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HCPSS / NEWS

Kicking off a Wonderful New 2022-2023 School Year

August 26th, 2022

The following was included in a message sent to families by HCPSS Superintendent Michael Martirano on Aug. 26, 2022:

Last week, I was overjoyed to welcome back our school-based staff for the start of the 2022-2023 school year and my enthusiasm remains steadfast in anticipation of welcoming back our students in just a few days. Many HCPSS staff members have been working fervently throughout the summer to prepare for the upcoming school year, and I am pleased to say that we are ready to welcome all students back to the classroom.

The past three years have been challenging and the reality is that we all have a lot of work to do to recover from the effects of the global pandemic. Each student’s journey to become life ready is unique and I want to be sure every student is receiving the supports they require in order to achieve academically.

You have been receiving several messages from the school system and your child’s school related to the beginning of the school year, and I will highlight a few important items to provide more clarification.

Safety and Security

The summer months provided us the opportunity to review our existing emergency operations protocols which involved assisting administrators in updating their individual schools’ plans, servicing door locking devices and cameras, and facilitating visits to our schools by the Howard County police to familiarize them with the design of the schools in their patrol zones. While these measures are necessary to ensure we are prepared to protect our staff and students, the security of our buildings requires the partnership of all stakeholders. Throughout the upcoming school year, I urge each of you to heed the phrase, “see something, say something” as we must remain vigilant in our communities. I ask each of you to notify the appropriate staff if you are made aware of any potential threats to the safety of our school community as we move forward together. The safety and well-being of our students and staff is tantamount to all that we do.

Staff Vacancies

We have implemented several strategies to ensure we have both the quantity and quality of staff to serve our students, families and community. We’ve offered hundreds of open contracts to teachers interested in working here, held several job fairs welcoming candidates looking for jobs as teachers, paraeducators, custodians and other positions, and expedited many procedures throughout the hiring process. I am pleased with the success of these strategies, knowing that many of our schools are fully staffed with no current vacancies. I want to assure our parents that every classroom will be staffed with a teacher who is prepared to welcome your child back to school and begin another wonderful educational journey together.

Health and Safety

Moving into the new school year, I am encouraged by the optimistic outlook expressed by health experts who have started shifting from pandemic to endemic conversations, and I am thrilled to begin the school year without many of the requirements we had over the past several years while retaining some of the best practices for ventilation. I invite you to review the most up-to-date health and safety information online.

Strategic Call to Action

And finally, over the past year, I spent a significant amount of time reimagining what the next four years of my superintendency and the Howard County Public School System will look like. When I joined the school system in 2017, I developed the Strategic Call to Action (SCTA) to transition the school system. After five years of implementation, we have renewed our efforts to meet the new realities of today and opportunities for tomorrow. I am excited to share the updated SCTA, “One Focus: Every Student Achieving,” which will guide the next four years and beyond. I shared this vision with all staff last week, and I am energized by our collective commitment to every student’s achievement on their journey to becoming life ready. Our one focus of Every Student Achieving is clear, and the plan provides strategies and actions that are measurable because what gets measured gets done. ONE FOCUS: EVERY STUDENT ACHIEVING.

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