Howard County Public School System

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Howard County Public School System
Type and location
LocationColumbia, Maryland
District information
SuperintendentRenee A. Foose (2012–Present)
Budget725,280,030 (FY 2014)
NCES District ID2400420
Students and staff
Student-teacher ratio14.3
Other information
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Howard County Public School System
Type and location
LocationColumbia, Maryland
District information
SuperintendentRenee A. Foose (2012–Present)
Budget725,280,030 (FY 2014)
NCES District ID2400420
Students and staff
Student-teacher ratio14.3
Other information

The Howard County Public School System (HCPSS) is the school district that manages the public schools of Howard County, Maryland, USA. It is headquartered in Columbia, Maryland; the facility has an Ellicott City mailing address.[1][2] It operates under the supervision of an elected, eight-member Board of Education. Renee A. Foose is the current Superintendent.

The district operates 76 Schools: 41 elementary schools, 20 middle schools, 12 high schools, and 3 special schools/education centers.[3] As of February 2013, a total of 52,000 students were enrolled.[4]

Howard County consistently earns high marks in school performance metrics such as test scores and graduation rates. It gets high percentages at all levels of the Maryland School Assessments.[6] In 2007 Forbes magazine rated Howard County as one of the ten most cost-efficient school systems in the USA

Fast facts[edit]

Superintendent − Renee A. Foose[edit]

Howard County Board of Education members[edit]

Total enrollment − 51,841*[edit]

*As of February 2014. Official count does not include PreK.


Attendance rate 2012-2013[edit]

Graduation rate: 93.25%*[edit]

*For class of 2013. 4-year adjusted cohort

Howard County Education History[edit]

Early education[edit]

the Patapsco Female Institute

In 1723, Maryland enacted a bill requiring a school in each county.[6] Rev Joeseph Colebatch, Col Samuel Young, William Locke, Charles Hammond, Capt Daniel Maraitiee, Richard Warfield, and John Beale were commissioned to buy land and build schools in what was then Anne Arundel County.[7] Ellicott city opened it's first boy's school in the Weir building 1820.[8] In 1835, the state declared Ellicott's Mills a primary school district.[9] In 1839 The Howard District of Anne Arundel County was formed. Early schools were funded and managed independently through towns, investors, the state and churches. Some early examples are St. Charles College, incorporated in 1830 near Doughoregan Manor, Patapsco Female Institute (1833) in Ellicott City, and Mount St. Clement (1867) at Illchester.[10] By 1847, the Howard district operated 20 single room school houses. In 1864, Maryland created the state board of education for public education, leaving counties to control their own school boards. Teachers pay was increased to $100 per quarter.[11][12] The Patapsco Female Institute was the first women's school to receive State funding. After the civil war, single room schoolhouses within walking distance of communities were built throughout the county. In 1885, former Maryland Governor John Lee Carroll joined the school board along with J.T. Williams and John W. Dorsey.[13] In 1894, Chairman Robert A. Dobbin and the remainder of the county school board were indicted for receiving money in excess of per diem.[14] In 1905 corporal punishment was tested in the courts after Highland School teacher Cora Burgess was fined for whipping a student, an act that would be banned by the state 88 years later.[15]


In 1922, The State of Maryland authorized $600,000 in bond sales for Howard County expenses. A cap of $60,000 was placed on school improvement expenses, and $540,000 was required to be allocated to road construction.[16] By the mid-1920s some children rode to school on private produce trucks. In 1928, the first County School Bus service started.[17] During the period 156 Rosenwald Schools were built in Maryland for teaching African American children. In Howard county, the five-teacher school in Cooksville, the two-teacher Guilford school was constructed, and the one room Elkridge school.[18]

Depression era[edit]

Former Justice of the Peace and Coroner, Stanley E. Grantham served as board president until WWII.[19] In 1937, The school system dropped the practice of charging students for bus fare to its schools, as well as transporting parochial students. It also dedicated its first classroom in Savage for "backward" special needs students, and implemented its first modular classroom to hold students until repairs could be made to an unsafe school. Future commissioner and board member Charles E. Miller starts his own bus service and vehicle sales to the County.[20]

In 1938, many single-room school houses were sold to private bidders and multiple Elementary and High School projects were started using 45% Federal Emergency Agency grants used to reduce unemployment, and set fair wages. In 1939, the county issued its first school bonds, borrowing $107,000 for construction of Ellicott City Elementary, Clarksville Middle, Clarksville High, and Highland Colored School. From this date to present, the county has maintained public debt interest expenses for school expansion. It also consolidated all insurance under one broker, W Emil Thompson a candidate for state senator.[21][22]

