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Class Notes Logo

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 and providing customized professional development, performance monitoring, and other key program supports.

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In This Edition:



Don Crawford spacer

Dr. Don Crawford, BCP Director of Academics and Co-editor of "Direct Instruction News"


We would like to welcome Dr. Don Crawford as BCP's new Director of Academics. Dr. Crawford has been an educator for 30 years, teaching all grade levels from K-12 in both regular and special education. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Oregon, Division of Learning and Instructional Leadership. Dr. Crawford trained Special Education teachers at University of Wisconsin, Eau Claire and at Western Washington University.

He is a curriculum author of Mastering Math Facts, Mastering Math Facts Families, Word Problems Made Easy, Mastering Alphabetic Spelling, Mastering Dictated Sentences and a co-author of Understanding U.S. History and Rocket Math. He has published scholarly articles in Education and Treatment of Children, Intervention in School and Clinic, and Learning Disability Quarterly.

As the Educational Specialist for Otter Creek Institute, Dr. Crawford wrote and gave teacher training workshops around the country on classroom management, reading, spelling, math and curriculum based evaluation. He served as the Director of W. C. Cupe Community Schools and the Director of Training for the National Institute for Direct Instruction. He is currently the co-editor of Direct Instruction News.

Dr. Crawford's initial focus at BCP has been to analyze the quality of instruction at Collington Square School and to raise test scores. He found the implementation of research-based instructional methodologies at Collington well underway and sees the most significant impediment to higher test scores at Collington as the weak vocabulary of the student body. Accordingly, he is implementing the most effective programs available to build students’ vocabularies and initiating a test prep initiative.

BCP is fortunate to have Dr. Crawford on our team.



  New BCP Staff Members
  (From left to right) Kelia Murray, Michele Sabean, Marvelyn Johnson, and Austin Ward.

BCP is proud to welcome several new staff members to our growing ranks of dedicated education professionals:

Michele Sabean, BCP Director of Operations, earned her Bachelor of Arts in Mathematics from Smith College and a Master of Business Administration from Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business. Michele grew up in Cambridge, MA, but since college has lived in Dallas, TX; Durham, NC; Arlington, VA and Baltimore, MD. As Director of Operations, Michele works on many administrative projects such as budgeting, grant writing, developing a procurement policy, reconciling staffing, and invoice discrepancies with the school system. Michele is also leading the implementation of the NWEA assessment that will be administered for the first time in BCP schools.

Kelia Murray, Director of the BCP Community School Program at Collington Square, earned a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from the University of Southern California and a Masters in Social Work from the University of Texas at Austin. Ms. Murray is is a native of Long Beach, California and has over seven years of experience working with children and adolescents, including mentoring, counseling, program management and advocacy in schools, along with outpatient clinics and field settings.

Alicia Thomas, Director of the BCP After School Program at City Springs, earned a Bachelor of Science in Social Work from Morgan State University. She plans to return to school to earn a Masters in Social Work upon her daughter's graduation from Western High School in 2008.  Ms. Thomas has worked with youth and families for over ten years. Her experience includes counseling, client advocacy, crisis intervention, and behavior management. She also works for Baltimore Crisis Response, Inc., an organization providing crisis intervention and addictions treatment services.

Volunteer Maryland spacer

Austin Ward, a native of Baltimore, joins the BCP staff as the Volunteer Maryland coordinator at Collington Square School. He earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Communications from Morgan State University and has pursued a successful career in radio, television, and journalism. Austin is a strong advocate for community activism and education. He currently mentors children through an East Baltimore mentoring program.

Volunteer Maryland (VM), a program of the Governor’s Office, builds stronger communities by developing effective volunteer programs. VM does this by matching trained VM Coordinators with nonprofit and government agencies for one-year partnerships. The VM Coordinator works with agency staff to develop a volunteer program that can be sustained by the agency after the partnership ends. For more information visit www.volunteermaryland.org.



BCP offices  
BCP's new offices are located at 2707 E. Fayette Street in historic Library Square
spacer .

To accommodate our ever-expanding staff, BCP has moved its offices to 2707 E. Fayette Street, Baltimore, MD 21224. Our new phone number is 410-675-7000.

The new offices, located just north of Patterson Park in Library Square, are centrally located to all 5 BCP Schools. Teachers and staff will be able to use the first floor conference room for meetings and training.

