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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:


The Ravens and KaBOOM! to Build Collington Square Playground

Ravens Logo

On June 11, 2007 the Baltimore Ravens, KaBOOM! and the Collington Square Community will build a customized playground for Collington Square School. KaBOOM! is a national nonprofit organization that envisions a great place to play within walking distance of every child in America. The Ravens are sponsoring the entire playground.KaBOOM! Logo


The new playground will be a safe, exciting gathering-place for children, parents, teachers, and community members. It will be a centerpiece for the revitalization of the Collington Square community and a visible reminder that there are scores of people working to invest in Collington’s children and make a better future for the neighborhood.


  Design Day
  Collington students, accompanied by Ravens Cheerleaders and mascot "Poe", display their dream playgrounds.


On May 4 students, parents, teachers, and staff from Collington Square, the Ravens, BCP and KaBOOM! came together to design the new playground.

Students shared their ideas about playground rules and then drew their dream playgrounds. Drawings included everything from sliding boards to rocket ships.

After sharing their visions with the group, the students were led in a few cheers by Ravens cheerleaders Beverly and Lindy and mascot "Poe".

Parents and teachers used the students' drawings to choose playground components that most closely matched the children's ideas. Based on these choices, KaBOOM! designers will design three different playgrounds. The Collington community will choose their favorite.

BCP and Collington Square School would like to express our utmost appreciation to The Ravens and KaBOOM! for making this project possible.


Playground spacer

We will need 75-100 parent and community volunteers to help build the playground on June 11, 2007. Please mark your calendars now.

The Ravens players and cheerleaders will be there to help out. There will also be food, drinks, music, and activities for the kids.

For more information, please call Anthony McKinney or Larry Schugam at 410-235-0015 or e-mail bcpinfo@baltimorecp.org.





The foundation of every state is the education of its youth.

- Diogenes, Greek philosopher (412 BC - 323 BC)




Change in Leadership at City Springs School
By Dr. Muriel Berkeley

  City Springs Main Office

Bernice Whelchel, Principal of City Springs School from 1995 to 2006, turned over responsibility for the school to Rhonda Richetta effective January 1, 2007.

Bernice Whelchel’s impact on City Springs School was monumental. The parents of the children who attend City Springs School want their children to learn the skills of leadership. They want their children to score well on tests, to earn places in successful high schools, to enjoy learning. From the first moment that Bernice Whelchel entered City Springs as a new principal in 1995, she knew what the parents wanted for their children and she shared their goals.

City Springs is a childhood memory for Ms. Whelchel. She remembers her father reading to her as they sat beside the spring for which the school was named. Her childhood memory of the place, however, did not prepare her for what she found in the school when she arrived.

The behavior of the children was not allowing them to acquire the skills or learn the knowledge that all leaders share. The students’ test scores were the lowest in the city, and successful middle and high schools were not accepting them. Students were not learning so they certainly were not enjoying learning.

To Ms. Whelchel’s surprise, when she attempted to enforce school rules that would have established the order necessary for learning, some parents fought her as actively as their children did.

Ms. Whelchel looked for help, found Direct Instruction, and brought it to City Springs School. She asked the Baltimore Curriculum Project to partner with City Springs as one of the original New School Initiative partnerships.

In late 1996, a Maryland Department of Education report described City Springs as “a phoenix rising from the ashes.” The Baltimore Sun published a year long series about reading instruction at City Springs as part of its “Reading by Nine” collection. Producer and director Jon Palfreman was inspired to create “The Battle of City Springs” documentary.

Today many City Springs graduates attend some of the most successful high schools in the State of Maryland, and are college bound.

All too often when a “larger than life” principal like Bernice Whelchel moves on, the successor does not realize the commitment that brought success and lacks the dedication to maintain it. Ms. Whelchel, however, was determined to leave the City Springs community with the high level of education that she had established with them and for them.

As she thought about retirement, Ms. Whelchel asked Rhonda Richetta, a long time colleague, to return to City Springs as assistant principal. Seeing how effectively Ms. Richetta settled in to the role of school leader, Ms. Whelchel began easing herself out of the school. Ms. Richetta was essentially serving as principal of City Springs a month before Ms. Whelchel technically retired.

