He made a list – a long list – of the many educational supporters and stakeholders who helped bring the national recognition to Baltimore County’s school system. “I am humbled by this award and proud to acknowledge that it is not my award alone,” Dance said. “This honor recognizes the strength of Team BCPS and the clarity of our collective vision.”
At his first State of the Schools address in March 2013, Dance shared the vision, articulated in the community-driven strategic plan, Blueprint 2.0, of equipping every student with the critical 21st century skills needed to be globally competitive. He said that Team BCPS must ensure that every school has an equitable, effective digital learning environment, and that every student has equitable access to learning and developing proficiency in a second language.
Reflecting on the work done since the beginning of his administration, Dance said, “I am so proud of the progress we are making toward these goals and the collaborative process we are engaged in to provide our students with a 21st century education.”
From across Baltimore County and Maryland, members of Team BCPS – supporters and advocates of Baltimore County schools – shared in the national recognition.
“Baltimore County government is working side-by-side with Baltimore County Public Schools to support its much-anticipated instructional digital conversion as well as its facilities plan for the next 10 years. Our partnership yields benefits for the children of Baltimore County and for the future of this community and region,” said County Executive Kevin Kamenetz. “Because the community is truly united and working together as Team BCPS, this honor for Dr. Dance is an honor for what all of us are achieving together.”
Added Maryland State Superintendent of Schools Dr. Lillian M. Lowery, “As Marylanders, we can be proud of the nationally-recognized strength and vitality of our public school system, and Baltimore County Public Schools has played a major and important role in helping to make Maryland schools the best in the nation for five years in a row. Under the leadership of Dr. Dance, the Baltimore County schools have become a force in instructional technology and innovation, and I look forward to our continued collaboration and partnership as we prepare our students for college and career.”
Dr. Freeman Hrabowski, president of the University of Maryland Baltimore County and a national educational leader, said he has seen the growth of Baltimore County schools from a close and personal perspective.
“Baltimore County is moving from a strong school system to a national model,” he said. “This progress is the result of several factors: the strong leadership of Dr. Dance and the school board; the commitment of dedicated teachers and staff; and increasing numbers of students and families wanting the best education possible.
“The White House Champions of Change honor reflects both Dr. Dance’s role as a national leader and the growing stature of the school system,” Hrabowski added. “Maryland is very fortunate.”
Dance also noted that the school system has received tremendous support from every level of the county’s elected leaders, and many of them expressed their approval of the White House recognition of Baltimore County’s educational progress.
“This award truly demonstrates how far this county has come in the ways of technology, especially within our school system,” said Baltimore County Council Chairman Tom Quirk. “Dr. Dance being named a Connected Educator Champion of Change by the White House further exhibits our commitment to educating globally competitive students in this ever-changing, technology driven world.”
Del. Adrienne Jones, a long-time advocate for county education who serves as the House Speaker Pro-Tem, said she was pleased to see BCPS at the forefront of innovative education. “Dr. Dance has spearheaded the instructional digital conversion initiative, and I congratulate him for being recognized for his commitment to 21st century learning,” she said.
Both leaders of Baltimore County’s legislative delegation, Sen. Kathy Klausmeier and Del. John Olszewski, Jr., also expressed their appreciation for the Presidential recognition for county schools and Dr. Dance.
“I have had the opportunity to watch and then support the Baltimore County schools system as a graduate, teacher, Board of Education member, and state Delegate,” Del. Olszewski said. “Over the years, we have worked hard to grow BCPS into a thriving and responsive school system that has demonstrated how to maintain high standards while navigating an ever-evolving educational landscape. I congratulate Dr. Dance on his award and view it as a culmination of that growth and a symbol of the promise of an even brighter future for our county and our students.”
Added Sen. Klausmeier: “”Dr. Dance has brought a breath of fresh air to the Baltimore County Public Schools. Since I have the opportunity to work closely with him as the Chair of the County’s Senate Delegation, I am very proud to congratulate him on this well-deserved honor.”
In June, President Obama announced the ConnectED Initiative, which is designed to connect nearly all of the nation’s students to high-speed wireless internet in five years, among other features. As part of the initiative, the President challenged the federal government as well as states, districts, schools and communities to help prepare all teachers to thrive in a connected classroom and leverage technology to re-imagine learning.