S. Dallas Dance, Ph.D.
Superintendent, Baltimore County Public Schools

S. Dallas Dance, Ph.D.

A message from Dr. Dance
Superintendent's Message

April 2016

Dear Team BCPS,

How does the school year go by so quickly? Now that we’re all refreshed from spring break, let’s put plenty of effort into the fourth marking period, which begins April 11.

I want to thank students in Grades 4-12, parents, community members, and staff for participating in the 2016 Stakeholder Satisfaction Survey. It’s our annual opportunity for feedback on the Blueprint 2.0 goal areas of academics, safety, communication, and organizational effectiveness. Ninety-two percent of parents agreed that their child’s school is effective, and 89% agreed that BCPS is effective. The full report will be released in the coming months.

These results were among those previewed at last month’s State of the Schools event, which brought together nearly 1,000 community members, local leaders, school staff, and students to celebrate our students and our schools. The State of the Schools is hosted by the Education Foundation of Baltimore County Public Schools, which raises funds all year for school-based projects, scholarships, and an endowment fund.

Students greeted guests, took part in music, dance, and poetry performances, led the presentation of colors, the Pledge of Allegiance, and our national anthem, and showcased artwork for sale. Student speakers were chosen to highlight the creativity, intellect, and confidence of Team BCPS:

  • Madison Janey, Grade 8, Sudbrook Magnet Middle School, shared her BCPS pride, her dedication to her studies, and her gratitude to teachers at Deer Park Elementary as well as Sudbrook. Madison enjoys taking part in academic societies and plans to become a pharmacist.
  • Rose Mary Ngun Mo Ling, Grade 5, Halethorpe Elementary School, talked about her journey to the United States as a refugee from Burma along with becoming fluent in English through the English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) program. She plans to become a pediatrician.
  • Jasmine Martin-Wilson, Grade 8, Windsor Mill Middle School, identified teachers who had mentored her and taught her lifelong values. She will follow her passion toward a degree in graphic design and animation.
  • Andrew Polite, Grade 3, Mays Chapel Elementary School, discussed being more challenged now than he was in private school thanks to learner-centered environments.
  • Jackson Wikstrom, Grade 12, Loch Raven High School, praised his ability to take college courses at his high school and his access to extensive extracurricular options as he prepares for college and a business career.
  • Jordyn Wilson, Grade 11, Hereford High School, provided the introduction to my address and shared her journey as a student leader.

RT @BaltCoPS: Two BCPS students selected to participate in a Carnegie Hall summer youth orchestra program : Only 78 youth mus... https://t.…
Thursday, 28 April 2016 @ 5:32:32 PM

RT @MDonnelly_BCPS: Celebrating our Passport School status for 2016-17! @RedHouseRun @DDance_BCPS #teambcps #bcpspassport #spanish https://…
Thursday, 28 April 2016 @ 5:31:47 PM

BCPS News - Celebrate BCPS seniors making their college decisions https://t.co/cckb55d5ji
Thursday, 28 April 2016 @ 4:15:15 PM

RT @cthim2: Packed house for honor roll breakfast @cthim2 @bearcreeklmc @DMDBCPS @DDance_BCPS #bearcreekpride https://t.co/oSw16u5Kov
Wednesday, 27 April 2016 @ 10:11:58 AM

RT @bwardBCPS: Listen to my prek scientists talk about chrysalids and pupae! Using tools and resources like infographics! https://t.co/wdO0…
Wednesday, 27 April 2016 @ 10:11:47 AM


I’m thrilled with our progress in expanding access to effective digital learning environments and elementary world language instruction, but there is much more work to do in the next four years to ensure that every student graduates globally competitive.

