• School History

    School Background

    The year was 1970, both nationwide and in the City of Baltimore, more than 25% of the population was school age and, as a consequence, teacher/student ratios exceeded those considered to be optimal to student learning. This population explosion dictated a need for a community school. A group of parents and teachers urged the City of Baltimore to establish a school to directly serve the educational needs of the many children in the idyllic community of Rognel Heights. And so, in September 1970, under the principalship of Mr. James Matthews, Rognel Heights Elementary School was born. The demographic composition of Rognel Heights was fluid and changing. And so, as a result, by 1994, Rognel Heights contained enough adolescents to warrant its expansion into a combined elementary/middle school. Today, as in 1970, "Radiant" Rognel Heights Elementary/Middle School strives toward excellence and achievement.

    Community Setting

    Bisected by the western boundary of the city in the Annex of 1888, "Radiant" Rognel Heights Elementary/Middle School is bounded by Edmondson, Athol, a line parallel to and southwest of Walnut, Seminole, Rokeby Road, and Woodington. It is named for two nineteenth-century owners of the Baltimore county section, William F. Rodgers and William O. Nelson. One playground, a mini-park and a school are situated among frame houses built within Baltimore City before 1918. Contemporary row homes spread along rolling high ground. "Radiant" Rognel Heights Elementary/Middle School had no industry or commercial dwellings, but its acreage formed part of "Hunting Ridge" in the seventeenth century, and "Morning's Choice," bordering "Athol" to the south. General John Swan and Reverdy Johnson owned nineteenth-century tracts. The oldest development spread out over western blocks at an angle to the orderly grid of the 1888 annex, on land developed by investor William T. Pfeiffer. Detached, brown-shingled homes heightened the sense of a country environment. Pfeiffer also marketed water from a well-known natural spring just north of development. Artesian wells were drilled there, and a water tower built over a natural ravine and rocky aquifer on Sixth Avenue (now Sidehill). Pfeiffer bottled and marketed the water to downtown grocers and offices as "Rock Crystal Spring Water." The cisterns and wells were leveled in 1918 as a hazard.

    Two-story brick duplex and row houses went up on Woodington, Wicklow, Kevin, Colborne, Flowerton, and Seminole in the 1940's and 1950's. Westside Methodist built Rognel Heights Methodist at Walnut and Colborne in 1949 for a congregation formed there in 1914 and merged in 1928 with Franklin Street Methodist. An exterior seventeen-foot cross in a perennial garden, a memorial to Emma Meredith Nichols and the gift of her son Thomas Steele Nichols, honors historic Methodism. Fifty-nine stones, collected from forty-eight states, three Federal territories, and six continents, commemorate Christian brotherhood. The Maryland stone was taken from St. Mary's City; others came from Holy Land sites -- the Galilean Sea, the alleged tomb of Jesus, and the slope of the Feeding of the Five Thousand. Georgian Etowah pink marble at the center recalls the missionary trip of denomination founder John Wesley to Georgia from 1735 to 1737. At this center are stones collected by a Belgian Congo nurse and missionary, Kathryn Eye. Enoch Pratt opened a branch at Edmondson and Athol in 1951. Rognel Heights Elementary, #089, was built for 750 elementary students in 1970.