Class Notes Logo
Issue No. 11
Summer 2008

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

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In This Edition:


BCP Leading Minds Math Forum a Success

  spacerLeading Minds speakers


Left to right: Alfred R. Berkeley III, Alison Perkins-Cohen, Muriel Berkeley, Ph.D., Craig R. Barrett, Ph.D., Joe Turnage, W. Stephen Wilson, Ph.D., William H. Schmidt, Ph.D., and R. James Milgram, Ph.D.

On April 24, 2008 education stakeholders from across Maryland gathered at Port Discovery to find out why K-12 mathematics education in the U.S. fails to prepare our children for college and the global economy.

Speakers included Stanford University mathematics professor Dr. R. James Milgram, Michigan State University Distinguished Professor Dr. William H. Schmidt, Johns Hopkins University mathematics professor Dr. W. Stephen Wilson, Intel Chairman Dr. Craig Barrett, and Constellation Energy Senior Vice President Joe Turnage.

Former Nasdaq President and current Pipeline Trading Systems Chairman Alfred Berkeley moderated the event.

The sold-out forum was the first of BCP's Leading Minds speakers series. The series invites national leaders in public education to engage local stakeholders in a discussion of controversial topics that have direct relevance to improving K-12 education. To view the Math Forum Video visit:

We would like to thank the following Leading Minds sponsors:

Pipeline logo
Port Discovery logo
Seawall logo
Struever Bros. Eccles and Rouse logo
Urbanite Magazine logo


BCP Academic Coaches: Someone to Lean On

Academic Coaches spacer

Left to right: Donald Crawford, Ph.D., Brenda Kahn, Harry Schilling, Muriel Berkeley, Ph.D., and Marvelyn Johnson.


Once a week a group of dedicated education professionals gather at the BCP offices to discuss student progress, teacher challenges, and overall school improvement. These talented individuals are the Academic Coaches.

One of the unique services BCP provides for its charter schools is access to academic coaches that provide teacher support and training. The coaches work one-on-one and in groups to improve instruction. In some cases a coach will work with a new teacher in the classroom full-time until the teacher is ready to go it alone.

Who are these coaches?

Former principals, instructors, and Direct Instruction experts who have devoted themselves to providing an indispensable network of support.

Teaching is stressful

"Teaching is hard," says BCP President Muriel Berkeley.

"According to Health Magazine the top 5 most stressful jobs in the U.S. are Inner City High School Teacher, Police Officer, Miner, Air Traffic Controller, and Medical Intern, in that order."

A teacher must be a counselor, parent, friend, role model, disciplinarian, parent advisor, secretary, mentor, and instructor. It's crucial that teachers have someone to turn to for support.

Brenda Kahn remembers the time as a young teacher when she had almost quit. She had been pushed to her limit and wrote "I Give Up" on an index card.

Later that day she decided that no one was going to force her to abandon her life-long dream of teaching. That index card still sits on her desk as a reminder of how difficult teaching can be.

It inspires her to help other teachers in their time of need.

The children need you

During her first year of teaching Marvelyn Johnson had no one like a coach to go to for support.

"I know how hard it can be and how much it would have helped," says Ms. Johnson.

When she sees a teacher struggling she tells them "You have to believe you can do this. The children need you and it's not impossible."

A helping hand

In his early years of teaching Harry Schilling didn't have a lot of help. The one person that sat him down and taught him step-by-step made all the difference.

"It's nice to have people who step in and say it looks like you need help," says Mr. Schilling.

Coaching is about helping people help themselves. It's about knowing when to support and when to step back.

"Judging when to push someone out of the nest is key," says Tara Anderson.

BCP would like to thank all of the academic coaches who do so much to support our teachers.

About the Academic Coaches

Tara Anderson is BCP's Director of Training. She earned a B.S. in Interdisciplinary Studies from Virginia State University and is pursuing an MBA from the University of Maryland. Ms. Anderson has been a Direct Instruction consultant/trainer, charter school principal, and teacher.

