2015 Open Door Policy

S. Dallas Dance

Baltimore County Public Schools
2015 Winner for Open Door Policy Award
About Open Door Policy Award

Shares what’s working and what’s not with other schools, makes visits and welcomes visitors, facilitates open collaboration between charters and district schools, and publishes resources for free public use.

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.

Launched in fall 2014, Baltimore County Public Schools S.T.A.T. (BCPS Students and Teachers Accessing Tomorrow) is a fundamental shift in teaching and learning to prepare every student to graduate globally competitive. S.T.A.T. responds to the call from the Blueprint 2.0 strategic plan to ensure equitable access to effective digital learning environments. S.T.A.T. is one way BCPS is creating learner-centered environments that position teachers as facilitators of learning, while students are actively engaged in developing 21st century knowledge and skills. The goal is to raise achievement so that all students thrive in the future, while closing gaps that have persisted over time based on race/ethnicity, gender, income level, special education status, and English proficiency. Rolling out districtwide by the 2017-2018 school year, S.T.A.T. is comprehensive. Components include digital curriculum in the core content areas, school-based instructional coaching from S.T.A.T. teachers, 1:1 device access for educators and students, intensive professional development, wireless and broadband infrastructure, and the BCPS One portal to learning and management systems. S.T.A.T. Lighthouse pilot schools launched in fall 2014 with a mission to operate as demonstration labs for digital learning. Lighthouse schools were the first in the county to boost student engagement and personalization through 1:1 student devices. The S.T.A.T. visitor program opened Lighthouse schools up to guests from around the world. The France 2 public television channel visited Mays Chapel Elementary to highlight equitable digital learning. Discovery Education spent a week filming at another Lighthouse school, Halstead Academy, to feature students in “Rise: The Promise of My Brother’s Keeper.” Two types of Lighthouse visits have been formally offered: school day site visits and “Night of Innovation” community events. During site visits, leaders from school systems and the business community experienced the BCPS transformation in teaching and learning at two to four Lighthouse schools. From February to May 2015, BCPS held seven Lighthouse visits. Lighthouse schools were visited by leaders from more than 25 school districts across the country, three corporations, and three nonprofits. Plans for the 2015-2016 school year include four visits during fall 2015 and four during spring 2016. Visitors included the New Schools Venture Fund, which has invested more than $150 million in 300+ charter schools. BCPS was one of four systems selected to join the League of Innovative Schools, a network that includes charter schools in its membership of 57 districts and 27 states. Discovery Education co-hosted Night of Innovation events that targeted the public on December 1 and 4, 2014, and May 4, 2015 at eight Lighthouse schools. Each night, between two and four Lighthouse schools demonstrated hands-on, interactive learning stations, a Student Digital Showcase, and model classrooms that exemplify learner-centered environments. The audience included about 2,000 students, parents, community members, as well as educators from non-Lighthouse schools. Night of Innovation events for the 2015-2016 school year are being planned. Recently, the BCPS Showcase website was created as a one-stop resource for guests to access information on what they learn about during their visit: http://showcase.bcps.org/. There is a welcome from the superintendent; a description of learner-centered environments, a video, and related tools; a video introduction to BCPS; and multimedia information about S.T.A.T: archived presentations, a video about the first year of Lighthouse schools, the BCPS One infographic, and a resource wiki. The visitor program continues the spirit of openness on which S.T.A.T. was built. Three sources informed S.T.A.T.’s development. Ongoing visits to districts and schools with seasoned technology initiatives began during the planning phase and continue to provide the opportunity to see digital learning in action and consult with teachers, leaders, and students. Evaluation findings and recommendations from laptop initiatives across the country were used as a knowledge base. Additional critical resources were Superintendent Dance’s own experience leading a 1:1 school and the leadership of an executive director who led a similar initiative in a different county. BCPS leaders continue to incorporate lessons learned from visits to other jurisdictions as S.T.A.T. evolves. In addition, BCPS leaders have been invited to share the S.T.A.T. story with international, national, regional, state, and local audiences. BCPS was the only school district, and the sole U.S. representative, leading the conversation on transforming 1:1 education with 60 countries at an international symposium in Korea. The United Nations General Assembly was the backdrop for a keynote address by the BCPS superintendent to schools and global education, business, and technology leaders hosted by Hewlett-Packard. Dr. Dance has conferred with the ministers of education from India, Ireland, and the United Kingdom. Because of its focus on equity, S.T.A.T. planning is source material for Hewlett-Packard’s advice to the ministries of education in Croatia, Ireland, Northern Ireland, Oman, Rwanda, and the World Economic Forum as well as international teacher training through partnerships with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). These experiences have kept BCPS leadership aware of emerging and related initiatives. BCPS shares lessons learned with the education and business communities through Superintendent Dance’s positions as a White House ConnectED Champion of Change, International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) board member, eSchool News Tech Savvy Superintendent, DILA “Walk the Walk" winner, National School Boards Association “20 to Watch" educator, Daily Record Most Admired CEO, and twice as an invited speaker in front of the Federal Communications Commission. BCPS has been honored as a District of Distinction for personalized/individualized learning by District Administration magazine based on S.T.A.T. as well as a Microsoft “Showcase” school system. The Center for Digital Education recognized BCPS with a Digital Content and Curriculum Achievement Award. BCPS leaders have shared the S.T.A.T. story at state conferences as well as the following national opportunities: Digital Learning Day; AASA; SXSWedu; CoSN; ASCD; Discovery Education; Schools, Health & Libraries Broadband Coalition (SHLB); Education Research and Development Institute (ERDI); Edustat University; Lead 3.0; ISTE; various webinars; and a national radio broadcast. The broader public is able to learn about S.T.A.T. through BCPS-produced videos as well as stories in national e-publications (eSchool News, T.H.E. Journal, EdSurge, the Hechinger Report, OnCUE Journal); local print and TV news; the weekly BCPS e-newsletter; the S.T.A.T. Web page (https://www.bcps.org/academics/stat/); the Lighthouse Schools Web site (http://lighthouse.bcps.org/), which includes reflections from Lighthouse students, parents, and staff; the BCPS blog (https://deliberateexcellence.wordpress.com/); presentations to the Board of Education of Baltimore County; and through social media at #BCPSLH or #BCPSSTAT. In addition, S.T.A.T. is being shaped by an independent evaluation by Johns Hopkins University. Mid-year and end of year reports were presented to the public at Board of Education meetings and are available online. The first year evaluation included the voices of Lighthouse teachers and administrators through interviews and focus groups to investigate professional development, perceived S.T.A.T. impact on measurable outcomes and educational goals, and S.T.A.T. experiences and perspectives. Classroom observations focused on student engagement, instructional strategies, and technology use.

