Superintendent Verletta White’s proposal to create a new Division of School Climate and Safety and to reorganize the school system’s management of schools was approved on Tuesday evening the Board of Education of Baltimore County.
The change will take effect beginning in the 2018 – 2019 school year.
“I had been considering this reorganization for some time,” White said, “to maximize opportunities for growth in school success, safety, and student development. Community feedback reinforced the need, and contributed to the decision to make changes at this time.”
According to White, the reorganization adds no new positions to the school system’s staffing and requires the reclassification of only three positions.
“Creating the new Division of School Climate and Safety will provide holistic leadership for an issue that we know is top of mind for our parents, staff, and community,” said White. “It will bring together our Department of School Safety and our Office of School Climate to provide better coordination and consistent services regarding the physical safety of students and their social-emotional well-being.”
The division will be led by a chief of school climate and safety, whose position will be reclassified from a community superintendent position.
Creating this new division also allows BCPS to create an executive director position for the Department of Social-Emotional Support.
The second part of the reorganization involves collapsing the school management structure from four zones to three geographical zones – east, central, and west.
“Staff for these three geographical zones,” White said, “will be able to provide greater instructional support, coaching, and supervision, improved academic accountability, and greater responsiveness to community needs. Alignment by neighborhoods and feeder patterns responds to requests from our area education councils and the Magnet Task Force.”
A community superintendent will oversee each zone and will supervise three executive directors – two focused on elementary schools and one working with secondary schools. Each executive director will manage approximately 18 schools instead of 30 or more, as the former structure required at the elementary level.
“The executive directors will be able to provide more frequent and more personalized support to all the schools in their zones,” White said, “because of the reduction in the number of schools they oversee. This is a tremendous benefit for our schools and our students.”