On January 24, the Board of Education directed that HCPSS initiate a systemwide school boundary review, which could potentially impact any or all of the 74 comprehensive schools in our system beginning in the 2020-2021 school year. This review is critical due to population growth that has resulted in crowding at many schools while schools in other areas are underutilized.
[ ♪ (Upbeat music) ♪ ]
( Narrator ) The Howard County Public School System will soon begin a boundary review process for all schools in our system. This process is necessary because rapid population growth has resulted in crowding at many schools.
[ JumpStart Dual Enrollment ]
You may recall the steps taken during recent years to adjust school boundaries to relieve school crowding. Each of these measures affected a limited number of schools and families. But we have reached the point where we must comprehensively review boundaries, taking a more system-wide approach to finding solutions.
(Dr. Michael Martirano, Superintendent of Schools) HCPSS is a school system - not a system of schools. Civility, equity, trust, and engagement will be the overriding themes of the review process. It is critical that all students, parent and community stakeholders are informed throughout the process and have multiple opportunities to be engaged and involved.
( Narrator ) If you participated in a boundary adjustment process in years past, you may notice several differences in the way we conduct the process this year.
The Attendance Advisory Committee, or AAC, will make recommendations to the Superintendent based on their review of the Feasibility Study, but will not take public input or develop alternative attendance area scenarios. The AAC will consist of stakeholders identified by the Superintendent and representing a cross section of perspectives, demographics and geographic areas.
Opportunities for public input to the Superintendent will be offered after the Feasibility Study is published, and to the Board after the Superintendent’s recommendation has been submitted. This change in format will support the AAC in developing recommendations that objectively consider the needs of all students and schools.
The process schedule has been adjusted to give the Board additional time to receive public input and consider the Superintendent’s recommendation before making its final decision in November.
[ A map of Howard County, Maryland ]
The process begins with the release of the Feasibility Study which will serve as a baseline from which to begin the boundary review. All data and information provided in the Feasibility Study will have been validated by an independent consultant.
The Feasibility Study will:
- Provide a comprehensive review of school boundary options, focused on capacity utilization targets as defined by Policy 6010
- Present student enrollment projections and trends, and
- Develop capital improvement plan strategies.
There will be a variety of opportunities for all stakeholders to receive information, engage in the process and provide their input. Additionally, there will be multiple opportunities to provide feedback directly to the Board following the presentation of the Superintendent’s recommendation.
(Joshua Wasilewski, Long Reach High School Principal) With the county’s support, and with the plan we will have in place, our student will feel welcomed. And I can actually speak from experience at a different school where I was a Principal, we had students who were impacted by adjustment of boundaries. While students were hesitant at first and families were nervous, by the end of the first quarter our students were successful. In fact, they felt welcomed upon day one and their transition was successful. So I know this can be a stressful time but know that in Howard County, they are in good hands wherever they go.
( Narrator ) The best place to find information is by visiting the HCPSS website at https://www.hcpss.org. Your voice is critical to this process and the website provides multiple pathways to informing the Superintendent and Board of Education. All input provided in-person and digitally will receive equal consideration by the Superintendent and the Board.
(Mavis Ellis, Board of Education Chair) We owe it to our students and families to develop a comprehensive plan that ensures optimal learning environments and equitable opportunities for each and every child.
[ Howard County Public School System ]