Sponsors: Friends and Foundation of Howard County Library System | Howard County Public School System | Josephine B. Scheffenacker Education Trust
April 1 update – CONGRATULATIONS! Charan Bala is our 2021 HCLS Spelling Bee champion. Charan is an 8th grade student at Clarksville Middle school and prevailed as the final winner after a series of tiebreaker rounds which concluded on March 30. We wish him the best in the national competition events this spring and summer (see below).
March 2 update – The Howard County Library System Final Local Bee takes place virtually on the new Scripps Online Testing Platform (OTP) tool on Saturday, March 20 at 2:00 pm. Winners and alternates received through the teacher portal School Champion Registration form found on the OTP will get email confirmations of the event details and instructions for the timed test. Spellers will take the timed test synchronously which will consist of spelling and vocabulary words. HCLS will use the results from the OTP to determine the highest score(s). The final winner will advance to the Scripps National Bee level. If necessary, a tiebreaker will be conducted via additional rounds and a virtual spell-down to declare a final winner.
Important update from Scripps:
The Scripps National Spelling Bee returns this year with top spellers gathering near Orlando, Florida, on July 8 to compete in the nationally televised event. The final rounds of this year’s Bee will be hosted in person at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World Resort. The finals, featuring 10-12 accomplished spellers, will be broadcast live in primetime on ESPN2.
The 10 to 12 finalists who will travel to the Orlando area will have earned the right to compete in the finals by advancing through three levels of competition: the preliminary, quarterfinal and semifinal segments. In past years, those three rounds were held over one week – Bee Week. This year, due to the global pandemic, the preliminaries, quarterfinals and semifinals will be held virtually in the weeks leading up to the July 8 finals and will be broadcast live on ESPN platforms. The semifinals are slated for June 27, and dates for the earlier virtual rounds of the competition will be announced this spring. Read the Press Release
- Register online by October 9, 2020 via this form
- Classroom and School Bees take place by January 31, 2021 – Scripps Online Testing Platform
- Deadline for schools to submit winner and alternates is February 8, 2021 (link in email to schools from [email protected]) – Deadline extended to March 5. School Champion Registration must also be completed through the teacher portal on the Scripps Online Testing Platform (OTP).
- HCLS Spelling Bee takes place Saturday, March 20, 2021 at 2:00 p.m. on the Scripps Online Testing Platform
- National Spelling Bee takes place July 8, 2021 at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex near Orlando, FL
In order for your students to participate in the Howard County Library System Spelling Bee, your school must complete and submit an Intent to Participate form online by October 9, 2020 so that we can enroll your school in the Scripps National Spelling Bee by their October deadline.
September 25 update – Howard County Library System is proud to once again bring to your students in grades 4 through 8 the opportunity to participate in the Scripps National Spelling Bee program!
NEW THIS YEAR: The Bee has developed an online testing platform that will allow you to administer your school spelling bee program, whether students are learning in your classrooms or remotely from their homes. The online testing platform will be available in October to give you increased flexibility when administering your school’s spelling bee program.
August 28 update – The 2021 HCLS Spelling Bee takes place virtually next spring. Please stay tuned for more updates including new virtual resources for school bees from The Scripps National Spelling Bee. Thank you!
April 24 update – We received official notice that Scripps has canceled the National Spelling Bee for 2020. The HCLS Spelling Bee is now canceled as well. These actions are due to the ongoing concerns about the spread of the novel coronavirus and uncertainty around when public gatherings will be possible or advisable.
This decision follows the announcement on March 20 that Scripps was suspending the national finals with hopes of rescheduling. Scripps has determined there is no clear path to safely set a new date this year.
While plans for a 2020 championship have ended, Scripps National Spelling Bee is engaging with students and parents by offering educational resources and social media-based learning opportunities.
A note from Scripps’ executive director, Paige Kimble:
Our thoughts immediately go to our spellers and their families. The students have dedicated time and effort to their passion for learning. They should be proud of all they have accomplished by winning spelling bees at the classroom, school and regional level. Nevertheless, our first priority has to be the health and well-being of our spellers and their families and the hundreds of staff and spectators that come together for Bee Week.
Our hearts go out to the spellers who won’t get their final shot at winning because of the pandemic and the difficult decisions it is prompting us to make. They are now part of a widely expanding group of children and adults who are missing out on opportunities due to the coronavirus.
This was a very difficult decision and we share in the disappointment of our students, teachers and parents. Our main priority remains the health and safety of our staff and community.
March 20 update – Please note Scripps has suspended the National Bee. In the short term, the HCLS Spelling Bee, which had been rescheduled for May 2, is postponed until further notice.
Scripps is exploring potential solutions, including perhaps an online or virtual solution, to help local sponsors like HCLS hold a local bee. We are in conversation with Scripps and expect to receive further guidance in the next couple of weeks.
As noted by Scripps: If possible, the Bee will work with local sponsors, spellers, convention partners, and ESPN to reschedule the 93rd Scripps National Spelling Bee for later this year.
The world is navigating through uncertainty, and while the timing of the national finals is just outside the eight-week window recommended by the CDC, this is the safest and most responsible action. This was a difficult decision that unfortunately will disappoint students who have spent a great deal of time studying and preparing, along with their parents and teachers who have supported them. The focus now shifts to exploring all options to possibly reimagine a competition for later this year.
In the meantime, please continue to study the word list, and explore and use the Library’s eContent, including e-books and e-audiobooks; streaming TV, movies, and music; online classes; and digital subscriptions to newspapers and magazines for your research and study needs. All you need is your library card and PIN. If you don’t yet have a library card, apply online and use your temporary number. It’s all available 24/7 at hclibrary.org. Thank you.
The HCLS Spelling Bee is organized under the rules of the Scripps National Spelling Bee and registered with Scripps as an official regional bee.
Purpose and Benefits
Spelling bees improve students’ spelling, increase their vocabularies, and develop correct English usage.
- We recognize added benefits of conducting school and local bees in this new virtual environment. This year presents an opportunity for students to strengthen their more intangible and soft skills such as: integrity, kindness, patience, flexibility, and adaptability.
- Students read and write more effectively and score higher on standardized tests and college prep tests and beyond. The impact lasts a lifetime.
- Students learn word etymology and country of origin, the meanings of prefixes and suffixes, and spelling rules.
- By studying words grouped in thematic categories, spellers not only acquire knowledge but also develop cognitive skills and increased understanding of ideas and values.
- Students of all ages and background participate on an equal, competitive basis.
- Spelling bees improve spelling and spark interest among the students.
- Spelling bees create friendly, sportsmanlike rivalry among the schools.
Prizes for classroom and school bees are determined and awarded by the schools. Prizes for the Virtual HCLS Spelling Bee are awarded by HCLS after the competition:
- All contestants and alternates receive certificates of participation for the virtual event.
- The first place winner receives a trophy (as does his/her school) and the opportunity to represent Howard County in the Scripps National Spelling Bee, all expenses paid.
- The second place winner receives a trophy (as does his/her school) and the opportunity to represent Howard County in the Scripps National Spelling Bee, all expenses paid, should the winner be unable to compete.
Interested schools and home school associations should fill out the Intent to Participate by October 9, 2020.
The SCHOOL/ASSOCIATION WINNERS REGISTRATION FORM should be filled out and submitted by February 8, 2021 (link in email from [email protected]).
Information for school/association spelling bee coordinators is available in the Coordinator Handbook (PDF).
If you have questions, please contact us.