WWII Era[edit]

In 1941, hospital owner and land developer, Issac Taylor became board President. As early as November 1940, the board expressed concerns about selective service pulling away most of the male teachers for military service. The same year, Gun lockers were installed in the Ellicott Elementary Gym for the local guard, and the board terminated Norman Schussler for "unamerican" behavior and not wanting to serve his country. African American school teacher Effie Liggans Scott was released for working while pregnant.[23][24] When conscientious objector Richard MCleary refused to salute the flag in class, the board made a policy to dismiss the student from school.[25] By late 1944, School construction had been at a standstill and there was a shortage of qualified teachers. The board focused on teacher bonuses, and bus contracts.

Post war[edit]

At wars end, Eleanor M. Cissel became the president of the board. Her family was active as school bus operators in the county, and Charlie Cissel taught at the Lisbon agriculture school. The State board of education mandated classroom sizes reduced to 35 from 40 and the addition of a 12th grade.[26] In 1946, future County Executive Omar Jones started as an Agriculture teacher.[27] Physical education was funded for the first time in 1947, and the budget nearly doubled since the beginning of the war, without significant school construction or student population changes. In 1948, A single centralized county high school with busing was proposed, but the $1,000,000 cost was considered prohibitive.[28] The only major program funded in the decade since the PWA money grants, was the agriculture shop at Lisbon which ballooned from $8,000 to over $18,000 in construction costs by 1949.[29]

Cold War[edit]

In 1949, John H Brown became the board president. After 10 years without school construction, the county awaited legislation for bonds that could be paid off in the 20-year design life of the buildings, leaving the county without debt by 1969. A single central High school design was modified to one that would serve three districts and plans for additions to Clarksville, Libson, and West Friendship were made at an estimated cost of $875,000. Newspaper publication of the school budget was refused, and replaced with a mimeograph supplied on request. It was also the first year that the school board met with representatives regarding the combined impact of schools with water, sewer, and roads. Four colored and one white schools without water were funded for new wells. School buses and drivers were inspected for the first time. The Board expanded to four members in May 1949 with the addition of Norman H Warfield, and a new position of County Superintendent was created and given with Warfield's vote to John E. Yingling. In 1949, Future land developer and County Executive Norman E. Moxley is hired to a new position as chairman of the school building commission.[30] The school board remains self-elected by its own four members with one-year terms. By 1952, the first major subdivisions are started in Ellicott City, prompting the League of Women Voters to express concern. The school board noted that there was plenty of land in the county for schools, just little funding for new buildings. The planning board provided the first listings of building permits to the school board showing growth rates nearly doubling in three months. School salaries are raised to a base of $3,000 a year and student-to-teacher ratio is lowered to 33.[31] In 1953, Maryland expanded the loans for new schools to $514,000, and driver's education classes began.[32] In 1955 Charles E. Miller is elected President of the Board. In 1956 football is expanded from six man teams to eleven man teams with games to be played at Howard High School. Maryland governor J. Millard Tawes appoints Gertrude Crist to the School board in 1959.[33]


In 1962, Senator Frank E. Shipley bypassed the state school board nominating commission recommendation of Fred Schoenbrodt, and installed Clifford Y. Stephens.[34] In October 1963, Stephens was indicted for price fixing milk and dies soon after in a automobile crash.[35][36] Stephens death reduces the school board to two people and a lengthy board process to recommend a replacement candidate to the governor.[37] Senator James A. Clark, Jr. recommended a change. The school board expands to five members in 1964, all chosen by the governor (J. Millard Tawes) which include James Moxley Jr, Fred Schoenbrodt, Gertrude Crist, Austin Zimmer, and Edward Cochran. In 1965, the county implemented a .25% transfer tax to fund new schools and parks, netting $70,000 in its fist nine months.[38] The school board estimates 39,600 pupils by 1980, missing the mark by 15,000.[39] In May 1966, The Howard County Citizens Association confronts Howard Research and Development for using 700 acres of school property bought by the county at market rate to count as part of the 3200 acres of open space promised for the Columbia development plan. Rouse comprised slightly by not including school buildings as open space in calculations, and donating land for schools not already purchased with a "maintenance fee" for the transfer.[40] In 1966 the Elementary and Secondary Education Act is passed. Howard County shares $75,000 in title III planning grants with Caroll County, and $110,000 in Title I grants for 466 student that qualify for low income family education. Councilman Norman E. Moxleys Normandy Insurance is awarded an insurance contract for BOE vehicles. The Central Maryland News and Times requests the county stop its closed door policy on school board meetings. Meetings remained closed, but controlled press releases were resumed. A foundation recommended the school system start using a centralized computer based education system and another recommended outdoor classrooms.[41] In 1967 Howard County attempted to consolidate its offices in Ellicott City. The board of education declined, and offered to relocate to an existing vacant school.[42] County commissioners approved the formation of a community college. In 1968, Thomas M Goedeke is selected from Baltimore County to become chief of public education serving until 1984 replacing 42-year veteran John E. Yingling.[43] Future county executive Edward L. Cochran becomes head of the school board.[44]


