BCP January 2017 Newsletter
Contestants from the 2017 "Are You Smarter than a BCP 5th Grader" Quiz Show.
(Top l to r: Victor Abiamiri, Delegate Brooke Lierman, Alison Perkins-Cohen,
Bob Heck (MC), and FOX45's Traffic Jam Jimmy. Bottom l to r: Kayla, Selene, Vivi, and Dwight.)
Will the 5th Graders from City Springs Elementary/Middle, Govans Elementary, Hampstead Hill Academy and Wolfe Street Academy triumph over the "Baltimore Big Shots" again this year?
Find out at the the sixth annual "Are You Smarter than a BCP 5th Grader?" Quiz Show on Thursday, April 20, 2017 from 6:15pm-8:15pm at City Springs Elementary/Middle School (100 S. Caroline Street, 21231) Enjoy dinner and a fun-filled quiz show with CareFirst's Maria Tildon, MC Bob Heck and other local celebrities. Onsite parking is available. Seating is limited.
Purchase tickets at:
City Springs Enjoys a "STEAM Night at the Museum"
By Abby Baldwin, Child First Authority Community School Coordinator at City Springs
On December 21, 2016 third grade students from the Child First Authority After School program at City Springs Elementary/Middle School participated in a STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math) Night at the Museum. The STEAM Program is a partnership between City Springs Elementary/Middle School, Child First Authority, Maryland Extensions 4H Program, and the Reginald F. Lewis Museum.
The program provides students with hands-on STEAM Activities while teaching them about African American heroes in STEAM professions. The culminating trip to the Reginald F. Lewis Museum provided the students with an opportunity to explore the museum after hours with a museum curator.
First, the students read a story about Philip Reid, who used math and technology to help build the Statue of Freedom; the large bronze statue that adorns the top of the U.S. Capital Building. Afterwards, Education Program Manager Terry Taylor showed the students a replica statue that Reid helped create for the museum.
Terry also led the students through the exhibits on Benjamin Banneker, who designed the first almanac; Matthew Henson, an explorer who helped discover the North Pole; and Downes Curtis, who made sails for ships on the Chesapeake Bay.
The students asked many questions and were fascinated to learn about the heroes in the STEAM fields. They were extremely excited to see the exhibit on Downes Curtis, having recently learned about sail making through the after school STEAM Program and built their own sail for a model ship that used wind power to travel across a table.
At the end of the evening, students made clay sculptures and talked about what they had learned throughout the program. The students really appreciated their Night at the Museum and are eager to return to the Reginald F. Lewis Museum to learn about more African American Heroes!
A New Day at Frederick Elementary
A new day is dawning at Frederick Elementary School in West Baltimore. When the doors open next school year, families will find a new facility, curriculum, principal, charter operator, community school partner, after school program, and students from Samuel F. B. Morse Elementary.
On July 1, 2017 Frederick Elementary will become the fifth school in a network of conversion charter schools operated by the Baltimore Curriculum Project, the largest conversion charter school operator in Maryland.
As a conversion charter, Frederick will continue to serve all students living in the school zone. Frederick currently serves just over 200 students. With the recent school board vote to close Samuel F.B. Morse Elementary, the Frederick zone will expand to serve approximately 350 additional students.
"It is a happy coincidence that the new Frederick Elementary will open in a completely renovated and expanded facility," said Laura Doherty, President of the Baltimore Curriculum Project.
Frederick will be the second school to open as part of Baltimore City Public Schools' 21st Century Buildings Program.
Opportunities and challenges abound for the new Frederick Elementary. According to the Baltimore Sun, Frederick was the lowest scoring elementary school in the state on the 2016 PARCC assessment. Samuel F.B. Morse tied with eight other elementary schools for the second lowest scoring elementary school in Maryland.
"The Frederick charter conversion has more moving parts than any other school the Baltimore Curriculum Project has worked with," said Ms. Doherty. "We are excited about the teachers, parents, principal, programs, and partnerships, which promise to make Frederick a beacon for education in West Baltimore."
Perhaps the biggest challenge facing Frederick Elementary is the merger of two distinct school communities. Samuel F.B. Morse families fought hard to keep their school open all the way up to the school board vote on December 13th.
"This school is an anchor for our community," said Morse parent Ella Phillips at the Baltimore City School Board meeting on June 14, 2016. "The loss of this school will have a devastating effect on the stability of our community."