By moving downtown BCP is not only more conveniently located to each of our schools; we are also contributing to the revitalization of East Baltimore. Our offices inhabit three rowhouses, which were renovated by the the Patterson Park Community Development Corporation (PPCDC).

PPCDC is a progressive nonprofit organization dedicated to restoring the once-vibrant Patterson Park community to the fullness of its past glory. They recently expanded their scope to include Library Square.

  Conference Room
  BCP's new conference room will be used for teacher training, board meetings, and other events.

Library Square is the four-block-long strip of greenspace formed by Linwood Avenue on the east, Fayette Street on the south, and Pulaski Highway sloping down on the north. The eastern base of the greenspace is anchored by the Patterson Park branch of the Enoch Pratt library, and the area is surrounded by a mix of residential rowhouses, storefront churches, a few existing stores, and several former commercial buildings.

Patterson Park Community Development Corporation  

Since the summer of 2005, Patterson Park Community Development Corporation has been working with the communities surrounding Library Square on a major commercial redevelopment effort. The goal of the project is to revitalize the commercial district with a viable mix of retail, office, residential, and greenspace.

We are excited to be part of this vibrant neighborhood and would like to thank Patterson Park CDC and all of their staff including Ed Rutkowski, Bill Henry, Jim Shetler and Steve Ross for doing such a beautiful job on our new home.



NWEA logo

In October 2007 all BCP schools began using the Northwest Evaluation Association (NWEA) Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) in order to more accurately assess student progress. MAP is a state-aligned, adaptive test that allows BCP to track individual student growth and compare that growth with students across the country.

Struever Bros. Eccles & Rouse donated $25,000 to support the implementation of the new testing system at Collington Square School..

NWEA was established in 1977 when a group of educators from the Pacific Northwest formed a partnership to develop an assessment program that would: (1) Measure the growth in each student's academic achievement over time; (2) Provide information that teachers could use to meet individual student needs; and (3) Give administrators data they could use to evaluate academic program effectiveness.

MAP dynamically adjusts to each student's performance level. When a student answers a questions correctly a more difficult question is automatically given and when a student answers incorrectly a less difficult question is given. As a result the test pinpoints each student's instructional level.

Educators can use MAP to identify the skills and concepts individual students have learned; diagnose instructional needs of individual students; monitor academic growth over time; and help place new students into appropriate instructional programs.

We would like to thank Alston Plummer from the Baltimore City Public Schools Information Technology Department and Josh Gavant from Friedman Computer Solutions for working tirelessly to ensure that the NWEA assessment system was up and running in time for testing .



  Muriel Berkeley
  BCP President Muriel Berkeley giving keynote address at 2007 Direct Instruction Conference.

In addition to operating charter schools, BCP works to inform educational professionals and the public about best practices in education and school management. BCP has been well represented at several recent conferences.

MD Charter School Conference. On October 19, 2007 BCP President Muriel Berkeley presented a workshop entitled Tools for Motivating Students: How to Get Your Students and Yourself Excited About Learning at the 5th Annual Maryland Charter School Conference. The workshop focused on how teachers can invite their students to learn with them. According to Dr. Berkeley there are three ways to get students to do what you want them to: (1) You can try to coerce them; (2) You can try to persuade them; and (3) You can invite them. Invitations are the most effective.

Direct Instruction Conference. Dr. Berkeley was the keynote speaker at the Annual Direct Instruction Conference of the Mid-Atlantic Region on August 8, 2007. She spoke about how a student having the desire to learn without the tools to learn is a recipe for frustration. Direct Instruction provides tools for instruction that allow teachers to give their students tools for learning.

Restorative Practices Conference. On January 12, 2007 Principal Rhonda Richetta was the keynote speaker at a one-day conference entitled "Restorative Practices: Differentiating Your Discipline" . She spoke about her experience with the implementation of Restorative Practices at City Springs School. City Springs first adopted Restorative Practices in fall 2007 with the support of a $20,000 grant from the Goldsmith Family Foundation.



EBDI logo spacer

In September 2007 East Baltimore Development Inc. (EBDI) awarded a grant of $5000 to the BCP Community School Program at Collington Square. The grant will be used to support the "Dare to Be King & Dare to Be Queen" Mini-Course.

This 10 week Manhood/Womanhood training program for 8th grade boys and girls at Collington Square School will utilize the Urban Leadership Institute's Dare to Be King and Dare to Be Queen life skills curriculum.