Early education was not available for African Americans in Howard County. In 1872, Maryland State law required the creation of at least one school for each district with over 15 school age colored children.[45] The Howard County school system was segregated since the building of the Ellicott City Colored School in 1888. Worn school books were provided from white schools.[46] In 1938, African American teachers petitioned for equal salaries, and Superintendent S.E. Grantham and the commissioners felt they could not allow an additional $7,500 in expenses, ending the effort.[47] In 1940, a Federal Court mandated equal salaries, which lead the board to offer an extra month's pay if the teacher's union would not litigate against them for equal salaries.[48] In the urgency following the Pearl Harbor attack, teachers from all races trained together on First-Aid for the first time. The racial equity less apparent when the board announced in September 1942, that students seeking clinic aid for syphilis could only use colored buses, because using a white bus was considered improper.[49] By 1949, the Cooksville School had 79 students for one teacher. In 1952 Howard County operated 8 Elementary, 2 Junior High, and 3 High schools for 3,790 white students. There were 9 "colored" Elementary and 1 High school with 976 students.[50] The school board recognized overcrowding, and noted that colored students would soon be requesting modern indoor bathrooms like other schools in the County. In 1954, Segregation was outlawed by the supreme court in Brown v. Board of Education. In November 1955, a Citizen's committee on desegregation is formed and asked to report its findings in 1956 for the 1956-1957 school year. The NAACP wrote the board asking why they were not following the Supreme Court decision.[51] In July 1957, the Maryland Court of appeals threw out an residential legal effort to block the Supreme Courts authority on county integration plans.[52] On July 13, 1963, the Board of education put together a plan to desegregate schools, which was put into effect in November 1963 with a plan to continue partial segregation until 1967[53] The Chairman of the NACCP education committee Robert H. Kittleman, threatened demonstrations if the school board would continue segregation past 1964.[54] Howard County eliminated one class of segregated students a year, taking 11 years to implement integrated classes.[55][56][57]


With the development of Columbia, The school system shift's its emphasis on neighborhood schools.[58] The school board faces complaints of children from new developments in Columbia being districted in outlying underutilized schools because the developer promised a "Columbia School System" in its sales marketing.[59] In 1972 the Office of Civil Rights questioned the lack of African Americans in administrative positions. Dr. Goedeke responded by saying there was a lack of qualified applicants, and that African American teachers that ran colored schools prior to integration were "teacher-principals" or "teachers-in-charge" who were not qualified as administrators under present-day considerations.[60] In 1974, school budgets produced a surplus of $200,000 from bond investments that were returned to the general funds.[61] Future County Executive Charles I. Ecker is brought on as superintendent for Howard County schools serving until 1989.[62] In 1976, arbitor Robert I. Bloch ruled that the school selection board had improperly used race and non-professional factors in the review of Charles Griffin for pupil personnel supervisor.[63]


Prior membership in the school board was by selection. In 1982, William Manning became the first African American elected on the 118 year old school board.[64]


In 1992, Superintendent Micheal E. Hickey proposed a $250 million plan to expand the school system by 15 schools.[65] By 1993, the school board voted to delay school construction and look at construction cost savings.[66]


In 2006, Howard County sets a health policy limited birthday celebrations to once a month and banning home baked cookies or cakes with cream filling.[67]


In 2012, the county partially outsourced support for children with Autism to the Linwood Childrens Center. In 2013, the common core system is implemented. Also known as "Race to the top," the common core curriculum was implemented to help students understand and solve problems on their own. In 2014, the school computer systems are targeted by a cyber attack.[68] Later that year, the Howard County based One Maryland Inter-County Broadband Network won a service contract for network services.

