• Take Action Archive - January 2013

     

    Attendance Trainings

     

    Principals, please register appropriate staff for the two-part attendance trainings being held in January & February.

     

    The Office of Student Support and Safety, with the support of The Baltimore Student Attendance Campaign, will be holding a two-part attendance training this January.


    Part 1 - PLEASE NOTE: THE PART 1 TRAINING HAS ALREADY BEEN COMPLETED. Attendance and SMS: Using Data as a Tool for Improvementwill be a technical training that will cover attendance tracking in SMS. This training is intended for attendance monitors seeking support for entering data into SMS and pulling reports. Registration for Part 1 is open through the Professional Growth System

     

    Part 2 will be a network-based interactive training run by the Student Support Liaison for your network. Schools will be encouraged to share best practices and challenges and will actively create an attendance improvement plan for their school. Two staff members from each school are encouraged to attend –this  could be the attendance monitor and an administrator or social worker. To register for Part 2, please click on the appropriate link below.

     

    Click here to find your school's network.

     

     Day/Time Monday, February 4th  Tuesday, February 5th  Wednesday, February 6th  Thursday, February 7th 
     9 - 11:30 a.m.
              Network 14 
     12:30 - 3 p.m.
     
     
    At these network-based trainings, Student Support Liaisons will cover the following topics:
    • attendance best practices 
    • universal strategies for attendance improvement
    • school based roles & responsibilities
    • how to organize an effective attendance team
    • how to develop and implement an effective school-wide attendance improvement plan
    Light snacks, materials and give-aways will be provided. 
     
    For more information or for any problems with registration, please contact Arezo Rahmani at arahmani@bcps.k12.md.us.
     
    Board of School Commissioners’ 2013-14 Budget Dialogues

    Principals, please identify parents, community and staff to participate in the Board of School Commissioners’ 2013-14 Budget Dialogues.

    The Board of School Commissioners is beginning the budget process for the 2013-14 school year with two sessions to get input on priorities and values from City Schools’ stakeholders. These sessions will be held on:

    • Thursday, January 17, from 5:30 to 7 p.m. at Baltimore Polytechnic Institute
    • Thursday, January 24, from 5:30 to 7 p.m. at Augusta Fells Savage Institute of Visual Arts High School

    Principals are asked to identify a team of people who would be interested in and benefit from a discussion of what values and priorities should guide the district budgeting process. In thinking about members of these teams, principals are encouraged to involve people who may not have been engaged in district level discussions before. Team members may be members of the School Family Council, but membership on the School Family Council is not required. The school’s team should consist of:

    • 2 parents
    • 1 community partner
    • 1 staff
    • 1 student (high schools ONLY)

    Child care and a light dinner will be provided for all participants. Please register your team no later than Thursday, January 10 by following this link. Invitations will be emailed to participants with more details. This is a valuable opportunity for the Board to hear from stakeholders in your school.

     

    Upcoming State Rated Capacity (SRC) Reviews

    Principals, please read the following information regarding scheduling a visit to your school for the State Rated Capacity Review.

    Baltimore City Public Schools has engaged the services of JMT Engineering to visit your school during the 2012-13 school year to calculate the State Rated Capacity (SRC) for your program. The consultant will spend a portion of one day in your facility, during which time they will need to visit and document every space in the building. It will be necessary for you, your Assistant Principal or another knowledgeable designee, to accompany the consultant from room-to-room to indicate how each space is used. Staff from City Schools’ Facilities Planning Office will contact you to schedule an appointment for the consultant visit. Please cooperate with the request, as we are embarking on a very aggressive schedule for this project. If you have any further questions, please contact Ms. Greta Sawyers, Acting Director of Facilities Planning, at 443-984-1823. For more information, please see the attached memo.

     

    Verify School Enrollment Projections on Principals’ Dashboard

    Principals, please review the following information regarding verification of your schools enrollment projections for Fiscal Year 14.

    Enrollment Projections for FY14 (School Year 2013-14) are now available on Principals’ Dashboard. These projections are used to determine the dollar amount placed in the schools’ FY14 budget tool. Please log into Principals’ dashboard to download your schools’ projected enrollment and to receive guidance on verifying the proposed enrollment numbers.

    Because some projections will be affected by Board decisions, your school’s projections may not be available yet; all projections will be posted by January 11. Projections are calculated using an average of the past 5 years of Grade Progression Ratios (GPR) – how many students move from grade-to-grade each year – based on official 9/30 enrollment counts. For charter schools, funding is based on enrollment caps, so these are shown instead of projections.

