prepares students for careers in mathematics, engineering, science and technology. The program encourages and assists minorities and females to achieve academic and professional success in these fields. For more information, call 410-313-5673.

Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports

PBIS is a research-based behavior system that uses incentives and acknowledgments to motivate students to make positive choices. Each PBIS school identifies three to five, easy to remember behavioral expectations for students, which are communicated frequently and reinforced with student acknowledgements. Staff members make it a point to call attention to moments when a student demonstrates desired behaviors. This positive reinforcement is for all students and also provides an excellent model for students who need extra encouragement in making appropriate choices.

PBIS programs are currently in place in 57 HCPSS schools, and in many other schools throughout the nation. The framework has been proven effective in fostering academic achievement and a positive school climate.

Psychological Services

HCPSS school psychologists directly and indirectly support student achievement. Working directly with students, school psychologists provide counseling, crisis intervention, behavioral support, assessment, and other services. School psychologists also work with school staff, families, and community members to provide advocacy, consultation, and professional development. They contribute to prevention and intervention plans, and participate in problem-solving teams and school-wide improvement teams. School psychologists work to promote students’ academic, behavioral, and social-emotional success.

Instructional Intervention Teams

Instructional Intervention Teams (IIT) meet regularly to provide support to teachers and help them help their students to improve academically and behaviorally. These teams provide consultation using a problem-solving model that includes data collection, goal setting, and designing and monitoring interventions that address the specific needs of the student.

A typical IIT is made up of the school psychologist, teachers, administrators, and others such as the school counselor, reading specialist, ESOL teacher, and cluster nurse. Additional professionals may also participate on the team, depending on the needs of the school and the available resources.

The Process

A teacher can request assistance if there are concerns about a student’s achievement or learning behaviors. The parent is notified after a request has been made. For each case, three factors are explored: student strengths and skills, the instruction being provided in the classroom, and tasks the student is asked to complete. When a student is not meeting classroom expectations, it is usually due to a mismatch between any two of these factors.

Special Services

All educators recognize that any student may need support to succeed. Information gathered during the IIT process may indicate a need for additional support and services. If at any point a student is suspected of having an educational disability that may require special education services, the parents are notified so they may participate fully in the process to determine the student’s eligibility.

For more information about IIT, contact your child’s teacher, or the school psychologist at your child’s school. For the name of your child’s school psychologist please contact your school’s front office.

Pupil Personnel Services

Pupil personnel workers (PPWs) work collaboratively with school staff, students, parents, and community agencies to determine and address the factors that interfere with students’ adjustment to school and academic performance. PPWs recognize that certain risk factors in the home and/or the community may adversely affect students and prevent them from achieving at their maximum potential.

PPWs provide direct intervention and case management services to students and families who are experiencing academic and/or social difficulties. PPWs provide intervention and support for students with chronic attendance problems; assist families and schools with enrollment, residency, and placement issues; facilitate the enrollment of students who are homeless; and serve as advocates for families as needed. For the PPW assigned to your child’s school, contact the school’s front office.

School Counseling Services

School counselors implement the Howard County Core Curriculum for School Counseling, which includes goals and activities for all grade levels in the areas of academic, career and personal/ social development. School counselors work with school staff, parents, and other agencies in support of student achievement. School counselors also help students and their families cope with crisis events in their lives as they relate to academic achievement. Parents are encouraged to contact their child’s school counselor for assistance if their child is experiencing difficulty coping with school, family or community issues.

Title I

TiTitle I, Part A, is a federal program that provides financial support for identified schools to provide additional academic support and learning opportunities to help children master challenging curricula and meet state standards in core academic subjects. Title I funds support extra instruction in reading and mathematics, additional teachers, and materials of instruction. Title I also provides programs for families at Title I schools. Professional learning opportunities are available for teachers at Title I schools. For more information, please contact the Title I Office at 410-313-7099.

International Student and Family Services

The Office of International Student and Family Services (OISFS) provides educational services to International and Limited English Proficient (LEP) students and their families, including interpreting services and translation of documents. For information on interpreters and translators, call 410-313-1549.

The OISFS also offers the International Parent Leadership Program (IPLP) to parents who want to take a leadership role or simply learn more about the school system. For more information, call 410-313-1293.

International students entering the school system who need language support may register at the International Student Registration Center (ISRC). Staff will assess students’ English proficiency levels, evaluate transcripts, and provide a brief orientation. For information, call the ISRC at 410-313-1525 (English/Korean) or 410-313-7102 (English/Spanish).

Chin, Chinese, Korean and Spanish speaking LEP families may call the International Call Center and leave messages in their native language. Calls are returned in a timely manner.

  • Chin: 410-313-5968
  • Chinese: 410-313-5920
  • Spanish: 410-313-1591
  • Korean: 410-313-1592

English for Speakers of Other Languages

The English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) Program provides English language development for English learners in kindergarten through Grade 12. In elementary and middle schools, the ESOL program offers services to students through a variety of delivery models. English language learners in Grades 9-12 participate in ESOL classes with a focus on English, social studies, mathematics, and a variety of content classes at 10 high schools: Atholton, Centennial, Hammond, Howard, Long Reach, Mt. Hebron, Oakland Mills, Reservoir, River Hill and Wilde Lake. River Hill High School also hosts the Newcomer ESOL Program for students who are new to learning English and who may have interrupted schooling.

The ESOL program is staffed by certified ESOL teachers and ESOL paraeducators. For more information about the HCPSS ESOL Program, contact the program coordinator at 410‑313-6669.

