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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.

Building the future - and houses!

Student’s idea sparks new program and vocational training

June 09, 2023

Building the future - and houses! Student’s idea sparks new program and vocational training  It started with baseball.  11 years ago, Carver Vocational-Technical High School’s baseball coach Michael Rosenband convened a brainstorming session with his team. The challenge: getting the team to their home field (two miles away from the school) without regular access to transportation. The result was a student-led initiative to successfully raise money and buy a van.  The experience instilled in the team a belief that they had the ability to solve problems–especially when they worked together. The lesson stuck. For then-senior Sterling Hardy, the van was only the beginning. He started thinking of ways to use problem-solving to enhance his learning and access hands-on experiences that support Carver’s CTE (Career and Technical Education) pathways. As he explained, “I said, ‘Coach, we got baseball figured out. And now we’re graduating with these skills in trades without the experience to be hired. But we have these vacant houses sitting right across the street (from Carver). Why can’t we use our trades to fix them up and gain experience?’” Little did Sterling know, but his idea would impact hundreds of Carver students who followed him.  In 2020, Coach Mike and Sterling created the nonprofit Requity Foundation Inc. to provide students with vocational experiences that lead to meaningful jobs. The group purchased a vacant home on Presstman Street - right across from Carver - and got to work on renovating the house. Today, students are gaining experience through projects at the house that align with and expand classroom learning.  Whether a student’s CTE pathway is construction, business, or marketing, the Carver House offers meaningful learning experiences. Students have demolished the porch, built risers to replace crumbling steps, participated in foundation depth testing, and drafted schematics for the house. Students are also learning about Passive House Standards (an environmental standard that this house will meet), the permitting process, the finances of home buying and renovation, how to track and report on project progress, and construction safety. Thanks to a “slow-build” process, students have ample time to learn and explore. It also enables the nonprofit to secure support from partners - including $150,000 from ADT and a grant from the Michael Jordan Foundation through the Jordan Brand Black Community Commitment Grant.  Coach Rosenband regularly tells Carver’s teachers what work is coming up so that they can incorporate it into their classroom lessons.  “Every opportunity to engage students and provide meaningful learning that brings context to their lives is worth pursuing,” said Coach Rosenband. “And in a project like this, those opportunities are endless. This is a grassroots project having an impact and showcasing our amazing students as problem solvers.”   Said Barbara Dziedzic, City Schools Career Readiness Manager, “This project encapsulates the purpose of CTE in our schools. Students are acting as problem solvers for their community, collaborating and learning along the way. It’s a project that has captured the imagination of so many.” This summer, students working on Carver House will be paid by YouthWorks; they will beautify an entire block, build a tiny house from a mock up wall they built for Carver House, and build out the new Requity headquarters space.  Once the house is complete, Requity plans to sell it to a local, lower income earning, first-time home buyer. They then plan to replicate this model with similar homes both in proximity to Carver and near other schools.  “In high school, this was just an idea,” explained Sterling Hardy. “But to actually see it become real - it’s a great feeling. We don’t want these kids to give up. We want them to know that somebody is always going to be there to help them out and guide them. If we can be that stepping stone, we should be.” More Progress Report stories.

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Good News from City Schools - June 2, 2023

