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Attendance Area Adjustments and Student Transition Frequently Asked Questions

Board of Education’s Attendance Area Adjustment Plan

How do I find out if my child was redistricted to a new school?

The attendance area adjustments approved by the Board are posted to the BoardDoc website. The locations affected are identified by polygon; families may find their polygon by using the HCPSS School Locator. Please note, the School Locator currently shows 2019–2020 school assignments; updates for the 2020–2021 school year will be added to the Locator by mid-December.

Are any students exempt from the redistricting?

The Board voted to exempt several student groups from the redistricting decision, allowing them the option of attending the new school or remaining at their current school.

The exemptions apply to the following groups of students:

  • Current 4th grade students
  • Current 7th grade students
  • Current 10th grade students
  • Current 11th grade students
  • 30/60 credit JumpStart students
  • Students with an IEP, as of 11/21/2019
  • Students with a 504, as of 11/21/2019
  • Students with at least one custodial parent on active military duty

Current 9th graders and trailing siblings are not exempt from the Board decision.

The exemption process is open through Friday, December 13, 2019.

How are you ensuring HCPSS families are aware of redistricting exemption information?

Immediately following the Board’s November 21 redistricting decision, HCPSS started the next transition phase of the process. On November 22, emails were sent to all parents and staff, and the HCPSS website was updated with the Board’s decision and related information. Also on November 22, all school principals met with HCPSS Central Office staff to communicate their collective and individual needs.

On December 4, the full HCPSS community was notified by email and text that school year 2020-2021 school placements were available online and that the redistricting exemption process was open. The following day, parents/guardians of students identified as eligible for an exemption received an additional message by email and text encouraging them to make their exemption decisions.

Additionally, school staff are making personal connections with parents/guardians of students who qualify for an exemption by phone, text, email and in person. Schools requiring greater language supports and those with higher numbers of students impacted are receiving additional student support staff to help inform and support families through this exemption process. The process to inform families is critical and we are not relying on digital platforms alone to inform and support.

Parents/guardians who do not have access to technology to view their school assignments or to opt-in to the exemption online can contact their school. All schools are prepared to assist families with accessing and completing the required information. Parents/guardians also may go in to their child’s school to complete the exemption process.

When will I find out information about my child’s bus ride to and from school?

Bus stop information will be available in early August.

Can I appeal the Board’s decision?

Parents/guardians of students being redistricted may not request a waiver from the state; only appeals for the Board of Education’s decision.

In accordance with the Code of Maryland Regulations (COMAR) 13A.01.05.02, an appeal of the Board’s decision may be filed with the Maryland State Board of Education within 30 calendar days of the Board of Education meeting at which action was taken, or November 21, 2019.

The appeal is to be mailed to the Maryland State Board of Education, 200 West Baltimore Street, Baltimore, MD 21201 in one of the following ways:

  • In writing and received by the State Board within 30 calendar days of the Board’s meeting
  • Deposited in the United States mail as registered or certified mail or Express Mail within 30 calendar days of the Board’s meeting.
  • Deposited with a delivery service, such as FedEx, UPS, or DHL, that provides verifiable tracking of the item from the point of origin, within 30 calendar days of the Board’s meeting.

Transitioning Students to New Schools

When will I begin receiving information from my child’s new school for next year?

Schools impacted by the attendance area adjustments will receive the names of new 2020–2021 students in early January. Following that, schools will reach out to incoming families with introductions and important information. Families also are encouraged to visit school websites and follow schools on applicable social media accounts.

How does my child register for middle and high school courses for the new school they will be attending next year?

In December and January, current 8–11 grade students review the high school course options with school counselors. High school counselors will visit middle schools during these months to connect with current 8th grade students who will be coming to their school. Students are encouraged to register for the courses they would like to take regardless of whether they were offered at their school last year because student interest can drive course availability. In December, teachers will make course recommendations for high school in December (e.g. will it be standard, honors, GT, etc.).

At the middle school level, counselors will provide direction to current 6th and 7th graders about middle school course selection in January. Elementary and middle school teachers assist with recommending courses for current 5th graders in January (e.g. will it be standard, GT, etc.).

How does this alter my child’s college application process?

There is no impact on students’ ability to apply for college. Students generally begin the college application process in their junior year. As noted above, all juniors are exempt from the attendance area adjustment decision. Most students will have recommendation letters from sophomore, junior and senior year. Should a student have a letter from prior to sophomore year, school counseling staff will help students facilitate the transfer of recommendation letters from one school to another. School Counseling staff will also assist students who were redistricted to a new school as they seek letters from other schools.

Will there be an impact on participation in athletics or school activities?

There is no impact on your child’s participation in athletics or school activities. They will need to follow the same school procedures for registering, auditioning, applying, trying out, etc. as they would if they remained at their current school.

What if my child currently attends a before or after care program and we have been redistricted?

Howard County Recreation and Parks and Columbia Association are working together to accommodate parents/guardians of those students who would like to attend a before and after care program at their new school for the 2020-2021 school year. Parents can expect to hear from Recreation and Parks or CA in early 2020.

More information about before and after care can be found on the HCPSS website. If you have specific questions, please contact the following:

  • Howard County Recreation and Parks, Registration Department: 410-313-7275
  • Columbia Association, Before and After School Care – School Age Services: 410-715-3164