    Deadline to complete this task is Tuesday, January 15. Please confirm your school’s enrollment projection counts for FY14 by emailing enrollmentprojections@bcps.k12.md.us; email your questions to this same email address. Your Executive Directors are available for support.

    2012-13 Network Perceptions Survey

    Principals, please review the following information regarding the 2012-13 Network Perceptions Survey for School Leaders.


    As we approach the midpoint of the 2012-13 school year, the School Support Networks would like to extend to principals an opportunity to provide feedback regarding your experience working with your network team. This survey will gather perceptual feedback from principals on the support they are receiving from their network and executive director. We are interested in your total interactions with the network team. The survey link will be sent to your City Schools email account. The survey will be available from Wednesday, January 2, until Friday, January 11, at 5 p.m. For more information, please contact Jonathan Brice, School Support Network Officer, at jbrice@bcps.k12.md.us.

    School Family Council Representative

    Principals, please update your School Family Council representative via the Principal's Dashboard no later than Tuesday, January 15.

    School Family Council representatives have to be updated online via the Principal's Dashboard by Tuesday, January 15. Once logged in, principals can visit the "School Family Council Representative" tab, make the appropriate updates and check the box that verifies the information updated is correct. Please note that all positions must be filled. For guidance on the process, please see the tip sheet. For additional information and any questions, contact your Network Family and Community Engagement Specialist.

    School Counselor Evaluations

    Principals, please review the following information regarding school counselor evaluations.

    School counselors are observed by staff from the Office of School Counseling. All principals should be preparing to complete the Performance Review Report (mid-year evaluation) for counselors in their schools. Mid-year performance evaluations should be submitted by Tuesday, January 15, as noted in the PBES handbook (2005). Please note, the required Annual Evaluation and conference of school counselors should be completed one week prior to the last day of school, in June. Evaluation documents can be found in the PBES handbook and must be uploaded by the Principal in OPMS.

     

    Office of Legal Counsel Newsletter

    All staff, please read the latest installment of Sidebar Conversations.

    Sidebar Conversations is the Office of Legal Counsel's newsletter for information and guidelines about important topics including privacy and social media, public ethical laws and legal review of City Schools contracts.

     

    January 2013 HSA Administration

    Principals and test coordinators, please review the following information regarding January HSA administration preparation.

    The test window for the January HSA paper and pencil administration is January 7 -10 with make-up testing, January 14-17. Online administration is available January 7-18. Schools should have received test materials from the vendor December 12-14. Please note, schools have until Friday, January 11, to place orders for additional materials. City Schools will be randomly monitoring the administration of the January HSA. Schools selected for monitoring were contacted prior to this notice. Please read the attached memo for additional details. If you have questions, contact the Office of Achievement and Accountability at 410-396-8962 or OAA_Assessment@bcps.k12.md.us.

    Student Transportation Reporting

    Principals and transportation coordinators, please review the following information regarding accurate reporting of student transportation information.

    The safe and timely arrival of City Schools students from home to school each day is the transportation division’s top priority. Transportation cannot achieve this without the assistance of school-based transportation coordinators whose primary role is to ensure that student data for transportation is accurate and up-to-date. It is important that all transportation coordinators understand and immediately implement the following actions:

    Translog: Transportation coordinators must use City Schools’ online transportation log, Translog, to record bus arrival/unload times daily. Documentation of bus arrival and unload times is needed to monitor timely delivery of transportation services. Translog data enables City Schools to monitor transportation quality to identify problem areas and provide resolutions. Please ensure daily entry of bus arrival/unload times (for all buses) into Translog. Instruction manual is attached.

    eTR entries: Transportation coordinators must ensure that eTR change requests are entered into the system no later than 24 hours after the request is made. In order for City Schools to implement service updates for students, requests must be entered into the system immediately when they are received. Late entries result in delayed implementation of changes, which may lead to pupils missing service for a period of time. Coordinators should also ensure that all transferred, withdrawn or graduated students have their transportation ended for that school. Failure to do so results in transportation services withheld from students who actually need them, because those services are wrongly assigned. Transportation coordinators must submit approved eTR requests no later than 24 hours after the request is made by a parent/guardian, and coordinators must immediately stop transportation for all transferred, withdrawn or graduated students.

    Monthly Highly Qualified Reporting (January)

    Principals, please review the following information regarding Highly Qualified (HQ) staff compliance for the month of January.

