Dear Team BCPS:
Ever heard of the "lazy days of summer"? I can't imagine where that expression came from seeing how busy our students have been in enrichment programs for everything from the arts to AP Calculus, economics, sports and college prep.
For BCPS school and district staff, summer is a flurry of training, planning, and preparing for the next great school year. In a wave of activity this month, summer courses end, student athletes begin practice, and before we know it, the first day of the 2014-2015 school year will be upon us.
I'm excited to announce the Back to School Involves You, Too! campaign, engaging every member of the community in the excitement of the new school year. Team BCPS includes students, families, and staff as well as local businesses and residents who do not have children in our schools.
We all have a stake in BCPS success, and I encourage you to visit www.bcps.org to download and post a sign that shows your support. There are so many ways to contribute, from driving safely to staying updated through the BCPS weekly e-newsletter, volunteering in a school or becoming a business partner.
Calling all family members over the age of 60! On Friday, August 29, at 11:00 a.m., Dr. Frances Bond will lead a discussion at the Pikesville Senior Center focused on enhancing communication to strengthen relationships between adult children, grandparents, parents and siblings. For more information, see the schedule of Parent University events at www.bcps.org/parentu/schedule/..
Finally, these last weeks of summer are a wonderful time to discover authors and books. Don't forget to check out Glick's Picks for age-appropriate reading suggestions each week.
S. Dallas Dance
S. Dallas Dance, Ph.D.
Superintendent, Baltimore County Public Schools
Distinguished as a vibrant and driven leader, Superintendent Dr. S. Dallas Dance has united Baltimore County Public Schools (BCPS) students, staff, and the community into Team BCPS, a powerful force committed to deliberate excellence and 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.
In 2014, Dr. Dance was appointed to the 12-member board of directors for the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) and was named one of eight eSchool News Tech-Savvy Superintendents. He became one of 10 White House Connected Educator Champions of Change in 2013.
Academic milestones are already evident under Dr. Dance’s leadership. Curriculum and infrastructure redesign are
underway to fundamentally shift teaching and learning through S.T.A.T.—Students and Teachers Accessing Tomorrow—equipping each teacher and student with a digital device that will enable personalized learning. The four-year adjusted cohort graduation rate surged to 86.3% for the Class of 2013, gaining nearly two and half percentage points in a single year with the help of concerted efforts to identify struggling students and provide small-group and online options for completing diploma requirements.
Audits of special education services and the district’s magnet programs are guiding improvements in equity and effectiveness. At the school system's second annual State of the Schools event in April 2014, Dr. Dance announced plans to pilot a Grade 4 blended-learning Spanish program in 10 schools, propose an equity policy to ensure fair access to quality learning, expand preschool access and improve middle school rigor.
Open dialogue with the community—both in-person and digitally—and professional development for all staff members are additional hallmarks of his administration.
As superintendent of the 26th largest school system in the nation, Dr. Dance is responsible for overseeing the instruction of 108,376 students and leading and managing a $1.4 billion budget, 18,783 employees, and 173 schools, centers and programs.
Prior to his appointment in Baltimore County, Dr. Dance served as one of three chief school officers responsible for the administration of nearly 300 schools in the Houston Independent School District (HISD), the seventh largest school system in the nation. Before his tenure in Houston, Dr. Dance served in executive leadership positions in Virginia that leveraged his expertise in curriculum, instruction, assessment, school improvement and strategic planning.
Dr. Dance received his master's degree in administration and supervision and a doctorate degree in educational leadership from Virginia Commonwealth University. He earned a bachelor's degree in English from Virginia Union University.A resident of Baltimore County, Dr. Dance is the proud father of one son, Myles Dallas Dance.