Residential subdivision[edit]

In 1964, the developers of Columbia, Maryland envisioned an independent year round school system for its residents. A portion of the land bought by Rouse corporation was provided at no cost to the school system to build schools to accommodate the impact from the development. Howard County remained in control of the school system.[69]

Laurel Woods Elementary surrounded with modular classrooms

As Columbia reached its maximum planned capacity, developers turned to the Eastern portion of Howard County served by public water and sewer for infill development opportunities. The Howard County School system increased substantially in size and development in the county outpaced the number of seats available for students. In 2006, An adequate public facilities ordinance (APFO) was enacted. It temporarily limited development in elementary school districts only which were over 120% capacity. It still allowed allowed developers the ability to proceed with projects three years after submittal regardless of overcrowding.[70] To keep up with demand, the school system developed a method of regular redistricting, moving students to Western schools with more capacity.[71] The School system revived the concept of portable trailers in the early 1990s, increasing to 50 units in 1995, 217 by 2013 and 238 in 2014.[72][73]

YearHigh SchoolsJunior High SchoolsElementary SchoolsTotal SchoolsStudentsBudget$ per student (adjusted to 2013)
1847[74]20 (single-room)20$3900 ($111,423 Inflation adjusted to 2013)
1900[75]CombinedCombined70 (Grades 1−11 single-room)55(segregated),15(colored)3,019$41,666.49 ($979,680.19 Inflation adjusted to 2013)$324
1941 [76]3 (segregated), 1(colored)No Jr. High3,469$290,000
19473 (segregated), 1(colored)No Jr High6 (segregated), 8(colored)183,619$520,000[77]
1952[78]3 (segregated), 1(colored)2 (segregated)8 (segregated),9(colored)234,776$1,043,107.00 ($9,162,533.80 inflation adjusted to 2013)
19788[80]112645 +1VoTech +1 special needs$46,100,000[81]
19908102630,002[79]$155,000,000 (Operating)$9,520.07
201312194071 + 3 special needs51,177$703,667,400 (operating), $77,490,000 (capitol)$15,263
201412204173 + 3 special needs52,799$725,300,000 (operating)$14,108

High schools[edit]

The county operates 12 high schools.[82] [83]

NameEnrollmentPrincipalHistoryModular Classrooms
Atholton High School1360Est. 196618
Centennial High School1360Est. 19774
Glenelg High School1420Est. 1958
Hammond High School1220Est. 19764
Howard High School1420Est. 19506
Long Reach High School1488Est. 19963
Marriotts Ridge High School1222Est. 2005
Mount Hebron High School1456Est. 19654
Oakland Mills High School1144Est. 1973
Reservoir High School1512Est. 20025
River Hill High School1389Est. 1996
Wilde Lake High School1271Est. 1971, Open-layout school rebuilt in 1996[84]

Middle schools[edit]

The County operates 20 middle schools.[85]

NameEnrollmentPrincipalHistoryModular Classrooms
Bonnie Branch Middle School705Cherolyn Jones19992
Burleigh Manor Middle School683John DiPaula1992 Named after the Burliegh Manor slave plantation home
Clarksville Middle School729Melissa Shindel19795
Dunloggin Middle School544Jeffrey Fink19735
Elkridge Landing Middle School691Gina Cash19952
Ellicott Mills Middle School583Michael Goins19393
Folly Quarter Middle School625Rick Wilson2003 - Named after the Folly Quarter slave plantation home
Glenwood Middle School652David Brown19676
Hammond Middle School630Kerry Dufresne19713
Harper's Choice Middle School560Adam Eldridge19735
Lake Elkhorn Middle School450 (approx)Martin Vandenberge19761
Lime Kiln Middle School608Scott Conroy1999
Mayfield Woods Middle School548JoAnn Hutchens19912
Mount View Middle School721Tammy Goldeison19932
Murray Hill Middle School636Josh Wasilewski19976
Oakland Mills Middle School442Katherine Orlando1972
Patapsco Middle School762Cynthia Dillon19692
Patuxent Valley Middle School760Robert Motley1989 - $21.7 million in security modifications and expansion approved in 2014.[86]6
Thomas Viaduct Middle School680 (approx.)Shiney Ann John2014 - Built as part of the Oxford Square development, named after the Thomas Viaduct rail bridge (1833) built on the site of the Hockley Forge and Mill(1760)[87]
Wilde Lake Middle School524Lisa Smithson1969 - Named after the Wilde Lake drainage reservoir.9

Elementary schools[edit]

The county operates 41 elementary schools.[88][89]

