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Baltimore County Public Schools

Dance, DallasMF06A strange thing can happen between fifth and sixth grade – academic performance, school attendance and behavior can decline, even for students who were doing well before. If not addressed quickly, performance can suffer in middle school, high school and beyond.

As a former middle school principal, Baltimore County Public Schools superintendent S. Dallas Dance knows firsthand the intense intellectual and psychological changes sixth graders face. His vision and assembled team helped to create Bluepoint 2.0 — a structure designed to support sixth grade students and get them off to the best possible start at the secondary level to stay on target for high school graduation.

The five-year strategic plan addresses four critical areas: academics, safety, communications and organizational effectiveness.  While individual schools continue to develop programs best suited to their students and families, Blueprint 2.0 has a system-wide focus, using data-driven and research-based approaches to family outreach and intervention, targeted staff training and new funding for summer transition programs.

“Each year, I continue to create opportunities for the leadership team to deepen supports that will keep students on track to graduate globally competitive,” Dance said. “This deliberate approach to pursuing high expectations, with targeted interventions that address student needs, will continue to increase achievement, close academic gaps and prepare all students for future demands.”