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Annual Review

From a Portfolio Review to an Annual Review of Schools

City Schools’ primary goal is to make sure that every student has high–quality educational experiences that support their learning and their personal growth where our students will thrive and graduate from our high schools with the skills, knowledge and understanding to succeed in college, careers, our community and wherever their dreams will take them.  

For over a decade, City Schools has used a “portfolio” strategy to review, discuss, plan, and implement recommendations for physical and programmatic developments that best foster student learning and professional growth and have called this process “Portfolio Review.”

Words can be important indicators of what we value. While numeric data is an important component, consideration of the qualitative and lived experience of our school communities is essential to co-create quality schools for every child. Given we value a holistic approach we have decided not to call this process “Portfolio Review” any longer and for now are calling it the “Annual School Review”. We have also continued to expand and shift the review process to be more inclusive and centered in the communities we serve. To learn more about this – place read the Annual Review Report linked below.

The Annual Review results in a set of recommendations to the Board of School Commissioners each fall that can include: 
- Creating new traditional schools
- Relocating schools
- Changing grade configuration at schools
- Renewing contracts or charters for schools run by external operators
- Amending the 21st Century Schools Buildings Program
- Closing schools

To see this year’s recommendations, please review the summary table below and select the Annual Review Report link for details on this year’s process, ongoing work of the district that impacts all of our schools, and reports for COMAR recommendations (or recommendations that are for closure, surplus, or relocation). 


Annual Review Final Report



Annual Review Final Report (Spanish)


View Report

Report Addendum

2020-21 review

On January 12, the Board of School Commissioners voted on the 2020-21 Annual Review Recommendations Report. A summary of the recommendations and votes appears below (mobile/PDF version). The Board of School Commissioners issued a written report documenting these decisions on February 11, 2021. The report can be found on this webpage and at each of the closing schools below. 

The Board vote on the West Baltimore Building surplus and the Winston building surplus occurred on March 9, 2021. The Board of School Commissioners issued a written report documenting these decisions on April 9, 2021. The report can be found on this webpage and at the West Baltimore and Walter P. Carter buildings. Members of the public can appeal the decisions in writing to the Maryland State Board of Education within 30 days of the the date of the report, April 9, 2021. . Appeals can be sent to Office of the Attorney General, Maryland State Department of Education, Attn: Jackie La Fiandra/State Board of Appeals, 200 St. Paul Place, 19th Floor, Baltimore, Maryland, 21202.

School / Building Program Recommendation Building Recommendation Final Report (For Board Decisions on closures, surplus, and relocation) Community Letter/Board Decision Board Vote
Closures and Building Surplus  
Alexander Hamilton Elementary Close effective Summer 2021 Surplus in Summer 2021 Report (page 8) Letter Approved

In Favor-7
Absent – 2
Opposed – 0
Guilford Elementary/Middle School Close effective Summer 2021 Surplus in Summer 2021 Report (page 14) Letter Approved

In favor- 7  
Absent – 2
Opposed – 0
Lockerman Bundy Elementary School Close effective Summer 2021 Surplus in Summer 2021 Report (page 21) Letter Approved

In favor – 8 
Absent – 1 
Opposed – 0 
School Relocation and Building Surplus  
Lois T. Murray Elementary/Middle School Relocate program to renovated 21st Century Walter P. Carter building Surplus in Summer 2021 Report (page 27) Letter Approved

In favor – 8 absent – 1 
Opposed – 0
School Relocation, Grade Reconfiguration, and Building Surplus   
Sharp-Leadenhall Elementary School Expand grade bands from grades 1 to 5 to 1 to 8 and relocate program to renovated 21st Century Harford Heights building  Surplus in Summer 2021 Report (page 34) Letter Approved

In favor – 8
absent – 1 
Opposed – 0
Building Surplus  
Harriet Tubman building  n/a Surplus in Summer 2021 Report (page 41) Letter Approved

In favor – 8 Absent – 1 Opposed – 0 
West Baltimore building  n/a Surplus in Summer 2022 Report (page 47)

Report Addendum 
North Bend Community Letter Approved

In favor - 7
Absent - 2
William C. March building  n/a Surplus in Summer 2021 Report (page 44) Letter Approved

In favor – 8 Absent – 0 Opposed – 0 
Winston building (new recommendation shared 1/12/2021) n/a Surplus in Summer 2021 Report Addendum Walter P. Carter Community Letter 

Winston Community Letter

In favor - 8
Absent - 1
21st Century Building Plan Amendments  
Northwestern building  n/a change surplus date from 2021 to 2025 n/a --- Approved

In favor – 8 Absent – 1 Opposed – 0
Other School Communities that may be impacted by recommendations
School School/Building w/Related Recommendation Final Report (for Board decisions on closures, surplus, and relocation) Community Letter/How to Engage
Calverton Elementary/Middle Alexander Hamilton Elementary

