Strong Collaborations Support Great Schools

For the second year in a row, the Howard County Public School System (HCPSS) has been ranked No. 1 among the “Best School Districts in Maryland” by Niche.com, a national education and community analysis firm. This recognition is a tribute to our students, educators and community stakeholders as we all work together in fulfilling the promise of preparation for our students.

Howard County students continue to achieve at the highest levels in Maryland. The HCPSS Class of 2016 graduation rate — 93.21 percent — exceeds the state average by 5.6 percentage points and marks a five-year jump of more than 2.5 percentage points since 2011. Some student groups show even greater progress: The percentage of African-American students graduating has risen 9.36 percentage points in that period, and the percentage receiving Free and Reduced Price Meals (FARMs) graduating has risen 9.03 percentage points.

We cannot do this alone, and HCPSS is very fortunate to work with organizations like Columbia Association (CA). This year, we’re looking forward to our collaboration in celebrating Columbia’s 50th Birthday through the lens of our fine arts programs. All high schools will perform in the HCPSS Fine Arts Celebration — on Sunday, April 23 at 4pm at Merriweather Post Pavilion — to remember founder James Rouse and honor Columbia’s past, present and future.

CA complements HCPSS’ efforts to educate and take care of the whole child. Through our connection with CA’s International Exchange and Multicultural Programs, HCPSS students and staff further their global competence through programming and professional development. CA’s Youth and Teen Center at The Barn helps develop our middle and high schoolers’ self-esteem and life skills through out-of-classroom programming. Additionally, we are grateful that our students can participate in exhibitions at CA’s Columbia Art Center and benefit from CA’s school-based before- and after-school programming, and so much more.

Great schools do not happen by accident. They are the result of years of hard work, commitment and collaboration among our students, educators, parents and a supportive community. I welcome you to continue your involvement with Howard County schools throughout the year. To learn more about volunteer opportunities, please visit:
http://www.hcpss.org/f/parents/volunteer-opportunities.pdf.

Renee A. Foose, EdD,
Superintendent of Howard County Public School System (HCPSS)