Baltimore City Schools and the Baltimore Curriculum Project began working together to plan for the potential school merger during the summer of 2016. Although the Morse community will continue to grieve over the loss of their school, the Frederick community envisions the new school as an anchor for the broader community. As both a Baltimore Curriculum Project conversion charter and a community school supported by Bon Secours, Frederick is well-positioned to fulfill this vision.
"There is concern in both school communities about the coming changes," said Ms. Doherty. "But there is also hope."
Frank Knott Teaches Entrepreneurship at Govans Elementary
Govans Elementary students had the pleasure of learning about entrepreneurship from Frank Knott during the Govans Elementary Career Day on November 16, 2016. Mr. Knott is the founder of the ViTAL Economy Alliance, a coalition of independent organizations and individuals who are passionate about transforming communities into thriving economies.
Mr. Knott's experience spans more than 40 years and encompasses serving as both a successful entrepreneur and a volunteer leader of regional Community Economic Development (CED) initiatives. For the past 25 years, he has initiated and/or participated in a number of regional and national public-private partnerships in the areas of economic development, workforce training, education reform, at-risk youth empowerment, rural and urban economic policy, and information highway initiatives.
Mr. Knott grew up in the Govans neighborhood, right around the corner from Govans Elementary. His great grandparents came from Ireland and started their life in America in Govanstowne in the 1850s.
Mr. Knott began his talk by asking students about their favorite subjects and what they dream about becoming when they start their careers. He emphasized the fact that anyone can become an entrepreneur at any age.
When Mr. Knott was a young boy, he and a small group of friends would collect candles stubs from their neighbors. They would melt the wax in his mother's pots - much to her dismay - fashion new candles, and then sell them throughout the neighborhood. Neighbors who donated candle stubs would receive a discount.
Students learned that entrepreneurs create organizations that take advantage of opportunity or solve a problem. Mr. Knott gave students an overview of his career, describing 17 years in construction, building new and repairing historic buildings; 10 years developing new technologies; and 25 years in social enterprise, helping improve communities.
One student asked how Mr. Knott had enough money to build buildings. This led to a discussion about loans, investing and banking. Another student asked if Mr. Knott had help with his projects.
"I was particularly intrigued by Kanessa picking up on my consistent use of we versus me or I," said Mr. Knott. "This is something that I have tried to instill in every team with whom I have ever worked whether in the private, non-profit or public sectors. I hope the students of Govans Elementary are learning that teams are made up of 'we" not 'I'."
The talk ended with the six most important lessons Mr. Knott learned in school : (1) Be good at reading, writing, math and critical thinking; (2) Research - sort out good information from bad information; (3) Never stop learning - be curious about new things; (4) Work well with others and build a team; (5) Communicate well... get your ideas across to others; and (6) Solve problems and look for opportunity.
"I very much enjoyed engaging with the 5th graders at Govans Elementary," said Mr. Knott. Their enthusiasm for learning must be infectious for the teachers. They were all very attentive and clearly picked up on a number of the points I was trying to make to them."
Govans Elementary and the Baltimore Curriculum Project would like to thank Mr. Knott for taking the time to share his wealth of experience with our students.
Exelon Volunteers Help HHA Students "Crack the Code"
In November, Hampstead Hill Academy students in Matthew Cobb's class participated in a Computer Coding "Boot Camp" run by a volunteer group of IT professionals from Exelon.
The boot camp consisted of four, one-day sessions. During each daily two-hour session, students learned the basics of software coding and engaged in hands-on projects.
During the first session, students learned about the fundamentals of coding by completing a "Minecraft Hour of Code" tutorial, which can be found at www.code.org
. Students arranged bits of pre-written code in order to solve particular problems, such as navigating a character through a maze.
"Given the popularity of the Minecraft video game, the tutorial was a big hit with the students," said Sa'ad Raouf, IT Manager for Exelon. Mr. Raouf reached out to the Baltimore Curriculum Project in September and organized the entire Coding Boot Camp.
As the students proceeded through the Minecraft tutorial, they were introduced to the concept of "loops" and other programming logic. At this stage of the boot camp, the goal was to provide an overview of coding while minimizing technical barriers to comprehension.
During the second day, the students progressed to more advanced programming concepts using the "Artist" tutorial at Code.org (https://studio.code.org/s/artist
). This tutorial provided the students with the opportunity to experiment with "loops within loops" and logic blocks (coding "if" statements).
