Baltimore Curriculum Project: Summer Training
By Jon McGill, Director of Academics, BCP
Baltimore Curriculum Project has, for many years, invested time, money, and energy into professional development for new teachers and support staff. Since last summer’s work was done virtually, it was with great enthusiasm that we organized our 2021 training sessions to have major parts of the work take place on-site and in person. This year we did five days of instructional work in person at our newest school, Pimlico Elementary/Middle. Then, for an additional three days, we provided “Community and Culture” workshops, via Zoom. In all we had more than forty new staff attend some or all of the sessions.
What did we do during those days? First, for five days, the work focused on instructional preparation for the reading and language programs in the elementary levels. We also did training for Eureka Mathematics, the program for both elementary and middle school. One of the annual highlights of our work is that we use our own staff, primarily our instructional coaches, to do this professional development. Those coaches are experts, and we are the envy of other organizations for having so many excellent coaches working with our teachers.
We were also able to recruit Lawrence Lanahan, a Baltimore journalist, and author, to speak about his book, The Lines Between Us. It gave our staff a perspective on the history of race and racism in Baltimore. Wyatt Oroke and Anthony Patterson, middle school teachers at City Springs, also led an intriguing three-hour session on equity, race, and social justice. We also did work on classroom management and Restorative Practices. Finally, Michael Lucas and Carey Fetting-Smith, who work at Hampstead Hill and City Springs, led a session on preparing students for high school choice.
There are many aspects to our summer professional development but one of the most important is that we can meet the new folks, inspire confidence in them, start to appreciate their needs, and provide early support for them even before the doors of their schools are open. It is expensive, however, we continue to fund this work because we believe it is vital, worthwhile, and important for all our new staff. We appreciate the continued support from our six principals, whose budgets must stretch to include this work.
We have had great success in teacher and staff recruitment efforts over the years and this year is no different: we have energetic, smart, and capable people adding to the rich mixture of staff at all our schools! We will feature some of them in forthcoming newsletters.
City Springs Elementary/Middle: Perkins Homes Update
Over the past year, the City Springs school community has watched as more and more residents from the Perkins’ community moved away due to the Perkins Somerset Oldtown (PSO) Transformation Plan, funded through the HUD Choice Neighborhood Grant. This comes with mixed emotions. Perkins Homes is located directly across the street from City Spring and has historically housed over 60-65% of City Springs students in 629 public housing units. As a result of the redevelopment efforts, enrollment numbers have declined as residents had to relocate prior to demolition which began in June of 2021. Before our hearts get too heavy, however, we must remind ourselves that a vibrant community is in the making. BCP and City Springs have been in the planning meetings, and we have seen the renderings, so we know that all of this redevelopment is making room for a brighter future. The next couple of years are going to be tough for our City Springs school community, but we are looking forward to the day when we can welcome families back into a new, vibrant community with a new, state-of-the-art school building!
Frederick Elementary: Amazon Cares Backpack Giveaway
The 2nd Annual Bookbag Giveaway with BEN (Black Employee Network) of Amazon Cares partnership was on August 30th for Frederick (FES) families and the community. Backpacks and school supplies were given out to families. Parents were able to purchase uniform shirts and visit vendor and game stations run by Frederick staff and BEN Amazon volunteers. The different stations were limbo, face painting, cotton candy, weight loss/fitness, moon bounce, Mentor program, and Bon Secour.
Govans Elementary: New Building, New School Year
Govans welcomed back families, students, and staff to a brand new 21st Century school building! On August 26th, Principal Kwaw attended a Ribbon Cutting Ceremony at Patterson High School with Mayor Scott, Dr. Santelises, and others to celebrate the opening of three new 21st Century Schools in Baltimore City, with Govans being one of those new schools. That afternoon, Principal Kwaw held a ribbon-cutting ceremony at Govans to celebrate and kick off the 2021-2022 school year! An Open House was also held the next day, and over 200 families came to tour the school, pick up school supplies, and meet their child’s teachers.
Hampstead Hill Academy: COVID Ready!
After 17 months of the pandemic, Hampstead Hill Academy (HHA) is pleased to report a relatively smooth start to this school year. HHA has among the highest attendance rate in City Schools so far, and enrollment is at record levels. HHA is proud to say that 98% of staff and 30-40% of middle school students are fully vaccinated. With the full approval of the Pfizer vaccine in the last two weeks, HHA continues to strongly encourage all eligible members of the community 12 years and older to get the vaccine. Students are doing an amazing job following directions, learning new procedures, and wearing their masks.
Pimlico Elementary/Middle: Our Newest BCP School
As of July 1st, Pimlico Elementary/Middle School officially joined the BCP family. After months of virtual, hybrid, and partial in-person learning, Principal Barnett-Warren personally welcomed students back as they entered the building. The Parents felt secure enough to do a “kiss and go” and to allow their youngsters to be in “our” safe hands! Pimlico is very intentional about making sure students understand the importance of education, as well as how much they are loved and valued in our school community!!
Wolfe Street Academy: Return to in-person learning
The highly anticipated first week of school was a success, as Wolfe Street welcomed back 260 students into the school building. Students and teachers have been deeply engaged in daily circles, academics, enrichment, movement breaks, and mindfulness. All staff and students are acclimating to the return of in-person learning and have enjoyed seeing each other’s (masked) faces!