NameEnrollmentPrincipalHistoryModular Classrooms
Atholton Elementary School387Denise LancasterOpened 1961, named after the nearby early 1700's Athol manor house of rev James MacGill3
Bellows Spring Elementary School762Harry WalkerOpened 20035
Bollman Bridge Elementary School663Jonathan DavisOpened 1988, named after the nearby Savage Bollman Truss Railroad Bridge2
Bryant Woods Elementary Schoo l[90]335Kelley HoughOpened 19684
Bushy Park Elementary School788Edward CosentinoOpened 1976, named after Dr. Charles Alexander Warfield's 1771 slave plantation "Bushy Park"[91]0
Centennial Lane Elementary School628Brad HerlingOpened 19735
Clarksville Elementary School634Kaye BreonOpened 19641
Clemens Crossing Elementary School522David LarnerOpened 19793
Cradlerock Elementary School487Jason McCoyOpened 19763
Dayton Oaks Elementary School788Carol DeBordOpened 20060
Deep Run Elementary School601Tricia McCarthyOpened 1990, named after the Deep Run branch of the Patapsco River5
Ducketts Lane Elementary School[dead link]662Heidi BalterOpened 20130
Elkridge Elementary School779Diane MumfordOpened 19924
Forest Ridge Elementary School626Anne SwartzOpened 19925
Fulton Elementary School772Sharon LewandowskiOpened 19970
Gorman Crossing Elementary School540Corita OduyoyeOpened 1998, named after Senator Arthur Pue Gorman.2
Guilford Elementary School462Genée A. VarlackOpened 19545
Hammond Elementary School597Judith T. BlandOpened 19711
Hollifield Station Elementary School688Lisa J. BoothOpened 19973
Ilchester Elementary School668David AdelmanOpened 19962
Jeffers Hill Elementary School421Patricia ShifflettOpened 19742
Laurel Woods Elementary School[1]540Susan BrownOpened 1973 as Whiskey Bottom Road Elementary2
Lisbon Elementary School553Michael CaldwellOpened 19761
Longfellow Elementary School418Laurel MarshOpened 19708
Manor Woods Elementary School647Jim WeisnerOpened 19941
Northfield Elementary School672Rebecca StrawOpened 19681
Phelps Luck Elementary School540Sean MartinOpened 19727
Pointers Run Elementary School776Darlene FilaOpened 19919
Rockburn Elementary School667Lauren BauerOpened 19931
Running Brook Elementary School405Troy ToddOpened 19703
St. John's Lane Elementary School597Vicky SarroOpened 1954 - Built by Windsor Construction for $235,985.006
Stevens Forest Elementary School333Ron MorrisOpened 19725
Swansfield Elementary School528Molly KettererOpened 19724
Talbott Springs Elementary School443Nancy ThompsonOpened 19737
Thunder Hill Elementary School368John BirusOpened 19701
Triadelphia Ridge Elementary School544Peggy DumlerOpened 19980
Veterans Elementary School788Robert BruceOpened 20077
Waterloo Elementary School594Michelle LeaderOpened 19644
Waverly Elementary School675Kathy JacobsOpened 1990. Named after the George Howard slave plantation, Waverley3
West Friendship Elementary School396Carol HahnOpened 1925 as the West Friendship Consolidated High School[92]0
Worthington Elementary School516Chanel MosbyOpened 1976 next to the New Cut landfill.[93]1

Former Howard County schools[edit]


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  2. ^ "2010 CENSUS - CENSUS BLOCK MAP: Columbia CDP, MD #2." (Archive) U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved on November 30, 2012. The Census Bureau Map shows that the location of the district headquarters is in the Columbia, Maryland Census-designated place
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  35. ^ "WILTON FARMS ADMITS CHARGE: One Of 8 Dairies Under Indictment In Price Fixing". The Baltimore Sun. 26 October 1963. 
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  67. ^ Jennifer Peltz (30 August 2006). "More Schools banning birthday treats". The Free Lance Star. 
  68. ^ Sara Toth (24 January 2014). "Howard schools recover from possible cyber attack". The Baltimore Sun. 
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  71. ^ Erin Texeira (27 March 1988). "Schools to move 887 students; Five elementaries affected by efforts to fill Triadelphia Ridge". The Baltimore Sun. 
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  73. ^ "2014 Capitol Budget". Retrieved 9 June 2013. 
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  93. ^ Tanika White (28 February 2002). "Board rejects site for school Members dislike location near Alpha Ridge Landfill Decision a surprise Most likely place seen as Mount View, which opposes it". The Baltimore Sun. 
  94. ^ Howard's Roads to the Past. Howard County Sesquicentennial Celebration Committee, 2001. 2001. p. 95. 
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External links[edit]

Atholton website / profile