Centennial Holds Jump Start Information Meeting

Words and photos: Maggie Ju

On Tuesday, November 28, an information session for the Howard County Public School System’s new JumpStart program was held in the Centennial High School auditorium from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Various speakers were given the opportunity to speak, and the audience amassed well over 100 attendees.

The key speaker was Bill Barnes, the HCPSS Chief Academic Officer, who explained in detail the eligibility, merits, and cost of participating in JumpStart. The choices available are not open to all grade levels, and Barnes emphasized that students would have to prepare for rigorous work. Despite the challenges, he remained optimistic about enrollment.

“I am so encouraged by the turnout tonight, just for interest,” Barnes said.

Aaron Alder, Howard Community College’s Assistant Director of Admissions, expanded on what was previously stated by Barnes. With the main “Flexible” and “Structured” programs split into subcategories, it is not difficult to find the one that is right for each prospective participant.

“I know there’s a lot of different program options, and they seem confusing,” Alder said, “but just let us know who you are, and we can help guide you to the right thing.”

Other people who shared their experiences included a former JumpStart student, his mother, and a cybersecurity manager at HCPSS’ Applications and Research Laboratory. They agreed that the program was extremely beneficial and a great advantage to students.

JumpStart, a partnership between HCPSS and HCC, gives high school students the opportunity to enroll in college courses and earn college credit. It was proposed as an incentive to relieve overcrowding, as JumpStart students from Centennial, Howard, and Long Reach would attend classes at Oakland Mills and River Hill.

JumpStart will be implemented beginning in the 2018-2019 school year in lieu of the proposed redistricting plan.

More information can be found at hcpss.org and from high school guidance counselors.

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