Partnering Toward the Future

Thirty years ago, HCPSS launched a community partnerships program to help prepare Howard County students for productive lives and careers. More than 1,000 businesses, nonprofits, government agencies and community organizations partner with HCPSS to support the values of the Vision 2018 plan: collaboration, rigor and acceleration, engagement, performance, and well-being. Here are a handful of examples.

Competitive Coding

Eighty students from eight Howard County middle schools competed in the second annual HCPSS Code Slam, a competitive “sport coding” event that challenges student teams to complete coding tasks of increasing complexity within strict time limits. The Howard County Tech Council of the Howard County Economic Development Authority helped recruit Python programming language professionals to serve as judges at the Code Slam. Professionals from Social Growth, Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, Northrop Grumman and other businesses provided coaching when students hit a roadblock and asked for a “lifeline.”

Mentoring Matters

For more than 20 years, St. John Baptist Church has provided the extra support so critical to keeping a student focused on a positive future. St. John’s Man-to-Man Mentoring Program launched in 1992 and the Woman-to- Woman Mentoring Program began in 2006. The programs offer one-to-one mentoring services for students in grades 6–12; after-school tutoring; homework support; life skills training; social, cultural and recreational activities; and parent support sessions.

Getting Hospitality Career Ready

HCPSS works in conjunction with hotel and restaurant segments of the hospitality industry to align curriculum with the standards of the American Hotel and Lodging Association Educational Institute and the Restaurant Association of Maryland Education Foundation. Hilton Garden Inn, Comfort Suites, Hampton Inn, Howard Community College Hospitality and Culinary Management, and others ensure that students are prepared to meet the needs of the fastest growing and second largest industry in the country. Students may earn certifications that are industry recognized, giving them a competitive edge in employment.

Raising Environmental Stewardship

Trout Unlimited is increasing stewardship of Maryland waters by engaging students in meaningful watershed educational experiences. Through the hands-on environmental program, Trout in the Classroom, students take responsibility for raising trout from eggs to fingerling, managing chilled tank water quality, engaging in stream habitat study, learning to appreciate water resources, developing a conservation ethic and understanding ecosystem connectivity. The program culminates in a field trip to a local stream where students release the fish.

Creating Editorial Skills

Forest Ridge Elementary School students published a magazine under the guidance of Marlene Jackson, director of the local nonprofit Le’Chic Academy Foundation. Students met after school for six weeks to learn how to write stories, take photos, add visual components and design layouts. In doing so, students enhanced their creativity, writing, editing, interviewing, team building and self-publishing skills.

To learn more about HCPSS partnerships, you can read the Educational Partnerships Annual Report.