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PTA Council asks Dance to delay high school schedule change

Baltimore County's PTA Council voiced opposition this week to the superintendent's decision to change the high school schedules this coming fall, asking that the plan be delayed.

Dallas Dance has instituted a uniform schedule saying he wants every student to take eight classes a semester. Most schools will have a rotating schedule of four classes each day.

Parents at Hereford High School, where students take just four subjects a semester, have been particularly vocal in their opposition, saying the current schedule is good for students with special needs as well as those who want to move ahead quickly in a subject like math or a foreign language.

Dance had declined to meet with parents personally, until this week when he agreed to sit down with two people.

Opposition to the scheduling change, which will change the schedules of most high-performing high schools from a seven-period schedule to the alternating four-period one, has been growing.

The PTA Council's is asking Dance to "to delay the implementation of the new scheduling requirements for all Baltimore County High Schools and support the ability for each school to make an autonomous decision on which scheduling system is best for their school. The decision should be made after open discussion, input and engagement from staff, parents, and students.”

Jackie Brewster, council president, said the superintendent has received the letter in the past day.

Dance has not responded, but spokesman Mychael Dickerson said in an e-mail, "We value our partnership with the PTA Council of Baltimore County and appreciate the opportunity our staff was given to provide information on the new high school scheduling options.”

The school board president Lawrence Schmidt issued a statement earlier in the week saying that the board will not intervene in the schedule decision. "What qualified individual would want to become superintendent if he/she believed that every controversial decision that he/she made would be subject to Monday morning quarterbacking by the Board? Or that the Superintendent would be required to bend to political pressures? I firmly believe that having entrusted the leadership of BCPS to Dr. Dance, we must let him exercise that leadership," he wrote.



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