BCP December 2018 Newsletter
In this issue:
  • Hampstead Hill Academy Receives State's Top School Rating
  • A Wonderful Act of Empathy at City Springs Elementary/Middle
  • Frederick Elementary Students Visit Senator Chris Van Hollen and Participate in Enterprise's Mentoring Program
  • Partnerships Abound at Govans Elementary
  • Wolfe Street Academy's Community School Strategy
  • Teacher Feature: Hampstead Hill Academy Teacher Christina Luthers

Hampstead Hill Academy Receives State's Top School Rating
Hampstead Hill Academy is one of only three Baltimore City Schools to receive a rating of five stars from Maryland’s new public school rating system.

The assessment takes into account student achievement on the state test, chronic absenteeism, curriculum, and achievement by English language learners. Baltimore Polytechnic Institute and the Baltimore School for the Arts also received five stars.

"If there is a silver bullet, it's finding and supporting and keeping the very best teachers," said Hampstead Hill Academy Principal Matt Hornbeck. "Teachers are the whole game. Who's standing in front of your kid is the whole thing."

Hampstead Hill Academy is a Baltimore Curriculum Project neighborhood charter school serving over 800 students in Upper Canton. The Baltimore Curriculum Project first began managing Hampstead Hill in 2002. Since then, the school has implemented a variety of effective educational programs including: Direct Instruction, Core Knowledge, Restorative Practices, and a Gifted and Talented program.

The Baltimore Curriculum Project would like to congratulate Principal Matt Hornbeck and the entire Hampstead Hill staff on this outstanding achievement.

Wolfe Street Academy Receives Four-Star Rating

Wolfe Street Academy was one of only 19 schools in Baltimore City to receive a four star rating. Congratulations to Principal Mark Gaither and the Wolfe Street Academy community.

A Wonderful Act of Empathy at City Springs Elementary/Middle
Reprinted from the City Springs Newsroom
At City Springs, we believe in fostering empathy with the vision of seeing the school community act as a family. A sense of family provides individuals with a support system within the school and encourages people to care about one another.

Recently, a student in Emily Garrish’s class demonstrated a wonderful act of empathy and caring for someone who was feeling upset.

Back in 2017, Laura Doherty, President of the Baltimore Curriculum Project, bought a goldfish for City Springs Principal Rhonda Richetta so that she could use it for a professional development session that took place in the spring.

Dr. Richetta wanted to use the fish to demonstrate our Pre-K students’ knowledge from a recent Core Knowledge lesson as they identified the different parts of a fish.

After the professional development, Dr. Richetta grew attached to the goldfish, keeping him in a bowl on her desk. His home got progressively bigger, graduating from a bowl to a small tank to a larger tank as he kept growing. Dr. Richetta eventually named the fish “Mine” since she was so attached to him, and school secretary Tammy Johnson helped care for the goldfish by feeding him on a daily basis.

A few weeks ago, Mine passed away and Dr. Richetta was very upset. Ms. Garrish shared the story of Dr. Richetta’s goldfish with her class and the students proposed a wonderful idea: get her a new fish!

They conducted some research about the best kind of fish to buy based on life expectancy and eventually presented Dr. Richetta with a new goldfish, which she named “Mine 2.”

This thoughtful and kind act is an example of the empathy that we encourage and appreciate at City Springs. The students were very eager and proud to present the fish to Dr. Richetta and she truly felt cared for by the City Springs family.
Frederick Elementary Students Visit Senator Chris Van Hollen and Participate in Enterprise Mentoring Program
Visit with Senator Chris Van Hollen

Frederick Elementary students recently had an opportunity to take an educational field trip to Capitol Hill in Washington D.C. They took a tour of the Capitol, met with U.S. Senator Chris Van Hollen, and learned about how the federal government operates.

Senator Van Hollen was elected to the United States Senate in November 2016. He started his time in public service as a member of the Maryland State Legislature. In 2002, he was elected to represent Maryland's 8th Congressional District.