Marvelyn Johnson has been with BCPSS for 11 years. She earned a Bachelors in Elementary Education from Towson University and a Masters in Instructional Systems Development Training Systems from UMBC. Marvelyn is currently pursuing a graduate certificate in School Supervision and Administration. In addition, she is a certified DI trainer and New Educators' Seminar Facilitator. In her career, Mrs. Johnson has been a classroom teacher, Instructional Support Teacher, and Academic Coach.

Brenda Kahn has been with BCPSS for 16 years. She has a degree in Elementary Education, a Masters in Reading from Towson University; a graduate certificate in School Supervision and Administration from Johns Hopkins University; and a graduate certificate in School Library Media from the College of Notre Dame. Ms. Kahn has been a classroom teacher and Instructional Support Teacher.

Renata Plummer is a product of BCPSS. She earned a Masters in Elementary Education from Coppin State College and a Masters in Supervision and Administration from Morgan State University. She has taught in grades one through eight, worked as an instructional support teacher and as an assistant principal.

Harry Schilling has been with BCPSS for 23 years. He has a Masters from Johns Hopkins University in Administration and Supervision and an Early Childhood degree. Mr Schilling has been a teacher, instructional support teacher and academic coach.


First Book Donates $16,000 in Books

First Book logo

In November First Book donated 1,120 copies James Patterson's Santakid to BCP. The hardcover books, worth over $16,700, were given to PreK-3 students at all five BCP schools.

The book distribution was made possible by a generous donation from Little, Brown and Company. Thanks go to the U.S. Coast Guard for donating warehouse space for the distribution.

BCP would also like to thank Kelia Murray and Michelle Sabean for volunteering to pickup the books (in 30 degree weather) and distributing them to the schools.

First Book ( gives children from low-income families the opportunity to read and own their first new books.




City Springs/BCP After-School Program

Students in the City Springs After-School Program/BCP 21st Century Community Learning Center participated in a variety of exciting activities this year. Here are just a few:

  spacerKarate Class


Mr. Leroy Calvie and his championship-winning Karate team.

Karate Program
On March 22nd Mr. Leroy Calvie's Karate students competed in a tournament at Milford Mill Academy. The team won a 6 foot trophy for the most competitors and 47 mostly first-place trophies.

On May 17th they won 32 trophies at a second Milford Mill Academy tournament. Most students won two trophies a piece.

"These kids are awesome," says Mr. Calvie. "All they need is someone to tell them and show them what to do, and a little bit of genuine love."

Port Discovery
First and second graders learned about African cultures in a 10 week cultural enrichment program at Port Discovery Children's museum. Teacher Harriet Burtwell assisted with the program.

Drug-Free Soul Steppers
In December the Steppers performed for residents at Basilica Place Senior Housing and gave them gift baskets. Teachers Nadine Jackson and Sharone Henderson run the Steppers group.

MLK Day of Service
City Springs partnered with Hope Worldwide's Baltimore branch for the 2008 MLK Day of Service on February 21st. Students beautified the school playground and painted an outdoor mural in freezing weather. Three students participated in the "I Have a Dream" speech contest.

MLK Day of Service - teacher and students spacer

Restorative Practices Facilitator Brendan Lee and two students take a hard-earned break during the 2008 Martin Luther King Day of Service.


We would like to thank everyone who participated in the MLK Day of Service including BVU's Volunteer Central, Starbucks, Mayor Sheila Dixon's Initiative for a Cleaner Greener System, The Mayor's Office of Neighborhoods, Baltimore City Public Schools, Rhonda Richetta, Wendell E. Moore, Muriel Berkeley, Alicia Thomas family & friends, Stacey Ridgeway and family, Sarah Pitts and family, Latonya Blue, Melanie Coleman and family, Choney Copeland, Sharone Henderson, Alexandra Hughes, Sonya Hughes, Brendan Lee, Kellie McGuire, Devin Stevenson, Gwen Majette, Elizabeth Bartholme family & friends, Leann Girogilli, Blanton LaDonna, Jennifer Wheeler, April Bryant, MICA students Sarah Cluggish and Rachael Faller, and Kids on the Hill. Rachael Faller designed the mural.

