Dear Team BCPS,
This month is both National Principals Month and National Bullying Prevention Month.
Please join us in honoring our outstanding principals throughout Baltimore County Public Schools. These men and women unite the community with inspiring visions for their schools, create and maintain positive learning climates, and ensure that teachers are supported in meeting students’ needs. Because of them, our students and schools continue to advance.
At the end of September, one of our outstanding principals, Jean Wilson, announced to her school, Pine Grove Elementary, that it had become the 18th BCPS school to be designated a National Blue Ribbon School. I salute the hard work of the entire Pine Grove community -- its leaders, educators, students, and families -- in achieving this honor.
To learn more about the amazing honors our students, school, and staff achieve, please visit our news center or sign up for our weekly e-newsletter. In September, in addition to announcing a new National Blue Ribbon School, we also celebrated 25 National Merit semifinalists, two educators named national Teaching Channel Laureates, a Scotts Branch Elementary teacher receiving a prestigious California Casualty Award for Teaching Excellence, and more.
October begins with our annual bullying prevention week – a project that was initiated and is coordinated by student leaders from the Superintendent’s Student Advisory Council and Baltimore County Student Councils. This year’s theme is “Just Stop It! Bullying Changes People’s Stories,” and the week will feature special guest Meredith O’Connor, a nationally-known recording artist whose work was influenced by the bullying she endured in middle school. Meredith will visit and perform at a number of schools throughout the week, but students and parents from all schools are invited to hear her sing and speak at a bullying prevention event, sponsored by BCPS Parent University at 6:45 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 5. At Loch Raven High School.
Even as we dive deeper into this school year, many of our students are looking ahead to applying for a magnet program for next school year. This year’s Magnet EXPO!, held last month, was as popular as ever. Those seeking additional information about the process are encouraged to visit here and to talk to school counselors. Showcase events will be held at magnet programs from Oct. 6 to Nov. 5. Students and their families are invited to learn more about programs of interest.
Keep up the outstanding work!
S. Dallas Dance
Dr. S. Dallas Dance
Superintendent, Baltimore County Public Schools
Distinguished as a vibrant and visionary leader, Superintendent Dr. S. Dallas Dance has united Baltimore County Public Schools students, staff and the community into Team BCPS, a powerful force committed to producing globally competitive graduates.
In collaboration with Team BCPS, Dr. Dance spearheaded the development of Blueprint 2.0, a five-year strategic plan focused on improving academics, safety, communication and organizational effectiveness.
Under Dr. Dance’s leadership, fundamental shifts in teaching and learning are taking place through groundbreaking initiatives including S.T.A.T. (Students and Teachers Accessing Tomorrow), designed to create a 1:1 digital learning environment for all students, and the Second Language Acquisition program, which will support all students in achieving fluency in a second language.
In recognition of its advances in instructional technology, BCPS was accep
ted into the League of Innovative Schools, and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation awarded a $1.5 million grant to BCPS. In 2014, Dr. Dance was selected by President Barack Obama as one of 10 national “Connected Educator Champions of Change,” named one of eight “tech savvy” superintendents by eSchool News, appointed to the board of directors for the International Society for Technology in Education, and received the “Walk the Walk" award from EdSurge and Digital Promise. Dr. Dance also was named among the National School Boards Association’s prestigious “20 to Watch" educators for 2014-2015. Microsoft honored BCPS in 2015 by selecting it as one of its “Showcase” school systems.
Other areas of focus for the Dance administration have been enhancing special education services and magnet programs; expanding preschool access; increasing equity and rigor; rethinking middle schools; and boosting the graduation rate.
Open dialogue with the community and professional development for all staff members are additional hallmarks of Dr. Dance’s administration. In recognition of their commitment to communications, Dr. Dance and BCPS Chief Communications Officer Mychael Dickerson received the prestigious national Leadership Through Communication Award from AASA, the National School Public Relations Association, and Blackboard.
Other honors for Dr. Dance include an appointment from President Barack Obama to the President’s Advisory Commission on Educational Excellence for African Americans and selection to the executive committee of the American Association of School Administrators.
Prior to his appointment in Baltimore County, Dr. Dance served as one of three chief school officers in the Houston Independent School District, the seventh largest school system in the nation, and served in executive leadership positions in Virginia.
Dr. Dance earned doctorate and master's degrees from Virginia Commonwealth University and a bachelor's degree from Virginia Union University.A resident of Baltimore County, Dr. Dance is the proud father of one son, Myles Dallas Dance.