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A Note from our Executive Director

Implementation of the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future went in fits and starts in the first year after its 2021 enactment. Despite the extensions in the implementation timeline provided when the Maryland General Assembly passed House Bill 1372, the law’s central Accountability and Implementation Board (AIB) was not appointed by the Governor until October 1–three months after the first mandated reports were due. What’s more, when the AIB was finally able to host its first meeting on November 15, the inaugural body was informed that the Governor had elected not to fund the Board to carry out its work! 

 

Though many of these concerns were addressed by the end of the 2022 legislative session, a single point reaffirmed itself throughout the 2021-2021 school year: passage of a law alone does not guarantee its promised outcomes. 

 

Though not a new lesson for us–we updated our mission to “advocate, build power, and share resources with invested Maryland residents to co-create strong public schools that produce graduates equipped to thrive” after securing the veto override last year–we are bound to repeat it as often as we can: passage of a law alone does not guarantee its promised outcomes. The same commitment to engagement that was necessary to pass a bill is necessary to monitor the faithful implementation of that law.

 

Throughout the year, Strong Schools Maryland has demonstrated our commitment in monitoring the implementation of the Blueprint closely: we’ve learned many lessons about the realities of implementing transformational education policy in the midst of a pandemic as public health, sociopolitical, environmental, economic circumstances, and democratic foundations shift drastically. 

 

In light of what we learned and our experiences throughout these learning processes, we decided to publish our findings at the conclusion of the first year of Blueprint implementation. All 24 school systems have submitted the six required reports this year, though the individual report contents vary by system. We look forward to more imaginatively detailed, goal-aligned analyses from Blueprint actors in future years, once AIB sets the statewide comprehensive implementation plan (due later this year).

 

I invite you to read on and explore the reports available at the links. They contain information about what your school systems understand to be priorities, how they plan to address the needs of students and educators, and ultimately, as future years’ reports are written and submitted, they will contain details on how World Class Schools will come to be realized for all students in your community. Then, make sure you’re at the table when key decisions are made–join us.

 

For the Future,

Shamoyia Gardiner, M.Ed

Executive Director

A Note from our Lead Organizer

"The Pathway to Progress Reports"

 

In March 2022, our Teams launched a large-scale data dive, searching for evidence of Blueprint implementation locally. We started this process on our monthly Team Leader Call, and immediately we encountered roadblocks. Some districts had no information at all about the Blueprint, while others had only updates from 2020. How can we as stakeholders meaningfully engage in the implementation process without transparency? 

 

We escalated our search by campaigning for standing agenda items at local Board meetings to share updates on the Blueprint as well as urging school systems to publish information on their websites. The results were extraordinary. School systems that heard our call for transparency and access shared new insights and opportunities to engage in the process. As of publication, 19 out of 24 counties have a page on their website specifically for the Blueprint, with 14 establishing stakeholder workgroups and 12 instituting a standing Board agenda item. 

 

However, access to Blueprint-mandated public reports was still a challenge. We reached out to Superintendents/CEOs, Board Presidents/Chairs, and local Blueprint Implementation Coordinators on May 25, 26, and June 2 requesting access to these reports. We created space on June 1 to meet virtually with BICs from across the state to discuss the implementation process and again request access to the reports mandated by law. To be sure, the deadlines for all reports were due between September 2021 and January 2022, so we were simply asking for copies of what should already exist, like double checking a Quarter 2 grade during Quarter 4.

We received mixed responses from local school systems, varying between gratitude for the recognition of the year’s hard work to frustration at the request for public access to these reports. Many appealed to us to extend the deadline for corrections, citing graduation season as a particularly busy time for their offices. We extended the deadline by a few days and encouraged school systems to reach out with questions.

 

A month later, as we prepared to launch the final Progress Reports, we sent advanced copies to school systems prior to publication. These included the many updates and new information shared by BICs, including new access to reports, updated websites, and more. We met with MSDE prior to publication, which resulted in our organization gaining access to the final pieces of evidence we needed to complete the reports with the highest level of accuracy.

 

The Progress Reports are the result of months of searching, digging, inquiring, connecting, and advocating. They are a snapshot of what evidence of Blueprint implementation is accessible by the stakeholders they impact. This process, as with all of the work of Strong Schools Maryland, is centered in the values of justice, lifelong learning, civic engagement, and collective impact. We all have a stake in the successful implementation of the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future, and our Teams will continue to be a source of support and accountability in the process.

 

I extend immense gratitude to our brilliant and resilient Teams across the state, their tireless Team Leaders, our County Captains, the staff of Strong Schools Maryland, and all of the organizational partners who brought these reports to fruition. We will be back next year, and every year after, with transparent and accessible updates on Blueprint implementation.

 

For the future,

Allie Carter

Lead Organizer

P.S: You can read any of the individual reports we've measured for yourself here.

Heading which says "Statewide performance for MD"
 

After months of searching, advocating, and analyzing, Strong Schools Maryland now has evidence that all 24 counties in Maryland met at least the minimum requirements of Blueprint implementation in year one.

 

This includes five reports as well as the appointment of a Blueprint Implementation Coordinator in each local school system.

