Hereford High School (Parkton, MD). The Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) program identifies and supports students in the “academic middle” as they enroll in AP classes and seek admission to competitive, four-year colleges and universities. AVID students receive mentoring from AVID upperclassmen, college tutors, and their guidance counselor. Trained AP instructors advance students’ skills in using college-level texts and guide students through a year-long research project. Flexible scheduling allows students to enroll in math classes concurrently, resulting in greater success across all levels.
Students who excel in science, AP Biology, Chemistry, Physics, and Environmental Science are offered additional rigor and opportunity for college credit. The few students who have not passed the High School Assessment (HSA) in Biology as ninth graders commit to a yearlong remediation program that targets key concepts tested on the exam. Since the Biology HSA has been a graduation requirement, Hereford’s pass rate has exceeded 99%.
AP social studies course offerings include US Government and Politics, World History, US History, Economics, Psychology, European History, and Human Geography, all designed similarly and in accord with College Board expectations; department teachers share resources to ensure all students achieve and excel. The World Languages curricula align with the National Proficiency Standards (American Council of Teachers of Foreign Languages). Offering three modern languages (Spanish, French, Chinese), levels 1 through 5/6-AP, courses prepare students with language skills to compete in an increasingly global society. Integrated Performance Assessments support students’ real world use of the language by exposing them to authentic listening and reading materials and placing students in real-life writing and speaking situations. Students who take AP language courses routinely place in 300-level language courses at the university level.
Overseen and supported by the Science Department, the Agriscience Department, the only one in Baltimore County Public Schools, maintains a modern barn, a greenhouse, and 1.5 half acres of animal pasture. Students gain a solid academic foundation and acquire career skills related to carpentry, plumbing, electricity, welding, animal husbandry, horticulture, and landscape/turf management while developing work ethics and life skills they can readily apply to the workforce or build on in two-year and four-year post-secondary programs. The School to Career Department facilitates in-school and offsite student work experiences. Students learn personal, professional, and technical skills by writing resumes and practicing interview skill, developing personal learning plans (measured formatively through site visit observations), and workplace skills. The department also orchestrates Senior Interview Day, enabling all seniors to practice professional writing and interviewing skills with local experts. This wide initiative is supported by the English Department, which guides students through the related writing process.
Hereford’s Visual Art program teaches creative thinking and problem solving and guides students to develop an individual artistic voice. Beginning with an introductory class accessible to students at all knowledge levels, the program continues with elective courses in photography, digital arts, and painting and drawing. The digital arts curriculum includes animation, filmmaking, illustration and graphic design using professional grade software, and the photography program includes digital photography as well as a traditional darkroom.