- Monday, 14 October 2019
It was my pleasure to welcome students and families back to school! Dorchester County Public Schools (DCPS) is off to a very fast start with interim reports taking place this past week. Reflecting about our summer; it feels like yesterday that I was completing my administrative retreat with principals, supervisors, and then addressing our 750 DCPS staff members on our annual kickoff in August.
This is an unprecedented time of change in the district. We have totally re-vamped our Board of Education (BOE) meetings with an increase in transparency through “Board Docs”. The consistent dissemination of public information as well as plans to hold BOE meetings in 90% of our schools this year for our community stakeholders is a focus. Our staff’s flexibility, resiliency and professionalism are what allowed this change to occur so smoothly. I am extremely proud of the willingness of our students, teachers and support staff to make this happen.
I thank our educators, support staff, facilities staff and IT staff for the countless hours put in this summer to ensure our ability to welcome more than 4,700 students to safe, clean and welcoming learning environments. This time last year, we were in full construction mode of the new North Dorchester High School. I am pleased to report that we were ready to open our doors to this modern facility for approximately 533 students and families who entered a beautiful building that was completed on time and on budget! The new school is more than just bricks and mortar, however. It serves as an important symbol for the North Dorchester community.
As interim superintendent, I announced four areas of focus: 1) Instruction, 2) Safety, 3) Communication, and 4) Fiscal Responsibility. Each area has had significant focus during our first twenty instructional days of the school year. Instructionally, we have received our DCPS Maryland state testing results. Each school and the district office are “Drilling-Down” through the data to determine next steps or modifications to individual school improvement plans as needed. During our BOE meetings in the future, we will be providing short updates and plans with our data. Our return to school in-service programs for our teachers and support staff stressed “ACES” and “ALICE” trainings which are key components to our 2019-2020 school year. ACE’s stands for Adverse Childhood Experiences which is trauma that could be occurring outside of our school system. Obviously, any form of trauma WILL interfere with a child’s learning and school success. This training enabled our teaching professionals to understand symptoms and have strategies to assist a student with such concerns. Our ALICE initiative began last year in our district and stands for Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Communicate, and Evacuate. This is the second year of this new safety procedure in our district with a concentration on further applications to our students during the school year. Additionally, parent meetings will be held in the district explaining ALICE to all stakeholders in the northern and southern community’s. As a side note: DCPS is the ONLY school district in the State of MD, which has its entire school district certified in ALICE.
I have enjoyed all forms of communication I have received since becoming Interim Superintendent. Our community is amazing with their dedicated focus and concern for students and their success. The DCPS Intern and Apprenticeship program WILL begin in October with the state initiative of a high school graduate being College and Career Ready. We will adjust this state initiative slightly for graduates in Dorchester County to be Career and Higher Education ready. I certainly hope you would agree that having a career and being a positive tax paying citizen after graduation are keys to any community’s continued success.
I am heartened by our residents, community leaders and parents who have come together to work toward the common goal of investing in our children and our community’s future. I hope the information found in this article is helpful to families. I thank you for partnering with us to ensure that Dorchester County Public Schools maintains its commitment to high quality schools led by talented educators and support staff who are dedicated to the success of the children and families we serve.
Your DCPS Interim Superintendent,
- David Bromwell
- David Bromwell