This article is part of MACo’s Deep Dive series, where expert analysts explore and explain the top county issues of the day. A new article is added each week – read all of MACo’s Deep Dives.
The Blueprint Accountability and Implementation Board (AIB) adopted an updated plan to guide school districts as they incorporate groundbreaking educational reform law known as the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future, or “The Blueprint.” At an August 1 special meeting, the AIB, which oversees Blueprint implementation at the state and local levels, approved 37 additional updates to its statewide Comprehensive Implementation Plan (CIP).
In December 2022, the AIB approved its CIP to guide Blueprint implementation over the 10-year implementation period and to hold State and local entities accountable for successful implementation. In July 2023, the Board sought public input for a series of draft updates to that plan, informing the finalized updates approved at the August 1 meeting.
The updates were unanimously approved after nearly two hours of deliberation. Here’s what counties need to know about those updates and how they may impact Blueprint implementation.
The updates presented below are just a sampling; refer to the August 1 meeting documents for all updates (note that this may not reflect all of the changes made during the August 1 meeting).
Updates to guidance on English learners
- The AIB updated several aspects of the CIP to require further research, planning, reporting, and guidance from the Maryland Department of Education (MSDE) on English learners.
Updates to guidance on early childhood education
- The AIB clarified that MSDE cannot require certain early childhood certifications before the 2027-2028 school year, as intended by the AIB and General Assembly
- AIB staff noted that these updates are reflections of what the AIB desires for MSDE to be required or not for early childhood educators, which will need a legislative change.
- Previously, the Blueprint law said pre-K teachers had to be certified or enrolled in a certification program beginning in the 2025-2026 school year.
- The General Assembly extended that deadline to the 2027-2028 school year during the 2023 legislative session, meaning that MSDE has discretion in requiring certifications before then.
- These updates address that by saying that the Department can only require certification after then.
Updates to guidance on local implementation plans
- The AIB added language to clarify that it shall provide technical assistance to State agencies/entities to support the development of their implementation plans as needed or requested.
- A requirement was also added stating that the AIB and MSDE shall jointly develop a framework identifying necessary areas of technical assistance for LEAs and the entity responsible for providing such support. This framework shall be updated annually.
- Additionally, the AIB updated the CIP to require the approval or disapproval of local implementation plans by December 1 annually, previously July 1.
- Throughout the CIP, the AIB updated language around measurements and outcomes to better reflect the law’s intention. “How we’ll measure success” was updated to “pillar goals” and “outcome measures” to “goals.”
- The AIB also added an update to the CIP stating that the AIB may develop and monitor “holistic indicators” of teacher and leader quality.
- The AIB also approved several updates to implementation considerations.
- Additional output/outcome measures and data to track for Blueprint Pillars 2, 3, and 4 were also adopted.
Prior recent updates
The AIB in June also updated the state’s appeals policy and processes for releasing or withholding state education funds to school systems based on their Blueprint implementation and process. Additionally, at the end of July, the AIB approved all 24 local school systems’ local implementation plans, greenlighting state Blueprint funding.
Stay tuned to Conduit Street for more on Blueprint implementation and work at the state and local levels.
- Access the AIB presentation on CIP updates. (note that this may not reflect all of the changes made during the August 1 meeting).
- Watch video of the August 1 special meeting of the AIB.
- Reviewing the August 1 agenda and meeting materials.