Category Archives: 3 Minutes with the Board

3 Minutes April 2018

At each Baltimore County Board of Education meeting, CASE has three minutes to present information to the board in the interest of our organization. The following is a transcript from one of those meetings.


Members of the Board,

In October 1991, a confluence of weather conditions combined to form a killer storm in the North Atlantic. Caught in the storm was the sword-fishing boat Andrea Gail. This experience where about everything that could go wrong, did, was characterized in the movie: The Perfect Storm.

I would suggest that the Baltimore County Public School system is in the midst of a confluence of factors which is creating our own “perfect storm”.

  • Recent criminal guilty pleas by high ranking system officials that has eroded both public and school board confidence and has seemingly created distrust of all, as a result of the actions of a few.
  • Collateral damage to our school system as a result of the political war of words between the governor and the county executive
  • Some local politicians taking potshots at the school system leadership to garner votes in this election year
  • No shortage of inaccurate information on posts and blogs
  • A lame duck School Board with clearly apparent divisiveness on many issues
  • An interim superintendent while the Board searches for a permanent superintendent

There are more, but you get the idea…

Tonight, you will discuss and vote on a technology contract. Did you get necessary information in a timely fashion? Do you ignore the open, transparent, and representative process that was used to choose the product and vendor? Do you just flat out distrust the BCPS staff? Only you know the answers to this.

Here is what I know: The online platform is how business is conducted in BCPS today. Grading and reporting, parent communication, and curriculum access all require this technology.

And just as important, this contract is a social justice issue. Students of all socio-economic levels deserve the same access to technology.

Leadership during a perfect storm is difficult at best. Indecisiveness and poor decisions can prove costly, and spoiler alert: The captain of the Andrea Gail made poor decisions that proved disastrous.

The students, parents, teachers, and administrators are looking for leadership from this Board. You are all smart people…figure it out, and please use your remaining tenure to work collaboratively for the entire Baltimore County community.

Thank you.

3 Minutes February 2018

At each Baltimore County Board of Education meeting, CASE has three minutes to present information to the board in the interest of our organization. The following is a transcript from one of those meetings.


Chairman Gilliss, Vice Chair Stewart, Superintendent White, and members of the Board.

The Peer Assistance and Review (PAR program) is a highly successful program partnered by TABCO, CASE, and Baltimore County Public School’s HR department.

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3 Minutes January 2018

At each Baltimore County Board of Education meeting, CASE has three minutes to present information to the board in the interest of our organization. The following is a transcript from one of those meetings.


Chairman Gilliss, Vice Chair Stewart, Superintendent White, and members of the Board.

Last month I addressed the Board, and quoted a widely recognized belief that leadership matters. Tonight, I would like to add that leadership is learned.

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3 Minutes: December 2017

At each Baltimore County Board of Education meeting, CASE has three minutes to present information to the board in the interest of our organization. The following is a transcript from one of those meetings.


Good evening Chairman Gilliss, Superintendent White, and members of the Board.

I want to remind the Board that CASE represents 577 BCPS employees, including principals, assistant principals, supervisors, coordinators, and pupil personnel workers. They are the public face of the system daily. These are the folks who are in the trenches, and are the level of leadership that is integral to making the system work. I say this because leadership matters.

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3 Minutes: November 2017

At each Baltimore County Board of Education meeting, CASE has three minutes to present information to the board in the interest of our organization. The following is a transcript from one of those meetings.


Good evening Chairman Gilliss, Superintendent White, and members of the Board.

You may recall that in my first message to the Board, I emphasized the need for consistency through all facets of the organization, and the need for ongoing professional development and support for the school based leadership.

On September 26th I shared CASE’s enthusiasm of the System design for ongoing professional development for principals, assistant principals, and STAT teachers at monthly meetings.

I have had the opportunity to attend the first three monthly professional development sessions for the principals. I have also attended two sessions for assistant principals and STAT teachers.

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3 Minutes: September 2017

At each Baltimore County Board of Education meeting, CASE has three minutes to present information to the board in the interest of our organization. The following is a transcript from one of those meetings.

Good evening Chairman Gilliss, Superintendent White, and members of the Board.

I want to share with you tonight some positive thoughts. You may recall that in my prior messages to the Board, I have emphasized the need for consistency through all facets of the organization, and the need for ongoing professional development and support for the school based leadership.

Tomorrow, all BCPS principals will convene for a monthly Principal Leadership meeting, where valuable information and professional development will occur. In years past, principals would have been expected to carry that information and learning back to their schools and share it appropriately with their assistant principals. This lends itself to many different messages and with varying levels of success.

On Thursday and Friday of this week, however, all assistant principals will be attending one of 4 sessions with the same truncated content shared with principals on Wednesday. This same process will be repeated throughout the year.