The BCP Community School at Collington Square, directed by Kelia Murray, offers a variety of school and community services including adult education, a food pantry, parent workshops, and youth entrepreneurship classes.

EBDI's Community Based Small Grants Program has supported a number of community based organizations and community associations that are exerting a positive influence in East Baltimore. We would like to thank EBDI for their generous support.




  Ted Wachtel
  Ted Wachtel, President and Founder of the International Institute for Restorative Practices

Ted Wachtel is the President and Founder of the International Institute for Restorative Practices (IIRP) and co-founder of the Community Service Foundation and Buxmont Academy (CSF Buxmont) schools for troubled youth. He co-authored the book Toughlove, a best seller for parents of troubled adolescents. He has been a guest speaker at conferences on restorative practices around the world and is the author of Real Justice, as well as numerous articles on restorative practices.

What is Restorative Practices? Restorative Practices is an emerging social science that has to do with how we can restore and build community and relationships in an increasingly disconnected world. It’s underlying hypothesis is that people are happier, more productive, more cooperative, and more likely to make positive changes when those in authority do things with them rather than to them or for them.

So often the way we manage our social organizations and behavior is through either punishment or by doing things for people. Although authorities still have to be authorities, you have to work with people in an engaging way that asks them to share their perspectives and assume that it’s also their responsibility to follow the norms; not just the authority figure’s responsibility.

What is the origin of Restorative Practices? The restorative practices concept has its roots in "restorative justice," a new way of looking at criminal justice that focuses on repairing the harm done to people and relationships rather than on punishing offenders

Contemporary Restorative Justice started in the 1970’s, though some people say restorative justice has been around in indigenous cultures forever. Restorative Justice started with victim-offender mediation and victim-offender reconciliation programs where they brought together the person who had done the harm and the person who had been harmed and gave them an opportunity to meet and have an encounter.

Our organization has expanded the definition of Restorative Justice. Restorative Justice deals with reacting to the wrongs that have been done. We’d like to suggest the proactive side of Restorative Practices as well in how you build social connectedness in a family, classroom, school, or a community.

What kinds of strategies are used in Restorative Practices?

Restorative Practices diagram

Restorative practices range from formal processes, such as restorative and family group conferences or family group decision making, to informal processes. On a restorative practices continuum (Figure 2), the informal practices include affective statements that communicate people's feelings, as well as affective questions that cause people to reflect on how their behavior has affected others.

Impromptu restorative conferences, groups and circles are somewhat more structured but do not require the elaborate preparation needed for formal conferences. Although a formal restorative process might have dramatic impact, informal practices have a cumulative impact because they are part of everyday life.

How can teachers find the time to implement restorative processes? You make choices. Sometimes you do the very simple affective statement interventions and sometimes you go all the way up to the formal interventions on the other end of the continuum. You have to make a judgment call as to whether it’s worth the investment of time.

Teachers can give compliments or express reprimands in the form of how something makes them feel. Rather than saying “Bobby you did that and you’re always doing that” in a scolding way, you say “You really upset me when I saw you do that. I’m afraid you’re going to hurt yourself.” It doesn’t take any more time to help people reframe the way they’re talking.

Restorative Practices doesn’t have to be a separate thing. It can be integrated into the way you run your class. For example, let’s say you want to do restorative circles. A teacher can have the kids read a book and then do a circle-go-round about how the story made the kids feel. In a High School Spanish class you could have a circle in Spanish.

What role do kids play in a restorative process? Much of Restorative Practices is about putting the responsibility back on the child. Bad behavior uses up so much time in the classroom. Instead of giving a lecture a teacher can have a kid go aside and reflect on a series of questions such as: What happened? What were you thinking about at the time? Who was affected by the harm? How do you think you affected them? What do you need to do to make things right? We never ask “why did you do it?”, because that’s a setup for rationalization.

To have the child spend the time thinking about these questions and writing about them or preparing to talk about them is actually more effective than lecturing and scolding; and it doesn’t take more time.

It seems that not only is the teacher giving the students a chance to reflect on and express their emotions; the teachers are also modeling the behavior they’re trying to instill in the children by expressing their own emotions and being vulnerable.

Bingo. One of the great things about Restorative Practices in the classroom is you’re essentially giving the problem back to the person who it belongs to. Why do I have to figure out what punishment is going to change that person’s behavior. What I’m really saying is “Hey, you’ve got a problem here and you have to think about it and come up with some way of making things better.

