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Progress Report

Every day, throughout City Schools, students, families, staff and communities are making progress - academically, on personal and professional goals, in pursuing passions and opportunities, and in achieving the goals of the Blueprint for Success:

To build a generation of young people with the skills, knowledge, and understanding to succeed in college, careers, and community, not just here in Baltimore but in any city in the world.

Read about some of the recent progress.

Future Ready! connects students with mentors for college and career planning

Soft skills training helps students find their path to success

October 04, 2022

Future Ready! connects students with mentors for college and career planning Soft skills training helps students find their path to success Thanks to the Future Ready! college and career mentoring program, students at five City Schools high schools are building relationships with caring adults and getting excited about high school and life after graduation.  With assistance from the nonprofit MENTOR Maryland | DC, City Schools designed a mentoring program to support students’ soft skills, such as planning and critical thinking, and recruited adult mentors from local organizations like Bank of America, Under Armour and BGE.  Mentors meet with students once a week for resume building, college and career research, and creating vision boards. More than 40 students took part in Future Ready! last school year, and most schools were able to match students with mentors on a one-to-one basis.  “In designing Future Ready!, we wanted to prioritize students learning about themselves,” said Warren Wiggins, Mentoring and Adult Relationships Specialist. “We have personality tests, career assessments — anything that can prompt thought and discussion about where students want to go and how they can best succeed. With a mentor, they have a friend who’s been through school and been through the career-building process, so there’s a lot of insight and advice to share. The ultimate goal of Future Ready!, like all City Schools mentoring programs, is to connect students with adults who can act as a positive influence and motivate students to succeed.”  For DeShawn Cornish, a rising senior at Renaissance Academy, his experience in Future Ready! with his mentor Layla Reeves confirmed his belief that college was his best route.  “Some days we'd work on resumes, other days we’d just talk and get to know each other,” said Cornish. “Overall, I think Future Ready! got me ready to go out into the real world — to know what I need and where to find it. One of our mentors at Renaissance was actually a college recruiter, so it was great to get that perspective.” Future Ready! hopes to pair students with the same mentor throughout their four years of high school.  “We want students to build long-term relationships with their mentors,” said Wiggins. “Remote learning made launching a mentoring program challenging over the past couple of years, but the feedback from mentors, students and teachers has me convinced we’re on the right track.” City Schools’ new Mentoring and Adult Relationships (MAR) team learned from piloting Future Ready! and aims to expand this work through partnering with mentoring programs across the city. Through collaboration with other organizations, building mentoring programs at the school level and district-level programs like Future Ready!, City Schools is leveraging the power of mentorship to benefit students of all ages. Hear from students about the experience in the video below!    , Watch now! Students and educators reflect on their Future Ready! experiences. , More Progress Report Stories

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Singing, painting, and making: students build skills at Summer Fine Arts Camp

Scholars become “better people, stronger learners.”

September 22, 2022

Singing, painting, and making: students build skills at Summer Fine Arts Camp Scholars become “better people, stronger learners.”  Voices of singing students float down hallways while stomping feet and laughter echoes from a nearby dance class, and soothing music emanates from a room where focused students are working on paintings.  The sounds tell a story. They illustrate a belief: “when students have the ability to make art for art’s sake, they learn to trust themselves and their ideas, and to think about things from multiple perspectives,” explained Chan’nel Howard, City Schools Fine Arts Coordinator. “The arts make us all feel better! The Summer Fine Arts Camp did that every day.” For six weeks this summer, more than 100 elementary and middle school artists explored their creativity through dance, theater, visual arts and music at City Schools’ inaugural Summer Fine Arts Camp. In the mornings of this free, immersive experience, they worked on foundational skills like rhythm and movement. In the afternoon, they selected an artform to pursue, including music, dance and theater. The Summer Fine Arts Camp is possible through funding to City Schools as part of the Elementary and Secondary Schools Emergency Relief (ESSER) Funds to address COVID’s impact on students. Creative experiences like the camp help children look forward to learning and being in a school setting, and give them productive outlets to express themselves. From learning the tape-painting technique used by renowned painter Paul Klee to jumping in and out of character on a stage, students found new interests and tried new things. When asked to describe the program, Trinity, a Fine Arts Camper and third grader, smiled widely. “It’s like one big fun package of art!”  “Because of the pandemic, many of our youngest scholars haven’t ever had an in-person dance or theater class,” said Howard. “Watching these talented students jump into these new experiences and express themselves has been a joy to my soul!”  The Camp exemplifies City Schools’ approach to the arts for students: providing introduction to art forms at the elementary level, an opportunity to specialize in middle school, and the chance to explore a depth of study in high school. According to Otis Eldridge, Fine Arts Camp educator, “They have musical talent and desire, and they’re getting a chance to pursue that. This kind of thing is more than just for fun. It is a career avenue.”  To close out the program, students welcomed families and friends to Baltimore International Academy for a performance and gallery walk. The results were stunning, and the impact is only beginning. To learn more about City Schools’ arts programs, click here. More Progress Report Stories