June 02, 2023

Good News from City Schools - June 2, 2023 Championships, innovative programs, exciting opportunities, and prestigious recognitions: there is always something to celebrate in City Schools!       Here are just a few of the good news items from this week:      Awards and Competitions  Congratulations to the City Schools 2023 Fine Arts Educator Awardees. Thanks to Arts Every Day for partnering with City Schools on the inaugural End of Year Awards Night and Celebration. See the full list of winners and nominees here.   Digital Harbor's Chapter of National Honor Society inducted nine new members! They also celebrated five of their graduating seniors. See photos from this event on Digital Harbor's Instagram.   John Hopkins honored 380 Gifted and Advanced learners and 70 teachers at a ceremony. See CBS's coverage of the event here.   The Fund celebrated the 2023 Heart of the School Awards at the Hippodrome Theater. They honored this year's principal winners and nominees. They also celebrated the 2020 winners who didn't have a celebration because of COVID-19. See the beautiful videos The Fund created for each 2023 winner here.   Mayor Scott honored student-athletes from across City Schools at his Scholar Athlete Awards Reception. Click here to see photos and a list of winners. City Schools has been selected as a finalist for the Top 100 Human Resources Team! Think we deserve to be a finalist? Vote here!  Student, Staff & School News  Akim, a student at Thomas Johnson, was selected to be part of this year's City Connect uniform reveal for the Orioles. You can see him in the video, starting around the 0:33 mark riding his bike through Baltimore. Akim also threw out the first pitch at the May 26 game! Check out the video on the Oriole's YouTube channel.   At Furley, 45 students competed in a Math Bee, demonstrating their math skills by solving challenging problems.   Five Gifted and Advanced Learning (GAL) students from four different schools participated in a student panel discussion at Morgan State at the request of the National Association for Gifted Children (NAGC).   With help from a Heart of the School Fund grant, ACCE held a Taste of ACCE Multicultural Celebration to honor Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month! See WBAL's coverage of this event here.   Montebello celebrated their rising ninth graders' high school decisions during their Montebello Day celebration.   Mr. Hubbuch and the eighth-grade students at Patterson Park tested gravity and their engineering skills by doing an egg drop. Click here to see video!   NAF students toured BCCC and Coppin State University and had a hands-on lesson in emergency services! Check out photos from their visit on NAF's Facebook.   Empowerment Academy held a special assembly for Asian American Heritage Month featuring the Kahlanidini Dancers. See more photos on Empowerment Academy's Facebook. City Schools' Student Media Team explored careers in journalism with a visit to WJZ! Click here to watch a video recap on City Schools TV. Have a great story to share? We want to know about it! Submit your ideas. See even more good news from City Schools in our video slideshow: Previous Good News Good News - May 26, 2023 Good News - May 19, 2023 Good News - May 12, 2023 Good News - May 8, 2023  Good News - April 28, 2023 Good News - April 21, 2023 Good News - April 14, 2023 Good News - April 7, 2023 Good News - March 31, 2023 Good News - March 24, 2023 Good News - March 17, 2023 Good News - March 10, 2023

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A Space to Breathe at Leith Walk

New wellness spaces are having an impact in and out of class

June 02, 2023

A Space to Breathe at Leith Walk New wellness spaces are having an impact in and out of class For one student at Leith Walk Elementary Middle School, the school year started off on the wrong foot. He had trouble focusing, had been suspended, and experienced social conflicts and stress. But as months passed, something happened: he became focused, goal-oriented, and able to handle whatever each day threw at him.  What changed?  The student found space; space to breathe, to unwind, to vent, and to navigate his emotions.  This student is not alone. Thanks to Leith Walk Elementary/Middle School’s new wellness rooms, all students have access to the private, comfortable, supportive spaces they need to reflect, process their feelings, and effectively learn. Designated and intentionally-designed wellness rooms have an impact, and reflect Leith Walk’s commitment to the health and wellness of its school community. Since the rooms’ were created, the number of school suspensions have declined, and students’ moods have risen. “The reality is that if you’re struggling with your mental health, you cannot learn easily,” explained Leith Walk Principal Ashanti Chambers. “These spaces are just one part of our efforts to make sure our students have the support they need to grow.”  The school offers one dedicated room for pre-K to fourth grade students - designed by pre-K teacher Ms. Taleah Watson, and another for fifth to eighth graders. These quiet, dimly lit spaces feature couches, cushions, bean bag chairs, hammocks, soothing music, and materials like pens, paper and white boards for easy expression. On Wednesdays, students meet after school in a popular program called the Legendary Lounge. Led by the school’s social worker Ms. Shontel Samuels, students come together in wellness rooms to talk about self-care and health-focused topics.   According to Principal Chambers, the rooms are used every day. “We’re seeing that in situations where a student may have previously flown off the handle, they’re now pausing and saying ‘I need a moment.’ I’m asking students who previously were stressed for a minute to chat, and they’re politely telling me they’re good, focused on their goals, and need to get to class. It’s so wonderful to see.”  The rooms at Leith Walk were installed with funding from the Heart of the School Fund, an initiative by the Fund for Educational Excellence supporting principals in projects that enhance their schools.  In addition to the wellness rooms, every classroom at Leith Walk has a “calm corner” - a place in classrooms where students can go to refocus.  “This boils down to love,” said Principal Chambers. “We love our students and want to help them succeed as students and as people. These rooms and these programs are helping us do that.”  More Progress Report stories.

