A Visit to Baltimore County Public Schools’ Mays Chapel Campus
Ryan Imbriale, BCPS Executive Director, reviews the district’s S.T.A.T program with SchoolCIO attendees. In September, Tech & Learning hosted its SchoolCIO Summit, an invitation-only event for K-12 school leaders, in Baltimore, MD. The topic for this conference was digital equity. Despite the varied demographics of the attendee districts—from rural to mid-sized suburban to large urban—the conversations found many common themes: disparate family economics, home-connection challenges, sustaining program funding, and so on. The other common theme related to the solution for many of these challenges: innovation. It was this theme that inspired the opening event, a visit to Baltimore County Public School’s (BCPS) Mays Chapel Elementary School.
Innovation is certainly evident on this energetic campus. BCPS hosts, Ryan Imbriale (executive director, Department of Innovative Learning) and David Robb (supervisor, Office of Innovative Learning Projects), welcomed our guests and then gave us free rein to walk through the school. Each classroom is a model of blended learning in action. Students sit at modular desks that can be moved easily into any configuration. Some gather in beanbag chairs; others pedal in bicycle-like chairs while reading from their book or device. They share notes on their HP Revolves and write on notepads. They gather around interactive whiteboards and present their ideas. We also visited their media center, where students check out materials and produce a daily TV show in a state-of-the art production studio.
Mays Chapel features a state-of-the-art video production studio. When our group returned to the meeting room, Ryan Imbriale, BCPS Executive Director, presented the details of the S.T.A.T. program, which serves as the framework for the district’s multi-year transformation into a complete 21stcentury technology environment.
The Students & Teachers Accessing Tomorrow framework (http://showcase.bcps.org/eight-conversions.html) consists of the following eight conversions:
■ Curriculum: BCPS curriculum focuses on alignment to standards, infusion of P21 skills, and integration of digital options for text, materials, activities, and assessments.
■ Instruction: Instruction focuses on the same elements as Curriculum.
The media center at Mays Chapel. ■ Assessment: BCPS uses embedded, machine-scored formative assessments within the learning cycle.
■ Organizational Development: BCPS recognizes that professional learning is necessary at all levels of the organization.
■ Infrastructure: The infrastructure is composed of hardware, software, and network resources that allow for customization and personalization.
■ Policy: BCPS made a systemic shift in language that emphasizes empowering students and staff over mandating rules.
■ Budget: BCPS reallocated funds to support the implementation of the Theory of Action.
■ Communications: BCPS recognized that communication is essential to involve all stakeholders. They communicate via social media (#BCPSTAT, #BCPSLH), the BCPS TV Channel, the Parent University, and more.
The other important component of the S.T.A.T. framework is the district’s digital ecosystem, BCPS One. This online environment features integrated tools and resources for all BCPS students, staff, and parents. BCPS One houses six major subsystems, including Learning Management, Student Information, Digital Content, and Professional Learning Systems. The purpose of BCPS One is to promote user access, collaboration, and productivity while streamlining administrative processes.
SchoolCIO Summit attendees were inspired and impressed with the students and staff of Mays Chapel. Said attendee Adam Phyall (director of Technology and Media Services, Newton County Schools, GA), “Learning about their S.T.A.T. framework just saved me months of planning as we roll out our 1:1.”
“Connecting and exchanging ideas with like-minded people is the best part of SchoolCIO Summit,” says Scott Harris (technology director, Neosho, MO, School District). Watch for additional takeaways in the next issue of Tech & Learning, and consider joining the SchoolCIO community (www.schoolcio.com) to be considered for future SchoolCIO Summits.
TOOLS THEY USE AT BCPS
AV Tools across the district include: Promethean, Smart, Epson, InFocus, BoxLight, Mimio, and Audio Enhancement. BCPS has partnerships with Comcast, Verizon, and the local county government service, called BaCON.
■ DreamBox Learning
■ Follett Destiny
■ HP Revolves
■ McGraw Hill’s EnGrade LMS
■ Safari’s Learning Object Repository