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Blueprint board recommends timeline to implement comprehensive education plan

The Blueprint for Maryland’s Future Accountability and Implementation Board holds virtual meeting Oct. 13. Screen shot.

A board established to implement Maryland’s 10-year comprehensive education plan proposed a timeline for that on Thursday.

Instead of setting a March deadline for the state’s 24 school systems to submit implementation plans, the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future Accountability and Implementation Board suggested it could be done in three phases.

Rachel Hise, the board’s executive director, summarized how it would look in each of four areas: early childhood education, high-quality and diverse teachers and leaders, college and career readiness and additional resources for students.

Under the proposal, in March, schools would submit a variety of plans, including for college and career readiness paths for students in grades 11 and 12 to earn college credits or career and technical education; that “require all certified school personnel who have regular and direct contact with students to complete annual training on student behavioral health” and for encouraging and supporting teachers, especially those from “historically underrepresented populations,” to obtain and maintain national board certification.

Local school officials would have until March 2024 to implement other programs such as a new system of professional development that helps teachers advance in their careers. But first, the state Department of Education must design that program.

School systems would have to achieve some objectives in all three phases, including:

  • Expand access for 3- and 4-year-old children to enroll in pre-kindergarten,
  • Provide individualized career counseling services for middle and high school students,
  • Start work to increase minimum starting salary to $60,000,
  • Increase per pupil funding for English language learners and special education students.

By July 2027 each local school system would have to show how all plans would be incorporated into their school district between the 2028 and 2032 budget years.

The Blueprint board oversees governance and accountability to manage the overall plan and ensure that schools submit their own plans and documents on time.

Hise said the proposed timeline was created after a presentation two weeks ago when state superintendent Mohammed Choudhury told the Blueprint board that school leaders needed more time to implement plans.

In his “Criteria to Success” presentation Choudhury offered two options for superintendents to submit plans in four phases.

On Thursday, board member William “Brit” Kirwan, former chancellor of the University System of Maryland, praised Hise for putting together a timeline that “makes very good sense.”

“What I like about it is that nothing gets delayed,” Kirwan said. “This seems to address all the concerns I had with the superintendent’s proposal. Most importantly, it keeps us on track.”

A draft on the entire Blueprint plan is scheduled to be released next week and a public hearing is slated for Nov. 10, but the venue and time have not been announced. The board is expected to act on a final plan Dec. 1 and submit it to the governor and General Assembly