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International Student and Family Services Information – English

The Howard County Public School System (HCPSS) opens its doors to students from around the world. We are fortunate to enroll students representing 117 different languages and 148 countries. The following services are available to students and their families whose primary language is not English.

Office of International Student and Family Services (OISFS)

OISFS builds bridges to ensure that international families and the community are engaged and supported as partners in their children’s education. Our staff promotes communication between families and educators, and ensures equitable access to information and resources provided by the school system. We enhance the capacity of international families to enter and actively engage in the vibrant school system community.

International Student Registration Center (ISRC)

ISRC assists families who need language assistance, test students for ESOL eligibility, and review foreign high school transcripts. The International Student Registration Center (ISRC) serves Howard County families who need language support during the registration process, as well as international families who are registering for the first time in US schools.

  • Korean/English: 410-313-1525
  • Spanish/English: 410-313-7102

A Special Note to High School Students

All high schools start try-outs and practices for sports and extra-curricular activities by mid-August. All transfer students must complete registration to determine residency and eligibility for fall sports and extra-curricular activities.

Who registers at the International Student Registration Center (ISRC)?

Parents who need language support, and/or:

  • The student is of high school age with a foreign transcript.
  • The student is in grades 1-12 and a language other than English is indicated on the Registration Form.
  • An ESOL student is transferring from a non-WIDA state. Call ESOL/ISRC for a current list of WIDA consortium participating states.

Who does NOT register at the ISRC?

Parents who do not need language support and English is the only language indicated on the Registration Form.

  • Note: A student transferring from within state of Maryland or other WIDA state can register at home school.

International Achievement Liaisons

The International Achievement Liaisons facilitate communication and understanding across cultures between schools and the international families. They also serve as members of the schools’ intervention teams and collaborate with the school staff to provide supports to international students and their families.

Interpreting Services

The HCPSS has a cadre of certified interpreters who assist with communication at school meetings, parent-teacher conferences and at other school functions when appropriate. Interpreter services should be arranged through the local schools.

HCPSS Publications

View a list of HCPSS publications available on our website. For translated publications return to the Languages page and choose your language. Many publications have been translated into Spanish, Korean, Chinese and Urdu.

International Call Center

The OISFS also provides phone referral services in Spanish and Korean for families with questions and concerns related to school matters. LEP parents may call the International Call Center and leave messages in their native language. The phone calls are checked daily to support LEP parents who are speakers of Korean or Spanish.

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

International Exchange Student (IES) Program

The HCPSS benefits from the annual enrollment of international exchange students in our high schools. These students, coming to the U.S. through exchange programs approved by the Council on Standards for International Education Travel (CSIET), are here for a one-year stay with a host family. After one year they return to school in their own country to complete their studies.

For questions about the IES, please contact the OISFS at 410-313-1293.

International Parent Leadership Program (IPLP)

The International Parent Leadership Program (IPLP) is held in the fall and is designed to help international parents navigate the school system and develop the confidence to serve as advocates for their children. This six-week program also provides training for international parents to assume leadership roles in schools and the community.

Media Coverage

Parents interested in this program should look for the application form and meeting dates posted in the HCPSS News weekly newsletter starting in August or September. For more information, contact 410-313-1293.

Educational Forums

The OISFS coordinates education forums for international families throughout the year. These forums help families understand the American educational system.Participants receive information about American school practices and academic expectations, so they can help their children be successful in school. For updated information on educational forums, contact 410-313-1293.