Quilting Project
In May nine first grade students participated in Blanket Statements, a show organized by MICA graduate Rachel Faller. The exhibition of quilt-inspired artwork celebrated community and examined issues surrounding diverse groups.

Art teachers Ann Nicoletta and Joy Colvin were prompted to involve their students in the project when one student said, "I hate myself."

They used drawing and quilting as methods to help students explore what they like about themselves and what they like to do. The "What is Good About Me" paper quilt was displayed at Load of Fun Galerie at 120 W. North Avenue.

Robotics Program
Two robotics students were nominated for "most improved" at The Legacy of Greatness Gala on February 9th at The Forum. Tonya Featherston, Executive Director of Just 4 Youth, runs the Robotics Program.

Concert Band
The Concert Band, taught by Lakesha Hawes and Jonathon Howard, performed in the BCPSS All City Honor Band Concert at Morgan State University on February 9th.

Basketball League
The City Springs Basketball League, run by David Engel, Kyle Garrison, and Sarah Pitts had a season record of 10 and 2. They were the runner up to Lombard Middle School and competed every Saturday from December through March.

Sewing Program
Linda Felder, with the assistance of Kellie McGuire, taught basic sewing which involved sewing hand bags, banners, and learning about the different parts of a sewing machine.

Holiday Program
During the City Springs Holiday Program in December all of the after-school enrichment classes showcased their talents. The celebration featured a fashion show lead by Aquil Gywnn, Monica Cauthorne, and Jinkia Scott.
The Band performed holiday songs along with several student vocalists.

After-School Celebration
On May 16th, the last day of the after school program, students were surprised with a dance party, pizza, and ice cream. 92Q Jams (WERQ 92.3) provided music and MC'd the event. The steppers performed for the entire after school program while the teachers prepared for a basketball "rumble" with the students.

Special Thanks
Ms. Richetta, Mr. Moore and Ms. Thomas would like to give a special thanks to all of the After School staff who contributed to the program and invested their time and energy in our students.

City Springs and BCP would like to thank the following partners for supporting the After-School Program:

MSDE logo
92Q logo
Volunteer Central logo
Family League of Baltimore City logo

Kids on the Hill logo
Starbucks logo
Baltimore City seal
BOOST logo
BCPS logo
21st century community learning centers


City Springs Needs an Athletic Field
By City Springs Principal Rhonda Richetta

  City Springs athletic field
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"We really want to play football!" This is a quote from a letter written by the children of City Springs School to me, their principal.

These same children can be seen very early every morning playing the sport they love, but it breaks my heart to see that their only option is to play on a blacktop playground.

City Springs' playground is unsafe and littered with broken glass, discarded needles, and other debris. Play options are quite limited.

This prompted the children to present me one morning with a signed petition. My goal is to get them what they requested.

With help from community members and local businesses we will transform this neglected park into a vibrant community athletic field.

The City Springs School Athletic Field will strengthen the community by keeping children off the street, out of gangs, and in productive sports activities.

It will provide a place where children can play while parents exercise on the running track. Families will gather on weekends to attend football, lacrosse, and other sports events.

The Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development has awarded the Baltimore Curriculum Project $7500 in tax credits to encourage business support for this project.

Our goal is to raise $2.2 million by May 2009. Donations will be recognized; especially generous gifts with signage on the sports complex itself. Naming opportunities are also available.

Our partners include including Colliers Pinkard, Living Classrooms Foundation, BRE Construction, and The Little Italy Community Association. We invite you to join them and invest in the future of this community.


For more information and to donate online visit

Send your check payable to "Baltimore Curriculum Project" to:
Baltimore Curriculum Project
Attn.: Athletic Field
2707 E. Fayette Street
Baltimore, MD 21224

To discuss naming opportunities or to tour the school please contact:
Principal Rhonda Richetta


Living Classrooms Foundation logo
BCPS logo
Colliers Pinkard logo
BRE Construction
Baltimore City seal
Maryland DHCD





Literacy Through Photography: "It's not just black and white"
By Karen Summerville, Education Coordinator at The Creative Alliance

  Creative Alliance Art Club

Color is more than skin deep for young African-Americans struggling to define themselves.