This model of support and professional development provides consistency of message to the front-line leadership in the schoolhouse. Kudos to Superintendent White for this visionary paradigm shift and to Billy Burke, and Heather Lageman and her team, for the implementation of this vision.

Finally, I would like to congratulate CASE member Fran Glick, coordinator for library media programs and digital resources for being named one of 6 national finalists for the School Superintendent Association’s Women in Leadership Awards, and to CASE member Sandra Reid, Principal of Pikesville High School for being named Maryland’s Secondary Principal of the Year.

Thank you.

— Tom DeHart, Executive Director

3 Minutes: August 2017

At each Baltimore County Board of Education meeting, CASE has three minutes to present information to the board in the interest of our organization. The following is a transcript from one of those meetings.

Good evening Chairman Gillis, Superintendent White, and members of the Board.

I would like to speak with you tonight about two very important documents:

First, the “Professional Standards for Educational Leaders” (PSELs). These 10 Standards were recently adopted into COMAR by the Maryland State Board of Education and replace the former Maryland Instructional Leadership Framework, and the ISLLC Standards.

The PSEL standards will be the foundation of the Professional Competencies component on the State model for Principal Evaluation beginning in the 2018-2019 school year. These standards apply to principals, assistant principals, and to district leaders as they engage in similar domains of work as school leaders.

The PSELs have been developed by the National Policy Board for Educational Administration and their national member organizations which includes the National School Boards Association.

At your last meeting, I spoke of the significant impact that leadership has on student learning. In all realms of their work, educational leaders must focus on how they are promoting the learning, development, and well-being of each student. The PSELs reflect interdependent domains, qualities and values of leadership work that research and practice suggest are integral to student success.

The companion document to the PSELs is “Model Principal Supervisor Professional Standards.” These voluntary standards address the need for supporting current principals so they are equipped with the necessary knowledge and skills to be instructional leaders. Principal supervisors are positioned to provide that support.

Traditionally, principal supervisors have focused on ensuring that school leaders, and the buildings they run, complied with local policies and state regulations. Recent research suggests that principal supervisors can positively affect student results by helping principals grow as instructional leaders.

A recent Wallace Foundation report asked, “If principal supervisors shift from overseeing compliance to sharpening principals’ instructional leadership capabilities, and if they were provided with the right training and support, would this improve the effectiveness with whom they work?”

This question informed the development of the Supervisor Standards. The shift from compliance monitor to coach is the foundation of the standards. They maintain a focus on student learning through the ongoing development and evolution of the principals’ skills.

This is done through a district lens, by one on one principal and supervisor interactions involving open and honest communication and discussions, targeted goal setting, and supportive professional development.

I will be speaking with the executive leadership in the future about how CASE might collaborate to prepare our district for the PSELs, as well as how principals and supervisors can continue to aspire to a 21st century concept of continuous improvement vs. a compliance mentality.

Thank you.

— Tom DeHart, Executive Director

3 Minutes: July 2017

At each Baltimore County Board of Education meeting, CASE has three minutes to present information to the board in the interest of our organization. The following is a transcript from one of those meetings.

Good evening Chairman Gillis, Interim Superintendent White, and members of the board.

I have come full circle. I spent a career in Baltimore County Public Schools as an elementary teacher, middle school teacher, middle school assistant principal, alternative school principal, middle school principal, and finally a high school principal. I have spent the last 11 years at the Maryland State Department of Education researching leadership theory and creating and facilitating professional development opportunities for principals, assistant principals, and executive leadership in all 24 Maryland school districts.

It has been well documented that the single most impact on student growth is the teacher in the classroom. A meta analysis conducted by Rand for New Leaders quantified the teacher impact at 33%. While that may sound low, it is still the most important factor.

While there is a myriad of factors that contribute to the remaining 67%, research has shown that second only to the teacher… the principal, and by extension, the assistant principals, is the second most powerful influence on student achievement. Again, Rand was able to quantify that influence at 25%.

This 58% total influence on student achievement is important because it is a number that is under our control.

Relative to the leadership component, it is important that we continue to identify and develop leadership within the existing employee ranks in a systematic and purposeful fashion to build the bench of future assistant principals, principals, supervisors and coordinators.

If we look at the baseball model, the most successful teams year in and year out have strong minor league systems where players learn the game in the mold of the major league team. Those successful teams then compliment their teams by an occasional free agent who may have a skill set that is missing in the organization.

This process supports team vision, continuity, culture, consistency, and loyalty.

Once promoted, ongoing and purposeful professional development is just as important. Again, baseball teams have spring training every year, as well as batting practice and coaching on a regular basis for all players.

I look forward to working with executive leadership and the Board to help ensure that we recruit and prepare the absolute best candidates and then support their work after their promotion.

25% of student achievement cannot be overlooked. It is after all the reason for our professional existence.

— Tom DeHart, Executive Director