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Interim superintendent Verletta White highlights Baltimore County schools successes in speech

In the annual Baltimore County State of the Schools speech Wednesday, interim Superintendent Verletta White highlighted the school system’s focus on equity, calling for a “differentiated” budget and staffing for schools with varying needs.

“One size does not fit all,” White said in a speech viewed via livestream video. “It is time for differentiated support in [Baltimore County Public Schools].”

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White highlighted school system programs geared toward equity, including Woodlawn High School’s early college program, new strategies in pre-kindergarten to teach students self-regulation skills and efforts to increase the graduation rate.

“Our graduation rate is not a mystery,” White said. “It is an intentional effort that begins early on to ensure student success.”

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Baltimore County Council members are pressing the county school board to release an audit of school system contracts and finances.

White’s speech at the event hosted by the Education Foundation of Baltimore County came amid an intense debate for the school system as the Board of Education embarks on a superintendent search, with the school system community split over whether White should get the permanent position.

The search includes public forums scheduled for this week. White did not address her candidacy for the job directly in her speech.

White also announced an audit of the school system’s math curricula and a new BCPS Hall of Fame award, named after former Superintendent Robert Dubel, the award’s first recipient.

Two of White’s critics on the school board, when asked for comment on her speech, did not directly mention White in their response. Instead, board member Julie Henn sent a statement attributed to chairwoman Kathleen Causey, saying: “The Board shares in today’s excitement because of the opportunity to showcase the talents of our students with members of our community.”

The board chairwoman said she hoped the student performances and demonstrations at the State of the Schools event “inspired those in attendance and those who watched from home to learn more about our schools and to remain involved with our progress — none of which would be possible without the hard work of our staff and students and the support of our community.”

Editor’s note: An earlier version of this story contained information from the 2018 State of the Schools speech. The story has been updated. We regret the error.

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