    The federal No Child Left Behind (NCLB) law mandates that all teachers be highly qualified (HQ). Schools that receive funding under Title I are required to notify parents whenever their students are being taught by non HQ teachers and long-term substitutes for four or more consecutive weeks. Monthly reports of teachers and long-term substitutes flagged as non HQ will be posted to the Principal’s Dashboard. New instances of non HQ teachers for the month of January will be posted to your dashboard by Monday, January 7. Human Capital Specialists will support schools in monitoring highly qualified status and ensuring affected families are notified on time. Additional highly qualified resources are available via TSS.

    MSA 2013 Administration – Mandatory School Test Coordinator Training

    Principals and MSA test coordinators, please review the following information regarding mandatory MSA administration training sessions.

    In preparation for the 2013 MSA administration, the Office of Achievement and Accountability will provide training for school test coordinators. Attendance at these training sessions is mandatory for all test coordinators.

    Participants will be trained on the required test administration and test security procedures. Coordinators will receive all necessary materials so they can provide similar trainings to their school staff. The trainings will be conducted Tuesday, January 29, and Wednesday January 30, from 12:30 to 3 p.m. in the Friendship Academy of Engineering and Technology auditorium, located at 2500 E. Northern Pkwy.

    The 2013 Maryland School Assessment (MSA) reading and mathematics paper/pencil testing window is March 5-19. The MSA is administered to students in grades 3 through 8. The 2013 administration, will offer an online reading test option for grades 5 and 7, March 4-22. Please read the attached memo for details; or contact Carol Wilson at 443-642-3916 or cwilson@bcps.k12.md.us with questions.

    Any Given Child Initiative Information/ Data Request

    Principals, please compile the following information in preparation for the Any Given Child initiative survey.

    In the next few weeks, you will receive an important invitation to participate in a survey that will help us determine the future pathway for arts education in our schools. The survey will be administered as part of the Any Given Child initiative, which is a partnership between City Schools and the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. The focus of the initiative is the collection of data from various stakeholders throughout City Schools and the greater Baltimore Arts Community, which will be used to formulate a strategic plan to ensure equitable, sustainable access to comprehensive, sequential arts education for all students in grades pre-k through 8. The questionnaire will ask you for several pieces of arts data. These include:

    • The number of students at your school
    • Your own experiences in and attitudes toward the arts
    • The place of arts education in your school
    • Full and part-time certified arts teachers
    • Hours of arts instruction at each grade level
    • Percentages of your students that participate in arts classes and experiences
    • Teaching artists, assemblies, and field trips in the arts
    • The role of arts integration in your school

    The Any Given Child initiative represents a unique partnership opportunity to enhance the delivery of arts education in City Schools. Please take time to compile this information now so you will be ready to complete the survey when you receive it.

    Winter Transportation Coordinator Training


    Principals, please register transportation coordinators that are either new or requiring a refresher for one of the upcoming training dates.

    The Office of Student Transportation has seen noteworthy improvement in the work done by our transportation coordinators since training intensified over the past year. In order to maintain the momentum, we are requesting that all schools with new transportation coordinators, register for one of the upcoming training dates.

    The Office of Student Transportation will facilitate training sessions for new transportation coordinators and coordinators that were trained prior to June 2012, on Tuesday, January 22, and Wednesday, January 23. All new coordinators should register for one of the training dates which will be held at the Office of Student Transportation located at 1210 E. 20th Street, Baltimore MD, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

    Please note, principals should inform the Office of Student Transportation no more than 5 days after the school’s transportation coordinator changes. In preparation, please review the topics that will be covered prior to attending the session. Enrollment for training sessions is now available on the Professional Growth System; click here for the enrollment instructions. If you have any questions, contact Roberta Neal at 443-396-7440 or RNeal@bcps.k12.md.us.

     

    Maintenance and Management of Student Records

    Principals, please register appropriate staff for one of the two-days of student records management training being held Tuesday, January 22, and Wednesday, January 23.

    The Office of Student Support and Safety will be conducting a two-day student records management training in January. These trainings are intended for persons responsible for the maintenance and management of student cumulative records. Registration is open through the Professional Growth System.

    • Primary Schools; Tuesday, January 22; 9 to 11:30 a.m. or 12:30 to 3 p.m.
    • Secondary Schools; Wednesday, January 23; 9 to 11:30 a.m. or 12:30 to 3:00 p.m.

     

    Materials from January School Leader Session on Teacher Evaluation

    Principals and assistant principals, please review the following information from the January school leader professional development session on the teacher evaluation field test.

