Blueprint Oversight Board Approves All 24 Local Implementation Plans

The board tasked with Blueprint implementation and accountability approved final implementation plans for all 24 counties.

At its July 27 meeting, the Blueprint Accountability and Implementation Board (AIB) approved the final implementation plans for all 24 of Maryland local education agencies (LEAs). The Blueprint Accountability and Implementation Board (AIB) is tasked with overseeing the implementation of Maryland’s major education policy reform initiative known as the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future.

The approved plans summarize the reform work that is complete, currently underway, or that will be implemented during the upcoming 2023-24 school year. Each plan outlines how the school system is implementing each of the Blueprint’s five pillars: early childhood education, hiring and retaining high-quality and diverse teachers, preparing students for college and technical careers, and providing additional resources for students in need. LEAs were required by law to submit a local Blueprint Implementation Plan by midnight on March 15, 2023.

Of the 24 plans, 20 were approved unanimously. Calvert, Charles, and Garrett Counties received conditional approval — officials in those school systems must revise documentation on a Career Counseling Memorandum of Understanding (MOU).

Queen Anne’s County’s also received conditional approval — the district couldn’t meet a requirement in the Blueprint law to provide a 10% salary increase for teachers in this fiscal year. Instead, Queen Anne’s provided $1,000 stipends for teachers in fiscal years 2022 and 2023 and again this current fiscal year. As part of its conditional approval, the AIB is encouraging the district to convert and incorporate the stipend into the base salary for all teachers so “the salary increase will be properly reflected in pension calculations and any other calculations that are dependent on salary.”

Additionally, AIB members Dr. Jennifer Lynch and Justin Robinson recused themselves from voting on Baltimore and Prince George’s Counties plans, respectively, for their direct work in education for those counties.

Strengths and areas for improvement

AIB Executive Director Rachel Hise noted some common strengths from all 24 local school system plans at the July 27 meeting. These included:

  • support for prekindergarten expansion and enrollment;
  • creating new partnerships with state agencies and other organizations; and
  • developing career counseling programs for middle and high school students.

Hise also noted some improvements that LEAs could make to plans, like:

  • developing career ladders for staff;
  • developing and implementing math and literacy plans; and
  • assessing how to support students who aren’t college and career ready by the 10th grade.

Next steps

School systems must submit a second set of implementation planning documents by March 2024. These plans should detail strategies to accomplish the Blueprint priorities through the 2026-27 school years. At the July 27 meeting, Hise noted that AIB staff, the Maryland State Department of Education, and other state agencies will provide technical assistance to the school systems before the second implementation plans are due in March.

The third and final round of implementation documentation is due in 2027 to cover plans between the 2027-28 school year and 2031-32.

Useful links

The 2023 MACo Summer Conference general session, Embracing Without Spacing: Pre-K Expansion and Early Childhood Education,” will examine the capital challenges and opportunities of Pre-K expansion, including facility space and funding.
The 2023 MACo Summer Conference will be held at the Roland Powell Convention Center in Ocean City, MD, from August 16-19. This year’s theme is “Where the Rubber Meets the Road” More information can be found on our conference website.