BCP December 2016 Newsletter
For decades educators have attempted to avert the "fourth-grade slump" - the precipitous drop in performance experienced primarily by low-income children when reading texts become more complex and the subject matter broadens and deepens.
Despite the increased focus on early literacy instruction sparked by No Child Left Behind, millions of adolescents still struggle with low literacy skills. In 2015, 66% of all eighth-grade students, 85% of Black students and 79% of Hispanic students failed to perform proficiently in reading on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP).
Unless these students receive the intensive reading instruction they need in high school, their chances of graduating and securing gainful employment are slim to none.
Join the Baltimore Curriculum Project and the Johns Hopkins Institute for Education Policy for a discussion about the adolescent literacy crisis in America with:
- Dr. Elizabeth Birr Moje, Interim Dean, University of Michigan School of Education
- Dr. Rhonda L. Richetta, Principal, City Springs Elementary/Middle School
- Dr. Sonja B Santelises, Chief Executive Officer, Baltimore City Public Schools
- Dr. David M. Steiner, Director, Johns Hopkins Institute for Education Policy (moderator)
When: Friday, February 17, 2017 from 12:00 pm - 3:00 pm
Where: Glass Pavilion at Levering Hall, Johns Hopkins University, 3400 N. Charles Street
This event is free and open to the public. A light lunch will be served.
For more information call 410-675-7000 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
City Springs Elementary/Middle School BUDL Debate Team Presents at "Great American Smokeout" Press Event
Students from City Springs Elementary/ Middle School's Baltimore Urban Debate League (BUDL) team; representatives from four leading national public health organizations; and Senator Nathaniel J. McFadden gathered to advocate for more robust state funding in support of comprehensive tobacco control programs in Maryland on November 17, 2016.
The City Springs Elementary/Middle Baltimore Urban Debate League team
with Dr. Robert Brookland, Principal Rhonda Richetta and
Senator Nathaniel J. McFadden.
The event was hosted by City Springs Elementary/Middle School in conjunction with the American Cancer Society's Great American Smokeout. City Springs students delivered an engaging and well-researched presentation on why better tobacco control is needed in the United States.
City Springs Elementary/Middle School and Hampstead Hill Academy students have participated in the Baltimore Urban Debate League for several years. In addition to competing successfully in BUDL tournaments, students from City Springs and Hampstead Hill have delivered persuasive speeches at a variety of large events including the 2012 AFP-Maryland National Philanthropy Day conference, the 2014 AFT Community Schools Rally at Baltimore City Hall, and the 2014 Baltimore Education Coalition Gubernatorial Forum.
About the Baltimore Urban Debate League
The Baltimore Urban Debate League (BUDL) is dedicated to improving educational and life outcomes for disadvantaged students in Baltimore's under resourced public schools. By creating learning opportunities through competitive debate and professional development with teachers to bring the benefits of debate inside the city's classrooms, BUDL supports and informs the educational reform and revitalization efforts now underway in our district. Through the motivation and thrill of competitive debate BUDL improves self-esteem, increases academic achievement, improves graduation rates and access to higher education. For young people of promise, for their schools and their communities, BUDL provides a new vision, hope and opportunity. http://budl.org
|MSDE Awards Frederick Elementary a 5-Year School Improvement Grant
The Maryland State Department of Education has designated Frederick Elementary a School Improvement Grant (SIG) Cohort IV School and has awarded the school a $100,000 School Improvement Pre-Implementation Grant to help improve instruction and school climate. The current funding will support a number of programs and services including:
- Training for teachers in the Direct Instruction and Core Knowledge programs;
- Family and community engagement efforts;
- A part-time, on-site Direct Instruction coach to mentor teachers; and
- Direct Instruction and Core Knowledge textbooks and other materials.
Title I School Improvement Grants (SIG) are grants to state educational agencies (SEAs) that SEAs use to make competitive subgrants to local educational agencies (LEAs) that demonstrate the greatest need for the funds and the strongest commitment to use the funds to provide adequate resources in order to raise substantially the achievement of students in their lowest-performing schools.
In addition to Frederick Elementary, the following schools also met the criteria and approval for this School Improvement Grant: Academy for College and Career Exploration, Harford Heights Elementary, James McHenry Elementary/Middle, and Mary E. Rodman Elementary.
