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Parent, Family, and Community Involvement

The Board of Education of Howard County believes that the education of children is a responsibility shared by parents, families, the school system and the community.

The Board recognizes the parent as the child’s first and lifelong teacher and that it is essential to involve parents in educational decisions as caring advocates for their children. The Board of Education is committed to promoting the involvement of all parents of students in the Howard County Public School System (HCPSS), regardless of culture, religion, socio-economic status, race/ethnicity, disability, gender, marital status, sexual orientation, primary language, parent/family education, geographical location or any other factor that may limit involvement.

The Board encourages collaboration with parents and the community as participants in school governance and as active partners in forwarding the school system’s goals and philosophy.

Therefore, it is incumbent upon the school system and individual schools to establish programs and practices that cultivate a respectful climate, promote open communication, and provide opportunities for effective parent and community involvement and engagement.

See Board of Education Policy 10000 Student, Parent, Family and Community Engagement

Additionally, as part of its strategic planning process the school system has set as one of goals: Each school will provide a safe and nurturing environment that values our diversity and commonality.

What is Parent Involvement?

Parent involvement is the participation of parents in every facet of the education and development of children from birth to adulthood, recognizing that parents are the primary influence in children’s lives. Parent involvement takes many forms, including the parents’ shared responsibilities in decisions about children’s education, health and well-being, as well as the parents’ participation in organizations that reflect the community’s collaborative aspirations for all children.

Howard County is deeply committed to developing partnerships among home, school, and community. Partnerships create a shared responsibility for student success. These unique partnerships are part of school improvement planning and goal setting for student learning. Our goal is for school personnel, family members, and community members to work together for student success.

Adopted by the National PTA Board of Directors

"Countless studies have shown that children who receive consistent, loving attention from their parents perform better in school and lead happier lives than those who don’t. Parents are children’s most important teachers, role models and guides. They have a responsibility to stay involved with their children in positive ways, through school, family activities and daily conversation."

Joan Dykstra, National PTA President, 1996-97 and Howard County Parent

Types of Parent Involvement

The Howard County Public School System recognizes parents as the first educators in the home, as partners with schools, and as advocates for all children, and fosters parental involvement in the following ways:

  • Parenting – Assisting families with parenting and child rearing skills, understanding childand adolescent development, setting home conditions that support children as students at each age and grade level, and assisting schools to understand families
  • Communicating
    Designing effective forms of school-to-home and home-to-school communications about school programs, skills required to pass all subjects in each grade, and children’s progress
  • Volunteering
    Recruiting, organizing, and recognizing volunteer help and support occurring in the school and outside of the school
  • Learning at Home
    Providing information and ideas to families about how to help students at home with homework and other curriculum related activities, decisions, and planning
  • Decision Making and Advocacy
    Including families as participants in school decisions and developing parent leaders and representatives from all groups
  • Community Collaboration – Identifying and integrating resources and services from the community to strengthen school programs, family practices, and student learning and development

* Six Types of Involvement as defined by Dr. Joyce Epstein of the Johns Hopkins University Center on Families, Communities, Schools, and Children’s Learning.

Opportunities for Involvement in the Howard County Public School System

  • Ad Hoc Committees – Periodically committees are convened to consider and make recommendations related to school system operations, education policies, and procedures. Community participation may be sought through public notice in local newspapers, through the PTA, and the Citizen’s Advisory Committee to the Board of Education.
  • Community Advisory Council (CAC) to the Board of Education (BOE) – The CAC to the BOE was established to provide interested citizens with ways to become involved with public education in Howard County. The committee reports directly to the BOE and serves as a channel for concerns, advice, and information from the public to reach the BOE. For more information contact the Public Information Office at 410-313-6682.
  • Curriculum Advisory Committees – These committees serve in an advisory capacity to each curriculum office and assist in the review of textbooks and curriculum as well as with the planning of special events. For more information contact the individual curriculum offices at 410-313-6600.
  • Mentoring – The school system’s mentor program matches students with highly qualified professionals from the community. Mentors are used to provide students with one-on-one, expert professional guidance in advance investigation or creative production. For more information click here.
  • Public Hearings – The Board of Education encourages public participation by setting aside time during regular and special meetings when the public may provide verbal testimony on specific topics such as individual policies, school calendar proposals, budget, boundary line proposals, etc. Citizens are asked to limit their oral testimony to three minutes. More detailed written testimony is welcomed. To sign up for public hearings, interested persons should call the Executive Assistant to the Board of Education at 410-313-7194.
  • Parent Teacher Association – Each school in the Howard County Public School System has an active PTA. For more information contact your local school.
  • Parent Workshops – Local schools offer numerous opportunities for parents and community members to learn more about how they can support education at home. Contact your local school for information on parent workshops that may be planned on curriculum, assessment, study habits, special programs, etc.
  • School Activities and Events – Local schools offer a range of concerts, plays, athletic events, and other school-related activities that provide an opportunity for parents and community members to see their schools in action. For information on activities contact your local school.
  • School Improvement Teams (SIT) – Each school in Howard County has a SIT made up of school system staff, parents, and others who work collaboratively to ensure that the instruction, programs, and practices in the school lead to academic success for all students. For more information contact your local school.
  • Tutoring – Qualified persons are always needed to support students in their academic progress. For information on volunteer tutoring in Howard County public schools, contact your local school.
  • Volunteerism – Unlimited opportunities exist for community members to volunteer at local schools and in school system offices. For more information click here.