Office of School Review, Support & Improvement

The Office of School Review, Support, & Improvement takes a multifaceted approach to serving and supporting Local Education Agencies (LEAs) and schools. The goal of this branch is to support the transformation of teaching and learning through collaboration with LEAs and schools, and by leveraging the collective expertise of administrators, teachers, and families across the state.​

Our commitment to leadership and support is exemplified by our dedication to building capacity and empowering stakeholders to cultivate world-class schools that prepare students who are college and/or career-ready. To support schools, that transform lives and uplift communities, the Office provides actionable recommendations to LEAs and schools with a focus on improving student outcomes. 

​ ​To achieve these goals, our Office employs a collaborative and innovative leadership approach, in alignment with the Maryland State Department of Education's Multi-year Strategic Plan and the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future.​

Expert Review Team

The Expert Review Team will conduct school visits to support school and district leaders in assessing the effectiveness of curriculum, instruction, interventions, and behavioral health services designed to improve student learning and well-being. Effective practices and areas of growth will be identified and shared with other schools and support will be provided for improvement.

The pilot Expert Review Team process began in 2022, enabling refinement of the school review process through stakeholder engagement. School reviews are conducted by an Expert Review team consisting of experienced educators, leaders, and other experts with in-depth knowledge of effective school improvement practices and services that enhance the student’s ability to be successful.

Learn more about the Expert Review Team on the Blueprint for Maryland's Future website

2023-24 School Reviews and Reports

A team of expert educators visited schools to observe classrooms, record interviews, and conduct focus groups, to analyze the extent to which the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future initiatives are being carried out and identify instructional best practices. Reviewers collaborated with school-based faculty and local education agency staff to develop recommendations, measures, and strategies to address growth areas identified by the Expert Review Team.

Blueprint Pillar 5: Governance and Accountability

The Blueprint for Maryland’s Future involves thoughtful and comprehensive coordination between many agencies and institutions at all levels of Maryland government to implement the various programs and initiatives and to transform Maryland into a world-class educational system. The Blueprint establishes the Accountability Implementation Board and Expert Review Teams program. These entities hold the State and local education agencies accountable for Blueprint implementation. 

American Rescue Plan (ARP) Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund (ESSER)

The ARP ESSER Fund aims to provide emergency relief funds to local education agencies (LEAs) receiving funds under Title I, Part A of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA). These funds are designed to address the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on elementary and secondary schools nationwide. 

The Office of School Review, Support & Improvement is responsible for providing guidance and monitoring the programs that LEAs purchased with ARP ESSER funds. The LEAs submitted documentation in the form of Reopening Plans and ARP ESSER Monitoring Tools. ​

Reopening Plans

Under the federal American Rescue Plan (ARP) Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) Fund, the review of Safe Return to In-Person Instruction and Continuity of Services (Reopening) Plans must be submitted by LEAs every six months throughout the grant period. These plans outline the strategies school systems will employ to optimize student learning in safe environments. The Office of School Review, Support & Improvement evaluates whether these plans are implemented by using the Reopening Plan Rubric, which assesses the level of completeness and adherence to requirements.​|

Monitoring Tool

The LEAs are required to submit an ARP ESSER Monitoring Tool every December during the life of the grant. The tool reviews the funding of interventions, the population of students receiving interventions, the implementation of program systems, the monitoring of the systems, the plan for sustainability, and the data collected during the life of the program. The Office of School Review, Support & Improvement evaluates the interventions implemented by using the ARP ESSER Monitoring Tool Rubric, which assesses the level of completeness and adherence to requirements.


Dr. Paula Cage
Director, Office of School Review, Support, and Improvement
Office: (410) 767-0341