Frederick Elementary will continue to receive funding through this grant for an additional four years to support and sustain the implementation of the school improvement plans to improve student performance. Frederick Elementary and BCP would like to thank the Maryland State Department of Education and Baltimore City Public Schools for their support.
|From Apartheid to Govans Elementary School
When Francesa Maier brought her family to Baltimore City, she didn't know anything about Govans Elementary. What she did know is that she wanted to find a welcoming, inclusive school for her son Johnny.
Francesca, who goes by the nickname Ches, grew up in South Africa during the transition from Apartheid to Democracy. During her junior year of high school, schools across the country became multiracial. There were only 2 non-White students in her high school of 120.
Ches remembers the first day a non-White student joined her class.
"I was awestruck by the courage she and her parents had on that day. She sat alone reading a book, so I said to my friends, come on let's say hello."
Ches was raised by progressive parents. She was allowed to play with the non-White child of the White family down the road, but she was not allowed to tell anyone. Under Apartheid, White families were not allowed to have non-White children.
"My father ran a business and referred to his employees as men and women, not boys or girls," said Ches. "He would take them home to the township after work, but most white people never went there."
Ches's early experiences in South Africa forged an unbreakable commitment to diversity and inclusion.
"There is no question that it is important for my children to be in a diverse situation," said Ches. "When we visit South Africa on vacation, it is important that they are comfortable with people who look different, but also with socioeconomic differences."
After moving to Baltimore, Ches tried two Baltimore City schools and one private school before discovering Govans Elementary.
"I ran into some Leith Walk Elementary kids at the library who were really proud of their school, said Ches. "The kids were such a credit to their school."
Ches and her family did not live in the Leith Walk zone, so they decided to check out their zoned school - Govans Elementary.
"At Govans we could see that every kid was welcome," said Ches. "We knew in our hearts that this was where Johnny belonged."
Ches was impressed by many aspects of Govans Elementary including the school's inclusiveness, the individual attention Principal Taylor paid to students, and the experienced and well-supported teachers.
"I knew my kids would spend the time learning, not on classroom management," said Ches. "I loved all of the opportunities for kids. The atmosphere is a no brainer compared with larger schools."
When challenges arose, Principal Taylor was there to lend a helping hand.
"There was a kid who stole Johnny's scooter in the neighborhood," said Ches. "The other neighborhood kids told him who did it and it turned out the kid was a sixth grader who used to attend Govans. Ms. Taylor went to the kid's house to talk with his Dad because she cared about Johnny and her former student. Johnny experienced some racism and bullying, but Ms. Taylor took care of it."
Ches and her husband want their children to be global citizens and they have been very intentional about introducing their children to a variety of cultures. When they lived in Nashville they sent Johnny to a daycare center with African-American, Russian, Indian and other children.
"We don't want to raise white, male, privileged kids," said Ches. "Our kids are privileged. They need to understand that the world is not easy for everyone and that hardship is no reflection of the character of people whose lives are not easy because of race or socioeconomic reasons. Johnny is empathic and understands that the way people look, act and speak is not a reflection of who they are."
Unfortunately for Govans Elementary and Baltimore City, Ches and her family moved to Washington State in May. We will miss them.
"We wish we could've taken Govans Elementary and most of our neighborhood with us!" said Ches.
Junior Achievement, Legg Mason and Exelon Teach HHA Students about Financial and Career Success
Employees from Legg Mason and Exelon became Hampstead Hill Academy teachers for a day through Junior Achievement's JA in a Day program on September 26, 2016.
JA in a Day is a Common Core-aligned curriculum for elementary school students that begins a lifetime of learning about financial and career success. It offers teachers a turnkey solution for financial education, college preparation and work readiness skills.
"Volunteering with JA at Hampstead Hill Academy was an enriching experience," said Garrett Levy, Staff Accountant at Exelon.
"It's a great way to have a direct impact on the next generation of young professionals. The JA lesson plan was entertaining for the students, and it was great to add my own perspective and to share real-world experiences that they could relate to. The students were very enthusiastic and eager to learn about business principles that they will use throughout their lives."
More than 300 students in grades one through four learned life-long lessons and skills that will empower them in and out of the classroom.
"Teaching the JA 'Our Community' curriculum with the 2nd grade students at Hampstead Hill Academy was a fun and rewarding experience," said Tim Peddie, Internal Communications Manager for Legg Mason."
