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The Baltimore Curriculum Project (BCP) is a nonprofit organization that operates public charter schools in Baltimore City. BCP converts underperforming high-poverty schools into high-performing charter schools by implementing research-based instructional methods and providing customized professional development, performance monitoring, and other key program supports.

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In This Edition:

KaBOOM! logo



Ribbon Cutting
Collington Square Principal Harold Eason (left), Poe, the Ravens' cheerleaders, Senator Nathaniel McFadden (jacket), Erica Liberman of KaBOOM! (orange), and Ravens president Dick Cass (white hat) cut the ribbon to the finished playground.

On June 11, 2007 over 300 volunteers turned out to build a new playground for Collington Square School. The project was made possible by a partnership between the The Baltimore Ravens, KaBOOM!, the Baltimore Curriculum Project, and Collington Square School. Over $100,000 was contributed by The Ravens to build the customized playground.

The Ravens provided over 200 volunteers including 70 of the 90 Ravens players, Head Coach Brian Billick, Team President Dick Cass, all the administrative staff (the Ravens closed their offices for the day), the cheerleaders, Baltimore's Marching Ravens and the mascot Poe.

Everyone pitched in to build a beautiful new playground for the school. Volunteers also planted trees and flowers in front of the school, built benches and picnic tables, painted the blacktop with a map of the US and games, and painted a fabulous mural on the side of the school. The Ravens players did their share of heavy lifting all day long -- assembling playground equipment, moving mulch, and digging flower beds.

Children running on playground

Build Day commenced with the Ravens players, Collington Square teachers, and students "running the gauntlet" through the Ravens' fog and flame machine to the exhilarating music of Baltimore's Marching Ravens.

Volunteers were inspired by speeches from former Baltimore City Schools Interim CEO Charlene Cooper-Boston, Baltimore Curriculum Project Executive Director Alison Perkins-Cohen, Collington Square School Principal Harold Eason, and Ravens Head Coach Brian Billick.

Throughout the day players ran football drills in the park with the kids, cheerleaders taught students cheers and Baltimore's Marching Ravens played mini concerts for small groups of students.

The seven-hour day culminated in a ribbon-cutting ceremony. State Senator Nathaniel McFadden and Ravens President Dick Cass expressed their gratitude for everyone's hard work.

All those present were moved by the camaraderie among the volunteers and the outpouring of support from the community.

"Working on the Ravens/KaBOOM playground project was an awesome experience for me," says Jeanette Stewart, BCP Board Member and Collington Square parent.

  Rex Ryan and Greg Roman
Ravens Defensive Coordinator Rex Ryan (left) and Assistant Offensive Line Coach Greg Roman lug a bag of mulch toward the playground site.

"It was so amazing to see how the Ravens, KaBOOM! and the community all came together as one big family to build this playground in one day. I am so glad I was able to help and give back to the community."

Ms. Stewart was active on the playground planning committee and worked tirelessly throughout the day registering volunteers, serving food, and building the playground.

Food, support, and supplies were donated by thirty-eight businesses and organizations.

A number of special guests stopped by to support the event including City Councilman Vernon Crider (who volunteered with his wife Officer Darlene Crider), City Council President Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, BCPSS School Commissioner Buzzy Hettleman, Deputy Mayor Andy Frank, Abell Foundation President Bob Embry, and Director of the MSDE Charter School Office Pat Crain (who volunteered).

"We enjoyed working on the playground at Collington Square with the Baltimore Curriculum Project as well as the community," says Kenny Abrams, Ravens Director of Community Relations. "It gave us great joy to put smiles on the faces of the Collington Square students."

The Ravens Playground Grand Opening was held on June 15 and the children were overjoyed with their new play space. Nickelodeon was on hand to film the event, which premiered as part of their "Let's Just Play Go Healthy Challenge" TV series on August 26.

Ben Grubbs and Kelly Gregg  
(r to l) Ravens Defensive Tackle Kelly Gregg and Guard Ben Grubbs helped with the landscaping.  

"This was a rewarding activity because of the way it pulled the whole school community together," said Mr. Harold Eason, Principal of Collington Square School.

"When I looked at the crowd at the kick off of the build I was almost overwhelmed at seeing the faces of parents, students, community business leaders, community church members, political leaders, The Friends of Collington Square, The Baltimore Curriculum Project and everyone else who cares for this school," said Principal Eason

"The playground has since become a source of pride for us and the most fun place many of our children can think of."

The Baltimore Ravens All Community Team Foundation serves as a separate non-profit entity of the team's community outreach efforts. In addition to Ravens appearances and in-kind donations, the foundation provides support to Baltimore area non-profit organizations. Ravens players are also active in the community through individual foundations of their own.

