District : Baltimore County Public Schools
State : Maryland
Level : P-12
District Enrollment : 40,001+ students
Community Type : Urban
Strategic Blueprint 2.0 for Digital Learning
Baltimore County Public Schools is the third largest school district in Maryland and the twenty-fifth largest district in the country. It serves a diverse population close to 110,000 students across 173 schools, programs, and centers. In October 2014, BCPS received one of only 15 national Digital Innovation in Learning Awards from EdSurge and Digital Promise for its strategic plan to incorporate digital technology into everything from community outreach to classroom learning.
While BCPS sets the academic bar high (more than half of its high schools are ranked among the highest in the country), the district acknowledged that the achievement and digital learning gap still existed in its district. “All students need meaningful access to technology for 24/7 learning to occur,” said Superintendent Dallas Dance. “Without a 1:1 environment in our schools, there is still a digital divide between those who have access to computers and the Internet and those who do not.” As of 2013, many schools lacked wireless Internet access and an adequate number of devices to meet its students’ needs. They knew that they needed to integrate technology into the classroom once infrastructure was in place, but lacked an implementation plan.
The district created Blueprint 2.0: Our Way Forward, a strategic five-year plan developed through a series of staff and community meetings. This plan encompasses academics, safety and security, communication, and organizational effectiveness as they relate to digital learning. Blueprint 2.0 launched a two-pronged attack on the digital learning gap: infrastructure and classroom integration. BCPS participates in an open data pilot program with neighboring districts, which allows them to compare pricing and engage in aggregate purchasing. As a result, they installed broadband and WiFi technology in 77 schools during the 2014-2015 school year and plans to connect all schools by December 2015.
With necessary infrastructure in place, Blueprint 2.0 is moving all district schools from a three-to-one device ratio to school-provided one-to-one by 2017. This roll-out enables execution of the student-named STAT initiative (Students and Teachers Accessing Tomorrow), which requires that every student have his/her own electronic portfolio to track personalized learning goals and growth. In order to create the smoothest transition possible, district leaders spent two years planning proper STAT implementation; they ultimately decided to provide each school with an instructional technology leader to support site-specific digital learning, and purchased hybrid tablet-laptops as their one-to-one devices. BCPS also built “BCPS One,” a website with cloud-based data storage for staff, parents, and students to serve as a central location to share academic information.
From Baltimore County Public Schools:
- Visit the League of Innovative Schools: District Overview.
- View the district’s Blueprint 2.0: Our Way Forward.
- Read the district’s blog.
- Visit the district’s website.
From the U.S. Department of Education:
District Point of Contact