Rhonda Richetta’s first months as principal demonstrate that she realizes that a school must move on to retain excellence. While reinvigorating City Springs’ thorough implementation of Direct Instruction, she is also actively developing the school’s use of restorative practice. Teachers are having the opportunity to rethink how they want to fit in with the school’s mission. Ms. Richetta has invited the entire community to come to the school on Saturday, May 19 from 10:00 to 2:00 to craft the school’s vision.

A leader’s effect is never more visible than in an emergency. On the morning of April 27 as a kindergarten class was lined up in the kitchen to receive their lunches, an accident at the corner of Lombard and Caroline Streets propelled a dump truck through a City Springs’ wall into the kitchen.

No one was hurt, but a ruptured gas line and concerns about structural damage made it necessary for the building to be evacuated and for the staff to keep the students outside until their parents came for them, in many cases hours later. The entire student body and faculty were cooperative and cheerful throughout the entire incident.

City Springs has awesome students, an awesome faculty, awesome parents and a new awesome principal who has replaced the previous awesome principal.


Building a Shared Vision Workshop

Ms. Toulson  
A student hugs Kindergarten teacher Ms. Toulson. spacer

City Springs will hold a "Building a Shared Vision" workshop on Saturday May 19, 2007 from 10:00AM - 2:00PM in the City Springs cafeteria. Lunch will be provided.

All parents, students in grades 6-8, partners, school staff, BCP staff, school officials, and community members are welcome to attend.

Principal Rhonda Richetta's vision for City Springs is that "all stakeholders will join together in common goals and themes that will guide all of our behaviors and help us to be united on what is best for our children."



City Springs Celebrates Black History Month

spacer Student showing poster
  Eighth-grader Amanda Boone displays her Black History Month poster.

On February 27 students, parents, teachers, and staff were treated to a rewarding educational experience during City Spring’s Black History Month Celebration.

The one-and-a-half-hour celebration included presentations of research projects on Ancient Egypt, student-designed informational posters on famous African Americans, oral presentations on the 1960s to present, creative student-authored plays, and a class play on Martin Luther King, Jr.’s famous “Letter From a Birmingham Jail.”

Congratulations to City Springs' students on their hard work!






Proctor and Gamble Holiday Drive

Proctor and Gamble logo

Every year employees from Proctor and Gamble hold a Holiday Drive to support a school or organization in the Baltimore area. In December of 2006, Procter and Gamble sought the expertise of Business Volunteers Unlimited Maryland to help identify a school they could support through this year's holiday drive. They selected Collington Square.

During the month of December Proctor and Gamble employees collected over $900 worth of school supplies and toys for the students and families of Collington Square. The donation included crayons, notebooks, markers, and other much needed supplies.

Later this year, Procter and Gamble employees will once again contribute to Collington Square by addressing some of the school's Business Volunteers Unlimitedcapital improvement needs through a BVU-organized volunteer event that will include painting, refurbishing classrooms, decorating the art and drama rooms and landscaping the school.

BCP and Collington Square School would like to thank the employees of Proctor and Gamble and Business Volunteers Unlimited for their ongoing support.


BCP Community School at Collington Square

spacer Collington Square School

The new BCP Community School at Collington Square has been a roaring success and continues to grow. The program, partially funded by the Family League of Baltimore City, provides expanded learning opportunities, health and mental health services, and other offerings that help strengthen the Collington community.

Anthony McKinney, the program's director, has worked diligently to engage the community and expand educational opportunities:

  • The Book Club serves 40 students from Collington Square and Guilford Elementary in grades four through nine. Students meet weekly to read-aloud, discuss themes, improve vocabulary, and complete writing assignments. Mentors from Lake Clifton High School assist with the program. Volunteers from Faith Lutheran and Church of the Redeemer, and Hampstead Hill Academy teacher Hollie Young run the book club.

  • The Poetry Club serves 6th, 7th, and 8th graders. Local performance poetry group, The Fifth L, runs weekly workshops where students learn to express themselves through creative writing and dramatic reading. In the fall of 2007 the program will be offered as a year-long resource class during school hours.