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Hot off the presses: City Schools students spread news and perspectives

From daily newscasts to creative writing journals, they are finding and sharing their voices

May 31, 2023

Hot off the presses: City Schools students spread news and perspectives From daily newscasts to creative writing journals, they're finding and sharing their voices Extra extra! Read all about City Schools! Across Baltimore, students are creating media outlets, publishing original stories, taping topical news shows and using their unique voices to share their perspectives with their school communities. And as part of this process, they’re building foundational skills in areas such as public speaking, writing, videography, and collaboration.  “It’s exciting and important for us to give students as many formal and informal ways to express themselves as possible,” explained Tenne` Thrower, Youth & Community Engagement Administrator. “These media experiences do that and more, helping them explore what advocacy, leadership, and journalism looks like.”  Check out just a few of City Schools’ student-led media outlets and publications:  At Samuel Coleridge Taylor Elementary, students broadcast a school newscast every morning. WBAL-TV featured these budding journalistic stars earlier this year. Check it out here.    Students at MERVO recently restarted a long-time school tradition - the Mustang Chronicle school newspaper! Check out the front page of the first edition here.    At Baltimore Polytechnic Institute, students are getting creative by releasing The 2023 Poly Journal featuring their compelling creative writing. Read the inspiring publication here.    Every year, the district’s Student Media Team shares district-wide and school-specific updates on City Schools TV (channel 77), the City Schools website, and the City Schools YouTube channel. Participants in this popular after-school program regularly produce news segments, including:  The Off the Grid podcast features in-depth discussions aimed at supporting and encouraging reflection on topics like mental health, leadership, stigma, and self preservation. Check out the first episode here!  In early May, the Student Media Team partnered with MRI-Media Rhythm Institute for Post Production Media Boot Camp for City Schools students, teaching them the basics of video editing like a pro. Students worked with industry professional A'sia Horne-Smith of The Hue Collective at MRI Studios for a Post Production Bootcamp and one student won a free laptop! Learn more about the Student Media Team in this recent Progress Report story.    Baltimore School for the Arts debuted its student paper, BSA Muse, earlier this year. The paper included school community news and student-written op-eds! Read all about it in Baltimore Magazine.    Students at the Academy for College and Career Exploration (ACCE) create “news from around the school” segments with interviews with fellow students and school updates. Check out a recent episode here.     Heaven and Grace, two students at Hampstead Hill Academy, have created the Buzz Podcast of interviews and updates. Check it out!  More Progress Report stories.

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High talent, high praise: Gifted and Talented students and teachers are honored

