Harford public school students return to school Tuesday

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Summer vacation for tens of thousands of public school students Harford County will come to an end in less than a week, although they will be able to enjoy Labor Day weekend before going back Tuesday.

Gov. Larry Hogan issued an executive order last summer mandating that public school systems statewide start their school years after Labor Day, beginning in the 2017-2018 school year.

Harford County students in kindergarten through 12th grade go back Tuesday, while pre-K students start Thursday, according to the HCPS website.

Harford school officials project 37,327 students will be enrolled for the coming school year, according to HCPS spokesperson Jillian Lader.

“The staff of Harford County Public Schools has been working diligently to ensure all schools and departments are ready for the 2017-2018 school year,” Superintendent Barbara Canavan said in a statement Wednesday.

Opportunities for staff professional development have been happening throughout the summer, according to Canavan.

“We will continue those efforts throughout the school year as Harford County Public Schools strives to maintain its status as a statewide educational leader,” she stated.


For the latest school bus route information, HCPS parents and guardians can visit http://www.hcps.org and click the “school & bus locator” button on the left-hand side of the page, or they can call the Transportation Department at 410-638-4092.

The HCPS calendar has been designed with students being dismissed three hours early one day a month, except for March and June, so teachers have more time for professional development and planning.

This applies to elementary, middle and high school students, said Lader, who explained that only elementary students have had early dismissals in prior years.

This year’s first early-dismissal day will be Friday, Sept. 15. Schools will be closed Thursday, Sept. 21 for the Jewish high holiday of Rosh Hashanah, according to the calendar.

Construction on the replacement building at Youth’s Benefit Elementary School in Fallston is expected to be completed for the intermediate grades by November. Primary grades moved into their section of the building at the beginning of the 2016-17 school year last August.

School officials stated in May that staff and students in third, fourth and fifth grades would occupy classrooms in the intermediate wing of the new building by Nov. 2, instead of next week, because of unexpected construction delays.

The $37.1 million project involves putting all Youth’s Benefit students under one roof — until last year, kindergartners and first and second graders had been using a building that opened in 1953.

The intermediate grades will start the new school year in their existing building, which opened in 1973, and later move into their wing of the new building.

Offices on the first floor of the intermediate wing, a computer lab and art and music classroom are expected to be ready by the start of school, as well as the media center, storage areas and classrooms for special education students, according to plans posted on the HCPS website.

General education classrooms are expected to be ready by November, according to the plans.

Updates about the Youth’s Benefit project are available under the “Communications” tab on the HCPS website home page.

The Harford Glen Environmental Education Center near Bel Air is scheduled to be open for fifth-grade overnight stays this year. Those programs were curtailed for about two years prior because of budget concerns including a lack of funding for equipment such as generators that would support those stays.

The Board of Education approved an allocation of $271,453 in the fiscal 2018 budget to support restoring the Harford Glen program.

“We are on schedule to have Harford Glen fully operational for the start of the school year,” Lader stated in an email.

Open house sessions will be held throughout the year, starting Sept. 13, for parents, guardians and students to see the Harford Glen facilities, according to the HCPS website.

“We are looking forward to welcoming all of our students back this year!” Canavan stated.

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