BCP Fall 2020 Newsletter
In this issue:
  • BCP Welcomes Pimlico Elementary / Middle School to BCP
  • FES Virtual After School Program
  • Hampstead Hill Academy's Flu Shot Event
  • Interview with Angela Scott
  • Interview with Teacher of the Year 2020
  • Heart of the School Award 2020 Winner
BCP Welcomes Pimlico Elementary / Middle School
By Laura Doherty , President & CEO , BCP
BCP is thrilled to welcome Pimlico Elementary/Middle School (PEMS) into the BCP family. PEMS will begin operating as a conversion charter school in July 2021. The Baltimore City Board of School Commissioners unanimously approved the application to convert on October 27, 2020 and we are tremendously excited to continue what has already been a productive partnership. BCP and Pimlico teamed up over a year ago in an effort to improve climate and student outcomes. The outstanding staff at Pimlico, under Principal Nneka Warren’s leadership and with BCP support, made tremendous strides in their implementation of Restorative Practices and in building school culture. We will see student achievement soar in the coming years with BCP support. With partners like Park Heights Renaissance, Sinai Hospital, and the Pimlico parent community, we know that great things are in store for PEMS! We would like to thank Baltimore City Schools for giving us this tremendous opportunity. 

Frederick Elementary Schools Virtual After School Program
By Jannika Sims , After School Program Director, FES
 The FES After School Program for the Sy20-21 will focus on academic support to the day time school curriculum of DI Instruction & Eureka Math by using online programs of Lalio (K-2) & Read Naturally Live (3-5) for DI instruction (Literacy) and Happy Numbers (Math) along with blended learning from FES day time teachers who serve also teachers in the after school program. The enrichment classes that are offered are Chess with the partnership with The Boardroom Chess Program, Bucket Drum with volunteer Dwane Jackson for the second year, Arts & Craft, Yoga, Coding, Lego WeDo 2.o Education program, Zumba & Fitness, and SEL program of Second Step Program and 3 Three (3) activities from Port Discovery Children's Museum Learning Center, "Whatever Floats Your Boat", "Spacercise!", and "The Great Mummy Mystery". 

Hampstead Hill Academy Flu Shot
By HHA Parent Magazine
HHA staff and families took advantage of a flu clinic hosted by Hampstead Hill Academy and Rite Aid Corporation.Everyone who attended received a flu shot, even Mr. Hornbeck.
Govans Elementary Pizza Promise!
Retrieved from Flash Friday News
Last week, we gave a shout out to Ms. Murphy’s Reading Group because Mr. Parker, parent of A’Shai Parker, who is a student in Ms. Murphy’s reading group, noticed how well the group was reciting words and reading. Mr. Parker “delivered” on his promise to deliver pizzas for their great reading work! Thank you, Mr. Parker!
Interview with BCP's Longest Lasting Employee
By Jon McGill, Director of Academics, BCP
Angela Scott might be the only really indispensable staff member at Baltimore Curriculum Project: well, maybe she and Laura Doherty!  Angela, with her 19 year tenure, is the institutional memory of that period and we would be lost without her!  So it is long past time to do a short feature on our beloved Angela.

Jon McGill: Ms. Scott, tell us a little about your life and background prior to BCP.
Angela: Before BCP I worked at College Bond Foundation as clerical and student support. CBF provided me with as scholarship to attend college, a “last dollar scholarship” for all five years! I felt that I needed to give back, so I applied for the support position in 1997 while attending Towson University... I worked part-time five e days per week and full time on breaks and in the summer. I assisted each department at CBF, Development, Program, Fundraisings, etc., in any way that I could. I really enjoyed helping future scholars with the application process, data entry and also the annual fundraising event.

JM: How did you and BCP find each other?

AS: My former colleague at CBF alerted me to the office manager position at BCP. Her sister was in the position but had decided to teach full-time.  I was contacted by Chris Doherty, the Executive Director of BCP at the time. He interviewed me at the Gallery in Harbor Place in late July, 2001. I was offered the job two weeks later. My initial duties included answering the phone, ordering supplies, IT and Web maintenance.

JM: What were those early days of BCP like?
AS: My early days centered on the Core Knowledge lessons that we were producing. Getting those out to various schools, and to homeschoolers, was part of my tasks. I also updated the website with the draft lessons. I also attended the CK national conference every one of the first five years. In 2006 I transitioned to my current role of Human Resources Director, working also on benefits and procurements. During my time at BCP, I got married (2002), had my first child, Alexis (2003), and my second child (Courtney)in 2006. You could say that BCP and I grew up together! I started at BCP when it was five years old!

JM: What has kept you here for 19 years?
AS: The mission of BCP and our amazing schools has kept me here. Getting to see the effects of Direct Instruction (BCP reading program) for children, including my own, underscores the concept that if you can teach every child to read, they will have the whole world ahead of them! They can do anything!

JM: What are the best and perhaps not so good aspects of your work?
AS: The best parts are seeing the students we serve excel every day. Some students don’t have it easy. To know and to see how their school supports them is a testament to our school staffs and administration. I won’t say there are any negative aspects to my job, but time is valuable and not everyone understands that concept.  I am not a last minute person, so getting people to appreciate that things need to be done in a timely way is something I deal with on a daily basis.

JM: What are your hopes for the next year?
AS: I hope to take more professional development in HR and Benefits. I haven’t had much time to do that with the current workload.  I would also love to get back and visit our schools. I love seeing the students and staffs in learning mode and celebrating their achievements!

We are fortunate to have Angela’s services, her support and her collegiality. She is both respected and beloved!

