Tag: Howard County

Howard County School Board Narrows Redistricting Options

Words: Delanie Tucker

The Howard County School Board is in the process of resolving the overpopulation of several Howard County schools.

In a recent Board Meeting on October 11, 2018, the board met for the second time this academic year to discuss redistricting options for upcoming school years.

Caroline Walker, Executive Director of Program Innovation and Student Well-Being, presented and explained several options to relieve the overcrowding of Howard County schools, particularly focusing on Howard High School and Centennial High School.

The options consist primarily of voluntary changes, some for only a portion of the school day and others for the entire year.

The ideas presented were: a Howard County Community College Shuttle, JumpStart Program at Wilde Lake High School, Project Lead the Way at Marriotts Ridge High School, reassignment, additional ARL courses, and additional sections of work-based options.

The Howard County Community Shuttle would consist of participating students, juniors and seniors staying at their home school for first period to participate in classes such as band or orchestra and then taking a bus to HCC. The students will take and receive credit for college-level courses, as well as finish out their graduation required classes.

Students would be picked up by bus from their home school and be taken to HCC. These buses, though, would cost $9,000 a piece if they were to travel to Centennial or Howard to pick up students.

The problem presented with this option, pointed out by Sandra French, a member of the Board, was that music classes are not during first period, and not all classes can be moved to first period to fit the needs of certain students.

Walker predicted, based off a previous survey, that 40-60 students would participate in the HCC shuttle.

The JumpStart program at Wilde Lake High School would require students to transfer to Wilde Lake in order to participate.

It has an estimated price of $250,000, which would vary depending on the number of participating students.

This particular program is directed towards students interested in performing arts and film production. The arts program at Wilde Lake is looking to progress, and offers better opportunities for interested artists. The estimated participation for this is 15-20 students from each school.

Project Lead the Way, on the other hand, consists of a Biochemical Academy and a Computer Science Academy.

Again, this option would require a school transfer, this time to Marriotts Ridge High School.

Additionally, Walker presented an estimated price of $63,000, which is a combination of material and training for all academies.

The option of reassignment, previously known as open enrollment, would give students free reign to transfer to either Glenelg High School or Marriotts Ridge High School. A problem presented with this, though, is that students would have to provide their own transportation.

A positive with this option is that it would cost nothing to implement.

Additional sections of work-based options would help to decrease overcrowding during the day. Examples are GT intern/mentor, apprenticeship, and work release, all of which would help upperclassmen get real-world experience.

The problem with this, though, is the more students that enter the program, the more teachers they will need. A new teacher would cost the board $84,000.

Ideally, the Board would like to implement most, if not all, ideas at once. Their concern revolves around the question: where will the money come from?

The last option to fix overcrowding issues, presented by Anissa Brown Dennis, Chief Operating Officer, was redistricting in the form of boundary changes.

Her original intent was to present all plan options, which included: 2017 Feasibility Study Plan, 2017 Attendance Area Committee Plan I and II (August and September), Community plans as identified by Board members, and Howard High School small feeds.

The Board, however, voted to discontinue the presentation after the 2017 Feasibility Plan, and instead had conversation about small feeds.

Their votes were primarily based around the fact that, in a previous meeting, they had voted to not change school boundaries for the upcoming school year, so the presentation did not seem necessary at that moment.

The Board will begin making decisions in regard to the 2019-2020 school year in a meeting on October 18.

In a previous meeting on August 23, there was an idea of temporary and permanent freshmen redistricting, but this idea seems to have been taken out of the conversation, as it was not mentioned in the recent meeting.

This option would have consisted of incoming freshmen being relocated, either for just their freshman year or possibly their entire high school career.

Since no final changes have been made, Centennial students will have to work through the issues overcrowding brings.

Cynthia Dillon, Centennial’s principal who was present at the meeting, is confident in her students’ ability to make their school environment as comfortable as possible, despite the circumstances.

“The distances the students have to travel, while they are in some crowded hallways, they are very creative about how they get from point A to point B,” Dillon stated at the meeting. “They are also using their time. They are walking with a purpose, they are being efficient with how they get from point A to point B and we have not identified a problem with students arriving to class tardy.”

Ellie Zoller-Gritz contributed with background information, analysis and images for this article.

For more breaking news and photos, follow The Wingspan on Instagram and Twitter @CHSWingspan.

Former Centennial Student, Tyler Johnson, One of Mall Shooting Victims

Words: Amy Myers and Emma Harring

Around 11:15 on Saturday, Jan. 25, a shooting took place inside of the Columbia Mall, leaving two victims and the shooter dead. Victims Tyler Johnson (age 25) and Brianna Benlolo (age 21) were both employed at the Zumiez store where the incident took place.

Centennial alumna Sarah Gregorini shares her thoughts via Facebook about Tyler Johnson.

Wingspan has confirmed with Howard County Public Schools that Tyler Johnson was a Centennial High School student.

Mitch Koehler, a Centennial alumnus from 2007, lived down the street from Johnson, who would drive Koehler to school. “After we graduated we would hang out in front of our houses just chatting and skating,” Koehler said.

Koehler, as well as several other Centennial graduates, posted their condolences on Johnson’s Facebook profile and expressed their shock and sorrow.

Mitch Kohler, former friends and classmate of Johnson, shares his reactions to the incident via Facebook.
Mitch Koehler, former friends and classmate of Johnson, shares his reactions to the incident via Facebook.

“In all honesty,” Koehler began, “as soon as I heard about the shooting I was pretty mad because this stuff keeps happening and as a gun owner and hunter these things [affect us] because the state has been changing laws about guns. But as soon as I heard it was Tyler my outlook completely changed. I wondered how? Why? What happened? How is his family doing? Things like that. I was pretty upset. Tyler was a good kid. He went through his troubles like we all do but last I talked to him he was doing much better and seemed really happy about it. He had a lot of friends and was always good to talk to or get a laugh out of. He’ll be missed by many.”

