As Howard County Public School System (HCPSS) staff returns to kick off a new school year, I am excited for the journey ahead of us. Our work as educators will be driven by our mission to ensure academic success and social-emotional well-being for each student in an equitable and nurturing environment that closes opportunity gaps.
Last week, I issued a bold new Strategic Call to Action to guide our work: Learning and Leading with Equity: The Fierce Urgency of Now. This vision, built on equity, is fueled by the belief that every student possesses the skills, knowledge and confidence to lead a successful life and positively influence the larger community.
In collaboration with schools, families and community partners, together we can deliver on these four overarching commitments.
Students and staff will thrive in a safe, nurturing and inclusive culture that embraces diversity. We will support students’ social-emotional development and build healthy school relationships through restorative practices. We will also better reflect diversity and inclusion through our curriculum and staff hiring.
Every HCPSS stakeholder will feel happy and rewarded in their roles and take pride in cultivating the learning community. Equity and relationships will be at the foundation of all decisions and actions. We are establishing a school culture where every child feels heard, starting with community-building classroom activities the first week of school. We look forward to further building trust with parents, guardians and community members as our active partners in education.
Schools, families and the community will be mutually invested in student achievement and well-being. We will ensure graduation rates and college credit or industry certification opportunities are exemplary and equitable. All students entering kindergarten will be ready to learn, and special education services will be consistent across the county. As educators and community members, we will work to combat bullying and keep all children safe from such wounds.
An individualized focus will support every person in reaching milestones for success. For students, this means providing high-quality education that meets individual needs, using assessments that can direct instructional planning and graduating students prepared for meaningful employment. We will ensure staff are most effective in their roles with access to professional learning opportunities.
The connections we establish by valuing our students, families and colleagues will empower our children to achieve success. All our operations will be responsive, accountable, efficient and student-centered.
We are pushing forward with greater urgency to ensure that every student reaches their full potential in the classroom and beyond. I am honored to have a tremendous team across this great county that possesses the passion and skill to lead us in this effort. I look forward to working with you over the coming months on the specific actions and measures that will lead us toward each desired outcome for HCPSS.