Dear Team BCPS:
Welcome to the 2014-2015 school year! We're so happy to have BCPS schools filled once again -- now with 110,000 students.
Two major BCPS initiatives are now underway -- S.T.A.T. (Students and Teachers Accessing Tomorrow) and second language acquisition. S.T.A.T. is using technology to enable learner-centered instruction districtwide beginning with digital curriculum and 1:1 devices for educators.
Every school now has the hands-on support of a S.T.A.T. teacher for instructional guidance. One goal: helping students take a more active role in the learning process for deeper understanding of the knowledge and skills needed for success in the future.
And to light the way, 10 S.T.A.T. Lighthouse Schools are serving as digital pioneers. At these schools, the digital conversion will be intensified with 1:1 technology access for students. Lighthouse Schools will act as demonstration labs for other BCPS schools, as well as shaping the future of S.T.A.T. through their feedback. Look for updates from Lighthouse Schools showing what learner-centered instruction looks like.
S.T.A.T. is only part of the bold theory of action behind our five-year strategic plan --Blueprint 2.0 -- to prepare each student to graduate globally competitive. It also called for every student to have the opportunity to develop second language proficiency, an advantage for college and career readiness as well as cultural awareness. Combining a self-paced digital program with face-to-face instruction, 10 BCPS Passport Schools are piloting Spanish at Grade 4.
School hallways are once again thriving with activity, and we are so grateful for the support of local leaders who are committed to developing 21st century learning environments in every school across the county. Public forums will begin this month for additional community input into the BCPS Capital Plan. Visit the Construction Projects section of www.bcps.org for more information.
I hope everyone has a great start to the school year. And as students get back into the routines of school, it's a great time to check out BCPS Parent University for information, videos and workshops all focused on supporting parents as every student's first teacher.
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.