HCPSS’s Martirano Addresses the Chamber
The Howard County Chamber of Commerce (HCCC) enjoyed one of its largest ever crowds for a member lunch on Sept. 14 for the 2017 State of the School System Address with Howard County Public School System (HCPSS) Interim Superintendent Michael Martirano.
As always, HCCC President and CEO Leonardo McClarty started the event by welcoming everyone, including the sponsors, the elected officials and their representatives, and especially the HCPSS employees who took time out of their days to attend the luncheon.
Martirano began his address by bringing the audience up to speed on the state of the school system, highlighting the county’s high graduation rate but also pointing out that 22% of HCPSS students are now part of the Free and Reduced Meals Program.
“Equal is not equity” is a theme that Martirano touched on throughout the address. He is working to introduce policies to make sure that every HCPSS student is getting not only the same education, but also the same feeling of being valued within his or her school.
Another theme that came up throughout the address was transparency. Martirano was quick to admit that the public’s confidence that they were getting truthful and timely information from the school system was simply not there. Therefore, he has instituted an online portal for public information requests to ensure that the process of getting information from the school system is now much more transparent.
A State of the School System address would not have been complete without insight into the ongoing and controversial redistricting process. Martirano made it clear that he can empathize with the anger and uncertainty many parents are feeling right now, because as a parent of three children who were educated here in Howard County, he experienced that process.
Martirano explained how the acceleration of construction of the county’s 13th high school is meant to help address some overcrowding issues, but he admitted that it’s just part of the solution. He is looking for innovative ways to do more to ensure that another major redistricting is not in the county’s immediate future.
One idea being considered is the creation of a possible 14th new high school/middle school that would be focused on career development. The goal would be to offer more educational opportunities for students who may not be interested in pursuing a college education, while taking some of the stress off of overcrowded schools at both the middle and high school levels. Martirano will make his final recommendation on the redistricting process to the Board of Education on Oct. 3.
The HCCC was glad to partner with Martirano and the HCPSS for this year’s address. We hope that it will not be the last.
Surprises in Store
The HCCC is calling its 2017 Signature Event “A Night of Illusion” for many reasons. Hundreds of people within Howard County’s business community will be entertained by Illusionist Jason Bishop, but his show won’t be the only surprise that night. Join us for an evening of food, wine, illusions — and a big announcement from Leonardo McClarty.
There are still tickets available, but they’re going fast. For more information, call 410-730-4111 or visit www.howardchamber.com.