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High schoolers earn while they learn in credit recovery programs

Partnership with YouthWorks ensures students do not have to choose between a job or their studies

September 21, 2022

High schoolers earn while they learn in credit recovery programs Partnership with YouthWorks ensures students do not have to choose between a job or their studies During the summer, City Schools high school students can catch up on academic credit. Because of disruptions from the COVID-19 pandemic, more students than ever took advantage this summer to make sure they graduate on schedule. About 4,700 students participated in City Schools’ summer credit recovery programs. They accounted for 11,000 registrations for classes offered at six schools throughout the city. It’s a crucial program that helps students reach their ultimate goal of graduation.  Partnering with the Mayor’s Office YouthWorks program, many students focused on school while earning a paycheck at the same time. About 400-500 students earned $12.50/hour for their in-classroom time.  What started as a small pilot program in summer 2021 has now expanded to 4 sites.  “[Students] will get a job and hold onto that job; the key of the Youthworks program is to harness that energy and take the economic pressure off them,” said Terah Collins, an ITA at Fort Worthington Elementary/Middle School who supervised YouthWorks students in the summer credit recovery program at The Reach! Partnership School. “We have almost every single course available, so whatever students need to graduate, we’ve got them covered.”  With only a six-week summer session, credit recovery students are immersed in intensive courses, with each running two hours a day for four days a week. From math and English to social studies and computer science, the courses are a serious commitment, but students are up for the challenge.  “Our goal now is to grow the program and ensure as many students can participate as possible,” said Ronda Welsh, Coordinator - Extended Learning. “The pandemic was definitely a disruption, but credit recovery has and always will be a crucial element of student success. We have to meet students where they are, to make it easier for them to stay engaged and committed to their studies.” Students wishing to participate in credit recovery opportunities should contact their school counselor for information. More Progress Report Stories

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Summer Arts for Learning Academy Infuses Student Learning with the Arts

Free summer program engaged 3,000+ City Schools students

September 12, 2022

Summer Arts for Learning Academy Infuses Student Learning with the Arts Free summer program engages 3,000+ City Schools students  Learning through art has many forms - from beatboxing while practicing counting and fractions and illustrating the rising action in a story, to singing along to songs that highlight rules of grammar. At the Summer Arts for Learning Academy (SALA), it looks like all of this and more for 3,000 City Schools students. For six weeks this summer, students in pre-k to 6th grade started their day with a creative experience that encourages self expression, builds confidence, and strengthens connections. From there, students spent mornings studying math and literacy through the arts. And in the afternoon, students explored an art form guided by teaching artists. Some students learned how to use cameras and explore photography, others wrote original songs and learned an instrument or dove into the world of theater, honing their acting skills and planning a production.  Through SALA, which is managed by Arts for Learning Maryland, students and educators are exploring innovative ways of teaching and learning. By teaming with teaching artists, educators at SALA are infusing traditional academic content with hands-on creativity. The result was a fun summer encouraging students to explore new art forms and find new, creative approaches to learning math and literacy.     "I get to see the kids interacting with school and being excited about learning through the art,” said Eric Gabriel, Arts for Learning Maryland Teaching Artist at SALA. “That just makes my day."  As Laurie-Lynn Sutton, Director; Summer & Extended Learning at City Schools put it "(Arts integration is)...almost like hiding the veggies in the sauce. Literacy and mathematics are integrated in arts-based activities, which students experience throughout the day. Whether it is a rap about division or writing and illustrating their own book, students are learning while having fun.”   To learn more about the Summer Arts for Learning Academy, click here.  Images courtesy of Arts for Learning Maryland More Progress Report Stories  

