Education

BCPS superintendent establishes vision to increase student achievement, close gaps

TOWSON, MD — Superintendent Dr. Darryl L. Williams established a clear vision for Baltimore County Public Schools at Friday morning’s Administrative and Supervisory meeting, held at Loch Raven High School.

During his back-to-school speech to about 700 Team BCPS school and system leaders, Dr. Williams focused on increasing student achievement and closing gaps based on race, ethnicity, and participation in services from special education, English for speakers of other languages, and free and reduced-price meals.

Emphasizing collective action from schools and offices, Dr. Williams urged that “Students have to be at the center of everything we do.” He asked school and office leaders to examine current practices and consider, “Will this lead us to greater student achievement?”

As he reviewed data from 2018, he stressed that while one data point does not tell the entire story, differences in achievement have been persistent across assessments.

Dr. Williams announced that one central office change in response to the data is the creation of the new Division of Student Support and Achievement, which consists of community superintendents and executive directors who supervise schools by level and zone. The new division will lead Instructional Core Team meetings, where the needs of students, teachers, and school leaders will determine how central office coordinates and differentiates support to schools based on data.

Similarly, cabinet, Academic Team, and Business Services meetings will adjust to support the focus on raising the bar and closing gaps.

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Slated for spring 2020, another system-wide support will be a streamlined School Progress Plan (school improvement plan) process that will align student needs with professional learning for staff. Until then, schools will identify one or two initiatives that target an area where students are not mastering standards.

Central office will support schools in three major areas: studying and knowing the curriculum; infusing authentic literacy across disciplines including more reading and writing; and ensuring effective teaching based on formative assessments that explain what students know and can do.

Dr. Williams continues to examine data and gather feedback through his 100-day entry plan, upcoming Community Conversations with the public, and initial discussions about the 2020-2021 operational budget.

BCPS expects to welcome about 115,000 students to its schools on September 3rd.

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