Continuous Improvement Throughout HCPSS

The school system embraces a culture of continuous improvement to ensure we’re most effectively channeling resources and talent to support the classroom. Here’s a quick look at some recent Continuous Improvement highlights.

Supporting Female Students in STEM Classes

HCPSS Career and Technology Education (CTE) has increasingly built support systems for female students in STEM courses and careers, which are often male-dominated.

A few years ago, CTE surveyed teachers and female students to identify and address challenges and barriers students face in STEM Career Academies, with the goal of higher non-traditional student retention. The survey feedback revealed that a support network would better enable the young women to take their first step toward achieving their college and career goals.

HCPSS’ Applications and Research Laboratory (ARL) is now in its third year of offering a support group for female students in the Aerospace Engineering, Automotive Technology, Construction Management, Cybersecurity Networking, and Systems and Project Engineering Career Academies. The support group meets every other month, addressing topics such as microinequities, STEM-related scholarships and networking; hosting female industry speakers; and assisting in well-suited internship placements. The program has proven popular, doubling in size from 15 to 31 young women in the first two years.

Anuhya Challagundla, who graduated last year from the Cybersecurity Networking Academy and Marriotts Ridge High School, was in the first cohort. With the support of her STEM Squad, she called “ARL my best high school decision. I jumped from one internship to another because of connections—they are the major backbone of where I am right now.” Challagundla is a freshman at University of Maryland, Baltimore County as a computer science and business double major.

Arielle Wickstrom, a 2017 graduate from the Construction Management Academy and Centennial High School, is now on scholarship at Howard Community College. She’s entering further education with multiple construction internships under her belt. She’s joining the Construction Management Career Academy advisory board and the National Association of Women in Construction—all opportunities she discovered through her academy.

Both Challagundla and Wickstrom credit the close-knit community of like-minded women with empowering them with strategies to take on any classroom and workplace.

Enhanced Management of Nonpublic School Placements

Project: HCPSS supports students with special needs that require them to attend nonpublic schools. With improved efficiencies, the school system can better identify and track students in non-school system placements in Synergy and HCPSS special education databases.

Project goal: To establish an automated system that tracks students under the category of "Case Management Only," students who are tracked by HCPSS to meet state and federal guidelines but who do not directly receive school system services.

Results: In less than a minute, the Nonpublic Services office can now accurately identify nonpublic students in non-school system placements, thus making it easier to track their needs and provide state and federal reporting.

Improved Reporting of Student Injuries

Project: HCPSS Safety, Environment and Risk Management plays an integral role in safeguarding the safety and wellness of all HCPSS students, staff and facilities. As part of its duty to manage risk at a system level, the office tracks and handles student injury reporting. HCPSS is implementing an electronic process, within the Synergy student information system, to replace paper forms for improved accuracy and increased ease in reporting.

Project goal: To enhance quality of reporting and eliminate triplication of data.

Benefit to HCPSS: The electronic system provides reliable and timely reporting of student injuries and increases staff productivity by reduction in duplicated work.