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High schoolers connect with peers from Mississippi and Nigeria

Digital Harbor students participated in Global Citizen Exchange this Spring

September 09, 2022

High schoolers connect with peers from Mississippi and Nigeria Digital Harbor students participated in Global Citizen Exchange this Spring Five students from Digital Harbor High School found meaningful connections halfway across the country and halfway around the world over the last year as part of the Global Citizen Exchange Program. The program, made possible by funding from the Hewlett Packard Foundation, was a partnership between Baltimore City Public Schools, Jackson (Miss.) Public Schools, and Prudence City College in Lagos, Nigeria. Throughout the last academic year, students from Baltimore, Jackson, and Lagos met virtually every other week, sharing their culture and their experiences with advocacy, politics, arts, and career readiness. And this past spring, they met in person: first when Jackson students came to Baltimore, then during a visit to Jackson in April, and finally with both groups of students traveling to Lagos and Abuja, Nigeria in June. On their week-long visits in Jackson and Baltimore, the students had a private meeting with the Mayors of each city, explored popular arts and cultural attractions, and tasted favorite local food. They visited HBCU colleges in each city, met youth leaders and with representatives from the NAACP, and even attended local school board meetings. In the process, students examined the structural issues that face both cities and how they compare.  “This was truly a once in a lifetime experience for our students,” said Tenne’ Thrower, City Schools’ Community Schools Specialist, who joined them on the trips. “Their excitement as they met and explored similarities and differences in their lives and perspectives was palpable. This kind of experiential learning can be so powerful.”  Jayla Pfifer, 11th grader at Digital Harbor High School, particularly enjoyed visiting Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). “It was really a nice experience. They showed and explained how HBCUs are communal. It makes me feel at home and comfortable. It inspired me to want to go to an HBCU college.” During their nine-day trip to Nigeria, the students immersed themselves in arts and culture; they saw live music, visited the Fela Kuti New Afrika Shrine, purchased artwork from local artists, and freestyled and improvised music with Nigerians in the community! They visited beaches, tried new foods, and explored the areas around them.  Through it all, students found connection. They found students in Nigeria also focused on police reform, concerned with access to free healthcare, and passionate about using their voices for change. They visited schools emphasizing STEM education and entrepreneurship. And they discussed systemic racism in the United States and explored how it differs in Nigeria. They saw two cities - Baltimore and Lagos - with its share of challenges but also with its share of beauty. Isaiah McGriggs, a 12th grader from Jim Hill High School in Jackson, summarized the feeling of the group at the end of the trips. “This program taught us how to interact with people not just from different countries or cities, but even in real life, how to communicate and learn more from others each and every day.” More Progress Report Stories   , Watch now! City Schools and Jackson Public Schools partnered to create a global citizenship exchange program. After several virtual sessions, the students met in person!