  • We’re increasing staffing, training, expertise, and supports for English learners and students with disabilities, student groups that are growing faster than our overall increase in enrollment.
  • We’re supporting student social and emotional needs through increased school social work services; redesigned school counseling programs; systemwide supports for the transitions from elementary to middle school and from middle to high school; and a new pilot program for schoolwide free, nutritious meals at four schools in low-income neighborhoods.
  • We’re launching new tools to help students and families plan for bright futures starting in Grade 7 and tracking progress toward key milestones on the way to high school graduation and postsecondary success.
  • I announced the new Old Court Middle School Health Sciences Magnet Program and the Milford Mill Academy Arts Magnet Program, which will both launch in fall 2016 to provide better access to innovative learning options. Plans are underway for the Woodlawn High School Early College Program to begin in fall 2017.
  • In closing, I asked every audience member to mentor one young person to help them reach their dreams and to make our community even stronger. BCPS’s first mentoring coordinator is making sure that our 117 existing mentoring programs are supported and effective, and I am developing the Superintendent’s Minority Male Mentoring Initiative in association with President Obama’s My Brother’s Keeper Initiative.

The State of the Schools event was live-streamed and is available on www.bcps.org or www.stateoftheschools.org.

At the end of the month, we begin PARCC testing for one indication of how students are progressing toward college and career ready standards in English language arts and math. And schools and offices will close on Tuesday, April 26 for the primary elections.

Take care,

S. Dallas Dance

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 (BCPS) students, staff, and the community into Team BCPS, a powerful force committed to producing globally competitive graduates.

Champions of Change
Superintendent Dance is honored as a Connected Educator Champion of Change by the White House

In collaboration with Team BCPS, Dr. Dance spearheaded the development of Blueprint 2.0, a five-year strategic plan focused on academics, safety, communication, and organizational effectiveness. One critical strategy is making high school graduation a systemwide priority. As a result, the BCPS graduation rate surged to 87.8 percent for the Class of 2015, up four percentage points since Dr. Dance’s tenure began in 2012. BCPS was honored with a 2014 District of Distinction award from District Administration magazine for these gains.

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 111,000 students, and Passport Schools, which launch world language instruction at Grade 4 to prepare students to graduate fluent in a second language.

His contributions to creating learner-centered environments through technology have been honored with successive Digital Innovation Learning Awards from Digital Promise and Ed Surge: the 2014 Walk the Walk award and the 2015 Open Door Policy award. Dr. Dance was appointed to the 12‐member board of directors for the International Society for Technology in Education, was named one of eight eSchool News 2014 Tech‐Savvy Superintendents, and was named a White House Connected Educator Champion of Change in 2013.

Further, BCPS became a District of Distinction in 2015 for personalizing learning through S.T.A.T. as well as earning the Digital Content and Curriculum Achievement Award from the Center for Digital Education. Also in 2015, Microsoft selected BCPS as its sole “Showcase” school system for innovative digital teaching and learning. BCPS was accepted into the League of Innovative Schools, and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation awarded BCPS a $1.5 million grant to advance equity and digital learning.

Additional 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 engaging stakeholders through two-way outreach. In recognition of their commitment to communications, Dr. Dance and BCPS Chief Communications Officer Mychael Dickerson received the prestigious 2015 Leadership Through Communication Award from AASA (the School Superintendents Association), the National School Public Relations Association, and Blackboard.

Dr. Dance’s leadership and influence were recognized through his 2014 appointment to President Obama’s Advisory Commission on Educational Excellence for African Americans. He was selected by colleagues to serve on the executive committee for AASA.

Recent awards include being named a Superintendent to Watch by NSPRA and an Influential Marylander Honoree by the Baltimore Daily Record. Additional honors include being named one of 10 LinkedIn Next Wave education professionals, one of the National School Board Association’s 20 to Watch educators, and one of the Baltimore Daily Record’s Most Admired CEOs.

Prior to his appointment in Baltimore County, Dr. Dance served as one of three chief school officers responsible for nearly 300 schools in the Houston Independent School District, the nation’s seventh largest school system. Before his tenure in Houston, Dr. Dance served in executive leadership positions in Virginia.

Dr. Dance earned his doctorate degree in educational leadership and a master’s degree in administration and supervision 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.

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