  • The BCCC GED Online High School Diploma program, offered in partnership with Baltimore City Community College, helps students prepare for the Maryland High School Equivalency Diploma exam. Upon completion of the program, students are prepared to pass all five test areas: writing, social studies, science, reading and mathematics.

  • The BCCC NOVEL High School Diploma program provides an avenue for those who are no longer in school to complete missing credits in order to obtain the diploma. Students gain access to all lessons, texts and homework online. Currently 25 Collington Square parents and community members are attending GED classes.


The BCP Community School at Collington Square also works with a variety of partners to provide wraparound services:


The BCP Community School at Collington Square is partially funded by the Family League of Baltimore City and is part of Baltimore's Community School Initiative. Baltimore currently has 27 Community Schools that serve elementary, middle and high school students, their families and their communities.

BCP would like to thank the Family League of Baltimore City, Baltimore City Community College, Baltimore Community School Connections, Sight for Students, The Institute for Family Education, the Maryland Food Bank, Lake Clifton High School, Faith Lutheran Church, Church of the Redeemer, and all of the Community School volunteers for their continued support.

BCCC Logo Sight for Students Institute for Family Education Maryland Food Bank Logo Family League Logo


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Hampstead Hill Chess Champions

  chess champions
  Hampstead Hill Chess Champions
(From left to right: Richard Burger, Nathan Adams, Paul Duff Jr. and April Fay)

On Sunday March 3 the Hampstead Hill Chess Team, led by Coach Marchetti, became JV Middle State Champions in the Maryland Scholastic Team Chess Championships.

This is the first time any Baltimore City public schools have participated in this competition. Last year the Hampstead Hill team won the Baltimore Kids Chess League Winter Tournament for the fourth year in a row.

Two other BCP schools also competed in this year's MD Chess Championships: Dr. Rayner Browne Elementary (Varsity Primary State Champions) and General Wolfe Elementary (seventh in Varsity Elementary).Congratulations to the students and coaches on all their hard work!


Creative Alliance Opens Minds at Hampstead Hill

Open Minds Class spacer
Visiting Artist Marcel Martin (aka Kariz) leads the students in a recording session.  

Hampstead Hill students have concluded another wonderful year of art exploration with the Creative Alliance's Open Minds Art Club . Students celebrated their accomplishments with an art exhibition and reception on April 5.

Open Minds is a free art program for 5th-8th graders, which combines literature with art making. Creating art projects based on great young people's literature makes both reading and art making more fun and meaningful.

After reading Money: A Rich History, students learned to print their own money using collograph printmaking techniques.

Responding to a reading of Edgar Allen Poe's The Raven, students created colorful lanterns that they carried in Patterson Park's annual Great Halloween Lantern Parade.

Creative Alliance logo

In Spring 2007 a field trip to the American Visionary Art Museum's Home and Best Exhibition inspired works such as vulture sculptures and flying carp kites.

We would like to thank instructors Sarah Hope and Anne Nicoletta for their hard work. We would also like to thank Linda DePalma, Director of Education, and Karen Summerville, Education Coordinator, for offering the Open Minds program at Hampstead Hill Academy along with the Creative Alliance.


Hampstead Hill Receives Weather Station and Science Grant

  AWS Weather Station
  Hampstead Hill's new AWS Weather Station, valued at approximately $4,000.

The Educator/Kids College in Academics and Science (E/KCAS) program has awarded Hampstead Hill a variety of resources to enhance the school's science program. These resources are part of a collaboration with Sojourner-Douglass College aimed at inspiring disadvantaged and minority students to pursue careers in science and technology.

The E/KCAS program is managed by the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

The grant award includes a field trip to the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia, a professional development workshop provided by the Maryland Science Center, Weather Bug training, Life and Earth Science Lesson Plans, and an AWS Weather Station with a life-time weatherbug subscription.

BCP would like to thank Sojourner-Douglass College and the E/KCAS program for this exciting addition to Hampstead Hill's science program.


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Newsletter Editor: Larry Schugam

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