Can you give me some examples of how students resolve their problems? With attendance issues, we have kids come up with plans where other kids agree to call them in the morning before they leave for school or pick them up on the way to school. When you get other kids to help each other they love to take the responsibility.

At the beginning of the year at our schools the kids come up with the social norms. When you develop the restorative culture the kids help it and it is amazing. I had an assistant principal visit one of our schools who said “That kid over there, who’s leading that group, he was threatening me eight weeks ago.”

In a new context, treated with respect and given a feeling of power and responsibility kids can really show remarkable difference in attitudes.

What does the research say about Restorative Practices? From 1999-2001 we looked at delinquent and at-risk youth in our program and asked “What happens in terms of arrests six months after they’re discharged from the program.”

We found that kids who spend an average of three months or more in a restorative milieu were half as likely to offend or re-offend. We also found that social attitudes and self-esteem on established scales continued to rise the longer the children were in the program. There have been dramatic declines in suspensions, detentions, and referrals to the office in our pilot schools.

Your programs are mostly set in suburban schools. Can Restorative Practice work in high-poverty urban schools?Of course, but we’ve just not had much of an opportunity to do it. There is a school in Arizona that took on Restorative Practices that had a lot of conflict between three of the socioeconomic groups there. The principal did a couple of dozen restorative conferences and the word went out of the school that if you get in a fight you’ll have to sit down in a circle and talk to each other and work it out.

The idea that a student was either suspended or expelled didn’t frighten the students as much as actually having to sit down and resolve the problem. Something happened in that school and fights actually came grinding to a halt.

How do you get school social workers and psychologists on board with Restorative Practices? One way is to apply Restorative Practices to Individual Education Plans [IEP’s]. We have a form that counselors use to develop IEPs. We began giving the families this form and they develop the IEP.

Sometimes the family gets support in developing the plan from the counselor in their bi-weekly sessions. Other times we just send it home with the family and they present the plan to the probation officer or the case worker and the counselors from our program.

We have parents say “Wow, you’re asking our opinion. We’ve never been asked our opinion before.” The parents and their kid are having the kind of conversation that they’ve never had before; discussing questions such as How are you going to use this service you’re getting? What do you think should be your main goals?

How does Restorative Practices work on a community level?

International Institute for Restorative Practices  

We’re working with the city of Hull in the U. K. doing Restorative Practices trainings. Hull’s socioeconomics are tough and the schools have very low math and reading scores.

There’s a huge effort going on to rebuild the infrastructure and schools of Hull. We’re working on a plan to train everyone in schools, policing, and youth justice – 23,000 people over the next 5 years. The whole point of it is to create a giant restorative milieu.

We just started with one of the worst high schools in Hull. It’s in a tough, drug-addicted, unemployed neighborhood and the principal is getting incredible results.

For example, a substitute teacher who was racially slurred by some of the kids in his class was really upset. He came to the principal and they held a circle. It became evident that some of these kids didn’t even know fully the meaning of the words they were using.

The teacher talked about how he was affected. He was really hurt and upset. Two of the kids started crying about what they had done and the teacher went over and put his arm around them. He said that this was the best experience he’d had since he started doing substitute teaching.

In another example, a kid spit off the school balcony and hit a teacher.  The teacher called him down and the kid said he’d clean up the teacher’s classroom while he was gone to make amends. All the kids made fun of him, but he came through. All of these things are happening only two months after we started working with the High School.

It sounds like the first  step in getting everyone in the school on board is you train everybody who works with the kids and then they have the tools to integrate informal restorative practices into what they do. Then with some leadership on the principal’s part they can implement some of the more formal processes. That’s exactly right. The training is only the beginning. You should hold restorative circles with the staff a couple of weeks after the initial training and have go-rounds on a voluntary basis. Let the resistors simmer somewhere else. Don’t invite them into the room or force them to be in the room.

The early adopters and the fence sitters can come to the first meetings and talk about what they tried, tell stories, laugh, and cry. Then do it again a few weeks later.

How do you handle staff members who want to have nothing to do with Restorative Practices? Restorative Practices needs to be introduced restoratively.  The principal has the right to say we’re doing this, but by giving people a chance to express their concerns and suggestions, they’ll be more cooperative. People will accept things that are not what they wanted if they felt you at least listened to their concerns, and took their views into account.