    Attached is a copy of the Student Learning Objective (SLO) brief and the power point from the professional development session. Please review the criteria listed below for selecting SLO ambassadors. PLease also nominate 2 ambassadors for your school by emailing names to educatorfieldtest@bcps.k12.md.us no later than Thursday, January 31. If you feel you need more than 2 ambassadors, please note this request in your email.

    Based on feedback from principals, the Tuesday, February 12, SLO ambassador meeting has been moved. The next meeting for SLO ambassadors will be Tuesday, March 19, and more details will be provided on this training.

    SLO Ambassador Criteria:

    • Teach in a non-tested content area; i.e. subjects/grades not covered by MSA/HSA exams
    • Demonstrate strength in instructional practices during classroom observations using the framework
    • Be able to commit 3-5 hours per month to attend trainings, workgroup meetings and complete outside work, as needed
    • Plan to return to same school for SY13-14, and facilitate and lead SLO trainings to colleagues
    • Candidates may be Model Teachers

    City Schools and BTU will host a series of information sessions for teachers on the new teacher evaluation. These will run from February 5 through February 26. Click here for details.

    Dear City Schools Colleagues, Staff, Partners and Friends,

    Today our focus and absolute priority in Baltimore City Public Schools has been on finalizing preparations to re-open our 204 schools and programs tomorrow, Thursday, November 1, following extensive damage by Super storm Sandy.

    But we also have some very big news to share. Today marks our annual release of high school performance results, and the news for City Schools is very good. The Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) is reporting official results for the state and its districts using a new measure: 2008 Cohort graduation and dropout rates that show how students who entered high school in 2007-08 fared after four and five years: how many graduated, how many were still enrolled and working toward a diploma, and how many dropped out. MSDE’s traditional method of gauging high school success—graduation and dropout rates that reflect the number of students who received diplomas or dropped out in a given year—is no longer in use.

    The new cohort measures show a compelling picture of high school progress for City Schools.

    • Graduation rate is up and at an all-time high: The 2008 Cohort 4-year graduation rate is 65.8 percent, up from 61.5 percent for the 2007 Cohort; the 2008 Cohort 5-year graduation rate is 70.6 percent, up from 66.7 percent for the 2007 Cohort.
    • City Schools’ drop-out rate decreased by 30 percent from the 2007 cohort to the 2008 cohort: Nearly one-third fewer 2008 Cohort students dropped out of high school over four years than 2007 Cohort students, 1,065 students compared to 1,530. The main driver of this decline was the decrease in dropouts that occurred in grades 9 and 10, underscoring that the district is holding on to more students during the difficult middle-to-high school transition years.
    • More time in school matters: Of those 2008 Cohort students who were never chronically absent in high school (meaning they did not miss 20 days or more in a given year), 87.4 percent graduated from high school after four years. The 5-year graduation rate was 89.6 percent and the dropout rate was 7.7 percent. This is a big difference when looking at the graduation rates of students who were chronically absent at least once in high school. Of those students, fewer than 60 percent graduated in 4 years or 5 years (53 percent and 59.7 percent respectively). Also, for the chronically absent students, the dropout rate was three times higher at 23.1 percent.
    • Focus on college and career ready. Too few students are sufficiently prepared for career and college. As such, City Schools is developing a clearer, more rigorous literacy program and conducting more targeted and earlier career and college counseling with students. City Schools guidance counselors are educating students on the importance of college prep courses and exams and creating earlier student access to SAT prep and opportunities to take the Accuplacer.

    This year’s high school results show continued progress for City Schools students on the two most telling achievement measures: more students are graduating high school and fewer are dropping out. This continued growth in graduation has profound implications for City Schools students and for the city as a whole. At the same time, too many students are either dropping out, not graduating or not sufficiently prepared for career and college.

    For more detail, I would ask that you please read today’s press release and view the PowerPoint presentation I shared with media this afternoon.

    Thank you for all that you do for our students and our schools.

    Andrés A. Alonso, Ed.D.

    CEO, Baltimore City Public Schools

    New Policies Adopted by Board

    Principals, please review the following changes to policies and update your records accordingly.

    The Board has recently adopted several policies. Policy ACA is new. Policy ACB and administrative regulation ACB-RA (and Form 1) will replace Board Rules 401.07, and 409.01 through 409.08. Policy ACC and administrative regulation ACC-RA will replace Board Rules 401.07, 409.01 and 509.03. Please note that policies ACB and ACC and their administrative regulations are not effective until May 1, 2013.