KaBOOM! is a national nonprofit organization that envisions a great place to play within walking distance of every child in America. Celebrating ten years of service in 2006, we rally communities to achieve better public policy, funding and public awareness for increased play opportunities nationwide; provide resources, including trainings, challenge grants, and publications for communities that wish to plan a new playspace on their own; and bring together children, business and community interests for a select number of community playspace builds each year. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., KaBOOM! also has offices in Chicago, Atlanta and San Mateo, California.







BCP and Collington Square School would like to thank the more than 300 volunteers for all of their hard work. A special thank you to members of the playground planning committee and Build Day team captains:

  Kenny Abrams Ravens Director Community Relations Brian Kasabula Ravens, Mgr. Fan Development
  Tara Anderson BCP Director of Training Melanie LeGrande Ravens Community Relations Mgr.
  Joel Bratton BCP Director of After-School Program Anthony McKinney BCP Community Schools Director
  Charles Cohen Hampstead Hill Academy Parent Erica Liberman KaBOOM! Project Manager
  Gabrielle Dow Ravens Senior Director, Marketing Larry Schugam BCP Director of Development
  Harold Eason Collington Square Principal Dennis Soto Collington Square Staff
  Veronica English Collington Square Staff Jody Sutton Collington Phys. Ed. Teacher
  Lewis Ervin Collington Square Staff Michele Sabean BCP Director of Operations
  Rosalyn Fields Collington Square Parent Jeanette Stewart BCP Board Member
  Phil Folkemer BCP SES Program Director Azeb Taylor Prudential Financial
  Margie Hall KaBOOM! Staff Koli Tengella Collington Drama Teacher
  Nita Jhaveri Collington Square Staff Pry Watson Collington Square Staff
  Brenda Kahn BCP Academic Coach    

BCP and Collington Square School would also like to thank the following organizations for their support:

Ravens logo
KaBOOM! logo
Business Volunteers Unlimited
Struever Bros. logo
BCPSS logo
Hands On Network
Acme Paper and Supply Logo
Attman's Deli Logo
Automatic Rolls Logo
Baltimore Medical System
Baltimore City Police
BJs Logo
Charm City Ice
Civic Works logo
Episcopal Community Services of Maryland logo
Costco Logo
Faith Luther Evangelical Church
Fells Point Wholesale Meats
Friends of Collington Square
Giant Food Logo
H&S Bakery logo
Heaven 600 logo
Israel Baptist Church logo
Krispy Kreme logo
Leonard Paper logo
M and T Bank
Medstar Health
Murry's logo
98 Rock logo
92Q logo

Office of the Mayor

Otterbein's Bakery logo
Parks and People Foundation logo
P.W. Feats
Baltimore City Recreation and Parks
Starbucks logo
Sylvan Learning
Target logo
Trinity AME
Wal Mart logo




Principal Eason running the gauntlet
Collington Square Principal Harold Eason "runs the gauntlet" with one of his students. Photo by Collington Square 6th grader Tyguanza Barnes.

Last spring students at Collington Square School had the opportunity to study with professional photojournalist John Moore. Made possible by Baltimore’s Office of Promotion and the Arts “Artists in Residence Program”, the three week 12-session class culminated in the students photographing the Ravens Playground Build Day.

Mr. Moore has worked as a professional sports photojournalist covering NFL football since 2001. He became interested in photography in the seventh grade, when a professional photographer turned him on to the field. Teaching photography to underserved youth in Baltimore’s inner-city has been his way of giving back to the community and inspiring others to achieve.

During the 2006-2007 school year Mr. Moore taught at eight Baltimore City locations through various schools and organizations. Four of these partnerships, including Collington Square School, were sponsored by Baltimore City’s Office of Promotion and the Arts.

During the three-week course at Collington Square School, students learned the fundamentals of photography. Mr. Moore also helped his students develop soft skills such as etiquette and communication, which will serve them through their school career and into the workforce. He consistently emphasizes the importance of academic achievement in today’s competitive world.

“You have to have strong skills to compete or Burger King is for you,”says Mr. Moore.

Kids watching playground being built
Students watch eagerly as the playground is built. Photo by Collington Square 5th grader Shanika Brown.

According to Mr. Moore, there are three fundamentals of photography: 1. thinking about the surroundings 2. listening to the subject, and 3. communicating with the subject. In addition to these fundamentals, students learned about professionalism, respect, honesty, building rapport, communication, good manners, and patience.

“There are three things I want to teach all my students,” says Mr. Moore. “1. Listen to your teacher. 2. Write. and 3. Be respectful to other people so that they and you can learn.”

Mr. Moore uses photography as a tool to help his students open up to the people around them. He tells his students, “Your job as a photographer is to leave the pretty people alone. Take pictures of the average people who don’t get the attention, like the person in the wheelchair.”