Can Restorative Practices be effective in helping low-performing, high-poverty schools to increase academic achievement in a lasting way? My guess would be that Restorative Practices would help improve schools in a lasting way as long as the Restorative Practices are sustained, because kids would be coming to school with less emotional baggage every day or with a way of dealing with their baggage.

The kids who come to our schools have all sorts of issues causes by poverty, drug addiction, violence, and abuse that are going on in the background of their lives. When they feel that their feelings are being acknowledged and that they have someone to talk to when they need to, they tend to do better. They tend to get better grades, be more attentive, and more respectful.

How much Restorative Practices can help, I don’t know; but I suspect at the very least it would push things in the right direction to be helpful to kids and teachers in creating a better school environment and getting better results.




A good teacher is like a candle - it consumes itself to light the way for others.

- Author Unknown





City Springs front office renovation  
The newly renovated City Springs front office. spacer

During the month of August Colliers Pinkard renovated the front office at City Springs. Colliers Pinkard Executive Vice President Greg Pinkard and Vice President Lucy Price reached out to several of the contractors they work with to provide volunteer labor. The results are wonderful.

Renovations included new windows, carpet, tile, a front counter, and a trophy case. Michael Constantine, President of Constantine Commercial Construction, Inc., provided painters, carpet layers, and tile layers. The company also built the front counter in their shop and installed it.

Mike Ames, Superintendent for Constantine Commercial Construction, supervised the project. He even came in during his vacation to check on the progress of the job. Duane Arbuthnot from Mid Atlantic Corporate Services provided boxes and movers to move people out of front office during construction.

  Colliers Pinkard logo

Colliers Pinkard has been a long-time partner with City Springs, providing mentors for students and sponsoring the annual Spring Fair. They recently teamed up with the Living Classrooms Foundation to provide a mentoring program for City Springs middle school students.

BCP and City Springs would like to thank Colliers Pinkard, Constantine Commercial Construction, and Mid-Atlantic Corporate Services for their generous support.





  Garden volunteers
  Collington Square student and Home Depot volunteer planting marigolds

On June 21, 2007 Business Volunteers Unlimited's Volunteer Central partnered with The Home Depot for a Hands On Schools project at Collington Square School. Over 50 volunteers from Home Depot stores around Baltimore devoted time on their day off to help out. Supplies and equipment for the event were purchased with a generous $20,000 grant from Hands on Network.

Students involvement in the planning phase of the project was key to its success. During a Community Design Event held in May students reflected on changes they wanted to see made in their school community and brainstormed about how to improve their learning environment. It became clear at the event that students were concerned about safety. As a result, outdoor safety lighting and fencing were installed.

During the day of the project, volunteers refreshed an art room, painted the school’s exterior, and created a play area for the school’s youngest students.

Home Depot volunteers  
Home Depot volunteers give a face lift to the school office  

BVU's Volunteer Central, Parks and People Foundation, and Home Depot also planted a community garden next to The Club at Collington Square. The Club is an after school and summer enrichment program run by Episcopal Community Services of Maryland for at-risk middle school youth in the Collington Square neighborhood. Program staff and kids joined in the hard work, planting perennials, bushes, and marigolds.

John Ferraiuolo, manager of the The Home Depot in Dundalk, was instrumental in the project. In addition to mobilizing his staff, he donated two large grills for school celebrations.

  BVU staff members
  (Left to right) Kate Scherr - BVU Director of Volunteer Services; Nancy Gillenwater –  The Home Depot Foundation Field Coordinator; Kelly Hodge-Williams - BVU Executive Director; Naomi King - BVU Volunteer Engagement Coordinator.

Naomi King and Kate Scherr from Maryland Business Volunteers Unlimited's (BVU) Volunteer Central coordinated the partnership between Home Depot, Collington Square School, Hands on Network and Baltimore Curriculum Project. Volunteer Central also worked with BCP's Community School Director to secure grant funding for the project.

BCP and Collington Square School would like to thank Hands on Network, BVU's Volunteer Central, the Club at Collington, Parks and People Foundation, and all of the The Home Depot volunteers for their generous support and hard work.

Volunteer Central

BVU’s Volunteer Central is the primary resource for recruiting, developing and organizing volunteers in the Greater Baltimore area. Through their programs more than 30,000 people have helped strengthen hundreds of nonprofit organizations while serving the community.

