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Digital Education

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The HCPSS Digital Education Program enhances traditional instruction with digital content, encourages blended and online instruction to promote anywhere, anytime learning, and provides students with the option to extend learning through advanced and college-level courses. Policy 8200 Digital Education outlines the implementation of digital learning in Howard County public schools.

Fully Online

Current HCPSS students who are interested in enrolling in a non-HCPSS fully online class, other than an HCC JumpStart or other college level course, during the 2020-2021 school year should review the following information to ensure the course(s) meet MD COMAR and can be awarded high school credit. Policy 8200 eligibility criteria includes:

  1. The school does not offer the course.
  2. There is a scheduling conflict which prevents the student from taking the course when it is available and there is no accessible alternative in future academic years.
  3. The student has been approved for early graduation or early college access demonstrated through their four-year plan.
  4. Home and Hospital Teaching Program.
  5. Administrative placement.

Students seeking to enroll in a course should meet with their school counselor to:

  1. Discuss the readiness of taking a fully online course(s) and the appropriateness of the specific course(s) to be taken based on the student’s four-year plan to move to graduation.
  2. Determine if the student has met the course prerequisites listed in the HCPSS Catalog of Approved High School Courses.
  3. Ensure that the course(s) and course provider are approved by the HCPSS and can be awarded high school credit.

Parents/guardians who enroll HCPSS students in a fully online course(s) without the approval of the school counselor are not guaranteed that the course(s) taken will be awarded high school credit.

Fully Online Enrollment Guidance – MS/HS

To help ensure that the course(s) taken will be accepted for high school credit, review the request with the school counselor before enrolling a student in a fully online course with a third-party provider.

Synchronous Video Instruction

Synchronous video instruction is a course taught in real-time by a HCPSS teacher from a “home” school to students at a “remote” school. Teachers and students at “home” and “remote” schools utilize web-based and video technologies to interact with each other in real-time. Students use personal technology devices (tablet or laptop), or HCPSS-provided devices, to participate in classroom activities. Students access and submit assignments through the Canvas learning management system.

Synchronous Video Instruction Overview – 2020-2021

2020-2021 Synchronous Courses

  • AP U.S. History
  • Chinese 1, 2, 3, 4AP
  • Differential Equations
  • Latin 1, 4AP
  • Linear Algebra

Please contact your school counselor for more information about course selection and the Digital Education Program for all other questions.

Alternative Education

HCPSS uses blended and online courses with the Home and Hospital Teaching program, Homewood Center, and the Evening School program. These programs are generally offered outside of the school day and use existing HCPSS staff and third party content and communication tools. This strategy leverages digital education resources and technology to improve student retention and performance as well as provides an individualized approach to promote and foster each student’s potential.

High School Summer Program

High school summer program courses are offered to students with reliable access to a computer and Internet connection. Students should be an independent, competent reader and motivated to learn in alternative formats. These courses are designed for self-motivated students who may already be enrolled in an original credit course in the morning or who might otherwise be prevented from enrolling in the face-to-face course due to other scheduling conflicts.

Courses Available:

  • Career and Technology Education
  • English
  • Health Education
  • Science
  • Social Studies

Please visit the Summer School page and review the section for the Innovative Pathways High School Summer Program for more information.

Credit Recovery Courses

Credit recovery courses are available to students who have previously attempted but did not succeed in earning academic credit towards graduation (and failing more than two quarters). Credit recovery courses are mastery-based; this means that students will pre-assess at the beginning of each unit, and this pre-assessment will help teachers to determine which assignments from that unit are required for the student to complete for mastery.

  • Site-Based

  • With the Howard County Board of Education’s approval of a fully virtual first semester for the 2020-2021 school year, site-based credit recovery courses will not be available to students either during or after the school day. Students who would have been eligible to enroll in a credit recovery course will have an additional course in their schedule to retake the course during the school day at their home school.

  • Evening Program

  • Credit recovery courses are available to eligible students through the Innovative Pathways Evening Program. Credit recovery courses may be taken as a year-long course, completing Semester 1 content in the fall semester and completing Semester 2 content in the spring semester.

    Please visit the Innovative Pathways page for a more detailed overview of the Evening Program.


Digital Education Office
Applications and Research Lab (ARL)
10920 Clarksville Pike
Room B48
Ellicott City, MD 21042
(410) 313-5334

NOTE: Please use email for a faster response. Phone messages will be returned the following school day.