December 07, 2022
Beyond the classroom: students dive into extracurricular activities
Diverse offerings spark student learning
Beyond taking compelling classes that challenge, engage and inspire, City Schools students try new things, pursue passions, and build skills that directly and indirectly support academic success. With a district-wide commitment to extracurricular activities, students are exploring robotics, debate and discussion groups, student interest groups, sports, and more activities that excite them!
Thanks to the passage of the State of Maryland’s Blueprint for Success (Kirwan legislation), City Schools now have more resources available to support expanded extracurricular programming, and they are making great use of these funds. At James McHenry Elementary/Middle School, for example, educators noticed that some students who wanted to participate in extracurriculars after school were unable to because of family obligations and transportation barriers. So teachers and school leaders created Friday Clubs, time every week during the regular school day when students can participate in extracurriculars of their choosing. The clubs have been a hit!
“We want our students to have as much exposure to new experiences as possible,” explained Dani Byerson, City Schools Educational Specialist - Extracurricular Programming. “You never know what doors these experiences will open for students down the line.”
The extracurricular experiences at City Schools are varied and valuable. Here are a few examples:
- Photography: At Excel Academy, students are building skills in a photography club - from landscapes to portraits. As one student said, “Mr Oribello (the photography teacher) demonstrated tips and tricks to make our portrait pictures better with creative ideas for props and lighting. It is a blessing for my photography to be displayed!”
- Robotics: More than 500 students from 60+ schools are designing and building robots for competition, and expanding their STEM-skills in the process. Check out our recent Progress Report on the thriving program, here.
- Chess: Checkmate! More than 600 students from 34 City Schools are diving into the game of chess and competing through the Baltimore Kids Chess League. Read this Progress Report story for more.
- Athletics: All schools in the district are encouraged to offer a variety of after-school athletic opportunities and teams for students. From football and baseball to track and lacrosse, students are getting active, having fun, and building teamwork skills. Learn more here.
Through resource fairs at district-wide professional development events, in-school events introducing students to options, and the online Extracurricular Resource Hub, educators and students are accessing the information and support they need. This work aligns with CIty Schools' vision for student wholeness, as articulated in the Blueprint for Success and the “Reconnect. Restore. Reimagine.” plan - both of which commit to expanding enrichment opportunities for students both during and after school.