BCP November 2016 Newsletter
|Jon McGill Speaks at U.S. DOE Conference on Expanding Positive School Climates in Charter Schools
By Jon McGill, Director of Academics, Baltimore Curriculum Project
|Jon McGill, BCP's Director of Academics, joined panelists Lionel Allen, Ben Marcovitz and Judith Parker.|
On Friday, October 14th, BCP's Jon McGill, Director of Academics, served as a panelist for the U.S. Department of Education's conference on "Expanding Positive School Climates in the Charter Schools Sector."
The conference brought together approximately fifty people, all of whom were in some way or another engaged in operating or otherwise supporting charter schools around the nation. The invitees included school operators, principals, advocates, funders and other supporters of the charter school sector.
The organizing principle of the conference was "School Discipline" with a focus on Restorative Practices and its use. Secretary of Education Dr. John B. King, Jr. addressed the small group in the morning and set the scene for new approaches to discipline in schools around the country. He encouraged attendees to continue to find alternatives to suspension and punitive discipline.
McGill was asked to serve as one of four panelists, each of whom was directly engaged in schools. The panel served to highlight the best practices and the pitfalls of Restorative Practices. Other panelists included Lionel Allen (Urban Prep Academies), Ben Marcovitz (Collegiate Academies), and Judith Parker (Milwaukee Collegiate Academy).
Attendees also heard from Sonia Park (Senior Policy Advisor, Office of Innovation and Improvement, U.S. Department of Education), and Nadya Chinoy Dabby (Assistant Deputy Secretary, Office of Innovation and Improvement, U.S. Department of Education).
It was clear that BCP has the longest record of using Restorative Practices and thus there was considerable interest in how BCP schools use that process, how the schools train teachers and what BCP has learned from these experiences. It seems clear than many charter schools have similar issues to those of BCP: how to promote positive behaviors, how to include the parent community in building school climate and culture, and how to monitor the need for professional development in this area.
There were people at the conference from the west coast, the south, the mid-west and the east coast: in every region, and every school represented, the issues seemed familiar and urgent. The need to create the right school climate and culture is national, indeed, international, and BCP was able to contribute very positively to this discussion. The conference organizers at the Department of Education are committed to follow-up on what has been started and BCP will be part of that process.
|FLASHBACK: City Springs Elementary/Middle School in 1979
In honor of City Springs Elementary/Middle School's 50th Anniversary, we have reprinted the following article from the Baltimore Afro American:
BALTIMORE AFRO AMERICAN
May 5, 1979
By Elizabeth M. Oliver,
Arnetta Lottier, Editors
and Glasco Ryales, Photographer
City Springs Elementary School No. 8 at 100 S. Caroline St., has 410 children of different races but when they get together Black, Indian, Spanish, German, Italian, Caucasian, they're all one happy family.
Built in 1966 as a Model School, it is now a Title One Comprehensive Elementary school.
The education family includes includes Mrs. Lucille Johnson, principal; 2 senior teachers, 23 classroom teachers, 8 resource teachers, including reading, art, music, physical education, library, speech clinician, audiologist, 16 para professionals, 1 home - school community liaison worker, 1 social worker and 1 home visitor.
Other support service includes secretarial staff, cafeteria staff, custodial staff, and parent and CIVICS volunteers.
The 410 pupils are enrolled Pre Kindergarten, Kindergarten and grades 3-6. In addition to the regular program the school provides Continuum Services for exceptional children in both self contained and resource classes, reading resource service, and Hi Intensity Laboratory.
The educational program is enhanced by student organizations and club activities which help to develop individual self-worth, leadership, respect for others and an appreciation for the aesthetics through creative expression. These activities include safety patrol, student council, cultural enrichment club, boys and girls basketball teams, club, dance club, school chorus, and tutoring program.
With such high self esteem and a dedicated staff, you can see why pupils state, "We're great at School 8!"
|Frederick Elementary Thanks Community for Support
Frederick Elementary and BCP would like to thank all of the employees from the Social Security Administration who donated school supplies for students from Frederick Elementary, Lyndhurst Elementary, North Bend Elementary/Middle and Beechfield Elementary/Middle in September.
