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Release Date: 3/23/2016 Contact: Office of Communications, 443.809.5908

BCPS announces additional supports to promote equity, academic progress

4th Annual State of the Schools reviews achievements, challenges

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TOWSON - Superintendent Dr. S. Dallas Dance, in his 4th Annual State of the Schools address, reaffirmed Baltimore County Public Schools' commitment to its course, including signature initiatives such as the S.T.A.T. digital learning transformation and Passport elementary world language instruction, and introduced new supports designed to promote equity and academic progress for all students.

Taking a cue from student speakers who described how BCPS staff members have positively impacted their lives, Dance closed the speech by sharing plans to announce a Superintendent's Minority Male Mentoring Initiative and by presenting an action item for the audience. "My challenge to each of you," he said, "is to find one student to mentor because we know it makes a difference. We all can find one."

Dance outlined a host of new efforts to meet individual student needs including expanded staffing, services, and supports for BCPS' growing populations of English learner students and those with severe disabilities.

For all students, access to school social work services has increased. School counseling programs have been redesigned so that counselors can spend more time working directly with students. New tools will launch in fall 2016 to help students in Grades 7-12 plan for college and careers including the online, individualized 6 Year Plan and the Roadmap to Success for families. BCPS is refining and expanding in-school mentoring as well as transition programs for students moving from elementary to middle school and middle to high school.

According to Dance, BCPS will continue adding opportunities for students to gain real-life skills through career and technology education courses and to earn tuition-free college credits in partnership with the Community College of Baltimore County. "There is no better way to prepare students for postsecondary learning than having them actually start the experience while they're still with us in high school," he explained. "That is how we turn the senior slump into the first year of college or career training."

The audience also learned about new magnet programs opening in fall 2016: an arts program at Milford Mill Academy and a health sciences program at Old Court Middle School. The latter is a BCPS partnership with Northwest Hospital including advanced coursework and interactions between students and medical professionals at school and at the hospital. In addition, plans were announced for the county's first early college high school program to launch at Woodlawn High School in fall 2017. Through this program, students will be able to graduate with both a high school diploma and an associate's degree.

Dance spoke at Martin's West before an audience of 1,250 community members, business leaders, students, and staff. Dance's address urged continued investments in both academics and capital improvements. "We are graduating more students, providing more opportunity in every area of the county, and transforming teaching and learning to meet student needs," he said. "Most importantly, we are not afraid to admit where we need to grow, including having honest and timely conversations about race to ensure all kids are provided equitable access and opportunity."

This year's address highlighted continued high parent satisfaction as measured on the 2016 Stakeholder Satisfaction Survey. Ninety-two percent of parents rated their child's school as effective, and 89% rated BCPS as effective. Both figures have increased since the online survey began in 2014.

Students were front and center throughout the program, serving as greeters, performers, and speakers as well as creators of artwork available in a silent auction. Danny Hawkins Jr., Grade 5, Johnnycake Elementary School, led the pledge of allegiance, and Madison Janey, Grade 8, Sudbrook Magnet Middle School, shared a reflection on her BCPS journey.

Dance's remarks were punctuated with comments from four students about what the system is doing well and where it can improve. The student speakers were Rose Mary Ngun Mo Ling, Grade 5, Halethorpe Elementary School; Jasmine Martin-Wilson, Grade 8, Windsor Mill Middle School; Andrew Polite, Grade 3, Mays Chapel Elementary School; and Jackson Wikstrom, Grade 12, Loch Raven High School. Jordyn Wilson, a junior at Hereford High School and vice president of Baltimore County Student Councils, introduced the superintendent.

The event was live-streamed, and the complete archived video can be seen at www.bcps.org or on BCPS-TV, available on Comcast cable channel 73 or Verizon FiOS channel 34.

The Education Foundation of Baltimore County Public Schools hosted the event in conjunction with more than 56 business sponsors, five in-kind donors, and 57 Friends of the Foundation and Team BCPS. Daly Computers and Hot Spots Extended Care Programs were the event's Achievement/Excellence sponsors.

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443-809-4554

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Verletta White
Interim Superintendent

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