West Baltimore Building
Report (page 8) Letter
Harford Heights Elementary William C. March Building Report (page 44) Letter
Harlem Park Elementary/Middle Lockerman Bundy Elementary Report (page 21) Letter
James Mosher Elementary Alexander Hamilton Elementary Report (page 8) Letter
Mary Ann Winterling Elementary Lockerman Bundy Elementary Report (page 21) Letter
Walter P. Carter Elementary/Middle Guilford Elementary/Middle Report (page 14) Letter
Other Actions - CEO's Discretion:
Program Relocation Elementary Middle Alternative Program (EMAP) Relocate to the Professional Development Center for school year 2021-22

*Additionally, the CEO is considering relocating the Elementary Middle Alternative Program (EMAP) to the Professional Development Center building for school year 2021-22. EMAP serves as a temporary placement for students who require specific services based on identified student needs (i.e. drug and alcohol counseling, juvenile reentry, etc.) and serves as an Alternative Educational Setting(AES) for suspended students requiring special education services, as well as provides students in grades 6-8 who are two years’ overage the opportunity for acceleration. It is currently located in east Baltimore in the Wolfe Street Portables; the land for which the portables are housed is under the control of the East Baltimore Development Incorporated who has plans for the land. Because this is a program, not a school, this relocation can be made at the CEO’s discretion and does not require approval by the Baltimore City Board of School Commissioners.

Past years' reviews

For reports prior to 2016-17, contact the New Initiatives department.


What factors are considered when making recommendations about schools or programs?

For traditional schools, the Board must consider 8 factors: student enrollment trends; age and condition of school buildings; transportation; educational programs; racial composition of student body; financial considerations; student relocation; and impact on community in geographic attendance area for school proposed to be closed and school or schools, to which students will be relocating. For more information please read the Annual Review Report linked above. Charter and other operator-led schools go through a separate review prior to renewal of contracts with external operators. For more information on this process see “Charter and Operator Renewal” section below and the Annual Review Report linked above.

What kind of recommendations are made about school buildings?

Recommendations about buildings can include things like moving a school to another facility or returning an unused building to the city of Baltimore. Factors including whether schools are too crowded, have low enrollment and are under-utilized, and building condition are considered. Frequently, these types of recommendations are related to the 21st Century School Buildings Program.

Charter and operator renewal

Outside operators receive term-limited charters or contracts to run charter or other operator-led schools, generally for three, five, or eight years. As part of the routine management of these schools, an evaluation (called renewal) that starts in the penultimate year of the contract or charter and ends in the winter of the final year of the contract leads to a decision on whether to renew the contract or charter for a subsequent term.

The process

The process starts with a review by the Charter and Operator-led Advisory Board, whose members represent foundations, nonprofit organizations, school choice advocates, school operators, and district representatives; and whose function is to provide advice to the CEO on renewal and other issues as they relate to operator-led schools.  In performing its review, the Advisory Board looks at all data and information, both quantitative and qualitative, to make sound recommendations to the CEO. After its review of the components above, the Advisory Board makes recommendations to City Schools’ CEO on whether charters or contracts should be renewed. The CEO considers the recommendations and the quantitative and qualitative review, and then makes her own recommendation to the Board. The CEO then makes the official recommendation that goes to the Board.

The ultimate decision on all operator renewals rests with the Board, which considers the recommendations and rationale of the CEO, the operator renewal report, testimony given at public Board meetings and work sessions, the contents of the official record and the factors listed in policy IHBJ and administrative regulation IHBJ-RA for charter schools, and policy FCA and administrative regulation FCA-RA for non-charter schools.

The review process has the following components:

  • Renewal rubric (includes data from standardized assessments and school surveys)
  • Application for renewal
  • Data prepared by City Schools
  • School effectiveness reviews
Criteria and measures

Maryland law and Board policy establish criteria for renewal. Contract and charter schools are evaluated on multiple measures including, but not limited to,

  • Student achievement, constituting at least 50 percent of the renewal score and including measures such as schoolwide performance on state assessments, College and Career Readiness (for schools with high school grades), academic programming for special student populations, and a school’s fidelity to its charter
  • School climate (chronic absence, suspensions, enrollment trends, school choice data, and school survey results from parents, teachers, and students)
  • Financial management and governance (annual audits, school budget submissions, grants management, board documentation; compliance/adherence with federal, state, and local laws, rules, and regulations)

An overall finding of not effective in any of the key areas (Student Achievement, School Climate, or Financial Management/Governance) may be the basis of a non-renewal decision. In some instances, the nature or severity of an issue raised during the renewal process is serious enough to give it extra weight in formulating the renewal recommendation and, ultimately, the renewal decision, especially in instances where the issue affects the wellbeing of students, staff, or the district as a whole. For the Financial Management/Governance section, a rating of not effective in any one of the three elements that make up that section results in a rating of not effective for the entire section.

Improving the process

The Renewal Stakeholders Working Group (including school operators from a range of school types, City Schools staff, and representatives of the Maryland Charter School Network) met regularly in 2011-12 to advise on development of a fair, transparent, and rigorous evaluation process and rubric to reflect the unique nature and contributions of schools with outside operators. Since that time, district staff confer with key stakeholders following each renewal period to identify areas in which the process could be strengthened while also maintaining a level of predictability for schools up for renewal in the following school year.

Visit school profile pages

Renewal reports

Find the latest reports linked on school profile pages