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

The long-lasting impact of learning from other jurisdictions and sharing the S.T.A.T. story is continuous improvement. Creating a two-way learning community around S.T.A.T. means that the best thinking from other schools and districts will help BCPS students succeed. Those who visit Lighthouse schools and those visited by BCPS leaders have become thought partners in advancing digital learning that is equitable and meaningful. Describing, explaining, and showcasing S.T.A.T. with the education community provides the opportunity to examine current efforts and consider more strategies for engaging students and supporting the development of 21st century skills and knowledge. BCPS is learning from others and gaining insights that will take S.T.A.T. to the next level. Visiting other digital learning initiatives as a team has produced many benefits. BCPS leaders have had the opportunity to witness 1:1 teaching and learning firsthand, ask questions, and receive advice from others to strengthen implementation. BCPS has a large staff with varying levels of interest, experience, and comfort with technology. The open door has alleviated many concerns about technology in schools by putting leaders in direct contact with those who are doing the work elsewhere. Qualitative support includes appreciation from visitors including the following sample of tweets using #BCPSLH: Framingham Public Schools, MA https://twitter.com/drgracewai/status/596320964260012032 Frederick County Public Schools, MD https://twitter.com/fcpslibrary/status/592758139990188032 BCPS high school reflection on (elementary) Lighthouse visit https://twitter.com/drobb/status/590169141669040128 BCPS staff sharing artifacts of learner-centered environments https://twitter.com/CLETS_STAT/status/601751631747805184 https://twitter.com/VSchaffer/status/601749764556857344 https://twitter.com/CLETS_STAT/status/601734956323332096 https://twitter.com/drobb/status/595593215329366016 https://twitter.com/kelleymcv/status/592755186323554304 https://twitter.com/kelleymcv/status/592754579449708544 https://twitter.com/CLETS_STAT/status/563724866105655296 https://twitter.com/ScottSRU9/status/560849841497321472 https://twitter.com/MsPreisinger/status/560831130501677056 https://twitter.com/drobb/status/542339906744631298 https://twitter.com/drobb/status/541994821695836160 https://twitter.com/CLETS_STAT/status/540236396007813120 https://twitter.com/CLETS_STAT/status/540172627101642752 https://twitter.com/MrHennautBCPS/status/537365452625035266 https://twitter.com/KarynGinesi/status/535969883918704641 https://twitter.com/CLETS_STAT/status/535136413185220608 https://twitter.com/Doitbcps/status/519593208502693888 https://twitter.com/delmendorf/status/519489629301788672