BCP August 2020 Newsletter
In this issue:
  • Govans Connect the Dots Virtual Summer Camp
  • Baltimore Today
  • Meet Our New Community School Coordinators & BCP Staff
  • Hampstead Hill Academy Summer Learning Program
Govans Connect the Dots Virtual Summer Camp
By Devon Richie, Program Director
Every morning for the past three weeks 37 Govans Elementary students in grades 3rd-6th are participating in at home summer camp programming all thanks to the Baltimore Summer Funding Collaborative and our generous funders. From day one our summer campers were quick to recognize the fun each morning held when they signed into Zoom classrooms and were greeted by energetic instructors who lead the class in an open ended circle question (often with dancing and music beforehand) to start the morning and set the tone. Summer campers received weekly activity kits with literacy materials and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math), supplies carefully curated by LET’S GO so that behind the computer screens campers were planting and investigating fast growing seeds, designing 3D printing projects, reading and reflecting on books such as The Watsons Go to Birmingham, creating homemade masks, freestyle dancing and yoga, and watching live cooking demonstrations while enjoying that meal made with love from Be A Chef for A Day.

Loyola Clinical Center’s staff and graduate students have also provided dynamic mindfulness classes to our upper elementary students, specialized speech and language groups, and additional literacy classes to all rising 3rd graders.
 
 
Thank you to the Annie E. Casey Foundation, Constellation, an Exelon Company, The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation, and the Hinkey-Benson Family Fund.
 

Hampstead Hill Academy Pilots In-Person, Small Group Summer Learning Program
By Mya Hodge, BCP


We are happy to report that HHA is one of just six schools piloting in-person summer classes for a limited number of students. There are detailed safety protocols in place and everything has gone very well. Attendance is excellent, and students, staff, and parents are truly over-joyed to have students and teachers together again. 
 

