COCKEYSVILLE, Md - It was a dazzling affair, for something that's usually marked with speeches and polite applause.
The Baltimore County Schools showed of the best the system has to offer; from ballet and music to painting and sculpture.
It's about the children and getting them ready for the next big thing.
And that thing is a global, digital, bilingual education
“The great challenge is that education today's children to succeed in tomorrow world can't be done with yesterday's educational system. We have to stop thinking about how we were educated and begin thinking more strategically about how to best educate our students for their future." Superintendent Dance told a crowd of about 800.
Dance's plans call for leveling the playing field for all children by providing what he calls a digital learning environment by using things like tablet style computers, white boards and more.
He's also calling for all students that by the time they walk out of the halls of education they know how to speak another language.
It’s part of what he calls Blueprint 2.0.
Dance says it will involve a lot of partners, the community for one.
"The kids today learn differently than they did when I was in school 40 years ago and then they did just 10 years ago so I think the technology piece is just a huge component of the direction in terms of moving forward." School Board President Lawrence Schmidt says.
You also have to build partnerships.
Dance also says getting business and industry involved is the key to preparing students for careers that he says don't exist yet.
And to do that the system has put a new focus on it's education foundation, with a more aggressive approach by a new director.
“Mentoring partnerships, scholarships, how about children can't afford to get that first step into the door how can we help them." BCPS Education Foundation Director Deborah Phelps says.
So how do you pay for it all?
Dance admits that digital and bilingual schools won't come cheap.
But he says the system is looking at what it spends on educational materials and at cost savings inside their budget.
He says it will also take a commitment from the community and industry to help get it done.
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