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HomeIssuesWhat To AskResourcesTake ActionFAQAP ToolkitGo Public

Steps you can take today

Begin by taking action at the school level

  • Talk to your kids about what they are experiencing in and out of their classrooms. Are they leading a balanced life, do they get enough sleep, do they have time for friendships, extracurricular activities, meals with the family, spiritual and community activities? Do they ever get to just 'chill out', read a book, play a game, or cultivate friendships? Are they happy and are they enjoying their high school experience?

  • Communicate with other parents in your school to share experiences. You will likely find you are not alone.

  • See the film Race to Nowhere - take your student with you and stay for a brief facilitated discussion. You will be amazed. Visit the Race To Nowhere website to find a local screening, or sponsor a screening yourself at a local community facility. Visit the END THE RACE TO NOWHERE social action website  to learn specific ways you can advocate for change in your community today.

Meet with your individual school officials

  • Meet with the teacher: arrange a conference between you, your student, and the teacher to discuss the problem.

  • Meet with the guidance counselor: If you are not satisfied with the teacher's response, you and your student should ask for a joint meeting with the guidance counselor.  Be sure to include the teacher too.

  • Meet with the prinicpal. If you are not satisfied with the outcome of the guidance counselor meeting, arrange a meeting with your principal. Try to gather a small group of parents who are facing similar problems and ask for a principal meeting to discuss your common concerns. Insist on transparency about course offerings in your school. Find out what direction school officials are heading with regard to course choice options - this year and in the future? Ask for specifics as outlined in our What to Ask page.  Make a Four Year High School Plan. Ask which courses and levels will be available to your students in all core subjects: math, science, English and social studies?

Take it up the BCPS "official" Chain of Command:

  • Your principal's boss is the Assistant Superintendent of High Schools. If you have not resolved your problem at your school level, the next step is to contact Dr. Edward Newsome, the Assistant Superintendent of High Schools. Ask for an appointment to discuss your concerns. There is great strength in numbers, so if you have formed a coalition, take a small representative sample of your group with you. Be prepared. Ask questions. Don't be afraid to demand change. Always be respectful and professional, but remember - you are the taxpayer, so you have a stake in the school system that goes even beyond your student. Contact Dr Newsome  at 410-877- 8767.

Alternative ways to seek assistance from within the BCPS system

     There are other ways within the school system​ to advocate for change and make administrators aware of problems. However, these officials, while knowledgeable, do not exert any direct authority over principals or Assistant Superintendents. Nevertheless, they can be a good source of information and offer potential advice on how to navigate the system. 

For General Curriculum and Instruction Issues:

Contact Mr. Roger L. Plunkett, Assistant Superintendant for Curriculum and Instruction, and ask for a meeting. E-mail him at rplunkett@bcps.org, or call his office at 410-887-2446. Organize your coalition of parents; insist on plainspeak - not bureaucratic doublespeak. Be prepared, respectful, but insistent. Try to have each parent address a specific aspect of the issue. Anecdotes are helpful because they put a face on the problem, but facts are important too. Do your homework ahead of time.

For Gifted and Talented Questions:

  • Contact Mr. Ken Dickson, Coordinator, Office of Gifted and Talented Education at: kdickson@bcps.org or call his office at 410.887.4330  Visit their webpage here

For Special Education Questions:

  • Contact Kalisha Miller, Director, BCPS Office of Special Education. Visit their webpage here.

The BCPS Executive Director Special Programs is Kathleen M. McMahon. 410-887-2280. The Office of Special Education and Office of Gifted and Talented Programs report directly to Kathleen McMahon, who in turn reports directly to Roger Plunkett, Assistant Superintendant of Curriculum and Instruction. Visit their webpage here. This office also oversees College Board programs (AVID, AP, SAT, PSAT), Equity and Assurance for K-12, and Counseling.
BCPS Citizens' Advisory Councils

  • Area Advisory Councils: The Education Advisory Council of Baltimore County is made up of five geographic area councils. Advisory council members serve as advisors to the Board of Education and as liaisons to the communities they represent. Advisory Councils provide the Board of Education with community input and inform the Board about concerns and issues.  Area Advisory Councils also hold local meetings to provide information about new initiatives, goals and plans, new policies and curriculum, opportunities for advocacy, and legislation affecting schools. They also take public comment and suggestions at meetings and report it to the Board. Contact an Area Advisory Council member to request assistance in navigating the school system and finding answers to your questions and concerns. To find your area advisory group click here.  

In addition to the area advisory councils there are topic specific Citizens' Advisory Committees. Read more.

  • Special Education Citizens' Advisory Committee: E-mail the committee at BaltoCo-SECAC@yahoo.com. Visit the SECAC webpage to learn more.
Board of Education Meetings

Attend Board of Education Meetings. Arrive before the meeting and place your name in the Speaker Box. Speakers are chosen randomly from the names in the "speaker box" prior to the start of the meeting and the 10 "winners" are announced before the meeting begins.  If your name is selected, you will be allowed three minutes to share your comments at the end of the Board meeting. Encourage your student and their friends to join you. Student voices and their presence make the Board members pay closer attention to what is being said. Tip: If you pack the "speaker box" with names of people willing to speak, it increases the likelihood that your voices will be heard. All potential speakers should be prepared. Don't be shy about sharing your thoughts or asking for change.​ They won't know if you don't tell them! ​ 

To contact members of the Baltimore County Board of Education, you should e-mail Ms Brenda Stiffler at Brenda.Stiffler@bcps.org
Or you may contact her by telephone at 410-887-4126.

Read about the members of the Board of Education.          Click here for a  schedule of the 2011-2012 meetings.
Frustrated, fed up, running in circles?  Take it outside....
Go Public!

If you can't get any help within the school system - then "take it outside"!   Learn how to speak out through the press, social media and legislators - all the information you need is right here at  Go Public .
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