State Superintendent Announces Efforts To Improve Underperforming Schools In Baltimore County And City


Tuesday's meeting of the Maryland State Department of Education. (Credit: Maryland State Department of Education/ Maryland Public Schools)

BALTIMORE COUNTY - At Tuesday's Maryland State Board of Education meeting, members discussed troubling data from the recently released School Comprehensive Support and Improvement report.

The data identified Baltimore City and Baltimore County as having the highest number of underperforming schools, prompting Superintendent of Maryland State Schools Mohammed Choudhury to announce plans for intensifying efforts in these areas.

In the report for 2022-2023, all 27 schools categorized as Comprehensive Support and Improvement (CSI) Lowest Performing are located in Baltimore City or Baltimore County. The proficiency rates in English Language Arts (ELA), math, and science were significantly lower in these schools compared to the state's average. Furthermore, chronic absenteeism rates were more than double the average, while Baltimore area School Survey scores were noticeably lower for both students and educators.

The report also indicated that the issue is widespread, with all counties except Garrett hosting at least one Additional Targeted Support and Improvement (ATSI) school, a designation indicating that additional resources are needed for student success. Baltimore County is the second-most affected area with 49 ATSI schools, only slightly behind Prince Georges's County with 52.

At Tuesday's meeting, Choudhury clarified that the challenge of improving these schools is more than just financial costs.

"We need to ensure that the funds are used effectively, that educators are supported, and that we are proactive in addressing the other issues outside the school environment," the state superintendent said.

Deann Collins, the deputy superintendent of teaching and learning, highlighted the need for better data analysis. "We are currently receiving feedback on how we can better interpret and use our data to guide our actions and strategies," Collins explained.

Cheryl Bost, president of the Maryland State Education Association, echoed the sentiment that a comprehensive approach is necessary. "As someone who taught in a low-performing school, I know it requires the collective effort of teachers, principals, the community, and the district to mobilize resources and turn things around effectively," Bost added.

Multiple board members expressed their support for the state's plan to focus efforts on these schools.

"We are ready to support the superintendent and his team in tackling these long-standing challenges, despite potential pushback," asserted Board President Clarence Crawford.

Choudhury concluded the meeting by assuring attendees that the board would only approve well-constructed and effective improvement plans.

According to the board, officials are preparing to roll out revamped school improvement plans by fall 2023.

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