The third day kicked off with a tutorial on programming functions given by Patrick Corkum, IT Principal Architect at Constellation, an Exelon Company.
Patrick demonstrated how the Mad Libs game is a perfect example of function parameters. The students then progressed to writing their own coding functions using "Songwriting with Parameters" (https://code.org/curriculum/course4/13/Teacher.pdf
At this stage, the students gained an understanding of the challenges of coding, and the need for discipline and attention to detail when coding. Simple syntax errors had to be corrected by the students before they could complete an individual step in each tutorial. Students learned that a missing or misplaced semi-colon could render their code ineffective. This experience helped the students develop a deeper appreciation for the hard work that goes into software coding.
The Exelon team was thoroughly impressed with the students at HHA and their level of engagement throughout the boot camp.
"I did not know what to expect when we formed the Exelon volunteer team to provide a coding boot camp to the middle schoolers at Hampstead Hill," said Sa'ad. "Arriving with pre-conceived notions that our public schools were in shambles, I was astounded and amazed at the reception we received from the students. Their unquenchable desire to learn coding was impressive and inspiring to say the least. The coding boot camp was a huge success and we are planning on offering additional boot camps at Hampstead Hill as well as other area schools".
BCP and Hampstead Hill Academy would like to thank Sa'ad Raouf and the following Exelon volunteers for providing this wonderful learning experience for our students: Mark Bell, Maxwell Bradley, William Bradshaw, Aaron Brown, Stephen Capece, Patrick Corkum, Jason Haas, Chris Miller, Brann Nothcutt, Lindsay Reedy, and Michael Rozyczk.
Volunteers Make a Difference at Wolfe Street Academy
Wolfe Street Academy (WSA) and the Baltimore Curriculum Project would like to express our deep gratitude for all of the wonderful volunteers and partners who support our students.
The Julie Community Center, which is run by Sister Laura Syron, hosts WSA's after school Tae Kwon Doe Club. Mikhail Orpia, the Julie Community Center's Americorp Volunteer, teaches the club. The Julie Community Center also hosts the Chess Club, which is part of the Baltimore Kids Chess League. James Fite has coached the chess team for three years and community member Barbara Moore has assisted Mr. Fite for three years.
The Fells Point Corner Theater hosts the after school Theater Program, which has been taught by volunteer theater coach David Shoemaker for three years.
Students from Notre Dame of Maryland University's School of Nursing have been providing tutoring for after school students since 2014. Dr. Sabita Persaud, Associate Professor/Associate Dean for the Entry-Level BSN Program, and Melody Seitz, Assistant Professor, oversee the tutors. This year's tutors include: Peace Ani, Hinot Belyneh, Heather Canales, Marianne Carpio, Madalyn Dewling, Rakeb Fanta, Maureen Higgins, MaryGrace Jalova, Marie Lanza, Kelsey Mitchell, Ellysia Mohammed, Jaime Reyes, Angela Rubrico, and Alexis Thompson. Three volunteers from the Upper Fells Point Improvement Association (UFPIA) - Mollie Fein, Karyn Hassyn and Alison VanDeursen - run the WSA Library Project. UFPIA also runs the WSA Teacher Wish List Project.
A long list of Downtown Baltimore Family Alliance
(DBFA) volunteers run the Adopt-a-Family program, which provides holiday gifts for WSA families. DBFA Board Member Allison Pendell Jones organizes the program.
Middle School Service Learning Volunteers
include: Alex R., Antovani R., Araceli G.,
Cruz V., Diana R., Elizabeth R., Erick C., Jasmin P., Lourdes L., Luis P., Trevor R., Jorge V. , and Yeymi P.
A number of Parent Volunteers
help with school events throughout the year. Iveth Monterosa has gone above and beyond with her volunteer efforts. The following parents organized WSA's 2016 "Day of the Dead" celebration: Rosita Flores Gonzalez, Floricela Medellin, PTO President Iveth Monterrosa, Maria del Pilar Morales, and Reveca Pucheta. Community member and Mexican Folkloric dancer Grisel Flores Merino also helped with the celebration.
A number of Parents, Teachers and Community Volunteers provide tutoring for students: former Park School of Baltimore teacher Christine Broening, WSA grandparent Barbara Kirby, former WSA teacher Evelyn Gross, and community member Karen Joseph.
Thank you again to all of the volunteers who help make Wolfe Street Academy one of the best elementary schools in Baltimore City!