Home Depot logo

The Home Depot supports non-profit organizations with financial and volunteer support. They focus on play spaces, community gathering spaces, affordable housing, and rebuilding of structures damaged in weather-related disasters. Team Depot is Home Depot's associate volunteer force linking the company's values to community needs through hands-on service.

Hands on Network

Hands On Network brings people together to strengthen communities through meaningful volunteer action. They are a growing network of more than a half million volunteers changing communities inside and outside the United States. Hands On Network creates and manages nearly 50,000 projects a year, from building wheelchair ramps in San Francisco to teaching reading in Atlanta, to rebuilding homes and lives in the Gulf coast communities.



Struever Bros. logo spacer

During the past year Struever Bros. Eccles & Rouse (SBER) has donated $35,000 in support of Collington Square School. A $10,000 grant in June supported the construction of an ornamental iron fence to secure Collington Square's new Ravens playground. A $25,000 grant supported the recent implementation of a new student testing system at Collington Square School.

  Collington Square School Ravens playground.

SBER partners Bill Struever, Cobber Eccles, and Fred Struever have demonstrated an ongoing commitment to supporting public education through in-kind donations of materials, equipment, technical expertise, volunteer hours, and cash contributions.

Baltimore City Schools are routinely selected as James W. Rouse Community Service Day sites. Each year Enterprise and Struever Bros. Eccles & Rouse, focus a year's worth of planning and commitment into the James W. Rouse Community Service Day. On this day hundreds of volunteers spend a day in parks, schools, and many other venues providing hands-on work to repair, beautify, and create facilities that benefit and enrich the lives of the citizens of Baltimore.

SBER has been an outstanding partner in BCP's mission to improve educational opportunities for all of Baltimore City's children.

A $10,000 grant from Struever Bros. Eccles & Rouse supported the construction of an ornamental iron fence for Collington Square School's Baltimore Ravens playground.  

Kate McShane-Oeming, SBER's Director of Community Partnerships, has been instrumental in fostering this relationship. She worked on the “Let the Light Shine In” initiative within Baltimore City Public Schools to replace fogged and clouded Lexan windows with new windows at City Spring School, Hampstead Hill Academy, and other City schools. She is currently helping with the planning phase of Hampstead Hill Academy's proposed Early Learning Wing.

SBER has provided numerous volunteers and facilities upgrades for our schools. At City Springs volunteers created a learning garden and built the middle school science lab. At Hampstead Hill Academy SBER installed new flooring, cafeteria tables, a school sign, a new science lab, and a chain link fence.

BCP would like to thank Bill Struever, Cobber Eccles, Fred Struever, and Kate McShane-Oeming for their ongoing support.


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  Ernst and Young Volunteer reads with students
  In addition to painting and gardening, Ernst & Young volunteers read with students.

By Obette Jamison
Community School Director, Rayner Browne Academy

A very big thank you goes out to Kate Scherr of Volunteer Central and Arhun Sabhas of Ernst & Young for showing what a commitment to community is all about. The two of them helped organize more than fifty employees from Ernst & Young.

The day began with an open greeting from Alison Perkins of Baltimore Curriculum Project, Rayner Browne’s Charter School Facilitator. Kate and Arhun welcomed the volunteers and gave direction on the many projects to be worked on during the day. Doors were painted, storage closets organized, bathroom walls and stalls were painted.

Ms. Lombardi stated she is forever grateful for the organization of her book room.

Coach D can get into his storage room and get easy access to all those very important tools that make physical education so much fun.

Throughout the day volunteers took time to sit with students and listen to some very interesting stories as Rayner students read books and short stories to our visitors.

The volunteers from Ernst & Young were full of energy and would not stop until the job was done. The day ended with ice cream for everyone in the after school program– What A Great Treat!

These volunteers are a great example of dedication and commitment. Their smiles were big and their comments sincere.

Many are willing to come back to Rayner Browne on their own initiative. We will gladly welcome Ernst and Young to Dr. Rayner Browne again, and again, and again.

Ernst and Young logo Volunteer Central



BCP Homepage




  Annie E. Casey Founation

The Baltimore Direct Services Grant (BDSG) program has awarded Hampstead Hill a $20,000 grant to support its Food for Life program. Food for Life teaches children about food, nutrition, culture, and healthy living by providing a positive experience of food and food preparation that is fun, hands-on and sensory-based.

