Dear Team BCPS:
Welcome to the fourth marking period as we ease into spring weather, much-missed warmth, and longer days.
By the time the annual Stakeholder Satisfaction Survey closed last month, we received more than 74,000 responses. That’s an 85 percent increase in participation in just one year. I’m so grateful that more Team BCPS voices - students, parents, community members, and staff - are being heard.
Thank you for your engagement and stay tuned for the survey report due out soon. A sneak peek of results was shared during the third annual State of the Schools event, our celebration of students, schools, and staff. Notably, parent participation on the survey more than doubled, and their ratings of BCPS effectiveness grew from 80 percent in 2014 to 87 percent in 2015. Meanwhile, the same high proportion of parents - 91 percent - agreed that their child’s school is effective. This is a strong foundation of trust on which we’ll keep making progress for student success.
The State of the Schools featured performances, artwork, and speeches from students across the county as well as a review of Blueprint 2.0 achievements and a preview of what’s to come. We’re using new instructional strategies to prepare all students to graduate globally competitive, we’re constantly upgrading safety and security, we’re bringing Team BCPS together in new ways, and we’re tracking and monitoring our effectiveness. Take a look at the report and photo gallery, watch the video, and learn more about our student speakers here.
One focus from State of the Schools was learner-centered environments, which are now apparent across grade levels and regions of the county. To truly prepare each young person to excel in a global economy, our classrooms are making a huge shift to emphasize creativity, communication, collaboration, and critical thinking skills. Get the scoop on learner-centered environments here. You’ll be hearing much more about them!
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 accepted 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.