Education notebook: Howard schools launches new emergency closing notification system

The Howard County Public School System launched a color-coded notification system Sunday for both emergency and non-scheduled school closings, including for inclement weather.

The color-coding system creates five levels to characterize Howard schools’ daily operational status. Families can access the school system’s daily operational status at status.hcpss.org.


The five colors represent:

  • Code Green: normal operations
  • Code Red: schools and offices are closed
  • Code Orange: schools are closed with offices remain open with liberal leave in place
  • Code Blue: Delayed opening, schools open two hours late
  • Code Yellow: Early dismissal

Science committee applications due Dec. 13

Howard County residents who have a background in engineering or physical sciences can apply to be on the school system’s Science Advisory Committee.


Members work together in sharing their expertise and exchanging ideas to improve science education for all students. They also provide assistance and guidance for science-related programs, including the Science Olympiad, Our Environment in Our Hands and the Watershed Report Card. Members are also advocates for the system’s science programs, partnerships, funding and initiatives.

The committee meets monthly at the school board headquarters in Ellicott City. Each committee member serves a one-year, renewable term.

Online applications are due Dec. 13.

For more information, contact Mary Weller, coordinator of secondary science, at mary_weller@hcpss.org or 410-313-6616.

Two principals honored by national association

Two Howard County elementary schools principals recently were named winners by the National Association of Elementary School Principals.

Clemens Crossing Elementary School Principal Edward Cosentino was named a National Distinguished Principal, and Laurel Woods Elementary School’s Connie Stahler was named a National Outstanding Assistant Principal for her role as Laurel Woods’ assistant principal last year.

The two were the sole Maryland winners for elementary school principal and assistant principal awards, according to the Howard school system.

Cosentino is an “optimistic, positive leader [who] strives to make his school environment positive, productive and safe for all that enter and exit the building,” his colleagues said of him in the school system news release.

Stahler “demonstrates exceptional leadership; is respected by her students, colleagues, parents and community; and sets high expectations for school staff and students,” according to the school system.

Board OKs $100K STOP School Violence grant

The Howard County Board of Education approved a $100,000 STOP School Violence: Prevention and Mental Health Training Program grant from the U.S. Department of Justice and the Bureau of Justice Assistance in November.

“The STOP School Violence grant helps with Howard County’s efforts to build school environments of safety, respect and emotional support,” according to Caroline Walker, executive director of the Department of Program Innovation and Student Well-Being.

The funding will go toward creating suicide prevention, crisis prevention and preparedness curricula, and the implementation and training of behavioral threat assessment teams at schools. The grant also funds efforts for all three initiatives to be implemented across all Howard schools.


“The funded projects are crucial in developing nurturing school climates where students, teachers, administrators and families are attentive to social, emotional and academic needs, and have access to assistance and resources,” Walker said in a statement.

The Department of Program Innovation and Student Well-Being will manage the grant. The funded projects will end by 2022, with the possibility of renewal.

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