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COSN15: Preparing Globally Competitive Students-Dallas Dance, Superintendent of Baltimore County Schools

Dallas Dance, Superintendent of Baltimore County Schools shared how his district is developing Globally Competitive Students at COSN15.

Baltimore County has a 87.6% graduation rate. It's mostly urban and diverse. 

  • 2nd Highest Grad rate umong large school districts
  • More than half of the schools are among the best in the nation 
  • 17 Blue Ribbon Schools
  • Multiple Wards
  • 91% of families say the school is effective or highly effective
Good is not Good enough! 12% of students not graduating, 18% of African American Males not graduating

ALL MEANS ALL is their Motto! 
Brainpower does not discriminate

How they began...
  • Reaching out to the community stakeholders
  • Previous Admin-Blueprint for Progress
  • Stagnant in academic approach
BluePrint 2.0 Developing their purpose
  • Prepare students to be globally competitive and globally prepared
  • Define what the diploma means when they leave the school system
  • Access to an equitable digital learning environment
  • 2nd Language prior to graduation starting in 4th grade (Leveraging Tech to do so)
68% of Building Administrators thought that the academic program was set up to meet the needs of all students.
1/3 didnt' think students had the instructional technology to succeed.
Conversations around equity and leveling the playing field took place.

  • Globally competitive
  • Rigorous
  • Relevant
  • Accessible
  • Responsive
What do we mean to get kids engaged?

Classrooms NEED to be Learning Centered!

Learner Centered Environments
  • Students have independent choice
  • Students develop responsibility to evaluate learning
  • Removes artificial barriers 
  • Teacher takes into account what they know and create responsive environment for students
  • Teacher has freedom to focus on students struggling
  • More student collaboration
  • Student "experts"
  • Technology now used as an integral part of learning rather than an add-on

Students and Teachers Accessing Tomorrow (Link to site)

Students owning the classroom, K-12
18 months focusing on Curriculum First
  • Curriculum created by and for BCPS educators
  • Digitally enhanced in Core content areas
  • Redefining delivery
  • Greater emphasis on Critical Thinking and Analytical Skills
STAT Transformation involved:
  1. Curriculum Conversion-Needs to happen first
  2. Instructional Conversion-Looking at transforming pedagogy
  3. Assessment Conversion-Moving away from pencil/paper, formative daily
  4. Organizational Conversion-About people, everyone needs to be on board (Buses, Food Service, School Board) Full Time STAT teachers in each building (lesson planning and student centered first, then Tech
  5. Infrastructure conversion-System level updates ($12 million)
  6. Policy Conversion-Responsible Use rather that Appropriate, Grading conversion
  7. Budget Conversion-85% of the budget is people, weekly fiscal issues meeting, 
  8. Communications Conversion
Principal Leadership and Teacher devices were the focus first
Decided that 1:1 would start with Elementary because learner centered is easier there. k-3 first, and then 4-5 next year. 

Lighthouse Schools started this year.
Start slow to go fast.
10 Laboratory Schools, so teachers can see what it looks like
Maryland chose 5, the District chose 5

Dance shared a video highlighting the shifts that have been made 1/2 way through the year. Teachers see the transformation and how equity is being addressed. Students and teachers are exhibiting more passion for their learning.

Expansion in 2015
Schoolwide at current Lighthouse Schools
All elementary schools, grades K-3
7 Lighthouse schools, Grade 6 only
Ensuring support

They have single sign on, BCPS One, that ties Digital Resources (Discovery, Brainpop, NBCone, Learning Management, Student Information, etc...

Students log in and see calendar and see progress. 
Assessment taken goes into gradebook and teacher than customizes the learning plan for that student.

Todos Adelante-Middlebury Interactive is what they are using for 2nd Language in Grade 4.


Dance, who started with Mark Edwards in Henrico County, VA,  notes that they are changing classrooms, but they are also changing the community. 

Never underestimate culture! People need to be valued, and work as a team to make things work.

Engrade is their single signon vendor, and Infinite Campus will be their Student Information System.

Maryland has become a competency based state, so seat time is no longer an issue. 


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