skip to main content

Support Services

Black Student Achievement Program (BSAP)

The HCPSS Black Student Achievement Program (BSAP) works to close achievement gaps evident in the patterns of data between African-American/Black students and the student population at large. Over the years, BSAP has been a valuable resource to the school system, African-American/Black students, their parents and the community. Through a coordinated system of services, the BSAP Program guides African-American/Black students to develop education, career and personal/social competencies. For more information call 410‑313-1598 or visit

Hispanic Achievement Program

The Hispanic Achievement Program works collaboratively with central programs and schools to achieve the school system’s goals as they pertain to Hispanic students, and ensure students are college and career ready at the time of graduation. 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, contact Elisa Montalvo, Hispanic Achievement Specialist, at or 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 68 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 promote educationally- and psychologicallyhealthy environments for all children and adolescents by implementing researchbased, effective programs that prevent problems, enhance independence and promote optimal learning. Working directly with students, school psychologists provide mental health 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. Your school psychologist contributes to prevention and intervention plans, such as academic support plans and/or behavioral intervention plans for students. They also participate in problem-solving teams, such as the Instructional Intervention Team described below, and schoolwide improvement teams. School psychologists work collaboratively with school teams and families to promote students’ academic, behavioral and social-emotional well-being success.

Instructional Intervention Teams

Instructional Intervention Teams (IIT) are made up of school-based educators who support teachers in addressing students’ academic and behavior needs. IITs can be composed of:

  • Classroom teachers
  • Administrator
  • School psychologist
  • School counselor
  • Special educator
  • ESOL teacher
  • Other school-based professionals and interventionists

When a teacher would like support in addressing the academic or behavioral needs of an individual student or small group, that teacher may request assistance from the school’s IIT. A member of the team, trained in systematic problem solving, then collaborates with the teacher. The parent is made aware of the process.

The IIT team member and classroom teacher examine: 1) student strengths and skills, 2) the instruction being provided and 3) tasks the student is asked to complete. When a student is not meeting classroom expectations, it is usually due to a mismatch among these three factors. The IIT team member and the teacher then create a plan to adjust the task and/ or instruction so that there is a match between student skills and instruction/ task. Goals are set and the student’s progress is monitored for success.

Special Services

There are cases when a student may need services or support beyond IIT 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

Title I, Part A, is a federal program that provides financial support for identified schools to provide additional academic and social-emotional support to help children master challenging curricula and meet state standards. Title I funds support extra instruction in language arts 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. IPLP is designed to increase leadership capacity of international parents to step into leadership roles in schools and communities as advocates on behalf of the system’s international students. The six-week program helps international parents understand the framework of the U.S. educational system and the structure and functions of HCPSS.

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 families may call the International Call Center and leave messages in their native language.

  • 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 instruction for English Learners in kindergarten through Grade 12. In elementary schools, the ESOL program provides services to students through a combination of pushin and pull-out delivery models. English Learners in Grades 6–12 participate in ESOL specific classes and/or co-taught content classes. ESOL teachers at all levels provide direct instruction that is focused on the academic language of English language arts, mathematics, science, and social studies. ESOL programs are provided at all Howard County schools.

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 an educational disability is entitled to a “free appropriate public education” under the federal mandates for special education. Special education is comprised of specially designed instruction to meet the unique needs of a child with a disability at no cost to parents. Students who 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 federal and state guidelines for the identification of an educational disability are eligible to receive 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, and accommodations, to be provided to the student.

In order for a child to benefit from specifically designed instruction, 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, speech-language pathology, and/or transportation. For more information, please contact your school or the Department of Special Education 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 when it is determined the student requires more intensive services. These services would be conducted in a school closest to the child’s home school. If eligible, Extended School Year services may also be provided to meet the individual needs of each student with disability.

Early Intervention Services

Early Intervention provides special education and related services to children from birth to 5 and their families. The Infants and Toddlers Program delivers services to children ages birth to 36 months who are developmentally delayed or who show atypical development. Regional Early Childhood Centers (RECC) provide special education and related services to children ages three to five, not including kindergarten.

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.

Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 for Students

Howard County public schools recognizes and supports the right of all students to enjoy access to opportunities in education. Our student population is strengthened by our commitment to embrace all learners, including those with disabilities. Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 guarantees that students with disabilities have the ability to access a free appropriate public education and are protected against discrimination.

Students who meet the Section 504 eligibility guidelines will have a Section 504 Plan developed for use in school. The plan specifies the nature of the impairment, the major life activity affected by the impairment, accommodations necessary to provide access based on the student’s needs, and the person(s) responsible for implementing the accommodations.

Any student who may need a Section 504 accommodation plan should be referred to their school’s Section 504 Team to determine the need for evaluation. Those students whose evaluation results meet the federal guidelines regarding Section 504 are eligible for a Section 504 accommodation plan.

If a parent or student is dissatisfied with decisions regarding their/their child’s identification, evaluation and/or educational placement/program, they may request a:

  • Section 504 review
  • Section 504 impartial hearing
  • Office of Civil Rights review

For more information, please contact your school or the HCPSS 504 Coordinator at 410-313-1252. Parents and students can also visit

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 Center is a countywide alternative education center for middle and high school students with significant behavioral and social-emotional difficulties. Students are referred to Homewood Center by their home schools.

The evening school program offers credit recovery and original credit courses for all high school students who are eligible or interested. There is also an educational component for students who have been suspended or administratively removed from their home school. For more information, please contact the Coordinator of Alternative Programs at 410‑313-7178.

Summer School

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

Comprehensive Summer School

Summer Institute (BSAP)

(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.

Comprehensive Summer School

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.

Career Academies (Grades 6–12)

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 1–12)

For HCPSS students interested in advanced-level instructional/and enrichment experiences not regularly available during the school year. Students need a teacher recommendation to enroll

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

For more information, visit the summer programs webpage.