This year the youth at Collington Square School explored how the media perpetuates stereotypes by examining issues of racial identity and body image.

The Creative Alliance developed these ideas through portrait photography, writing, and audio recordings, in hopes of creating a safe space to begin a dialogue. This class was a mini course that the students chose to attend for 9 weeks on Friday mornings from 10:00-10:50am.

We were excited to have youth who were extremely insightful and dedicated to the program. The course was inspired by director Kiri Davis' award-winning short film "A Girl Like Me" and photographer Wendy Ewald's Literacy Through Photography program at the Center for Documentary Studies in Durham, North Carolina.

To view "A Girl Like Me" visit


Collington Square Marketplace Bazaar

Marketplace Bazaar  

Collington Square's 8th grade Entrepreneurship Class, sponsored by the National Foundation for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE), held their first Marketplace Bazaar on December 17th and 18th.

Entrepreneurship students operated five businesses, which were overseen by teacher Ms. Nicole Humphreys. BCP Community School Director Kelia Murray assisted with the class and traveled with students to New York City to purchase wholesale items for the Bazaar.

Collington students, staff, and families purchased school supplies, hand-made beaded necklaces and bracelets, books, customized T-shirts, candy-grams, purses, and picture frames.

Students grossed over $400 and reinvested the profits in their businesses. Students also developed business plans, which were entered into NFTE's regional business plan competition in May. Businesses were judged according to financial projections, profitability, and presentation.

Congratulations to 8th graders Tawneisha Cherry and Bria Kyler who were honored as NFTE Stars for their Candy Apples Co. business plan.


Family Bingo Night

  Family Bingo Night
spacer spacer

Following Collington's first Family Bingo Night, parents all shared the same sentiment that they couldn't wait for another family night at the school.

One grandmother said that she had enjoyed herself so much, that she went home and told all of her family and friends that they had to come to the next event.

Over 50 people came out on Friday, January 25th to play bingo with family, students and school staff! The night's success was best measured by the smiles of delight on students' faces as they shouted bingo and selected their prizes.

Special thanks to Maurice Chase Jr., Manager of the Family Dollar Store in Laurel, MD for personally buying a basketful of toys and prizes for the event.

We would like to thank all of our partners for donating food and prizes:

Honey Bea Haven
Hometown Girl logo
Family Dollar logo
Breathe Books logo
Golden Corral logo
Glory Days Grill logo
McDonald's logo
Leonard Paper logo
Fells Point Wholesale Meats
In Watermelon Sugar
410.662.9090 | 3555 Chestnut Avenue
Baltimore, MD 21211

Foot Locker logo





Creative Alliance Art Club at Hampstead Hill

Creative Alliance art club student  

The Creative Alliance Art club met on Tuesdays and Thursdays at Hampstead Hill Academy from 2:40-4:40 for 9 weeks.

Our young aspiring artists were in the 4th through 8th grades. During the spring they explored the theme of Mapping and Identity by making their own tour books of Patterson Park, brain mapping, mapping our faces, hands, and feet, and much more.

We were fortunate enough to have enthusiastic youth who were eager to participate and learn new art skills.

To learn more about the Creative Alliance visit


Hampstead Hill Chess Champions

  Hampstead Hill Chess Team
spacer Hampstead Hill Chess Team: Chess League Champions 2007-08

The Hampstead Hill Knights are wrapping up another successful year. They won the Baltimore Kids Chess League Tournament on April 4th for the sixth year in a row.

A special thanks to Ms. Chris for the Chess Club shirts. They really look sharp, and all the members are proud to wear them. With many players returning next year, the future looks to be strong.

A special tribute goes out to Paul Duff, Jr. Paul has been a tremendous player in his years on the Chess Team, leading the Knights to many tournament championships. He graduated in June and was the first inductee into The Hampstead Hill Knights Hall of Fame.

Congratulations and thanks, Paul. Mr. Marchetti would also like to thank Mr. S., Ms. Varner, Mr. Simpson and all the parents who came to the tournaments and supported the Knights this year. Success like this is never the work of one individual.


Carson Scholars

  Carson Scholars

We are proud to announce that the Carson Scholarship winners for 2008 from Hampstead Hill Academy are Damjan Nisevic, Victoria Robinson and Shane Thorpe.