A number of academic disciplines are woven into Mr. Moore’s classes. Students learned photo-literacy: the ability to look at an image and decipher whether it was taken with a wide-angle lens, telephoto lens or another other method. Through this process they increased their vocabulary skills, acquiring the nomenclature of art and science used in deciphering images. Students also increased their writing and computer skills by working with digital images.

  Volunteers hard at work hauling mulch to the playground. Photo by Collington Square 5th grader Zakiyyah Worrell.

The highlight of the 3-week class was the opportunity to document the Ravens Playground Build Day. Students took hundreds of photos throughout the day, under the guidance of Mr. Moore.

As his students walked the build site, Mr. Moore reminded them to “always smile, be polite, ask the person if you can take his or her picture, shake their hand, and say thank you when you’re finished.” Ravens players, school staff, and community members were very receptive to these budding photographers.

Throughout the course, Mr. Moore used professional photography as an example of how a good education will pave the way to a successful future.

“The most important person in this room is the teacher,” he tells the students. “Some you like and some you don’t like. I don’t always like my boss buy he pays me. Your teacher pays you with an A or an F. You can fail or you can achieve.”

The Baltimore Curriculum Project and Collington Square School would like to thank Mr. Moore for sharing his time and talents with the students of Collington Square.

The Baltimore Office of Promotion & The Arts Artists in Residence Program creates arts experiences for elementary and middle school students by placing artists in public schools for month-long residencies. The Artists in Residence Program operates in 50 schools during the 2007/08 school year.





When you turn the corner from Federal Street onto North Collington you are immediately struck by the bright orange and red hues of the mural painted on Collington Square School. The mural was painted by Kevin Charles on June 11, 2007 as a gift to the Collington Square Community. He was assisted by two of his former students, Alanna Foust and Brandon Thompson.

Mr. Charles, aka “KC”, began painting in Baltimore over 30 years ago. While most of his work is centered on sports, Mr. Charles has also produced individual portraits, wall murals and vehicle detailing. His work includes pieces for the Raven's organization, Ironclad Authentics, Sport's Legends Museum, and many Hall of Famers. He donates many of his paintings to Charitable Organizations.

The road to success for Mr. Charles has been a spiritual journey. He painted his first wall mural at North County High School in Linthicum and was awarded a scholarship to attend the Baltimore Institute of Fine Arts.

He attended the Institute to learn the theory behind art, but the teachers said there was nothing they could do for him. He had it already.

Mr. Charles traces the roots of his success to a bitter time in his life some years ago. After falling into a bad relationship, he ended up on a park bench in Patterson Park.


“God gave me the opportunity to come to grips with who I am”, says Mr. Charles. “I was saved on that park bench.”

The very next day he received a call from a Ravens fan who asked him to paint a portrait of Ray Lewis on the side of his Winnebago. This was his first commissioned work.

“The painting caused a seven car pileup on Dorsey Road,” says Mr. Charles.

As he painted the portrait several distracted art lovers caused the pileup. Channel  13 came out to cover the scene, leading to an appearance on Ron Matz’s “Manic Monday” segment on Channel 13. Many commissions followed.

Mr. Charles believes in sharing his prosperity with local charities and working with underprivileged artists who cannot afford to attend art school. He currently has two apprentices, whom he teaches art as well as his philosophy of life.

“I teach my students to find their secret quiet space in a hectic world – to find peace through painting,” says Mr. Charles.

Kevin Charles

Part of this philosophy includes the role that God plays in his artistic process.

“Kevin Charles is a painting,” says Mr. Charles. “It’s not about me. It’s bigger than me. It’s all about God. What you see is the God in me.”

Mr. Charles dreams of starting a program in the City for gifted artists who don’t have a degree or the money to attend an art school.

“I want to give artists a sanctuary where they can explore their gift and help guide them through the process so they don’t get discouraged and fall along the way.”

“Eventually I will have an art school and people from all over the country and the world will come to study. I may not be here to see it, but one of my students will carry it on.”

During the Playground Build Day, a little girl asked Mr. Charles if she could help him paint. Though some might not have taken the time to work with a young child on such a large project, he did.

“You have to let children do hands on work;” says Mr. Charles. “You might be talking to the next Picasso.”

“That’s going to be with that child forever. Fourteen years from now she can walk by that mural and say ‘I helped paint that.’”

The Baltimore Curriculum Project and Collington Square School would like to thank Mr. Charles for beautifying this corner of East Baltimore and for supporting the Collington Square community.

For more information on Kevin Charles and his art visit www.kevincharlesartworks.com.



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Newsletter Editor: Larry Schugam

© 2007 Baltimore Curriculum Project
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