Priorities

Academic Achievement

HCPSS must carry out its critical mission in a fiscally responsible manner as a good steward of taxpayer dollars. We must direct those funds to provide every child in Howard County with a high-quality education in a safe and supportive environment. It is critically important that all the county’s children get access to the opportunities they need to be successful in school and in their adult lives. Advanced learners should have access to a variety of opportunities to demonstrate their academic excellence and students with special needs must be given all the support they require to be successful in school. 

Our school communities are still reeling from the pandemic’s impact. Learning loss has been significant and an increased focus on academics will be required in order to recover. We must also prioritize initiatives that make school environments more trauma-informed and culturally-competent. Public schools have a role to play in ensuring the mental and emotional health of students. Access and referrals to support should be available to the students who need them. Organizations and employees perform best when the employees are empowered as trusted and valued partners, and when diverse experiences and approaches to problem solving are welcomed. This is especially true for our educators: we depend on them to play a critical role in creating and sustaining a healthy learning environment. Andrea supports fostering this HCPSS culture of excellence and learning, not just for our kids but for their teachers and their entire school team.

Redistricting

As our population grows and as staffing levels are always changing, it is critical to consider the effects of reallocating students to different schools. It’s not just a numbers game, because school realignment affects students and their families in profound ways, including disruptions in schedules, activities, relationships, and performance academically and in the many other enriching school activities. Any such decisions should be made with full transparency.

Budget

Andrea supports responsible budget allocation, keeping Howard County a welcoming home to students, teachers, and their families. A strong school system, including reliable school transportation, is a key factor in growing our kids, our neighborhoods, our home values, and our economic base. Infrastructure such as school capacity and transportation must keep pace with development. Andrea’s problem-solving experience and her reputation with lawmakers gives her a running start in tackling these issues for our District. At FDA, Andrea worked in the Ombudsman’s office with industry, patient groups, and innovative entrepreneurs to help patients and families get access to the care they needed. She has a proven track record of collaboration with business, government, and community members to create positive results for the public, and she’ll bring this experience to serve students and their teachers and families.

Capital Investment

Long term investment in our brick and mortar infrastructure is necessary to allow every student to succeed. Most of our schools were built before 2000 and Howard County has seen its population grow more than 38% since 2000; from 240,590 to 332,722 in 2020. By comparison, the US population grew 17.5%, and Maryland grew 16.2%. The number of new students enrolled in HCPSS currently exceeds the number of new students enrolled in Montgomery County’s public schools, even though Montgomery’s public school system is three times bigger than HCPSS. Howard’s Pre-K program continues to expand, adding thousands of new students. Renovation of existing schools and construction of new schools are necessary to accommodate this rapid growth. Doing so reduces unnecessary school redistricting, which causes significant hardships and obstacles for both students and families. Portable classrooms cannot solve this problem. They are neither safe nor energy-efficient. I believe we should build new schools where possible and renovate or rebuild existing schools to provide more capacity. Talbott Springs Elementary School is a great example of renovating and creating more capacity to keep communities together. We must invest more to upgrade and expand capacity at existing schools.

Safety

Students thrive when they feel safe at home and at school. Andrea knows this sense of safety comes from a team approach: we need to trust in and collaborate with teachers, staff, school resource officers, and public safety teams. Our school teams must have access to the best training and equipment available, and they must be paid competitively with our neighboring counties so that we can retain the best personnel. Expanding the county’s globally recognized Crisis Intervention Teams and increasing school mental health support will equip our kids and their support systems at school and at home to best serve our students and families.