Baltimore Today
By Jon McGill, Academic Director, BCP
 One of the surprising aspects of recent events is the renewed interest in the history of race, racism and anti-racism. The murder of George Floyd, the impact of Black Lives Matter and the protests in almost every American city created an upsurge and interest that was reflected in the New York Times weekly best seller lists, where five of a recent top ten were books on race and equity!!  Locally, perhaps this will also spark more interest in the history of Baltimore.
Baltimore, like so many other early immigrant settlements, came to be in a clumsy and haphazard way. It was a mere 60 acre area at first, and some familiar Maryland/Baltimore names were involved: Lord Baltimore, Edward and William Fell, the Calvert family.  Those early days also saw Baltimore’s engagement with and complicity in the nation’s “original sin” of slavery. As with so many other parts of the pre-revolutionary colonies, Maryland had complicated relationships with Black people.  They held enslaved people, sometimes as “term slave s”, which had limited contractual longevity and ended with freedom.  Frederick Douglass experienced a time as one of these, and according to Matthew Crenson, in his excellent book Baltimore: A Political History, Douglass complained that this time-limited servitude was no bargain. Baltimore also had the largest free Black population, 25,000 at least, by 1850.  But freedom did not mean equal rights.  (For further information on this antebellum history, see Howell S Baum’s fascinating book, Brown In Baltimore, 2010).
Baltimore was and is in the shadow-lands between North and South and this created stress and conflicts during and right after the Civil War.  Pro-slavery forces engaged with abolitionists; many free Blacks were already successful farmers, business people and good citizens, even as Maryland refused to endorse the 14th and 15th Amendments. The onset of “Jim Crow”, designed to segregate, and to maintain white dominance (slavery by another name), was just as severe in Maryland as elsewhere, although Crenson refers to state practices as “Jim Crow Lite” When Jim Crow laws were not enough, violence followed, including from  a strongly supported Klan.  There were more than forty lynchings in Maryland between 1854 and the last recorded one in 1933. By 1896, with the Supreme Court decision in the well-known Plessy V. Ferguson case, which set in motion the “separate but equal” doctrine , Maryland, and Baltimore, were both on the way to solidifying racist practices by laws what was already long established by custom and practice. One example that had significance for Baltimore was the “covenants” issue, whereby the housing markets, and neighborhoods in Baltimore like Guilford and Homeland, were declared formally off limits to Black citizens, and to the Jewish population. This pattern would be solidified by “redlining” the practice by real estate and insurance companies of marking out zones in which Black people could not reside or buy. Education was already highly segregated, and new private schools sprang up that only opened to white people and their children. When you add to this picture the hostility of white unions to admit men and women of color, and the “divide and rule” strategies that lay behind this, it becomes easier to understand why race and racism form the subtext of Maryland and Baltimore history. Indeed, the theme of race and racism runs throughout North American history.
Despite the intensity of racism, segregation and hostility, the Black community in and around Baltimore found ways to thrive. In virtually every aspect of public and private life, there are examples of proud achievement: from the establishment of Morgan State, founded as the Centenary Biblical Institute in 1867, and Coppin State, created in 1900 specifically to train Black elementary teachers, to other HBCU’s, to the growth of significant church communities, there are many signs that racism was fought by Black stamina, intelligence and perseverance.  By the 1930’s, the Baltimore Urban League issued a “landmark work”, The Negro Community of Baltimore.  According to a Baltimore Sun article in 1995, that study was “a measure of how much has changed in six decades and how much has not”. (Baltimore Sun, August 6, 1995). In the 1930’s, the part of the city along Pennsylvania Avenue was regarded as the “most vibrant African-American strip south of Harlem”, a clear reflection of Black achievement in the city.
However, the vibrancy was undercut by the reality of what segregation and racism did to the city and to its Black citizens. Limits were placed on the kinds of jobs open to Black women. Education became more segregated, not less and even the Brown V. Board of Education, Topeka, Kansas (and five other school districts were plaintiffs in this case) did not end the impact of segregated and unequal education. (See Howell Baum, Brown In Baltimore for an excellent narrative history of how Brown v Board worked in the Baltimore context). Statistically, the Supreme Court decision increased “white flight” and left us with the educational structure we still have today. In 1923, Baltimore public schools were 83% white, 60% in 1954. That percentage dropped throughout the century. On the face of it, having a majority black population in our schools is a neutral fact.  When you add racism as a factor in funding, staffing, curriculum, and overall development, the shift to a majority black school system was accompanied by reduced opportunities, funds, transportation and many other issues that have an impact on public schools.  This was a pattern seen in virtually every major American city. 
For those of us who work in schools, knowledge of how we came to where we now are in Baltimore is important.  We know the statistics: health, education, job opportunity, college acceptance and completions rates, and many more indicators of thriving communities all tell us that there is a major gap that still exists between the white and the Black communities.  Some of this is the result of history and systems that have long been in place but we know that some is also current, the result of what we do here and now.  No one who knows Baltimore at all can be surprised about what racism and discrimination has created in the city. We have been disfigured by the past. These are not issues that just came to light post George Floyd’s murder.
Our task and our mission is to work with others, especially our five school communities and our Baltimore City Public School System partners, to undermine those historic and systemic forces that created what does not work for modern Baltimore, to promote racial justice and equity, to be guided by our own priorities and by people of goodwill so that all of our students succeed academically, are supported socially and emotionally and know at a deep level that we are committed to positive change.
We are not prisoners of our history but we do have a responsibility to know how we arrived at where we are.  It’s never too late to create the best Baltimore, to begin again.
Meet Frederick Elementary's New Community School Coordinator
Therm James
By Mya Hodge, BCP
 1. Tell us a little about your background, where you are from originally, early educational experiences?

I grew up in the greater Baltimore area, mostly just outside of the city in Baltimore County. I am the second oldest of four and only boy, which was torture in itself. In the James household growing up two things were taken very seriously, faith and education. I remember at a young age being taught that college was a choice rather than an expectation. Early on in life I took a great deal of interest in science, however as I progressed in my educational interest shifted toward English Literature. I am a proud graduate of The Baltimore City College High School. 

2. Where did you go to higher ed?
In my household growing up, the question wasn't if you are going to college, the question was what college did you plan on attending? After High School, I attended St. Mary's College of Maryland, where I graduated with a Bachelors in English and minored in Educational Studies. I'm currently pursuing a Master's in Divinity from United Theological Seminary. 

