The Howard County Public School System includes 41 elementary schools; 20 middle schools; 12 high schools; one school for students with severe disabilities; one school for students with behavioral and emotional issues; and one school for students enrolled in technical and vocational programs. Total enrollment, excluding Pre-K classes, is more than 52,000 students.
The Career Academies offered at the Applications and Research Laboratory, which are designed both for students going to trade school or work and for college-bound students, include cybersecurity, biotechnology, architectural design, automotive technology, homeland security, nursing, hotel and restaurant management and more.
A reflection of a diverse community, the school system enrolls students from more than 70 countries who speak 61 different languages. Schools offer special programs for students who are learning English.
The county’s public school system is a leader in the state and consistently posts some of the highest scores on statewide assessments in reading and mathematics.
In 2015, students in the state took the Partnership for the Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) Assessment for the first time. County students performed better than the state average.
Howard County students also have high rates of participation in Advanced Placement courses and college entrance exams.In 2015, more than 4,500 Howard County students took at least one AP exam. Of those taking the exams in 2015, more than 80 percent earned a score of 3 or higher, which often qualify for college credit.
About 82 percent of Howard County seniors in the class of 2015 took the SAT, which includes sections in critical reading, math and writing. Howard students averaged 1,656 points out of a possible 2,400, besting both state and national averages.
Roughly 93 percent of Howard County high school graduates in the class of 2014 reported continuing their education at a four-year or two-year college.
SAT scores and performance data for specific schools can be viewed on the school system’s website at hcpss.org or at mdreportcard.org.
EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION
Parents of young children have many resources available to them. Programs vary in size and type and include parent-operated co-op preschools, private preschools, programs sponsored by religious organizations, Montessori schools, day-care programs and programs for children with disabilities.
Information about early childhood programs and services can be obtained from the following offices:
Howard County Child Care Resource Center, 410-313-1940, howardcountymd.gov/childcareresourcecenter. The Resource Center provides information, training and data on child care to parents and child care professionals.
Child Find, 410-313-7046, hcpss.org/special-education. This program provides assessment and evaluation services to preschool-age children who may be in need of special education services.
Pre-K Program, 410-313-5693, hcpss.org/schools/pre-k-programs. Sponsored by the county school system, this program provides preschool for 4-year-olds, primarily from lower-income families, at 26 elementary schools.
SPECIAL NEEDS AND ALTERNATIVES
County public schools offer many programs for children with special needs. Children with disabilities are included in regular classrooms whenever possible, assisted by specialists. Cedar Lane School in Fulton is the county’s special education center that provides classes for students ages 3 through 21 who are developmentally delayed and have multiple disabilities.
The Homewood Center in Ellicott City houses programs to meet the needs of individual students experiencing crisis or who have difficulty functioning in traditional classroom settings.
The private Linwood Center in Ellicott City, a pioneer in educating autistic children and adults, offers day and residential programs.
Howard County is home to about four dozen private and church-operated schools. For a complete list of nonpublic schools, visit marylandpublicschools.org. Some of the largest private schools in the county include:
Bethel Christian Academy, with two campuses located in Savage and Jessup, enrolls roughly 325 children in prekindergarten through eighth grade.
Glenelg Country School is an independent college preparatory day school on a 90-acre campus in western Howard County. The school enrolls about 750 students in prekindergarten through 12th grade.
Also situated in western Howard County is Chapelgate Christian Academy, a school founded by the Chapelgate Presbyterian Church in 1991. It enrolls about 370 students in preschool and grades six to 12.
In Ellicott City, the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur sponsor Trinity School, an independent Catholic school for children in prekindergarten through eighth grade with 380 students. Resurrection-St. Paul, also in Ellicott City, is a Catholic school serving the parishes of both The Church of the Resurrection and St. Paul’s Church. The school enrolls about 440 students in prekindergarten through 8th grade.
Children’s Manor Montessori, which has locations in Columbia and Ellicott City, in addition to others across the state, enrolls roughly 470 Howard County students in prekindergarten through fifth grade.
The Young School, with two Columbia locations and more than 480 students combined, offers private schooling for infants and toddlers through prekindergarten.
Down the road in Clarksville is the Catholic St. Louis School, with an enrollment of around 500 students in prekindergarten through 8th grade.
Meanwhile, the Episcopalian St. John’s Parish Day School in Ellicott City offers classes from prekindergarten through fifth grade and enrolls around 330 students.
There are many opportunities for adults to pursue lifelong learning at Howard Community College and county branches of regional and national schools and universities.
Howard Community College in Columbia offers two-year degree and certificate programs in the arts, sciences, business and humanities, with a special emphasis on health-related fields such as nursing and cardiovascular technology. HCC’s selective Rouse Scholars program incorporates honors-level courses, leadership development, service learning, professional mentoring and international travel.
HCC’s Charles I. Ecker Business Training Center, located in Columbia Gateway, offers training in management, computers and advanced technology. The college also offers noncredit courses in such areas as history and culture, foreign languages, arts and crafts, and retirement planning, as well as classes for school-age children.
Johns Hopkins University operates a Columbia center designed to serve adult students with upper-division and graduate programs in education, administration, arts, sciences and organization and human resource development. Located in Columbia Gateway, the center also has noncredit courses, computer laboratories and intercampus library facilities.
Loyola University of Maryland operates their Graduate Center at a Columbia campus, which offers master’s degrees in education, business, and speech and hearing. Loyola has a highly touted pastoral counseling program and conducts noncredit seminars devoted to professional review.
Maryland University of Integrated Health (formerly Tai Sophia Institute) in North Laurel is a private nonprofit graduate school of Eastern medicine. The school, which offers outpatient care along with programs in acupuncture, herbal medicine, yoga therapy and health coaching, dates back to 1974 and earned university accreditation in 2013. It began offering doctoral programs in January 2015.
The University of Maryland’s University College offers a variety of evening classes for credit at Laurel College Center and Fort Meade.
Lincoln Technical Institute’s Columbia branch offers courses in automotive technology, heating and ventilation, and culinary arts.
The University of Phoenix has a Columbia branch that offers programs leading to bachelor’s and master’s degrees in business administration, business management, information technology, human resources and e-business.
Central (Columbia Town Center)
410-313-7800, TTY 410-313-7883
410-313-7700, TTY 410-313-7740
410-313-5077, TTY 410-313-5090
410-313-5577, TTY 410-313-5597
Miller (Ellicott City)
410-313-1950, TTY 410-313-1957