Open Letter to the Howard County Delegation

Dear Members of the Howard County Delegation,

I am writing to express my sincere gratitude for your consistent support of Howard County public schools. I want to share information with you about our efforts to increase outreach to the community since the recent education town hall at Howard Community College. We appreciated the comments and participation of many members of the community as well as state and county representatives who were in attendance.

We are committed to strengthening communication with parents and community stakeholders to ensure all Howard County public school students have equal opportunities for learning. Our school system meets the needs of an ethnically rich and diverse student body of more than 54,000 students in 76 public schools. We invest more than $776 million to provide a free and appropriate public education to all students. More than $91 million is used to support special education services. Of that, more than $10 million is spent to meet the needs of the fewer than 200 students with the most severe disabilities through nonpublic placements outside of the Howard County Public School System.

We understand the strong link between student success, parents and community involvement in education. Since the town hall conversation, HCPSS has made several improvements in the way we communicate. The following changes to the HCPSS.org website will enhance communication with the school system, including a new “Contact Us” link, a new web form for the Maryland Public Information Act (MPIA) to assist stakeholders with submitting information requests, and a featured link to our “Funding Accountability and Transparency” website under “Trending Topics” on the HCPSS home page.

The system has identified the Board of Education’s school clusters assignments in the “About” section of each school website and added a direct contact link for the Board member assigned to each school. These are important first steps for enhancing our responsiveness to the concerns of our community members.

We agree fully that input from parents and teachers is essential because they have a powerful impact on student achievement. It is our responsibility to listen and take action to ensure high-quality instruction is delivered in safe, healthy and supportive learning environments for students and staff. We value the participation of the very people who can make our school system even stronger – parents and community stakeholders.

Sincerely,

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Renee A. Foose, Ed.D.
Superintendent
Howard County Public School System