Dear Team BCPS:
In case you missed it, there’s more good news about BCPS. For the fourth consecutive year, the graduation rate is up, now at 87.6 percent for the class of 2014. The graduation rate gap between black and white students has nearly disappeared, while most student groups are improving.
In addition to (hopefully) warmer temperatures, March is also ushering in the beginning of efforts across the country to better assess student progress toward college and career readiness. Prior tests were not able to provide the kind of information that educators need to adjust instruction and help every learner prepare for a successful future.
That’s what’s so exciting about the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, or PARCC. A consortium of states including Maryland developed PARCC to capture student performance in English language arts and math in a way that engages learners so that we can deeply understand what they know and can do.
This month will round out the end of the third marking period. It’s now more important than ever for students to use each school day to the optimum by working and studying hard.
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.