The Baltimore Curriculum Project (BCP) board met on September 7, 2023 for its first meeting of the 2023-24 school year at BCP’s Frederick Elementary School (FES). The meeting’s guest presenter was new FES Principal Tetra Jackson, a seasoned school leader and former FES Asst. Principal. Ms. Jackson offered a brief highlight of the school and an update on the new school year.
As is the BCP board meeting tradition, each quarterly board meeting rotates to a different BCP school through the year. Board members attend in-person and virtually.
Among the exciting updates during the most recent meeting were:
Fully Staffed BCP Schools for 2023-24
We are delighted to report that all six BCP neighborhood conversion charter schools are fully staffed for this school year. This is significant given the statewide and national teacher shortages.
Maryland school districts are still struggling to find staff. As of early August,
Baltimore County still had 322 vacancies, Anne Arundel, 247 and as of late August, Baltimore City still had significant shortages in several subjects and grade levels (about 180 staff vacancies at the start of the school year). Nationally, more than 14% of teachers resigned at the end of the 2022-23 school year.
Our recruitment efforts continue to highlight the positive culture and climate and strong professional development in BCP schools, which are draws for teachers.
Update on Math Workgroup
Last spring, BCP created a math workgroup comprising math educators and school leaders from across the BCP network schools. The group has met five times to analyze math professional development and math curricula. The group’s goal is to identify BCP needs for training and support and to identify promising math programs to pilot, based on an analysis tool developed by the group.
As a result of this work, this fall, BCP is piloting two programs selected by the group: iReady Math, piloted in selected classrooms at Pimlico and City Springs; and HMH Into Math, piloted in selected classrooms at Wolfe Street.
2023 MCAP Scores
All BCP schools enjoyed modest gains in ELA, with the exception of HHA which saw an impressive 8% gain. “The MCAP ELA scores are an encouraging achievement for all our six BCP schools, particularly for Hampstead Hill Academy (HHA),” notes Laura Doherty, BCP President and CEO. “On average, our schools increased their 2023 ELA scores by four percent, with HHA leading the charge with an impressive 71% proficiency in ELA. This continued improvement and progress validates BCP’s approach since 1996 with Direct Instruction, the science-backed reading instruction program we use to ensure that our students master reading.”
As is consistent with math scores across Baltimore City Schools, Maryland, and the nation, math results were mixed. HHA saw an impressive gain, while other BCP schools were flat, down, or slightly up.
Last spring, BCP anticipated a poorer, post-pandemic score in MCAP Math results and initiated a math workgroup to address and enhance BCP’s math curriculum. As mentioned above, the math workgroup is evaluating the pilot of two math programs at three BCP schools and working to develop more professional development for teachers.
“Our schools are mostly following Maryland and national trends in testing: improved performance in ELA passing rates and lower performance for math,” adds Laura. “With our math workgroup and pilot programs, we’re using MCAP scores and BCP’s expertise on how children learn best to improve our math curriculum and teaching to create the best pedagogy and outcomes for our students.”
Fundraising Update for the Hampstead Hill Academy Expansion
The Board continues to advise on the HHA expansion project by evaluating fundraising efforts, the project’s overall cost, and the school’s priorities and needs. Due to construction costs that continue to rise because of supply chain and economic pressures, the Board supports a phased approach. Phase one will focus on building a new gymnasium, bathrooms, and an additional classroom on the first floor. This will allow time to plan and strategically fundraise for a phase two that would include additional classroom space.
See the proposed new gym plans:
If you are interested in learning more about the HHA expansion plans, please contact Laura Doherty.
Save the Date: Thursday, May 16, 2024 for the annual BCP fundraiser, “Are You Smarter Than a BCP Student”
Who’s on the BCP Board? Check out our great, dedicated civic leaders on the BCP Board of Directors.