Walk The Walk

S. Dallas Dance

Baltimore County Public Schools
2014 Winner for Walk the Walk Award
About Walk the Walk Award

“Leads by example” by demonstrating their own meaningful use of technology.

Provide an overview of the project, practice or product that your video represents, and how your work encompasses the principles and ideals of the award that you're applying for.

Superintendent S. Dallas Dance is leading a multi-year transformation in Baltimore County Public Schools (BCPS) to prepare 110,000 students to graduate globally competitive. Soon after assuming the superintendency in 2012, Dr. Dance brought the community together to develop a five-year strategic plan, Blueprint 2.0. Its bold theory of action calls for every school to have an equitable, effective digital learning environment to equip each student with the critical 21st century skills needed for successful futures.

Meaningful use of technology is the centerpiece of the BCPS S.T.A.T. (Students and Teachers Accessing Tomorrow) initiative. S.T.A.T. leverages technology to personalize learning through 1:1 device access for educators and students, learner-centered instructional strategies and a digital curriculum. Dr. Dance both leads S.T.A.T. and reinforces this focus through his personal Twitter account as well as BCPS outreach on Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, bcps.org, a mobile app, a blog, RSS feeds and a weekly e-newsletter.

A fixture on Twitter since June 2012, Dr. Dance’s use of social media inspires and engages the community known as Team BCPS. He tweets multiple times per day with a focus on best practices and news from BCPS and across the nation as well as emergency updates.

Community members including students have direct conversations with Dr. Dance through technology, anytime, anywhere. Many school and district leaders as well as students and parents have followed his lead and are using Twitter and Facebook for quick communication as well as rallying the community. For example, many shared words of encouragement and pictures on the first day of school last month. By visiting all 173 schools, programs and centers each school year, Dr. Dance is visible to students and school staff and leaders. Rarely seen without at least one device, his presence reinforces the importance of technology as a useful communication tool.

Explain the long-lasting impact of what you've presented in this video, and provide any qualitative or quantitative data that supports this impact.

Dr. Dance has changed the community’s expectations for education technology in BCPS and has created multiple avenues for interacting with the school system. He has 14,945 Twitter followers. Under his leadership, BCPS has a thriving online presence and interactive community including Facebook (21,338 likes), Twitter (10,431 followers) and Flickr (7,650 photos).

Dr. Dance has launched many communication strategies: a website redesign (1,679,250 hits during the past month), the BCPS Now mobile app (approximately 41,300 downloads), the Deliberate Excellence blog (100 posts), five RSS feeds and a weekly e-newsletter (21,000 subscribers). More events are live streamed, and there is a rich online archive of video programs. Dr. Dance regularly records video messages to talk directly to the community, students, and staff. Participation in the annual Stakeholder Satisfaction Survey ballooned from around 500 on prior paper surveys to more than 40,000 on the first online survey in 2014.

The S.T.A.T. (Students and Teachers Accessing Tomorrow) digital learning transformation was inspired by Dr. Dance. As a result, all 173 BCPS schools, programs and centers will have broadband and wireless access. BCPS’s growing enrollment of 110,000 students will benefit from learner-centered instruction with the support of 1:1 devices. Nearly 9,000 educators will use their 1:1 devices to manage instruction and data as well as personalizing student learning. A device in each hand will support 21st century skills needed for success beyond BCPS. BCPS One is a new "one-stop shop" offering parents easy access to school schedules, class assignments and grades for timely updates on student progress. Dr. Dance’s leadership has not gone unnoticed. In 2014, he was appointed to the board of directors for the International Society for Technology in Education and was named an eSchool News Tech-Savvy Superintendents. A year earlier, he became a White House Connected Educator Champion of Change.