    • Policy BCA and administrative regulation BCA-RA. This policy replaces the version that was adopted in May 2010. BCA-RA is new.
    • Policy BLA and Form 1 are new.
    • Policy BLB replaces Board Rule 407.
    • Policy BLC and Form 1 replace Board Rules 407.01, 407.02, 407.03, and 507.06.

    Please update your policy manual, as appropriate, with the following attachments:

    Dear City Schools Colleagues, Staff, Partners and Friends,

    Today, we in Baltimore City Public Schools joined together with Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake and numerous other elected officials, community leaders and district partners to unveil a plan for transforming over 10 years our entire buildings portfolio into 21st-century buildings that support 21st-century teaching and learning, and support and advance the district’s significant reforms to date. This is a day we have worked toward for many months, and it is with a deep sense of gratitude and pride, and a profound sense of responsibility to our kids, that I share this news with you.

    But as much as today marks a milestone or arrival, it also marks the start of a necessary effort on all of our behalfs to ensure the support to implement this plan. The district will be asking the Maryland General Assembly to approve legislation this coming session that would allow City Schools to receive future state construction dollars in the form of a block grant, so that it can in turn leverage these dollars to raise additional revenue to fund what will be a $2.413 billion construction program—and an unprecedented investment in our kids.

    This construction program will place all students in district buildings in modern, high-quality buildings that are much better than the buildings they are in today. It will also align the size of the district with the number of students it serves, which in turn will redirect resources away from maintaining underutilized buildings to strengthening classroom instruction. Perhaps most importantly, implementation of this 10-year buildings plan will send the unequivocal message to our students, teachers, families and the larger community that when it comes to our kids and their success in school and life, we as a City Schools community and city care—deeply.

    Please read today’s press release for details about City Schools’ 10-year buildings plan, and please join my City Schools colleagues and partners and me in our commitment to making sure our kids get the 21st-century buildings they need and deserve.

    Thank you for all that you do for our students and schools each and every day.

    Andrés A. Alonso, Ed.D.
    CEO, Baltimore City Public Schools


    Dear City Schools Colleagues, Staff, Partners and Friends,

     

    Today, the State of Maryland unveiled a new performance measure for schools, and with it results for all of its districts. The results are based on 2011-12 data and are no-stakes.

     

    The “School Progress Index” or SPI replaces “Adequate Yearly Progress” (AYP), the previous performance measure used by Maryland and other states under the federal No Child Left Behind (NCLB) mandate. Unlike AYP, which measured proficiency of a school’s students, the SPI focuses on the improvement of all students, and on closing the gaps between those performing at lower and higher levels. It also reaches beyond student performance in the basic subjects of reading and math, to factor in science and college and career readiness.

     

    We in Baltimore City Public Schools are extremely heartened by this shift in how we assess student achievement. The progress our students make on the path to proficiency and beyond is critically important, yet in the past this got overlooked by the charge to bring all students to a universal level of proficiency in a finite period of time. Maryland received a waiver from that mandate this year and the SPI as an alternative school performance measure is an outgrowth of that waiver.

     

    And City Schools’ results are encouraging. The SPI places schools into one of five strands, where Strand 1 represents schools that made the most progress in meeting their annual targets in a year and Strand 5 represents schools that made the least progress. The SPI results the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) released today place 94.7 percent of Baltimore City’s schools in the top three strands, with 69 percent placing in Strands 1 and 2. By comparison, 87.7 percent of schools across the state placed in the top three strands, according to MSDE, with 63.6 percent placing in the top two.

     

    Please read today’s press release for more details about today’s results and what they mean for City Schools, and please visit the City Schools website for more information on the SPI overall.


    Thank you for all that you do to support our students and our schools each and every day.

     

    Andrés A. Alonso, Ed.D.

    CEO, Baltimore City Public Schools

     


    Dear City Schools Colleagues, Staff, Partners and Friends,

    On behalf of all of us in Baltimore City Public Schools, I wish each of you a happy, healthy and successful 2013.

    For City Schools, 2013 opens with a tremendous amount of hard work ahead—and perhaps the biggest and best prospects yet for truly advancing our efforts to become an entire district of great schools for our 85,000 great kids.