 

However, public access to information and meaningful stakeholder engagement are an area in which the state must improve.

 

Blueprint website sections are only present in 19 out of 24 counties, stakeholder workgroups appear in just 14 out of 24 counties, and half of local Boards of Education have yet to commit to a standing agenda item related for Blueprint updates

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Heading which says "Performance by County"

Jump to Your District

 

These Progress Reports are the result of months of searching, digging, inquiring, connecting, and advocating. And while they provide a snapshot of what evidence of Blueprint implementation is accessible by the stakeholders they impact, they reflect hundreds of hours

of research by our Teams of 10 to discover, analyze, compile, communicate, and present

the data.

Please note: Strong Schools Maryland only examined the presence of the reports which were mandated by law. We did not make a formal assessment on the quality of the reports - you can read any of the individual reports we've measured for yourself here.– so while some districts exhibit a "perfect score" please consider this the floor, not the ceiling.

 

There exists room for improvement in every single county in Maryland, and while some are more significant than others, our children, families, and communities have been promised "World Class," and there is extraordinary ground to cover between where we are now, and

that goal.

Allegany County

Allegany County has met the Blueprint requirements in 6 out of 6 categories for year
one of implementation. Community access can be improved, as 0 out of 3 categories
met expectations.

 

Anne Arundel County

Anne Arundel County has met the Blueprint requirements in 6 out of 6 categories for
year one of implementation, as well as 2 out of 3 community access categories meeting
expectations.

 

Baltimore City

Baltimore City has met the Blueprint requirements in 6 out of 6 categories for year one of implementation. Community access can be improved, as 0 out of 3 categories met
expectations.

 

Baltimore County

Baltimore County has met the Blueprint requirements in 6 out of 6 categories for year
one of implementation as well as 3 out of 3 community access categories meeting
expectations.

 

Calvert County

Calvert County has met the Blueprint requirements in 6 out of 6 categories for year one of implementation as well as 3 out of 3 community access categories meeting
expectations.

 

Caroline County

Caroline County has met the Blueprint requirements in 6 out of 6 categories for year one of implementation as well as 3 out of 3 community access categories meeting
expectations.

 

Carroll County

Carroll County has met the Blueprint requirements in 6 out of 6 categories for year one of implementation. Community access can be improved, as 0 out of 3 meet
expectations.

 

Cecil County

Cecil County has met the Blueprint requirements in 6 out of 6 categories for year one of implementation. Community access can be improved, as 1 out of 3 meet expectations.

 

Charles County

Charles County has met the Blueprint requirements in 6 out of 6 categories for year one of implementation. Community access can be improved, as 2 out of 3 meet expectations.

 

Dorchester County

Dorchester County has met the Blueprint requirements in 6 out of 6 categories for year one of implementation. Community access can be improved, as 0 out of 3 meet expectations.

 

Frederick County

Frederick County has met the Blueprint requirements in 6 out of 6 categories for year one of implementation as well as 3 out of 3 community access items meeting expectations.

 

Garrett County

Garrett County has met the Blueprint requirements in 6 out of 6 categories for year one as well as 2 out of 3 community access items meeting expectations.

 

Harford County

Harford County has met the Blueprint requirements in 6 out of 6 categories for year one as well as 3 out of 3 community access items meeting expectations, one of which goes above and beyond expectations.

 

Howard County

Howard County has met the Blueprint requirements in 6 out of 6 categories for year one. Community access can be improved, as 1 out of 3 items meet expectations.

 

Kent County

Kent County has met the Blueprint requirements in 6 out of 6 categories for year one, as well as 3 out of 3 community access items meeting expectations.

 

Montgomery County

Montgomery County has met the Blueprint requirements in 6 out of 6 categories for year
one. Community access can improve, as 1 out of 3 items meet expectations.

 

Prince George's County

Prince George's County has met the Blueprint requirements in 6 out of 6 categories for year one, as well as 3 out of 3 community access items meeting expectations, one of which
goes above and beyond expectations.

 

Queen Anne's County

Queen Anne's County has met the Blueprint requirements in 6 out of 6 categories for year
one, as well as 3 out of 3 community access items meeting expectations.

 

Somerset County

Somerset County has met the Blueprint requirements in 6 out of 6 categories for year one. Community access can improve, with 0 out of 3 items meeting expectations.

 

St. Mary's County

St. Mary's County has met the Blueprint requirements in 6 out of 6 categories for year one, as well as 3 out of 3 community access items meeting expectations.

 

Talbot County

Talbot County has met the Blueprint requirements in 6 out of 6 categories for year one. Community access can improve, as 1 out of 3 items meet expectations.

 

Washington County

Washington County has met the Blueprint requirements in 6 out of 6 categories for year
one, as well as 3 out of 3 community access items meeting expectations, one of which
exceeds expectations.

 

Wicomico County

Wicomico County has met the Blueprint requirements in 6 out of 6 categories for year one, as well as 3 out of 3 community access items meeting expectations.

 

Worcester County

Worcester County has met the Blueprint requirements in 6 out of 6 categories for year one, as well as 2 out of 3 community access items meeting expectations.

 
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