3. What were your first jobs?

Most of my work history has revolved around education. I've had the benefitting of working with students from Kindergarten to the Undergraduate level. While I was still in colleges, during the summer I had the opportunity to work as an intern for B.E.S.T. Summer Scholars program and as tutor for Upward Bound program. Following my graduation, I was able to gain full-time employment with Upward Bound as an Academic Coordinator. Most recently, I have been in the field of community schools, starting as an Assistant Director and transitioning into my current position as a Community School Coordinator. 

4. How did you hear about BCP 
 I literally found out about BC one day while scrolling on Indeed with their posting about the Community School Coordinator. 

5. What are your current responsibilities?
Currently, I am the Community School Coordinator at the Fabulous Frederick Elementary School. In my current roles, it's my job to bridge partnerships with local businesses and community organizations. As Frederick, it is my role and my goal to bring necessary and essential resources to families. My role is key in making sure that needs of the students are just being met not only in the building, but also in their household. 

6. How about the future-what are your ambitions?

My future ambition is to create a space at Frederick where students and families are thriving. It is my goal to help create a community where health food is accessible and parents are able to get connected to good jobs. I would love in the future to build a community center, where persons could get health checks, job training and so much more.
Meet Wolfe Street Academy's New Community School Coordinator
Aneuri Castro
By Mya Hodge, BCP
 1. Tell us a little about your background, where you are from originally, early educational experiences?
I am originally from Queens, New York and moved to Baltimore, Maryland when I was 7 years old. My parents are from Dominican Republic and Spanish was my first language. I learned English in school and from talking to my older sister. My favorite subjects in K-12 were English, Art, Engineering, and AP Psychology.

2. Where did you go to higher ed?
I went to CCBC Essex during my senior year of high school and was able to take college courses through the parallel enrollment program. I received my Associate in Applied Science in Mental Health and then transferred to University of Maryland to complete my Bachelor of Science in Psychology. I completed internships at Baltimore Montessori Public Charter School as a Student Support intern and at an outpatient adult mental health clinic as a Mental Health Associate intern. I recently finished my Masters in Social Work program through Boise State University. I completed my foundation year internship at a local outpatient adolescent & adult substance abuse center and my advanced year placement at Wolfe Street Academy. 

3. What were your first jobs?
My first job was at Vaccaro’s in Little Italy. I started working there when I was 14 years old. I learned how to make all kinds of Italian desserts and coffee beverages. I did not appreciate coffee then like I do now :) I worked there for almost 7 years. Then, I started working at The Johns Hopkins Hospital on the Child & Adolescent Psychiatry unit as a Psychiatric Behavioral Specialist. I rotated shifts throughout the inpatient unit, day hospital (outpatient), and pediatric psychiatric emergency department. I facilitated various therapeutic groups for children ages 5-17 years old, conducted crisis intervention, and served as support for both children and families. I worked at JHH for 5 years.

4. How did you hear about BCP?
I heard about BCP when I was completing my second year MSW field placement at Wolfe Street Academy. 

5. What are your current responsibilities?
I am the Community School Coordinator at Wolfe Street Academy. My current responsibilities include conducting social work assessments that examine risk and strengths of children and their families by following the community school model. I focus on social and emotional learning, utilize restorative and healing approaches, emphasize the use of Trauma-Responsive educational practices, and promote racial justice and equity.


6. How about the future-what are your ambitions?
In the future, I would like to obtain a PhD in Social Work and eventually teach MSW students. The field has so much to offer and I am quite passionate about mental health and the delivery of services within our communities. I would love to share my knowledge with those who are interested in entering the field. I would also like to travel the world and complete mission trips. Helping people is my main ambition. 

 
Meet BCP's New Grants & Special Projects Coordinator
Tiffany Long
By Mya Hodge, BCP
 I was born in a small beach town in North Carolina called Cherry Point. My parents were in the military at the time and that is where they were stationed. My father’s family is from Baltimore. My mother’s side is split between Louisiana and Ohio. Both of my parents finished their service with the Marines by the time I was 2. We stayed in NC until I was around 9. I have been in Baltimore since my 9th birthday, so I consider myself to be “from” Baltimore. I grew up just over the city line in Parkville. I have worked in the city all of my adult life, primarily in East Baltimore. I moved to Upper Fells Point about 5 years ago. Today, I still reside in Upper Fells Point with my husband, son, and two pets. 
 
