By Bella Kaguyutan

News Editor

Picture via Baltimore Sun

The newly named Guilford Park High School will open in August 2023, welcoming approximately 800 rising 9th and 10th grade students. All rising 11th and 12th graders will be exempt from the redistricting process and will not attend. 

Guilford Park’s principal, Mr. Josh Wasilewski, was named Principal of the Year in 2019 and has worked in HCPSS since 2001. For the majority of his career, he has worked in the Elkridge, Savage, and Laurel areas and is excited to be serving this community once again, according to HCPSS News. 

The staff of Guilford Park is steadily being named, currently there have been 14 staff members named. This includes the current Hammond Athletics and Activities Manager, Mr. Mike Lerner. Lerner has worked at Hammond for almost 20 years and is even a Hammond Alumni. 

The project commenced in March 2018 when the site for High School #13 was approved and was designed to have the highest capacity out of all the schools in Howard County as it is designed to facilitate 1,658 students. It is the fourth school of the current high school prototype and shares a floor plan with Marriott’s Ridge, Long Reach, and Reservoir. The construction is on track to be completed by August 2023 and is at around 80% completion. While constructing Guilford Park an emphasis was placed on energy efficient systems and sustainability.

On November 18th 2022, the HCPSS Board of Education (BOE) finalized the plan regarding redistricting. Hammond, as well as, Long Reach and Howard High School will be impacted by these changes. This plan also redirects a large portion of students from Reservoir to Hammond High School. The plan also includes multiple exemptions from the process. Students with a custodial guardian on active-duty military will have the option of attending High School #13. Current middle school students who will attend high school for at least one year with an older sibling will have the option to opt-out of attending High School #13. 

Over the past few years, Howard County has undergone major redistricting efforts in an attempt to redistribute the student population and reduce overcrowding. While many schools in Howard County are majorly overcrowded, others are underutilized. Eight of the twelve high schools in Howard County are overcrowded while the other four are under capacity. 

At multiple schools, including Hammond, over 20% of students receive Free and Reduced Meals (FARMs) while other schools in the county have ≥5% on the FARMs Program. Yet, as of 2020 the total percentage of students receiving FARMs in Howard County was 22.5%.Following the annual HCPSS Feasibility Study the superintendent, Dr. Martirano proposed a plan in August 2019 that was intended to “balance school capacity utilization, provide relief to schools most impacted by crowding, and address inequities in the distribution of students affected by poverty,” according to HCPSS.