They will each receive $1,000 toward college tuition and be eligible to be a Carson Scholar each year through the 12th grade.

We would like to thank the Carson Scholars Fund ( for their ongoing commitment to helping Baltimore's youth.


  Amuse Toys

Hampstead Hill Family Bingo Night

More than 100 people came together to play three hours of intense, fun bingo on January 24 at Hampstead Hill. We were able to raise more than $600 for programs and special events.

Special thanks to Amuse Toys owners Claudia and Tom Towles for donating dozens of Webkinz prizes for the evening.


Hampstead Hill Academy and BCP would like to thank:

We would like to thank Roma Sausage, Met-Life and Wal-Mart for donating to Hampstead Hill Nights; High Grounds on Eastern Avenue for donating coffee for a faculty meeting; Utrecht for donating 45 frames for a student photography project; Starbucks in Canton for donating coffee for Hampstead Hill Nights and a family breakfast; and Cold Stone Creamery on Boston Street for hosting a school fundraiser.

High Grounds logo
Starbucks logo
Utrecht logo
Roma Sausage
Cold Stone Creamery





The Gift of Sight
By Obette Jamison, Rayner Browne Academy Community School Coordinator

Children having vision screened  

The Lions Club, Lens Crafters, and the Luxottica Vision Van helped our children improve their sight by providing vision screening and free glasses. It was a great day at HEBCAC, the host site, as volunteers from area store locations took part to assist children in waiting patiently as their prescriptions were fitted.

Children picked out their glasses with designer frames and walked away as very proud students eager to show their new eyewear to their families and fellow students.

"Look at this cool case", "How do we take care of them", "Wait till my mom sees these", Can we take our coloring page with us" and "They were a wonderful group of children" were just a few of the statements made on that great day of community.

We'd like to thank the Lions Club, Lens Crafters, Luxottica Group, and HEBCAC for their support.

Luxottica Group
Lions Club logo
LensCrafters logo


Students Receive "Lesson in a Lunch Box"


Rayner Browne Academy and BCP would like to thank Dr. Winifred Booker of The Maryland Children's Oral Health Institute for providing plaque exams and follow up to twenty nine students. Teachers and students in grades Pre-K through five attended an assembly on proper oral hygiene and healthy snacks.

Students received "Lessons in a Lunch Box: Healthy Teeth Essentials & Facts About Snacks." Teachers also received a healthy lesson in a lunch box curriculum to provide classroom follow up.

"Lessons In A Lunch Box" is an oral health literacy program designed to empower children and families with the proper knowledge about routine dental care, oral health maintenance, good dietary choices and more.

Grant funding obtained by the Maryland Children's Oral Health Institute will afford close to 5000 Baltimore City Public School children the educational lunch box this school year.

To learn more about The Maryland Children's Oral Health Institute and the "Lessons In A Lunch Box" initiative e-mail Dr. Winifred J. Booker at


BCP Homepage



Melvin Mora Foundation Donates Wal-Mart Gift Cards

  Principal Mark Gaither, Mr. Oribio and Wolfe Street staff members
  Principal Mark Gaither, Wolfe Street staff members, and Mr. Erick Oribio, publisher of "Latin Opinion." (top center)

In December the Melvin Mora Foundation donated Wal-Mart gift cards worth $15 to every student at Wolfe Street Academy.

Mr. Mora plays 3rd Base for the Baltimore Orioles. He founded the Melvin Mora Foundation in 2005 to fund educational, medical and other needs in his native Venezuela.

Foundation representative Erick Oribio presented the gift cards to Wolfe Street teachers at their Holiday Celebration on December 21st.

Mr. Oribio is Publisher of Latin Opinion, a biweekly newspaper that covers politics, entertainment and sports news affecting the Baltimore's Latino community.

We would like to thank Mr. Mora and Mr. Oribio for their generosity.


Questions or comments? Email
Newsletter Editor: Larry Schugam

© 2008 Baltimore Curriculum Project | 2707 E. Fayette Street | Baltimore, MD 21224 | 410-675-7000