I completed my undergraduate and graduate degrees at Towson University. My undergraduate degree is in Family Services. I had originally planned to go on to become a licensed Social Worker. However, while completing my undergraduate degree I was working as a preschool teacher. I spent 5 ½ years teaching students from 2 years to 5 years old. I was the Assistant Director of the center for 3 ½ of those years. During that period, I also spent time working in after school programs and summer camps. After graduation, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to continue with Social Work. I knew I loved being in a school setting and working with kids, but I also knew I didn’t want to be a classroom teacher. 
 
While I pondered my next steps, I took a fulltime job working at Maryland Family Network. I was there for 2 years before I decided that I needed to get back into a school setting. I left MFN and took a job as the OST Director at Tunbridge EMS. At the same time, I decided to go back to complete my master’s in early childhood education. I initially thought of returning to the Preschool setting as a Director. Right around the time, I was finishing my master’s program a colleague forwarded me a job opportunity she’d come across. It was for the OST Director at Wolfe Street Academy. I enjoyed working at Tunbridge, but I did not want to stay with my current organization. I hadn’t started “looking” yet, but the job seemed to fit, and the organization sounded amazing, so I applied. They say the rest is history, right? I started at Wolfe Street in August 2014. This coming November will be 15 years since I began working in the non-profit/education field. 
 
This past school year was a bit of a roller coaster. I left for maternity leave around Thanksgiving when my son was born. I was back in March but in PT capacity. I was originally supposed to come back as the Testing Coordinator. However, schools were closed due to COVID just as I returned, and testing was canceled. I maintained my position on the Leadership team and shifted my focus to the technology needs for distance learning instead. 
 
COVID created many changes, one of them being my return to working fulltime. In May I reached out about the possibility of returning FT. BCP was able to create a position for me as the Grants and Special Projects Coordinator. In my new role I will be overseeing the 3 existing OST programs at Wolfe Street, Govans and Frederick, providing management of existing BCP and BCPSS grants and collaborating with BCP associates regarding marketing, publicity, grant writing, and professional development. 
 
As for the future…I feel that my previous experiences have set a trajectory of my career and brought me to this new role. I am excited to take on any new challenges and to provide another level of support to the BCP OST programs and schools. 
Meet Wolfe Street Academy's New OST Coordinator
Leah Beachley
By Mya Hodge, BCP
1. Tell us a little about your background, where you are form originally, early educational experiences?
I was born in Hagerstown, Maryland, where I attended public schools for my entire K – 12 education. One of the most formative experiences in my education was the International Baccalaureate (IB) Program. My participation in the IB Program at my local public high school expanded my knowledge of world history, allowed me to develop my own research projects, and promoted my access to postcolonial literature from around the world. I feel so fortunate to have engaged in learning that widened my horizons and developed my critical thinking at a young age. 
 
2. Where did you go to higher ed?
I attended Wake Forest University as an undergraduate student. While there, I studied Anthropology and English. I received my Masters in Social Work at the University of Maryland School of Social Work, located here in Baltimore. 
 
3. What were your first jobs?
My first jobs were in retail (namely, the Gap Outlet!) in high school and at the Greene Turtle as a college student. Prior to becoming a social worker, I was an elementary school teacher for 3 years in Vida Nueva, Honduras.
 
4. How did you hear about BCP 
I learned about BCP when I began my social work internship at Wolfe Street Academy. I was placed at Wolfe during my first year of my Masters program and I never left! 
 
5. What are your current responsibilities?
I currently direct the Out of School Time programs for students at Wolfe Street Academy. At Wolfe, “Out of School Time” consists of After School and Summer School opportunities that allow students to continue their learning outside of the traditional school day. I oversee the After School and Summer School staff, collaborate with Wolfe Street’s Academic Coach to identify high-quality curricula and implementation, apply for grant funding, and coordinate program offerings with our school partners. My favorite part of this job is working with Wolfe Street’s amazing staff, students, and families. 
 
6. How about the future-what are your ambitions?
I hope to continue working in the school setting. I wish to continue increasing my knowledge of Restorative and Transformative Practices by participating in ongoing training. My biggest goal is to be a lifelong learner, continuing to grow and expand my own knowledge of how to be the best version of myself and how to serve others!