"JA made it easy to organize my lesson plan, which really helped put me at ease about teaching, and the kids were very engaged and enthusiastic about the content. I highly recommend JA in a Day to anyone who likes working with children and is passionate about the importance of financial education."
Legg Mason volunteers were part of Legg's Developing Professionals Network (DPN), which exists to create a network of support for employees in the early stages of their careers by providing them with developmental, networking, and community outreach opportunities. DPN encourages all members to participate in events and take on leadership roles within the group by coordinating various activities.
This is the third year that Junior Achievement of Central Maryland and Legg Mason have partnered with Hampstead Hill Academy. In 2014, Legg Mason donated $15,000 to JA of Central Maryland so that Hampstead Hill Academy students could participate in JA in a Day, JA BizTown, and JA Finance Park Virtual.
Hampstead Hill Academy and BCP would like to thank JA of Central Maryland, Exelon and Legg Mason for providing these wonderful learning opportunities for our students.
About Junior Achievement of Central Maryland
Junior Achievement of Central Maryland is part of the world's largest organization dedicated to giving young people the knowledge and skills they need to own their economic success, plan for their future, and make smart academic and economic choices. These K-12 programs provide relevant, hands-on experiences in financial literacy, work readiness and entrepreneurship. Junior Achievement of Central Maryland reaches more than 40,000 total students in 12 Maryland counties each year. https://jamaryland.org/
DBFA Shares Holiday Spirit with BCP Families
Families from Govans Elementary School and Wolfe Street Academy enjoyed a brighter Holiday season again this year thanks to the generosity of the Downtown Baltimore Family Alliance (DBFA). Since 2008, DBFA has been providing toys, books, games, clothing, bicycles and other gifts for hundreds of Baltimore City families through their Adopt a Family Program.
"For many Baltimore families struggling just to make ends meet, the luxury of purchasing gifts for the holiday season does not exist," said DBFA Board Member Allison Pendell Jones. "Our program matches families in need to families that can give."
Wolfe Street Academy has participated in the program for nine years. Last year, DBFA had so many families volunteer to buy presents, that they were able to add Govans Elementary to the program.
"The program was originally going to provide one $40 gift for each child, but the donors go all out!" said Connie Phelps, SWCOS Community School Coordinator at Wolfe Street Academy.
On the weekend of December 9th an army of DBFA volunteer "elves" descended on Govans Elementary, Wolfe Street Academy, Margaret Brent Elementary School, and Waverly Elementary School to help school staff receive and distribute gifts for 300 families.
"It is such a pleasure to meet families from all over the city who care enough to share their holiday blessings," said BCP Executive Vice President Larry Schugam.
"We are so grateful to DBFA for making this possible."
About the Downtown Baltimore Family Alliance
Fueled by the belief that communities flourish when families thrive, DBFA empowers families to access quality educational opportunities and vibrant cultural experiences, advocates for excellent public resources, and connects communities throughout Baltimore. We work with elected officials, business leaders, and grassroots community activists to represent the voices of our 3,000+ member families on issues that matter the most to parents and children who choose to call Baltimore home. http://www.baltimorefamilies.org
Invest in the Children of Wolfe Street Academy
The New York Times Sunday Review called Wolfe Street Academy (WSA) "a justly renowned community school" in an article entitled "To Teach a Child to Read, First Give Him Glasses," which was published on August 6, 2016.
As you make your 2016 year end donations, please consider investing in a school that provides quality education and support to 225 primarily Latino, immigrant children and their families.
STUDENTS AND FAMILIES ARE WORKING HARD
In 2014, WSA ranked #2, up from 77th twelve years ago, among public elementary schools in Baltimore City based on the school's performance on Maryland state tests.
In 2015, WSA was recognized as a Community School of Excellence by the National Coalition of Community Schools.
Wolfe Street Academy, its children and families are facing significant challenges in pursuit of the American Dream that education and hard work promise. WSA has experienced cuts in funds from the federal and state governments and expect more in the next year.
WSA's most urgent need for the 2017-2018 school year is to replace funds for the after school and summer school programs, which include academics, music, art, health, recreation, and sports activities. Nearly 85% of WSA students participate in these programs.
Donate now and your donation will count TWICE. A Wolfe supporter will match your gift dollar for dollar up to $5,000.
Give as generously as you can and please let us know if you have friends, or contacts at corporations/foundations, who may be willing to help us close our gap of over $100,000 needed for after school and summer school.
WSA students, families and staff thank you for your support!