In the House of Representatives, he served as a member of the Democratic leadership and was elected by his colleagues to be the Ranking Member of the House Budget Committee.

We would like to thank Senator Van Hollen, his staff, Bon Secours Community Works, and Kaiser Permanente for making this learning experience possible.

Mentoring Partnership with Enterprise

Enterprise recently adopted Frederick Elementary for their youth mentoring program, which was established in 2013. Mentors from the Women’s Enterprise Network and their mentees took their first field trip of the school year to the University of Maryland, College Park on November 15, 2018.

The Enterprise Women’s Network was instrumental in creating Enterprise's mentoring program. Mentors from all backgrounds and ages are matched with children ages 8 to 14. Mentors meet with the children twice a month and help them build self-esteem, make healthy choices, develop coping strategies for problems, and achieve academically through activities such as sports and volunteering.

The Enterprise Women’s Network is a dedicated group of women working to improve the quality of life for low-income women and children in Baltimore. Their purpose is to advocate for, invest in and support educational enrichment for children and better housing opportunities for their families and communities. Since 2000, they have raised more than $1.6 million and contributed over 13,000 volunteer hours to support Enterprise’s work of helping children and their families succeed. 

We would like to thank Enterprise, the Enterprise Women's Network and Bon Secours Community Works for making this partnership possible. Learn more about Enterprise Women's Network at: https://www.enterprisecommunity.org/where-we-work/mid-atlantic/enterprise-womens-network
Partnerships Abound at Govans Elementary
By Sandi McFadden, Strong City Baltimore Community School Coordinator, Govans Elementary
Govans Elementary has been blessed with a wealth of partnerships and programs this holiday season.

The following activities were coordinated by Strong City Baltimore Community School Coordinator Sandi McFadden, the Baltimore Curriculum Project, School Social Worker Kara Silber, and dedicated Govans staff members.
 
Zumba With Mom
Nearly 100 Govans moms and their children joined with an outstanding Zumba instructor for a morning of stretching and cardio exercise. It was tons of fun for our moms and their children.
 
Be a Chef for a Day
From November through December, Govans students have participated in a number of exciting academic and enrichment activities including Be a Chef for a Day, which is sponsored by the Italian American Cultural Center. Chef Monica Lapenta and Francesco Legaluppi taught children about healthy eating on a modest budget. They’ve whipped up a combination of American and Italian food, including fabulous desserts and healthy salads. Students always bring home a container of food to share with their families.

Hertzbach & Company Day of Service
Thank you to Hertzbach & Company, Business Volunteers Maryland, and the Baltimore Curriculum Project for organizing a day of service at Govans Elementary on November 9, 2018. Hertzbach volunteers helped our School Social Worker, Kara Silber, prepare bags of incentive goodies to encourage our students to attend school every day. They also helped our librarian restock and reorganize the library. It was a great afternoon of service to our school.
 
Church of the Redeemer New Coat Drive
Ann Von Lunz, Outreach Coordinator for The Church of Redeemer, organized an amazing new coat drive for nearly 100 students at Govans in November.  The children were so excited to receive brand new coats for the winter. 
 
Donuts with Dad
As part of American Education week, Donuts with Dads brought over 150 fathers and father representatives to Govans to join their children for an incredible morning of delicious donuts. The donuts were provided by Denver Bronco Shaquil Barrett, whose niece attends Govans. Mr. Barrett shared a video message from Denver to all of the fathers and their children. It was a fun-filled and inspiring morning for all. 
 
All Together Network
This wonderful group of health care workers, who have been a part of the Mid-Govans community for many years, provided 40 baskets of delicious Thanksgiving meals for our Govans families and community. Thank you Michelle W., the fifth grade boys, Govans staff members, Kara Silber, Sandi McFadden, and community member Bill Logan, who helped coordinate this much needed family support.
 
