The Division administers programs through the following Branches:
Youth Development Branch
The Youth Development Branch provides leadership, direction, coordination, supervision, and support for the Twenty-First Century Community Learning Centers program, Maryland Student Service Alliance (MSSA), Character Education Office, Maryland Association of Student Councils, and the Maryland Chess program.
Program Improvement and Family Support Branch
The Program Improvement and Family Support Branch helps support local school systems and schools that have high concentrations of children from low-income families. This support includes planning, operating, and evaluating, programs for educationally disadvantaged students. The Branch is responsible for the federal Title I program - Improving the Academic Achievement of the Disadvantaged. Under Title I, specialists oversee the Maryland Parent Advisory Council (M-PAC), Home Instruction for Parents of Preschool Youngsters (HIPPY), Family Reading Plan, Take 15 for the Family, as well as the Even Start Family Literacy Program. In addition, migrant students are provided summer learning opportunities, neglected and delinquent students are being served in State institutions, middle school teachers are being served through the Increasing Proficiency for All Students (I-PAS)/Challenge Initiative, and homeless children receive support through the McKinney-Vento Education for Homeless Children and Youth Program.
Student Services and Strategic Planning Branch
The Student Services and Strategic Planning Branch (SSSP) is responsible for providing leadership and technical assistance to local school systems with the implementation of programs and initiatives to facilitate the emotional, mental, social, and physical health of all students. These programs and initiatives include guidance and career development, school psychology, pupil personnel, school social work, school health services, safe and supportive schools, dropout prevention and alternative programs, home instruction, and initiatives to reduce disruption and violence, address at-risk behaviors, and facilitate achievement. The branch works collaboratively with other agencies, community organizations, and stakeholder groups around these initiatives.
In addition, this branch is responsible for programs and initiatives to improve teaching and learning for at-risk students and low-performing schools. These programs include the Bridge to Excellence in Public Schools program, the Ed-Flex Demonstration Program, the Rural and Low-Income Schools Program, and the State-funded Nonpublic Textbook Program. Under the Bridge to Excellence in Public Schools Program, each school system is required to submit to MSDE a comprehensive Master Plan, to be updated annually, designed to improve achievement for all students and eliminate achievement gaps among groups of students.
Office of School Innovations
The Office of School Innovations (OSI) is responsible for providing leadership, support and accountability to new educational initiatives in Maryland Public Schools through the effective design, development and implementation of creative and innovative programs. These innovative programs support the mission of MSDE by providing innovative products and services to enhance academic achievement for students across the state. This includes providing leadership for the development and implementation of the Maryland Public Charter School Program. Public Charter Schools are one of the Federal and State sanctioned restructuring designs for schools in restructuring status pursuant to No Child Left Behind.
OSI Works directly with local boards of education and superintendents to provide guidance and technical assistance on best authorizing practices as well as assistance in implementing the public charter school law; offers guidance and delivers technical assistance to perspective charter school operators and charter school leadership; provides management, accountability and oversight of the federal grant program as well as all personnel assigned to the management of this grant; and provides leadership, support, and assistance to an innovative Statewide school -the Maryland Public Residential Boarding Education Program operated and managed by the SEED Foundation.