MSDE Awards celebrate strong performance

May 25, 2023

High talent, high praise: Gifted & Talented students and teachers are honored MSDE Awards celebrate strong performance It’s clear after spending time in classrooms around Baltimore: City Schools students and educators are brimming with talent, exhibiting strong leadership, and inspiring their peers to be better.  Our educators and schools are stepping up to provide high-quality Gifted and Talented programs, classes, and experiences that ensure the strongest learning experience. More than 6,750 students in City Schools are formally identified as Gifted and Advanced Learners (GAL) and can receive services and participate in Gifted and Talented programs, and their dedication and accomplishments is garnering statewide attention.  The Maryland State Department of Education and the State Advisory Council on Gifted and Talented Education recently honored dozens of City Schools students and educators and three schools were given Excellence in Gifted and Talented Education (EGATE) School Awards. The winners were honored for exhibiting strong leadership, performing at high levels in comparison to their peers, excelling in taking or delivering Gifted & Talented coursework, participating in extracurricular activities as students, and pursuing growth opportunities like professional development as teachers.  Congratulations to the following students, educators, and schools!  Outstanding Student Accomplishment in Gifted and Talented Education Daxton Abel-Skinner, Roland Park Elementary/Middle   Ziva Abel-Skinner, Roland Park Elementary/Middle  Joshua Adler, Francis Scott Key Elementary/Middle James Ash, Roland Park Elementary/Middle  Jack Basl, Francis Scott Key Elementary/Middle Natalie Berry, Roland Park Elementary/Middle  Kamiya Boulware, Baltimore International Academy-East Rosalie Chadeayne, Roland Park Elementary/Middle  Brandon Dickens II, Baltimore International Academy-East Ira Geller, Baltimore Polytechnic Institute Harrison Hubbard, Mount Royal Elementary/Middle  Madelyn Jones, Baltimore City College Isaac Kamionkowski, Roland Park Elementary/Middle Ishani Kanja-Sen, Roland Park Elementary/Middle Joy Kogah, Academy for College and Career Exploration McOrell Kouevi, Baltimore International Academy  Kendall Lloyd, Baltimore International Academy-East Harlow Moschera. Roland Park Elementary/Middle  Brooklyn Murrell, Baltimore International Academy Atman Patel, Francis Scott Key Elementary/Middle Eden Rhodes, Baltimore Polytechnic Institute Amaal Shah-Nelson, Roland Park Elementary/Middle Sudarshan Shahi, Academy for College and Career Exploration Giovani Vaughn, Francis Scott Key Elementary/Middle Natalie Zakamska, Roland Park Elementary/Middle Yuzhang (Jamie) Zhu, Roland Park Elementary/Middle  Outstanding Educator in Gifted and Talented Education - Teacher as Leader  Brittany Atkins, KIPP Harmony Keely Brelsford, Francis Scott Key Elementary/Middle Justin Kuk, Mount Royal Elementary/Middle Yvette Schreiber, Roland Park Elementary/Middle Allisun Thompson, Roland Park Elementary/Middle Hsiangmei Yang, Baltimore International Academy  Outstanding Educator in Gifted and Talented Education - Advocate for Special Populations Alex Clough, Francis Scott Key Elementary/Middle School Erin Perkins, Roland Park Elementary/Middle School Outstanding Educator in Gifted and Talented Education - Non-Classroom Based Heidi Trasatti, Francis Scott Key Elementary/Middle School Outstanding Educator in Gifted and Talented Education - Local School System Administrator  Dr. Rae Lymer, Gifted and Advanced Learning Office City Schools designated this year as Maryland Excellence in Gifted and Talented Education (EGATE) Schools:  Mount Royal Elementary/Middle Thomas Johnson Elementary/Middle Francis Scott Key Elementary/Middle To learn more about City Schools’ Gifted and Advanced Learning programs, click here.  More Progress Report stories.

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Good News from City Schools - May 12, 2023

May 12, 2023

Good News from City Schools - May 12, 2023 Championships, innovative programs, exciting opportunities, and prestigious recognitions: there is always something to celebrate in City Schools!       Here are just a few of the good news items from this week:      Awards and Competitions   We announced City Schools' 2023 Teacher of the Year: Jared Perry, an instrumental music teacher at Booker T. Washington! Watch a recap of the surprise visit where Dr. Santelises, Principal Ford, and his colleagues gave him the good news.     Jétzibe won the Crossroads School's Spanish Spelling Bee! Jétzibe will represent Maryland at the National Spanish Spelling Bee Competition. ¡Felicidades!     BSA senior Cassidy Reigel was named one of the 20 U.S. Presidential Scholars in the Arts. Of 702 talented Young Arts award winners, Cassidy made it to the top and is now part of a prestigious group of scholars. Click here to read the announcement.     The Spring City Schools sports championships for badminton, baseball, bocce, lacrosse, softball, tennis, and track and field are underway! Make sure you follow the Athletics Twitter account to see all the winners!   Students Alinna and Christian from BIA won the French Honor Society Creative Writing Contest hosted by the American Association of the Teachers of French. Click here to see photos on BIA's Facebook!   BSA senior Quinn Bryant was one of the five honors student artists selected for the Reginald F. Lewis Museum's 18th Annual High School Juried Art Show: Black Futures, Black Imagining. The exhibition runs until July 26, 2023. Check Quinn's picture on BSA's Twitter!     Congratulations to our Maryland History Day Winners from Roland Park. Moira won in the Jr. Paper section, and Tomas won in the Jr. Individual Website section. To read the complete list of Maryland History Day winners, click here.   Student, Staff & School News   City Schools held a Family and Community Youth Board Forum. City Schools student reporter Ryan from Augusta Fells Savage Institute of Visual Arts shared a glimpse into this student-focused event. Watch it now on City Schools TV.     The Hippodrome Foundation is partnering with the Baltimore Design School to give students hands-on experience in the theatre industry. Students created costumes inspired by SIX to be displayed at the Hippodrome Theater until May 14. Read about it on WMAR.     Baer School recently held its annual Transition Fair, where families receive support to plan for their students transitioning out of school. It's also an opportunity to learn about and connect with resources and organizations that help young adults with special needs.      City Schools has been named one of the 25 winners of the Energy CLASS Prize, a $100,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Energy to establish, train, and support school energy managers. These Energy Champions will develop projects and skills to lower energy costs, improve indoor air quality, and enhance learning environments in their communities. Read the announcement here.   Fallstaff had a ribbon cutting for their new playground. Mayor Scott, City Council President Nick Mosby, and Councilman Isaac Yitzy Schleifer were on hand to cut the ribbon - and to try out the playground! Follow Fallstaff on Facebook to see more photos from the event.   Y.O. Academy students took a field trip to Wonderfly Arena thanks to Elev8 Baltimore. Click here to see a video from their trip on Instagram.    Previous Good News Good News - May 8, 2023  Good News - April 28, 2023 Good News - April 21, 2023 Good News - April 14, 2023 Good News - April 7, 2023 Good News - March 31, 2023 Good News - March 24, 2023 Good News - March 17, 2023 Good News - March 10, 2023

