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School Portfolio Review

 

    Every year, we take a close look at all of the city's schools and programs to make sure we are offering high-quality options to all of our students — no matter where they live or their particular needs, talents, and interests. We call this the annual school portfolio review.

    This review results in a set of recommendations to the Board of School Commissioners each fall that can include 

    • Creating new schools
    • Relocating schools
    • Changing grade spans at schools
    • Renewing contracts or charters for schools run by external operators
    • Amending the 21st Century Schools Buildings Program
    • Closing schools

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

    For traditional schools, we look at

    • Student achievement, including performance on state assessments, districtwide tests, national assessments, and (for high schools) graduation rates
    • School climate, including student attendance, suspensions, enrollment, dropout rates, students' school selections (for citywide middle and high schools), and school survey results

    Charter and contract schools go through a separate review prior to renewal of contracts with their external operators. 

    What kind of recommendations are made about school buildings?

    Recommendations about buildings can include things like moving a school (either temporarily or permanently) 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.

    2018-19 review

    On November 13, the Board of School Commissioners received Building a Portfolio of Schools, 2018-19 Review and Recommendations, detailing the district's portfolio review process and the recommendations arising from this year's review.

    The Board voted on recommendations at its public meeting on January 8, 2019. On February 7, 2019, the Board issued this written report documenting its decisions to close two traditional (non-charter) schools and to surplus three school buildings; this addendum regarding surplus of the Lake Clifton building was released on April 5. The Board also issued charter renewal reports, including those for three charter schools that the Board voted not to renew and to close in June 2019; renewal reports can be found linked to school profile pages for the individual schools.

    Members of the public are able to appeal the Lake Clifton building surplus decision to the Maryland State Board of Education within 30 days after the date of issue of the Board’s written decision. Appeals should be sent to Office of the Attorney General, Maryland State Department of Education, State Board Appeals, 200 St. Paul Place, 19th Floor, Baltimore, MD 21202.

    A summary of the Board's decisions appears below.

    Notes on the table:

    • Building recommendations are based on the 21st-century buildings plan as approved by the Board of School Commissioners in January 2013 and amended in subsequent years. The original plan was developed as a sequence of projects to be initiated over a 10-year period. Since approval of the plan, a number of factors have altered the originally envisioned schedule.
    • The recommendation regarding Banneker Blake Academy was presented to the Board of Commissioners on October 23, 2018; on November 13, the Board voted in favor of the recommendation not to renew the school's charter and to close the school in June 2019.
    • Recommendations regarding Vanguard Collegiate and the St. Helena building were presented to the Board for consideration at its public meeting on January 8, 2019.
    • Independence School Local I High School received a one-year conditional renewal of its charter as part of the portfolio review in the 2017-18 school year. On March 12, the Board voted to renew the charter for Independence School Local I for the balance of a three-year term, to end on June 30, 2021. Find more information in the presentation to the Board.
    School / Building Program Recommendation Building Recommendation* Board Decision
    School closures and charter nonrenewals
    Banneker Blake Academy of Arts and Sciences / Winston building Do not renew charter and close in June 2019 No new recommendation Approved
    Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Elementary/Middle School Original recommendation: 
    Close in June 2019
    Revised recommendation: 
    Close in June 2020
    Original recommendation:
    Surplus to the City of Baltimore in summer 2019
    Revised recommendation: 
    Surplus to the City of Baltimore in summer 2020
    Approved revised recommendations  (9 in favor, 0 opposed) 
    Gilmor Elementary School Close in June 2019 Surplus to the City of Baltimore in summer 2019 Approved (9 in favor, 0 opposed)
    Monarch Academy Public Charter School Do not renew charter and close in June 2019 No recommendation (building not owned by City Schools) Approved (6 in favor, 3 opposed)
    Northwood Appold Community Academy Do not renew charter and close in June 2019 No recommendation (building not owned by City Schools) Approved (8 in favor, 1 opposed) 
    Roots and Branches School / Harriet Tubman building Do not renew charter and close in June 2019 No new recommendation Approved (9 in favor, 0 opposed)
    Charter renewals
    ConneXions: A Community Based Arts School / William H. Lemmel building 3-year renewal No new recommendation Approved (9 in favor, 0 opposed)
    Furman Templeton Preparatory Academy 3-year renewal No new recommendation Approved (9 in favor, 0 opposed)
    The Green School of Baltimore 3-year renewal No recommendation (building not owned by City Schools) Approved, with amendment that the renewed contract will specifically provide criteria for closing the achievement gap (7 in favor, 1 opposed, 1 abstaining)
    Green Street Academy 5-year renewal No recommendation (building not owned by City Schools) Approved (9 in favor, 0 opposed)
    KIPP Harmony Academy / Dr. Roland N. Patterson building 5-year renewal Surplus to the City of Baltimore in summer 2019, following relocation of KIPP Harmony Academy to the Walbrook building Approved (9 in favor, 0 opposed)
    Buildings plan amendments
    Alexander Hamilton Elementary School No new recommendation Delay building surplus to 2021 Approved (9 in favor, 0 opposed)
    Chinquapin building No new recommendation Remove from current surplus list and retain for educational use Approved (9 in favor, 0 opposed)
    Claremont School No new recommendation Delay building surplus to 2022 Approved (9 in favor, 0 opposed)
    Dr. Roland N. Patterson building See above Surplus to the City of Baltimore in summer 2019, following relocation of KIPP Harmony Academy to the Walbrook building Approved (9 in favor, 0 opposed)
    Garrison building No recommendation Remove from current surplus list and retain for educational use Approved (9 in favor, 0 opposed)
    Guilford Elementary School No new recommendation Delay building surplus to 2021 Approved (9 in favor, 0 opposed)
    Lois T. Murray Elementary/Middle School No new recommendation Delay building surplus to 2021 Approved (9 in favor, 0 opposed)
    Sharp-Leadenhall Elementary School No new recommendation Delay building surplus to 2021 Approved (9 in favor, 0 opposed)
    Southeast building No recommendation Delay building surplus to 2020 Approved (9 in favor, 0 opposed)
    Vanguard Collegiate Middle School / Thurgood Marshall building Delay relocation from temporary location in the Thurgood Marshall building to the Northeast building from January 2020 to summer 2020 No new recommendation Vote anticipated March 26, 2019
    West Baltimore building No recommendation Remove from current surplus list and retain for educational use Approved (9 in favor, 0 opposed)
    William C. March building No recommendation Accelerate building surplus to 2021 Approved (9 in favor, 0 opposed)
    Additional building surplus
    Lake Clifton building No new recommendation Surplus to the City of Baltimore in summer 2019 Revised recommendation: 
    Surplus to the City of Baltimore on December 31, 2019
    Original vote postponed to March 26, 2019; approved revised recommendation on that date  (8 in favor, 0 opposed, as part of the consent agenda)
    St. Helena building No recommendation (building does not house a school program and is not in use for educational purposes) Surplus to the City of Baltimore in 2019 Approved (as part of the consent agenda on February 26, 2019)

     

    Past years' reviews

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

     

    Charter and operator renewal

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

    The process

    The Charter and Operator-led Schools Advisory Board reviews the following to inform the renewal recommendations it makes to City Schools' CEO:

    • Information provided by the school's operator in its renewal application
    • The renewal rubric and report
    • Data prepared by City Schools
    • School effectiveness reviews

    These materials and the advisory board's recommendation are summarized in a renewal report for each school. (Find reports linked on schools' profile pages.) After review by the CEO, renewal recommendations are presented to the Board of School Commissioners for further review. According to policy, the Board may then vote for full renewal (another five-year contract term), partial renewal (a three-year period) or not to renew the operator's contract or charter.

    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 — performance on state assessments, growth measures, unique indicators, and fidelity to charter (accounting for at least 50% of the renewal score)
    • School climate — attendance, suspensions, enrollment, graduation and dropout rates, student choice data, and school survey results
    • Financial management and governance — annual audits, budget submission, grants management, and board documentation
    • Effective management — academic programming for special student populations and compliance with laws, rules, policies, and regulations
    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