INSPIRE Project Kick-Off
Govans will be getting a new school building in the next few years. In order to leverage this investment and enhance the connection between the school and the surrounding neighborhoods, the Baltimore City Planning Department kicked off their INSPIRE program at Govans Elementary on November 27, 2018. Inspire staff members Mary Colleen Buettner, Ariel Humphrey and Kristen Ahearn met with our Parent Teacher Organization to talk about the INSPIRE program. They heard from parents about how the City can improve children’s walking paths to school, the public library, recreation centers, and other destinations.

Kids Love to Give
Govans Pre-K through second grade parents and their children joined Pre-K and kindergarten parents from The Church of the Redeemer for a fun filled morning on December 1, 2018. They rolled out cookie dough and cut out beautiful Christmas trees, angels, stars, reindeer, and Santa Claus cookies. They then went to several craft stations, after they took a full size color picture of themselves that would be placed in their personally decorated frame to be given to a beloved family member for Christmas. Thank you to the wonderful Redeemer and Govans team of Kathy, Anna, Cristina, Ann, Mary, Susan and Ms. Sandi.
 
Service Project with Notre Dame of Maryland University
Twenty-nine third grade students participated in an exciting 3D printer project sponsored by Notre Dame of Maryland University (NDMU) and Digital Harbor Foundation on December 4, 2018. Fifteen first-year NDMU students engaged in this project as part of NDMU's "Perspectives on Education and Culture" course, which requires each student to engage in a minimum of 10 community service hours.  The Govans students were filled with wonder and excitement as they watched the printer create small animals that they had designed themselves. Thank you to Dr. Deborah Calhoun, Valerie Tracey, Sara Kelly, Rebecca Wheeler, Amanda Porter, and Sandi McFadden for coordinating this outstanding opportunity.
 
Legg Mason Volunteer at Govans
Nearly 20 volunteers from Legg Mason volunteered with the After School program, part of BCP's 21st Century Community Learning Center at Govans, on December 6, 2018. The volunteers engaged in STEM and other enrichment activities with students in grades K-5. It was a great time for the volunteers and our students. Thank you to Legg Mason, the Baltimore Curriculum Project, and OST Director Devon Ritchie for making this volunteer event possible.
 
Winterfest
A fun time was had by all at the annual Winterfest on December 8th from 11:00am - 2:00pm. Just about all the teaching staff volunteered. The event included arts and crafts, a hot chocolate cafe, and cookie decorating. Students enjoyed creating Christmas cards, STEM Christmas wreaths, Gucci paper pocketbooks, and tile Christmas greetings. Staff members Nicole Price and Alicia Thomas from the Baltimore City Schools 21st Century School Buildings Program were present to talk about the new Govans school building concept and unveil the school design. Santa gave a gift to every child who attended. Thank you to Mea Murphy and her team for coordinating the event. It was a great day!
Wolfe Street Academy's Community School Strategy
Wolfe Street Academy's (WSA) Community School Strategy serves as a model for Baltimore City Public Schools and beyond. In 2015 WSA received a national Award for Excellence from the Coalition for Community Schools. This year WSA was one of only 19 Baltimore City schools to receive a rating of four out of five stars from the Maryland State Department of Education.

The University of Maryland School of Social Work's Social Work Community Outreach Service (SWCOS) serves as the Lead Community School Agency for WSA. Leah Beachley serves as WSA's Community School Coordinator.

Below, Principal Mark Gaither writes about WSA's Community School Strategy, which is part of WSA's focus on Great People, Great Programs, and Great Strategies:

The Community School strategy is the understanding that non-academic characteristics of a community have a significant impact on the academic performance of students and that if we want success in the academic areas we must address the non-academic barriers to that success. 

In short, students, though they might be sitting in the seat at school, are not necessarily available for learning if they are not secure in basic human needs such as knowing that they will have food, shelter, health care and security. 

This is to some degree common sense. Any of us, when challenged by stressors such as hunger, fear, pain or anxiety cannot perform at our best. Athletes work hours a day to achieve a balance in all of these areas in order to perform at their best. Yet when it has come to our children living in poverty, we expect the best out of them when aspects of their lives are the worst, far worse than what many of us and many of those in positions of political power have ever experienced.