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An empowering responsibility: students form Student Government Associations

The elected student groups are empowering and expanding

May 04, 2023

An empowering responsibility: students form Student Government Associations The elected student groups are empowering and expanding  On one sunny Monday in early March, a government was convening to do the work of its constituents. Elected leaders filled the room, ready to tackle the needs of their communities and respond to requests of their voters. The pressure was high; the people who put these leaders into office are bright, vocal, focused, and brimming with potential. After all, they’re City Schools students! And so are the leaders they elected.   Student Governments Associations (SGA) are elevating the voices of students and school communities in more than 60 City Schools across Baltimore. More than 200 elected student leaders from 33 schools attended the General Assembly meeting of the Associated Student Congress of Baltimore City (ASCBC) in March; they engaged in productive discussions about the needs of their individual school communities and attended youth-led workshops on leadership, advocacy, and organizing, as well as sessions on effective school-level fundraising, supporting students experiencing homelessness, and building leadership in schools. Find a City Schools TV Recap of the event here and a “General Assembly Wrapped” presentation created by Brianna, ASCBC’s Secretary and a member of the student-led committee that planned the event. “General Assembly was an amazing illustration of student leadership,” explained Haley Tilt, a Youth Engagement Specialist and the Advisor for ASCBC. “These scholars in student government are taking on direct responsibility for improving the educational outcomes for their peers. It's a hugely empowering responsibility that demonstrates their incredible capabilities, and we’re excited to see more students from more schools take part.”  Back in their school communities, students are putting the lessons learned to work. At City College, the SGA developed a “Student Voice Committee” who collects students’ suggestions and concerns via a Google form, synthesizes these student viewpoints, and presents them monthly to administrators. Leaders at Holabird Academy in O’Donnell Heights set up a school store to raise funds for school enhancements. At the Academy for Career and College Exploration in Hampden, SGA reps host a monthly student-led event. Says Tilt of ASCBC’s General Assembly, “it’s easy to talk about what kids are able to do and the value of youth voice, but when you step into a space that’s truly designed by and run by kids, it is embodied proof that young people deserve to be trusted with challenging things. At the end of the day, the kids really did run the show.” Leah, a City Schools student and SGA member in attendance at General Assembly, sees the value of leadership. “To me, leadership means power - especially being a student of color and a young woman,” she explained. “I think leadership is a sign of strength we need to use moving forward in our lives.” Ohemaa, another student attendee, said “The most important thing we can do (in SGA) is make sure we're correctly representing our class. And by being more active in communicating, we can better represent them."     “These programs are building a culture where being an informed and active voter is normal to students, who are learning about the impact their leaders can have on issues they care about.” said Tilt.  The momentum and growth of SGAs is a reminder of what we’ve always known: City Schools students have powerful insights, strong desire, and the conviction and skill to lead. To learn more about SGAs, ASCBC, and how to get involved, click here.  More Progress Report stories.

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