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Baltimore Co. Superintendent Focuses On Diversity In New School Year Address

TOWSON, Md. (WJZ) -- The look of Baltimore County schools is rapidly changing. The district now has more minority students than ever before.

As Gigi Barnett explains, school leaders rolled out a new way to target those students when the school year begins.

Take a walk through the halls of Baltimore County schools. What you'll see is more diversity.

"African-American students and families, Asian students and families, Hispanic-Latino students and families make up the majority of Baltimore County," said Dr. Dallas Dance, Baltimore County School Superintendent.

That's why Dr. Dance focused on diversity in his new school year address to an auditorium full of principals this week. When school starts, he wants them to focus on ways to reach those students.

"It's all about looking at the cultural and diverse needs of our students and our community populations and making sure we are looking through an equity lens in meeting the needs of our students," said Principal Joyce Albert, Franklin Elementary.

But for the nation's 25th largest school system--with more than 100,000 students--there will be challenges, especially when it comes to shortening the achievement gap among minority students.

That is what Dance wants principals to explore.

"We talk about achievement gaps in education. We know that there is work we need to do in Pre-K and work in higher ed as well. But how do we make sure that we actually implement policies and practices that close the achievement gap for every single kid?" Dance said.

While Dance would not give a specific timeline on any goal, he did say that he wants all principals to undergo equity training this fall.

Dance says he also wants principals to look at ways to close the achievement gap for students in low-income families.

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