Baltimore County Public Schools: S.T.A.T.—Students and Teachers Accessing Tomorrow
Baltimore County Public Schools already won acclaim for its high school and magnet programs, and its wellness and arts initiatives. Its graduation rate and enrollment were increasing a few years ago.
However, the 110,000-student district continued to struggle with achievement gaps based on race, gender, poverty, special education and English language proficiency.
At the same time, student access to technology varied among the districts 173 schools and other buildings.
As the district adopted more rigorous English and math standards it also launched its S.T.A.T. (Students and Teachers Accessing Tomorrow) program in 2013 in an effort to personalize instruction and increase student engagement.
All teachers were provided with some type of computer by June 2014 in advance of summer PD, and each school now has a specialized S.T.A.T. teacher to assist with training and instruction.
At the beginning of the 2014-15 year, 1-to-1 programs for students were launched at 10 pilot schools. Most of the classrooms in the pilot schools have been rearranged to allow for more flexible group instruction.
Teachers across the district also began phasing in a digital language arts curriculum in the district’s elementary schools. Wireless and broadband access was scheduled to reach all schools by June 2015, while digital curriculums will be adopted in other subjects by the 2017-18 school year.
Because of its focus on equity, S.T.A.T. is source material for Hewlett-Packard’s advice to the ministries of education in a number of foreign countries, and the World Economic Forum.
“Through our focus on learner-centered environments, which includes a move to a digital curriculum and S.T.A.T., we are transforming teaching and learning to help students develop lifelong critical thinking skills and graduate globally competitive,” Baltimore County Superintendent S. Dallas Dance says.
In recognition of the innovation and success of this initiative, Baltimore County Public Schools has been named a District of Distinction by District Administration. Baltimore County was among 30 districts that were honored in the July 2015 round of Districts of Distinction, the magazine’s national recognition program.
“We are pleased to honor Baltimore County as a District of Distinction,” says JD Solomon, editorial director at District Administration magazine. “Like all our honorees, Baltimore County Public Schools serves as a model for school leaders across the country.”