Education and schools in Howard County

Students walk off buses during the first day of school at Worthington Elementary School in Ellicott City on Sept. 5, 2017.
Students walk off buses during the first day of school at Worthington Elementary School in Ellicott City on Sept. 5, 2017. (Jen Rynda / Baltimore Sun Media Group)

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 nearly 57,000 students.

A reflection of a diverse community, the school system enrolls students from 100 countries who speak 82 languages, and 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 2017, Howard County students took the state’s Partnership for the Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) Assessment for the third time and performed better than the state average.

Howard County students also have high rates of participation in Advanced Placement courses and college entrance exams. In 2016, more than 4,600 Howard County students took at least one AP exam. Of those, more than 79 percent earned a score of 3 or higher, which often qualifies for college credit. Howard County seniors in the class of 2017 who took the newly revised SAT – which includes sections in reading, writing and math – averaged 1,184 points out of a possible 1,600, once again besting state and national averages.

More than 95 percent of the 3,800 Howard County high school graduates in the class of 2017 reported continuing their education at a four-year or two-year college. The class boasted a four-year graduation rate of 92 percent, compared to the state average of 87 percent.

SAT scores and performance data for specific schools can be viewed on the school system’s website at hcpss.org or at mdreportcard.org.



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/children. The Resource Center assists parents in locating licensed childcare and provides information, training and data on child care to parents and child care professionals.

Howard County Infants and Toddlers Program (also called Early Beginnings) 410-313-7017, hcpss.org/special-education. This program provides assessment and evaluation services to children below the age of three who may be in need of special education services.

Child Find, 410-313-7046, hcpss.org/special-education. This program provides assessment and evaluation services to children 3-5 years old who may be in need of special education services.

Howard County Head Start, 410-313-6443, cac-hc.org. This preschool program for low-income 3- and 4-year-olds is offered in four county locations.

Pre-K, 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 25 elementary schools.

Martirano, 58, is a Frostburg native who lived in Howard County for 20 years and served from 2001 to 2004 as the county’s director of elementary schools


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, which 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 in middle and high schools who have difficulty functioning in traditional classroom settings.

The private Linwood Center in Ellicott City, which educates autistic children and adults, offers day and residential programs, as well as community-based residential services.


Howard County is home to about four dozen private and church-operated schools. 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 325 students in preschool and grades six to 12 at its 63-acre campus.

In Ellicott City, the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur sponsor Trinity School, an independent Catholic school on 48 wooded acres for children in prekindergarten through eighth grade that enrolls about 380 students.

Resurrection-St. Paul, also in Ellicott City, is a Catholic school serving the parishes of The Church of the Resurrection and St. Paul’s Church. The school enrolls about 420 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 490 students in prekindergarten through fifth grade.

In Clarksville, the Catholic St. Louis School has an enrollment of around 500 students in prekindergarten through 8th grade.

The Episcopalian St. John’s Parish Day School in Ellicott City offers classes from prekindergarten through fifth grade and enrolls around 330 students.

From the time the readers’ poll launches in August to the issue’s delivery in December, businesses, nonprofits and readers alike are abuzz in anticipation of who might take home the coveted Best of Howard County title.


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. The college also offers noncredit courses at various campus locations in such areas as history and culture, foreign languages, arts and crafts, and retirement planning, as well as classes for school-age children.


HCC’s Charles I. Ecker Business Training Center, located in Columbia Gateway, offers training in management, computers and advanced technology in person and online.

The 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 a Graduate Center at a Columbia campus, which offers master’s degrees in education, business, liberal studies and speech language pathology.

Maryland University of Integrative Health 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, earned university accreditation in 2013 and began offering doctoral programs in 2015.

The University of Maryland’s University College offers a variety of evening classes for credit at Laurel College Center, just over the Prince George’s County line, and at Fort Meade, in nearby Anne Arundel County.

Lincoln Technical Institute’s Columbia branch offers courses in automotive technology, electrical and electronic systems, and heating and ventilation.


76 schools

56,799 students

4,635 teachers

82.22 per pupil expenditure per day

$14,800 per pupil per year

$819.1 million operating budget in fiscal 2018

Find more public school information at hcpss.org


Main: 410-313-6600

Public information: 410-313-6682

Board of Education: 410-313-7194

Buses: 410-313-6732

Special education: 410-313-6659

Community Advisory Council: 410-313-6682

International Student and Family Services: 410-313-1293

Superintendent’s office: 410-313-6677

Ombudsman: 410-313-6850

Family Support & Resource Center: 410-313-7161

Find more public school information at hcpss.org



10375 Little Patuxent Parkway, Columbia

410-313-7800, TTY 410-313-7883

East Columbia

6600 Cradlerock Way, Columbia

410-313-7700, TTY 410-313-7740

Elkridge (reopening March 10)

6540 Washington Blvd., Elkridge

410-313-5077, TTY 410-313-5090

Elkridge Express (open through March 3)

7071 Montgomery Road, Elkridge



2350 State Route 97, Cooksville

410-313-5577, TTY 410-313-5597


9421 Frederick Road, Ellicott City

410-313-1950, TTY 410-313-1957


9525 Durness Lane, Laurel

410-313-0760, TTY 410-880-5979

Find library hours and more at hclibrary.org

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