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North Star

North Star, an initiative designed by Superintendent of Schools Sean Bulson, Ed. D., is an equitable, accessible, inclusive, and systemic Prekindergarten through grade 12+ framework supporting students as they successfully achieve post-secondary interests and goals. The goal of the Harford County Public Schools North Star initiative is to ensure all students have access to academic opportunities, social-emotional support, and real-world experiences tailored to meet the needs, abilities, and interests of diverse learners so each may graduate with experiences preparing them for success. Established partnerships with higher education learning institutions, community businesses, and industry partners offers dynamic learning opportunities as early as elementary school continuing through middle school that allows students to explore career paths and areas of study prior to high school graduation.

Through close collaboration with Harford Community College (HCC), the HCPS instructional program enables high school students the opportunity to gain the skills and experience necessary for success through college and workforce training courses. After graduation, some students may choose to continue their coursework at HCC, earning an associate degree, certificate, or licensure that will transfer to a four-year institution or lead to employment, while others will be ready to enter the workforce immediately. Through the North Star initiative, students who choose to obtain a two or four-year degree will do so in less time, and with less debt, thanks to dual enrollment opportunities allowing HCPS students to earn college credit at HCC.

We understand every student is unique and will provide students with the guidance needed to determine their future goals — along with the practical tools needed for professional and academic success. North Star provides the structure for high school graduates to become the backbone of our workforce in Harford County.

With North Star, we are hoping to achieve the following goals:
  • Improve the likelihood of degree attainment for students choosing a college path.
  • Reduce cost to families for students seeking degrees.
  • Reduce the cost of earning career credentials.
  • Ensure students are prepared to enter the workforce with a "good" job following graduation.
  • Increase the variety of paths a student can take to personalize his or her journey to career success.
North Star graduate outcomes:
  1. Students complete college-level work while in high school
    • Advanced Placement
    • International Baccalaureate
    • Career and Technology Education (CTE) Programs
  2. Students earn college credit while in high school
    • Dual enrollment (HCC)
  3. Students obtain a career credential while in high school
    • Career certification
    • Career licensure
    • Technical Skills Assessments
Outcomes for the Graduating Classes of 2018-2020:
  • 44.8% succeeded with college-level work
  • 14% earned college credit
  • 11.4% earned a career credential