Equity work has long been central to Wolfe Street Academy’s (WSA) mission and curriculum. The school has a diverse student community of 250 Pre-Kindergarten through 5th graders. More than 80 percent of WSA students are Latino, 15 percent are African American, and five percent identify as other racial backgrounds.

The school’s equity work first focused on adult understanding of equity. With the newer WSA Equity Sub-Committee on School Family Council, the school centered its work on students. Now, thanks to a recent $7,500 grant by the Heart of the School and the Fund for Excellence in Education, WSA has realized its goal of creating classroom and school library collections that represent the diversity of our world and that promote the idea of belonging. 

“Central to developing an understanding of the benefits and power that an equitable environment brings to a community is breaking down the barriers to understanding others or the unfamiliar,” says Mark Gaither, Principal of Wolfe Street. “By creating everyday ways that students, adult educators, and families can be introduced to the diversity around us, the foundation upon which equitable actions and community will be strengthened.”

Led by Ashley Green, WSA’s Academic Coach and New Student Mentor, and the Equity Committee, chaired by Jen Boebinger, the project launched its classroom libraries in May 2024. Purchased through Scholastic Reading, the new books were selected for messages of diversity and inclusion, and include a range of reading levels and grade-level appropriate material. 

These books are focused on the idea of promoting diversity and belonging around issues of race and cultural backgrounds. Having a diverse library creates everyday opportunities to engage in age and grade level appropriate conversations about equity and inclusion.

Ashley Green

WSA’s Academic Coach and New Student Mentor

Since the addition of the new books, teachers have shared that students are excited about the new topics and signing out books to read at home. Early finishers get to trade their books out and have been sharing facts and connections made with teachers as they read. 

Ms. Green adds, “Students enjoy the bilingual books that they can relate to as teachers read books aloud. Students shared more about where their families are from when hearing about different countries mentioned.”

“These books are a wonderful and much appreciated addition to our classroom libraries,” says Ms. Boebinger. “While we cannot travel the world with our students, these books bring the world into their hands and into our classrooms where they can reflect on how their own lived experiences connect with the vast, amazing array of human experiences out there. I am hopeful that the connections students make with the stories and characters in these books will encourage them to celebrate the incredible diversity within themselves and each other.”

About the Baltimore Curriculum Project

Baltimore Curriculum Project (BCP) is the largest operator of local neighborhood, public charter schools in Maryland. We create safe, supportive learning environments for children PK-8 by providing innovative, research-based educational strategies, intensive teacher training and extensive support for administration and staff. We support our local neighborhood needs by tailoring our resources and support through community partnerships.

As one of the longest-running charter operators in Maryland, our schools are regularly recognized as some of the most highly acclaimed neighborhood charter schools in the state. 

Pimlico Elementary / Middle School

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