Partners play a significant role in helping the Baltimore Curriculum Project (BCP) meet our mission and the missions of our six neighborhood conversion charter schools. Each partner, especially our overarching partner, Baltimore City Public Schools, is integral to the success of the BCP family of students, faculty/staff, and parents. This month, we celebrate Middle Grades Partnership (MGP) and its almost 20-year partnerships with both Hampstead Hill Academy and City Springs Elementary/Middle School.

 What is Middle Grades Partnership?

MGP is a three-year program for Baltimore middle school students in public and private schools. The program, which is 20 years old, provides educational opportunities, enriching experiences and access across social boundaries through their public and private school K-8 partnerships.

MGP recruits students in fifth grade, and they start the program when they enter sixth grade. MGP provides middle school year-round learning opportunities that prepare students to excel in rigorous high school programs. And they provide this structure at a time when these students are developmentally ready to try and understand their role in the world.

At the end of their three years in the program, students should be able to read at or above grade level, site from text, and read for pleasure; write a 5-paragraph essay; be ready for high school algebra; and, be able to gain entrance to top academically competitive high schools.

According to the MGP website, students who participate in the MGP program:

  • Read and analyze novels, plays and poetry
  • Write essays, poems, and stories
  • Delve deeply into mathematics

They also get to do things like:

  • Design race cars, parachutes and robots
  • Build spaghetti bridges, vertical gardens, prosthetic legs for elephants and tails for fish
  • Hike, swim, canoe, zip on lines above the trees, and ride horses
  • Create apps for social good, compose ringtones, fire ceramics, master dance moves, and paint paintings
  • Analyze media images, confront stereotypes, and write, record, and edit positive media messages in a television studio
  • Make documentary movies
  • Write grant proposals for causes they believe in

Each MGP partnership is unique – MGP works with their partner schools to design and implement the programs that are the right fit for their students.

The school-year program takes place on multiple Saturdays during the year. During the school year the focus is the MGP leadership and social justice program LEADS (Leadership, Equity, Activism, Diversity and Service). In the summer the partner school develops its own programs, which include a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) class, art, public speaking, outdoor activities, and a class devoted to LEADS.

An example of the long-lasting partnership:  MGP, Hampstead Hill Academy and Friends School of Baltimore

The MGP partnership between Hampstead Hill Academy (HHA) and Friends School of Baltimore involves a collaboration between the two directors to create a joint summer program, providing HHA students with unique educational opportunities. The MGP summer program focuses on academic enrichment, extracurricular activities, and additional programs crafted based on student interests. By pooling resources and expertise, both schools enhance the students’ summer experience and foster a sense of collaboration and community between the two schools. 

Brian White, longtime seventh grade math teacher at HHA, and director of the onsite MGP program at HHA, says two MGP classes stand out to him from the past few years. The engineering class exposes students to concepts and activities that they don’t get to experience in a “regular” Baltimore City middle school curriculum. “The activities are engaging and thought provoking, Brian says, “and students really enjoy the class.”  MGP also offers an algebra preparation class that was developed based on student feedback. That class, he says, “has been the class that has really prepared the students for eighth grade algebra.”

Feedback on the program from parents and students has been extremely positive, according to White. And they review that feedback every year to incorporate additional suggestions into the MGP-HHA summer program.

“We are very excited,” says Wendy Samet, Executive Director of Middle Grades Partnership, “to further develop our LEADS programming. Combining leadership training and social justice work at the middle school level, when kids are waking up to the world around them, have an innate and strong sense of fairness, but can feel powerless, is perhaps one of the most important and life changing things we can do for them.”



Contact: Wendy Samet, Executive Director

About the Baltimore Curriculum Project

Baltimore Curriculum Project (BCP) is the largest operator of local neighborhood, public charter schools in Maryland. We create safe, supportive learning environments for children PK-8 by providing innovative, research-based educational strategies, intensive teacher training and extensive support for administration and staff. We support our local neighborhood needs by tailoring our resources and support through community partnerships.

As one of the longest-running charter operators in Maryland, our schools are regularly recognized as some of the most highly acclaimed neighborhood charter schools in the state. 

Pimlico Elementary / Middle School

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