The Baltimore Direct Services Grants (BDSG) program annually funds a wide range of not-for-profit community-based or community-serving organizations that work directly with disadvantaged children, youth, and families in Baltimore City. BDSG is a program of the Annie E. Casey Foundation, which is being administered by Associated Black Charities.

Associated Black Charities  

The application for this highly competitive program was written by Hampstead Hill teacher Geri Swann. Only 33 grants were awarded this year.

We would like to thank The Annie E. Casey Foundation and Associated Black Charities for supporting Hampstead Hill. We would also like thank Ms. Swann for writing an exceptional application and Ariel Demas for running an outstanding program.



spacer Kids Being Healthy Expo
  Food for Life program director Ariel Demas and Hampstead Hill students pose with the Watermelon Queens at the Baltimore Kids Being Healthy Expo in May 2007.

The Food for Life program at Hampstead Hill, directed by Ariel Demas, enjoyed a bountiful harvest last fall. In September Food for Life students earned 13 ribbons (8 first place) and cash prizes at the Anne Arundel County Fair for their organic produce.

In October garden club members made pesto from fresh basil and ate homegrown tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, collard greens, watermelon and more. That same month the school gardening club was graced with a “5% Day” at Whole Foods Market. Five percent of one day’s profits were given to support the club.

Whole Foods Market, Harbor East has generously donated all of the food for the Food for Life program since it first began in 2004. Hampstead Hill Academy and the Baltimore Curriculum Project cannot thank Whole Foods enough for such delicious support over the years.

Food Studies Institute  

On October 17 Principal Matt Hornbeck and Antonia Demas visited the Mark Steiner Show on WYPR to talk about school food issues. Antonia Demas is the President of the Food Studies Institute and creator of the Food is Elementary curriculum used by the Food for Life program.

Food for Life's Harvest Feast on November 16 was a delicious and nutritious success. Over 200 people enjoyed local seasonal foods prepared by the Culinary Arts Club. One Straw Farm and the HHA school garden provided some of the ingredients. Live entertainment preceded the meal with the wonderful vocal talents of the HHA Chorus singing traditional harvest songs.

Many thanks to all the volunteers who helped with the Harvest Feast and to the Hyatt Regency Baltimore for sending two professional chefs to work with the Culinary Arts Club.

The community dinner on December 21 celebrated holiday foods. Aramark Dining Services at Johns Hopkins University graciously donated 570 delicious potato latkes, thanks to Chef Michael Gueiss and his crew of cooks!

Holiday cookies were donated by A Common Ground coffee shop and New System Bakery & Cafe in Hampden, and Mrs. Pincus. We'd like to thank Aramark and these local businesses for their support. Many thanks also to the hard working volunteers who helped the culinary arts club prepare, serve, and clean up after the community dinner.

Food for Life partners:

Hyatt Regency Hotel
New System Bakery
One Straw Farm Logo
Whole Foods Market



BCP Homepage



Reprinted with permission from the Carson Scholars Fund

  Ben Carson Reading Room
  Wolfe Street Academy's new Ben Carson Reading Room.

There’s Ten Thousand Dollars Behind This Wall!

This was the exciting announcement that students at Wolfe Street Academy received from Principal Mark Gaither a few weeks prior to their Reading Room Opening. Through the generous support of Bank of America, and extensive labors of community representatives, the Reading Room dream has come alive.

On October 12, 2007, Brooke Hodges from Bank of America joined Principal Gaither and Candy Carson in a ribbon-cutting ceremony to open their Ben Carson Reading Room with the $10,000 in books and furniture. Now the students can cozy up in stuffed armchairs or on the sofa under broad, green leaf-shaped umbrellas that give one the sensation of being embraced.

Carson Scholars Fund  

Most books are stored in red bins, organized according to topic and reading level to encourage students to browse the colorful bookcovers instead of seeing only the narrow spines of the literary works as displayed in traditional library settings.

  Bank of America logo

The Carson Scholars Fund, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) non-profit charity that was founded in 1994, by Johns Hopkins pediatric neurosurgeon, Dr. Benjamin Carson and his wife, Candy, to recognize and reward students in grades 4-11 who strive for academic excellence (3.75 GPA or higher) and demonstrate a strong commitment to their community. For more information visit http://www.carsonscholars.org/.

BCP and Wolfe Street Academy would like to thank the Carson Scholars Fund and Bank of America for their generosity.


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