As part of the Centennial community, the Wingspan team sends its deepest condolences to Johnson, his family, and others involved.

Schedule of Senior Activities for 2013

Schedule of Senior Activities for 2013

April 10-19 Tickets on Sale for Prom during lunch shifts – Cost $50

April 16 After Prom Assembly – 1:20 -2:10 PM

April 22 Senior Information Sheet due to the Counseling Center

April 20 Prom at Martins West – 8:00 – 12:00 PM

After Prom Party sponsored by PTSA – Midnight – 5:00 AM Lifetime Fitness, Columbia, MD

May 3 Requests for Graduation Tickets, Special Seating Request/Parking Due to front office.

Senior college sweatshirt or spirit wear day

May 6-17 A.P. Exams – See attached schedule:

AP Exam Schedule 2013

May 14 All classes will meet – Senior exams in Period 3 and 4A

May 15 All classes will meet- Senior exams in Periods 1 and 2

May 16 Senior Class Night-Ten Oaks Ballroom 7:00– 10:00. Cost $50.00

May 20 All classes will meet – Senior exam in period 4B

May 21 8:15 a. m. – 9:45 a.m. Mandatory graduation rehearsal for ALL seniors

(attendance will be taken) in the Auditorium

Cap and gowns distributed

Staff Appreciation Notes

Exams in Periods 5 and 6

May 22 8:30 Senior Breakfast & Superlative Recognition –Senior MSDE Survey

9:45 Class Picture following superlatives

10:00- 11:30 a.m. MANDATORY graduation rehearsal for ALL seniors

(attendance will be taken) in the Auditorium

Graduation Tickets Distributed at Rehearsal

Students dismissed after rehearsal

Senior Awards Assembly 7:00 PM – Mandatory. Required dress: Cap & Gown

May 23 8:15 – 10:15 a.m. Farewell Assembly in Auditorium
Seniors arrive at 8:00 a.m. (Only parents of students receiving awards are invited, due to size of the Auditorium)

11:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. SENIOR PICNIC AT Centennial Park – Pavilion H

May 24 Graduation Ceremony at Merriweather Post Pavilion 8:00 Seniors line-up for Graduation – One Half Hour Early (7:30 a.m.)
School opens at 10:30 a.m

Additional notes…
Required Dress for Awards night, Farewell Assembly, and Graduation

Boys: Tie, white shirt, dark dress pants, dark socks, black dress shoes

Girls: White dress (preferred) or white pants, hose, white dress shoes

Tickets for Graduation

Eight tickets are guaranteed.

Additional tickets may be requested.- Please complete form and return to Front office by May 3rd.

Seating for Graduation

Special seating and parking for disabled guests is available.

Indicate needs on ticket request form.-Please complete form and return to Front office by May 3rd.

No other reserved seating is available. Plan to arrive early.


All dates/times from centennialeagles.org

Possible Weather Delay

Howard County Public School System has recently sent an e-mail to those subscribed to HCPSS News containing the following alert:

“High school parents are advised that there is a possibility that Wednesday morning weather may require a 2-hour school opening delay. Since high schools were scheduled to dismiss 2 hours early on Wednesday, in the event of a delay, high schools would remain open until the regularly scheduled dismissal time.”

The Wingspan will be bringing you up-to-date coverage of any school alerts, so be sure to check back.


Sugar Rush

Words: Amy Myers

Coke or Pepsi?

Soon this question will not be relevant on county-owned property due to the soda ban signed by Howard County executive, Ken Ulman. This means that at locations like Centennial Park or the Miller Branch Library, a water vender will replace the soda machine’s spot next to the sodium-and-fat-filled snack machine. While the motive may be to create a healthier Howard County, the efforts may seem slightly frivolous.

With the ban based solely on sugary drinks, the county seems to pick out soda as the culprit to poor nutritional habits. Instead, according to myfitnesspal.com, a 12 ounce Coke bottle with 140 calories and 39 grams of sugar can be traded for a Hostess Honey Bun with 410 calories and 28 grams of sugar. The total fat of a Honey Bun? 22 grams. These delectable treats are commonly found in vending machines, just like the sugary drinks being banned.

With these statistics, it is plain to the eye that sodas are being blamed for much more than a 12 ounce bottle can hold accountable for. Does that mean we should rid the county of the snack machines as well?

Sure, if the county is willing to replace Cheetos with carrots in vending machines.

The problem is that we are concerned more about the unhealthy snacks being provided, rather than the mental attitude that should be changed. Focusing on hiding the cookie jar from the public only helps until they find a different treat to satisfy their sweet-tooth. Instead, gym memberships could be endorsed by lowering prices, encouraging free seminars, and offering a vending machine with healthier choices available. Most importantly, the county needs to let the people choose their own dietary decisions.

It is not the job of the county to smack the back of our hands with a ruler each time we reach for a soda. It is fair to enlighten us with an alternate route that would lead us to a more wholesome lifestyle, but our rights are threatened when they limit even small choices like availability of soda machines. With a restriction like the soda ban, we limit the ability of people to choose healthy lifestyles for themselves. After all, what would you choose? Coke, Pepsi, or Dasani?

Varsity Volleyball Regional Finals Photos

Centennial High School – Ellicott City, MD – Volleyball Regional Finals

On Friday, November 9, 2012, The CHS Lady Eagles Varsity Volleyball team won the Regional Finals to move on to the state semi-finals. The Eagles won the first three games with scores of 25-21, 25-13, and 25-17 respectively.

Photo Credit: Caitlin Martin