Frederick Elementary and BCP would like to thank the Baltimore City Police Aviation Unit for visiting Frederick Elementary with a Foxtrot helicopter in May. In addition to students, parents, teachers and administrators, Nicole Price, City Schools Director of Community and Public Relations, had a chance to test out the helicopter.
|Govans Elementary's First Year as a BCP Charter School
Govans Elementary officially became a BCP charter school on July 1, 2015, but BCP's work with the school and the community began in early 2014. This partnership has resulted in highly engaged students, well-trained teachers and an enrollment increase from 398 to 455 in one year.
Below are the most important programs and other supports BCP has brought to Govans:
BCP and Govans would like to thank the following partners for helping to make Govans an excellent school:
- Reading Mastery is a research-based reading program that uses Direct Instruction to help students master decoding and comprehension skills.
- Core Knowledge is a content and vocabulary rich curriculum that helps children establish strong foundations of knowledge, grade by grade.
- Restorative Practices is a strategy that gives students tools to resolve conflicts and build positive relationships with their peers and teachers.
- Professional Development: BCP provides intensive, year-round training and coaching for teachers.
- BCP staff has helped the Govans Principal hire a strong Assistant Principal to support the growing enrollment.
- New Govans Facility: BCP is working closely with City Schools and Strong City Baltimore to engage community members in designing the new school building.
- BCP started an MSDE-funded 21st Century Community Learning Center, which includes a world-class after-school program, adult education, and other services.
The Abell Foundation, The Annie E. Casey Foundation, Atwater's, Baltimore City Fire Department, Bridges at St. Paul's School, The Church of the Redeemer, City Councilman Bill Henry, Family League of Baltimore, Friends School of Baltimore, Girl Scouts, Girls on the Run, Huber Memorial Church, Johns Hopkins University, Junior League of Baltimore, Legg Mason, Let's Go Boys and Girls, Live Baltimore, Loyola University Maryland, Maryland Book Bank, Maryland Food Bank, Maryland State Department of Education, Mid-Govans Community Association, Morgan State University, Notre Dame of Maryland University, PNC Bank, Staples, Strong City Baltimore, Towson University, U.S. Department of Education, and York Road Partnership.
Hampstead Hill Academy Featured in WYPR Story on the 50th Anniversary of The Coleman Report
HHA Principal Matt Hornbeck, teacher Jacqueline Clary, and Parent Cindy Pappas were interviewed for the story. An excerpt is below:
"This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Coleman Report
, a landmark study led by then Johns Hopkins University sociologist James Coleman. The study found an enormous achievement gap on test scores between black and white children and was the basis for the busing programs of the 70's to achieve racial balance in schools.
Still, Baltimore's school system, like many urban systems throughout the nation, remains highly segregated. The vast majority of students-about 85 percent-are African American and that same proportion is poor enough to qualify for free or reduced price meals...
In East Baltimore, there's a school that shines as an exception. Hampstead Hill Academy
is an elementary and middle school of close to 800 students next to Patterson Park. It's a conversion charter - everyone who lives in the school's zone has an automatic seat.
"And it's the same zone it's been for decades," explained Matt Hornbeck, the school's principal. "And if we have any extra spaces they go to families who live outside of the zone by lottery. We are very full. We have a 200 student waiting list."
That's because students outperform city averages on tests across the board and the school is one of the most diverse in the city -- 40 % Hispanic, 40% white and 20% African American. There's a vibrant atmosphere and opportunities for enrichment...
Jacqueline Clary teaches first grade here... She says she's noticed that the diversity at Hampstead Hill fosters higher expectations for the students. And countless studies have shown that diversity helps all students...
Karl Alexander, a former Hopkins professor, has written about the importance of integrating schools. He is trying to start a public school in the city through his organization, The Thurgood Marshall Alliance
, that would be majority middle class.
"It's not that being middle class just rubs off on other kids, but middle class families can bring to bear resources that poor families can't as advocates for their children," he explained.
Cindy Pappas, who lives in Canton, is one of those middle class parents. She has two sons at Hampstead Hill-a fourth grader and a first grader.
"We are at a place where we could have taken a private school path but each year there is absolutely no reason for us leave," she said. "This is where we live and work, and we love this school."
She says prestigious private schools north of the city offer buses for downtown families, trying to make it easier for them, but she wants her kids to have more diverse experiences than they would at a private school. And, she says, the quality of the education at Hampstead Hill is comparable.