     We open the new year—and the second half of the school year—with a major milestone: Next Tuesday, January 8, the Baltimore City Board of School Commissioners will vote on the recommendations included in the district’s proposed 10-year plan to provide all students with the 21st-century buildings they deserve and need to support their academic progress. The Board’s vote comes after many months of hard work by many people—all of you, plus our elected officials, and Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake in particular, who champions our schools at every turn and has been a forceful advocate for better buildings for our kids. And the Board’s vote will be informed by the feedback you have provided throughout the 10-year plan development process, especially in response to the recommendations at school community meetings in recent weeks and at the series of public hearings and forums City Schools held across the district last month. I thank you all for the tremendous support—and commitment to our kids—you all have shown in your responses to the 10-year plan recommendations. Now, we must build on that momentum as we take the next steps to turn the plan into reality.

    For the 10-year plan to move forward after gaining the Board’s approval, it must then gain the support of lawmakers during the 2013 session of the Maryland General Assembly. A Board-approved plan would go to legislators later this month, along with an implementation strategy comprising City Schools’ proposal for financing and overseeing execution of the plan. Legislators will be asked to vote on a bill to put this implementation strategy in motion, by providing City Schools with future construction funds in the form of a block grant and allowing for the creation of an independent authority to oversee implementation of the 10-year plan.

     With your continued support and involvement, we will work hard with our representatives in Annapolis to do right by our kids. Please visit the City Schools website often in the coming weeks to find out how you can participate in supporting these efforts, and watch your inbox for email updates on our progress.

     January also marks the official launch of budget season in City Schools, and the budget we build for 2013-14 will also be critical to furthering key district priorities and reforms. While it is still early in the work, please know that we remain absolutely committed to putting schools first in all decisions having to do with how we allocate district resources. As with last year, there will be numerous opportunities for you to engage in the budget process, both at the school and district levels. We will keep you apprised of budget developments as they take shape; meantime, please check the district website for upcoming events and important updates.

    Finally, the new year brings with it the official rollout of numerous other reform initiatives. This spring we are testing the various components of new teacher and school leader evaluation systems which, for the first time ever in City Schools, will tie performance to student achievement and officially launch in the fall. We are also gearing up this spring for the districtwide implementation of the Common Core State Standards in the fall.

    So needless to say we have a full several months ahead of us. But they represent unprecedented opportunities for us to make some big leaps forward on behalf of our kids. I look forward to continuing to partner closely with you in this incredibly important work, and on behalf of the entire City Schools family, I thank you for all that you do to support our students and our schools each and every day.

    Andrés A. Alonso, Ed.D.

    CEO, Baltimore City Public Schools

     
     

    Dear City Schools Colleagues, Staff, Partners and Friends,

     

    With tremendous gratitude and pleasure I am writing to you with news of a big leap forward for our students and our schools—and the very hard work we have done together to date to transform Baltimore City Public Schools into an entire district of great schools.

     

    Tonight, the Baltimore City Board of School Commissioners voted to approve the 10-year plan we proposed in November to overhaul and modernize our entire portfolio of school buildings. Over 10 years, this plan will renovate or replace 136 school buildings, vacate 26 school buildings, relocate 12 school programs and close 17 school programs. And when complete, our students will be in the 21st-century learning environments they need and deserve, and that so many of their peers in school districts across the state and nation already enjoy.

     

    The 10-year buildings plan is a massive undertaking on an aggressive timeline with tremendous implications for City Schools’ reform efforts thus far. Our students are making unprecedented academic progress; our teachers are working like never before to ensure excellent teaching and learning in every classroom; and every day our principals are asserting their leadership and growing autonomy to make decisions in the best interests of their students and school communities. The Board’s approval of the 10-year plan directly supports all of this work and takes it to a new level. Implementing the 10-year plan is the next crucial step in our transformation.

     

    Getting to this point has been a journey, one that will continue in the weeks and months ahead as lawmakers consider our proposed strategy to pay for and oversee the 10-year plan—and as we move, with your continued support, toward its implementation.

     

    Tomorrow, the Maryland General Assembly convenes for its 2013 session, and one of the many important items they will vote on is legislation to allow City Schools to receive future state construction funds in the form of a block grant it can use to leverage large sums of upfront construction funds, and the creation of an independent authority to oversee all aspects of the 10-year plan construction and implementation. We will be working closely with our representatives in Annapolis to secure the necessary support to pass this critical legislation for our kids, and I urge you to keep a close eye on both the 21st-Century Buildings for Our Kids section of our website and your email, as we continue to communicate ongoing updates and opportunities for you to continue to partner with us in realizing the 10-year plan.

     

    I extend to all of you deep appreciation for your partnership in this work and your unwavering commitment to our kids.

     

    Andrés A. Alonso, Ed.D.

    CEO, Baltimore City Public Schools