Special Education and Related Services

Each child with a disability is ensured a “free appropriate public education” by federal law. Special education involves specially designed instruction to meet the unique needs of a child with a disability at no cost to parents. Any student who may need special education services should be referred in writing to a school-based Individualized Educational Program (IEP) team to determine the need for evaluation. Those children whose evaluation results meet the state and federal guidelines regarding educational disability conditions are eligible for special education and related services.

The IEP Team, which includes the parent, is responsible for developing an IEP for the child. The IEP is a written description of the educational program, including specific goals and objectives, to be provided to the student.

In order for a child to benefit from special education, additional or related services may be required. Related services include but are not limited to: assistive technology, audiology, counseling, early identification and assessment of disabilities, medical services for diagnostic and evaluation purposes, occupational therapy, orientation and mobility services, parent counseling and training, physical therapy, psychological services, recreation, rehabilitation counseling, school health services, social work services, speechlanguage pathology, and/or transportation. For more information, please contact your school or the Department of Special Education and Student Services at
410-313-6659. Parents can also visit the Special Education webpage

Child Find

The Howard County Public School System seeks to identify students ages 3 to 21 who are suspected of having a disability and may be in need of special education and related services. Parents, medical personnel, and other concerned individuals may call the Child Find Program at the County Diagnostic Center, 410-313-7046, to begin the referral process for pre-school age children and students who attend private/parochial schools. Referrals for infants and toddlers, birth to three years old, who may be developmentally delayed or at-risk, should be made to the Howard County Infants and Toddlers Program, 410-313-7017.

Local School Special Education

Every elementary, middle, and high school provides special education services for students who are identified as eligible for service through the IEP team process. Special Education and related services are determined through the development of an IEP and are offered in the student’s home school or another Howard County school. Extended School Year (ESY) services are provided, if necessary, to meet the unique needs of individual students with disabilities.

Regional Early Childhood Centers

Regional Early Childhood Centers provide special education and related services to children from birth through age five. The Early Beginnings Program delivers services to infants and toddlers who are developmentally delayed or who show atypical development. The Preschool- Kindergarten Program provides special education and related services to children ages three through five.

Family Support and Resource Center

The Family Support and Resource Center is designed to help families of children Services include workshops, IEP assistance, newsletters, a lending library, facilitation of parent support groups, and service referrals. The center is open during the school year, Monday through Friday, and over the summer by appointment. The center is located at Ascend One Building, 8930 Stanford Blvd., Suite 201, Columbia, 21045.

Special Education Resources for Parents

Family Support and Resource Center

  • 410-313-7161

Maryland State Dept. of Education

Division of Special Education/Early Intervention Services

  • 410-767-0264

Parents Place of Maryland

  • 410-768-9100

Gifted and Talented

The HCPSS Gifted and Talented (G/T) Program provides accelerated and enriched services and talent development opportunities for students at the elementary, middle, and high school levels. These differentiated services are based on students’ individual capabilities and interests.

Programs are offered in academic areas, and visual and performing arts. Gifted and Talented Education Programs offer experiences that are substantially different from the regular school program. G/T resource teachers offer additional information about G/T programs at each school.

In-school programs are available to students from kindergarten through high school. After-school programs in advanced mathematics, and visual and performing arts, are available to secondary students. For more information about the G/T program, contact the Gifted and Talented Education Program at 410-313- 6800, or visit the Gifted and Talent webpage.

Alternative Education

Alternative education programs are available to students in a variety of settings. All of these programs are designed to meet the needs of students who display academic and behavioral difficulties. Through these programs, students receive academic support and instruction, behavioral change strategies and interventions, counseling, and intensive case management services. There are school-based Alternative Education programs at 14 elementary, 10 middle, and 8 high schools. Homewood is a countywide alternative education center for middle and high school students with significant behavioral and social-emotional difficulties. Evening School serves middle and high school students who are suspended or expelled but continue to be eligible for educational services. Original credit courses are also available for select students. For more information, please contact the Department of Special Education and Student Services at 410-313-7178.

Summer School

HCPSS offers a wide variety of programs for students entering PreK through Grade 12.

Comprehensive Summer School

Elementary and Middle School (PreK-8) – Educational opportunities are provided for students requiring extended academic support. Students will participate in review/enhancement classes in reading and math at the elementary level, and English, math, and social studies at the middle school level. Grades 1-5 elective classes provide exploration experiences in science, creative arts, and healthy living. Grades 5-8 feature a range of enrichment options, including technology courses, which offer new experiences with educational and entertainment software.

High School (9-12) – Original and review credit courses are available for the diploma-bound student. Additional courses prepare incoming freshmen for high school assessed courses, while mastery courses assist students needing to pass high school assessments.

Black Student Achievement Program (BSAP) (Grades 1-12) – Students entering grades 1-5 may attend the Summer Learning Camp. Students entering grades 6-12 may attend the Student Enrichment and Accelerating Achievement of Leadership (SEAL) Program.

Career Academies (Grades 6-12) – Weeklong summer camp opportunities for students interested in learning more about careers and how career areas relate to their own interests.

Gifted and Talented Summer Institute for Talent Development (Grades 2-12) – For HCPSS students interested in advancedlevel instructional/and enrichment experiences not regularly available during the school year. Students need a teacher recommendation to enroll

MESA Biomedical Summer Enrichment Program – Students will learn various aspects of the medical profession and medical specialties.

HCPSS summer school programs are held between late June and early August. Program schedules may vary.

For more information, visit the summer programs webpage.