Download "Equality of Educational Opportunity" (The Coleman Report) from:
Help Hampstead Hill Academy Develop Future Leaders
|Former Ravens Player Ray Lewis spoke at an LGP Community Circle in May 2015.|
An important part of the middle school experience at Hampstead Hill Academy (HHA) is Leaders Go Places (LGP), a program that motivates and incentivizes students to achieve their academic goals, develop good work habits, complete service learning hours in the community, and maintain positive attendance and behavior throughout the year.
LGP provides educational opportunities to help students succeed in middle school and beyond, such as ongoing mentoring, academic support, cultural enrichment, and community service experiences.
Living Classrooms first brought the program to HHA in 2013 with the support of a $10,000 grant from Constellation, followed by another $10,000 grant in 2014. Unfortunately Living Classrooms and Constellation were unable to provide funding for the program in 2015.
Through the hard work of the LGP Executive Committee, a team of faculty and staff who volunteer their time to run the program, HHA was able to raise enough money last year to cover most program expenses, but parents were required to pay a fee for the annual field trip for top performing students. This year HHA is working to raise $30,000 to keep the program going strong this year and into the future.
Leaders Go Places is designed to teach students about the qualities of being a leader by acknowledging and rewarding their positive performance and achievements. Leadership development is not only important in middle school; the skills and mindset HHA students develop through LGP help them to stand out during the high school admissions process.
Please consider supporting this important program that is developing future leaders. To make a donation online, please visit our CrowdRise campaign at http://bitly.com/leadersgoplaces
Checks made payable to "Baltimore Curriculum Project" may be mailed to:
Baltimore Curriculum Project
c/o Leaders Go Places
2707 E. Fayette Street
Baltimore, MD 21224
Please write "LGP" in the memo line.
Supporting Wolfe Street Students Who Speak Mixtec
BCP would like to congratulate Wolfe Street Academy teachers Katrina Kickbush and Anna Kirkness on the publication of their article regarding the growth of the Mixtec population at Wolfe Street Academy.
In the article written for Colorín Colorado, they describe the discovery process the school went through after noticing an unusual increase in special education referrals. That process revealed that many families that the school thought were dominant Spanish speakers actually spoke Mixtec, an indigenous language from Mexico.
Katrina and Anna talk about what they learned about the language and how shining a spotlight on it led to positive changes for families, students, and staff at the school.
An excerpt from the article is below:
Several months into our tenure at Wolfe, we began to suspect that our Latino population, which we originally thought was simply Spanish-speaking, was linguistically more complex. A Kindergarten teacher who was fluent in Spanish said to us one day, "One of my students must be using a dialect of Spanish. I don't know the words they're using, nor do they understand me in Spanish." Then, a few ESOL teachers working in the early childhood grades raised concerns that several of their students seemed to have speech pronunciation patterns that didn't match those of their Spanish-speaking ESOL counterparts. Even in the upper grades, several teachers had approached our Community School Site Coordinator, Connie Phelps Bozek, to ask for her guidance with some students who had similar speech and articulation patterns.
These conversations regarding puzzling performance and unexpected student responses to intervention sparked our interest in the possibility of a common underlying reason uniting these concerns.The final tipping point was when the Special Education team created a document to analyze specific caseload numbers. The team noticed that a significant number of these same students had been identified as having a speech and language disability. It seemed nearly impossible, or at least highly improbable, that this could happen by coincidence. This was one more clue, and it was time to bring our full team together.
We brought together the teachers and staff who had some experience with these students and could potentially provide guidance with this complex issue.This was the first time all the different parties (ESOL, Special Education, Community School Coordinator and Principal) sat together in real-time to share and consider all the information we had regarding this group of students.
It was at this meeting that Mrs. Bozek, our Community School Site Coordinator, mentioned she knew that a family at Wolfe spoke Mixteco, an indigenous language that families referred to as a "dialect." She went on to explain that historically in Mexico this language population had been marginalized and the effects last to this day. Several families had expressed shame or a feeling of inferiority when approached about using this language at home or in front of the Spanish-speaking community. This revealed why it had taken so much time to uncover this language in our community and indicated that we needed to move forward with a high level of sensitivity, acceptance and awareness.