Teacher of the Year Award Winner 2020, Wyatt Oroke of City Springs!
Retrieved from: Baltimore City Schools

This interview with Wyatt Oroke was over the weekend of November1/2. Mr. Oroke is a middle school teacher at City Springs Elementary/Middle School, a long-time BCP school, and he is the current Maryland State Teacher of The Year, a highly competitive and very prestigious accolade.

Jon McGill:  Mr. Oroke, why did you choose teaching as a career?
Wyatt Oroke: I grew up a struggling reader and writer.  For me, the pages of a book looked more like a Picasso painting than words on a page.  When I was in the 4th grade, I had a teacher who decided that the best way for me to learn was through ridicule and embarrassment. She made fun of me weekly in front of the class for missing words on a spelling test or struggling to read aloud pages from our books. It reached a point where my mother transferred me out of the school, and I was moved back down to third grade. On the first day at my new school I remember walking up to my new classroom incredibly nervous. The principal stood next to me and knocked on the door of the new room. Mrs. Kirtley came to the door, bent down next to me, gave me a hug, and said, “I am so happy you are here; I have been waiting for you to join us.” In that moment. She had done in seconds what I had been wanting for months: to feel whole again. I realized right then that I wanted to be a teacher because I realized that teachers had a profound impact on how young people saw themselves. I wanted to make children feel whole.

JM: Why did you choose to teach in Baltimore?

WO: I grew up in Kansas City, Kansas, and southern California but neither place felt like home.  During my senior year of college, I came across Teach for America and saw it as a means to getting into a classroom to begin a career I knew I wanted.  When applying, I selected Baltimore because I saw it as a chance to start a new life in a new place. While choosing Baltimore was random to a degree, after eight years of living here it is the first place, I have considered my home.

JM: How would you describe your first year or two of teaching?

WO: I began at the National Academy Foundation Middle School where I taught 8th grade English.  During my first few months I wanted to quit. I felt like I wasn’t making positive impact on my scholars and that I was creating a wider gap in their academic growth.  I felt like I was limited in the impact I could have based on the curriculum I was required to teach but did not have the means or knowledge to tech something more culturally responsive. I began partnering with a variety of organizations and local authors and brought them into my classroom so my scholars could better connect with content.  While it took a lot of trust building within the community, I noticed a dramatic difference in how my scholars approached academics when I was able infuse a culturally responsive element into the curriculum.

JM: Tell us about your first year at City Springs.

WO: I joined City Springs because I wanted the opportunity to expand my curriculum and continue to grow as an English educator. I was excited about being given the opportunity to create a curriculum for our 7th and 8th grade scholars. It could mean I could provide a curriculum that spoke to them and their lived experiences.  However, I did feel like a first-year teacher again as I tried to learn all the different structures and systems City Springs already had in place. It took me several months to get comfortable, but I was fortunate to have an academic coach, Ms. Jennings, to support me and she really helped me grow as an educator during that first year. She pushed me to achieve more in the classroom!
JM: I am interested in the development of your seventh/eighth grade curriculum.  Can you tell me how you arrived at what you now use?
WO: Over the first five years of my teaching I explored using a variety of texts within my classroom. I partnered with several authors to identify texts that resonated with our scholars. I also began touring schools on the East Coast to see how they found success in their classrooms.  In my sixth year of teaching I was asked to create an honors ELA curriculum that could be used the following year.  I partnered with many organizations and individuals to create a robust, culturally effective curriculum. After working on it for nearly the entire school year and going through several revisions, the curriculum was approved by both BCP and the school district. It was one of the first teacher-created curriculums in the district that was approved for honors credit. I am proud of the curriculum and I have already seen tremendous academic growth from our scholars as we entered the second year of implementation.

JM: What dos the future hold for you? Where do you hope to be in five years?
WO: I have always wanted to b e in the classroom for at least ten years before I even really think of any movement outside of the classroom. However, I do hope to be able to open my own school someday here in Baltimore. While that plan might not be for several years, I hope to be headed in that direction five years from now.
JM: (Thinking to myself- I hope it could be a BCP school)
What got you the Teacher of the Year Award, first for Baltimore City, then for the entire state?
WO: I believe that I am fortunate to work with the top scholars in all of Maryland.  I get to do this work alongside a brilliant group of educators {We agree, Mr. O!, they are indeed brilliant} who all believe in the power of our scholars.  I take responsibility for the future of all the scholars who walk though my classroom. I celebrate successes as much as I reflect on the challenges and I try to find ways to improve my own work to ensure that more and more scholars are able to pursue the lives they wish to live. I believe it was this commitment to the future of our scholars that allowed me and our scholars to be showcased as being the representatives of our city and our state.

Mr. Oroke, thanks for this interview and thanks for all you do and have done for City Springs and for your scholars and their families!
Heart of the School Award Winner 2020, Principal Gaither
Retrieved from: Heart of Schools
During Mark Gaither’s 14 years as principal, Wolfe Street Academy has risen from being ranked 77th to near the top of city schools on state assessment performance, consistently outperforming schools with similar demographics. As a community school and neighborhood hub, Wolfe Street provides the support that students need to be ready to learn, from medical check-ups, mental health services and dental exams to clothing and supplies. Principal Gaither is a nationally recognized leader in the community school movement; Wolfe Street has been named one of the five best community schools in the country. Students feel safe and supported, and parents are given the resources they need to advocate for and empower their children. Wolfe Street serves one of the highest percentages of immigrant families in Baltimore, and supporting his students’ families with their unique needs is a hallmark of Principal Gaither’s leadership and part of what makes Wolfe Street such a special place.