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Students get real-world work experience; Part 2

Paid work experiences giving students a leg up

September 02, 2022

Students get real-world work experience; Part 2 Paid work experiences giving students a leg up This summer, City Schools students were busy! They gained real-world work experience, explored new fields, and earned money through Youthworks. Earlier this week, we highlighted a few examples of these high-quality, enriching summer apprenticeships - from culinary and coding to fire and EMT training. Here are a few more examples of student experiences this past summer.  Baltimore Alliance for Careers in Healthcare (BACH) Fellows This summer, 24 students (and future medical professionals!) worked alongside healthcare professionals at hospitals across the city to gain first hand experience in the field. The paid positions gave students experiences such as gaining CPR certification, learning to take patients’ blood pressure, and witnessing complex medical procedures like C-Sections. Partnering hospitals include Good Samaritan Hospital, Sinai Hospital, Mercy Medical Center, St. Elizabeth’s Nursing Facility, and St. Agnes Hospital. Learn more about BACH here. US Coast Guard Yard - Seagoing Internships For the seventh year, the US Coast Guard Yard in Curtis Bay hosted students from New Era Academy’s Seagoing program. The Curtis Bay facility is the only working shipyard on the East Coast and provides repairs and logistical support for the fleet of USCG vessels. Students gained skills in high demand, high-wage trades by working alongside skilled professionals in the electrical and paint shops. The students now have the opportunity upon graduation to apply for employment at the Yard .Eleven former City Schools interns now work at USCG as full time employees.  Like all of our out-of-classroom initiatives, these summer apprenticeship programs ensure that students gain the experiences and skills necessary to identify and successfully pursue the positive futures they envision - whether that be college or career. To learn more about how our Career & Technical Education (CTE) programs provide students with a leg up for the future, visit More Progress Report Stories

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Students get real-world work experience at hands-on, summer apprenticeships - Part 1

High schoolers explore careers in fields like Fire/EMT, Coding, Culinary

August 30, 2022

Students get real-world work experience at hands-on, summer apprenticeships - Part 1 High schoolers explore careers in fields like Fire/EMT, Coding, Culinary  This summer, Baltimore City Public Schools high schoolers helped to save lives, learned to save our internet security, and saved us from cooking dinner for ourselves!  Fire/EMT Apprenticeships As part of City Schools’ new summer Fire/EMT Apprenticeship Program, rising sophomores at Dunbar and Patterson High Schools, and Vivien T. Thomas Medical Arts Academy went on emergency calls and supported professional EMTs while embedded with the Baltimore City Fire Department. They learned the ins and outs of work in the field while supporting their communities.  The student apprentices are in City Schools’ Fire/EMT Career & Technical Education (CTE) pathway and are working towards their EMT certification. According to Des Hamilton, City Schools Career Readiness Manager, the paid, eight-week experience is a significant step towards that goal. “When students have first-hand experience working in their CTE pathway, it unlocks passion, helps with recruitment, and motivates them to successfully pursue these careers.”  And thanks to a partnership between City Schools and the City of Baltimore, they were paid through YouthWorks, the City program that connects young people to summer jobs with employers across the Baltimore area. Next summer, the program is expected to expand to all high schoolers. It’s only one example of the impactful, real-world learning happening this summer. Check out a few other examples of how students have been putting what they learn in the classroom into action across Baltimore this summer.  Baltimore Tracks Thirteen high school students who are part of City Schools’ Computer Science and IT CTE Pathways or have an interest in IT had apprenticeships this summer with local technology companies through the collective, Baltimore Tracks. From cyber security and coding to website build outs and back-end support, students gained the experience necessary to obtain certifications that include CompTIA Security+, CompTIA A+, and CompTIA Network+. Technology companies hosting paid interns this summer included Truvelop, Idhini Inc., and EcoMap Technologies. Read more about Baltimore Tracks in the Baltimore Business Journal, here.  Culinary Arts at Forest Park High School Seven high schoolers in the Culinary CTE pathway worked with Chef Shannon Smith and Chef Artitus McDowell, Vocational Teachers, four days a week at Forest Park High School. Through this new culinary summer program, they planned menus, cooked dishes, and sold them to the community through a partnership with DoorDash. Named the Forester Cafe, the students sold a variety of tasty options, from shrimp & grits to breakfast bowls. The result? Almost $400 in sales a day!  To learn more about City Schools’ CTE Programs and Pathways, visit More Progress Report Stories

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