We attempt to answer this dilemma by rounding out our tool bag of resources with which we are able to educate our children. The Community School strategy identifies the non-academic barriers and seeks to establish systems to address those barriers. We provide food to families before they go home for the weekend. We provide three meals a day to 60% of our students and two times a day to 100% of our students.

We provide after school programming that enriches, that expands the horizons of opportunity for our students. We advance the language skills, the parenting skills, and the economic potential of our parents. We empower and give voice to the community. And these are just a few of the things that every private school, every affluent community, already has in place. But now, at Wolfe Street Academy they are also just a few of the things which are of benefit to our families.

During her visit to Wolfe Street Academy as part of the Kirwan Commission, Maryland State Delegate Maggie McIntosh commented that her partner is from a Scandinavian country; an area of the world whose education system is often held up as an example of success. She said that in that country, schools are successful with a very high percentage of their students; frequently at costs that are lower than what we dedicate to education.

But, she continued, the difference is that when two children, one from an affluent family and one from a poor family, arrive at school as 5-year-olds, you cannot tell which one is poor and which one is rich. Both have benefited from a minimal level of quality health care, housing security, and job security because of the real funding of societal support systems outside of the educational system. 

Thus, when these Scandinavian students arrive in their school seats, in front of the Great People who have Great Programs in their hands, those children have grown up within a Great Strategy of social emotional support since they were born and are ready to learn.

This is what we attempt to recreate at Wolfe Street Academy. We work to bring our Great Strategy of Community Schools to bear so that our Great People and our Great Program can lead to the Great Outcomes we all want for our children.
Teacher Feature: Hampstead Hill Academy Teacher Christina Luthers
By Jon McGill, Academic Director, Baltimore Curriculum Project
Christina Luthers is in her third year of teaching at Hampstead Hill Academy (HHA). She began her teaching career as a Resident Teacher with Urban Teachers, an alternative accreditation organization here in Baltimore with centers in other cities around the country.
 
Ms. Luthers was placed at HHA after interviewing with Jon McGill of BCP, and Matthew Hornbeck, Principal at HHA. We are grateful to Urban Teachers for their program and for helping us find excellent early-career educators!
 
Jon McGill: Tell me a little about your background, Ms. Luthers?
 
Christina Luthers : I grew up in a military family, which meant moving around. I was originally at Fort Hood, the military base in Texas, spent three years in Japan, and much of my childhood and adolescent years in Frederick, Maryland. I attended the University of Maryland, College Park, and majored in Family Science and Psychology.
 
JM: What led you to teaching as a career option?

CL: I took a college course called "Freddie Gray’s Baltimore" and that piqued my interest in social fairness, social justice and equity issues. I initially found the Urban Teachers program when I was searching for a friend in D.C., and it looked like something I should investigate. I was accepted into that program and spent my first year as a Resident teacher at HHA. I worked primarily in the sixth grade math classroom with Abby Hayden and was a substitute in eighth grade math that spring.
 
JM: What did you learn from that first year?

CL: I learned a great deal. For me the question was "Is this where I want to be?’" [in education]. Originally, I wanted to move toward school administration to have an impact on the school climate and culture. Now, I can’t imagine being anywhere else, but in the classroom. I am reflective about my experiences and that has helped. Teaching is a complicated activity and planning, preparation and learning are all part of becoming a really good teacher.
 
JM: You moved into the eighth grade math position last year. How has that been for you?

CL: It has been a good fit for me. I like the older students, I enjoy helping them with the high school application process and I love teaching algebra! [We talked here a little about the necessity of teaching algebra in middle school. Access to mathematics education is referred to by the The Algebra Project, which was started by activist Bob Moses, as a civil rights issue for students of color and for other public-school students who are ambitious about college acceptance and college graduation.]
 
JM: Where do you see yourself three to five years from now?

CL: At Hampstead Hill I have the opportunity to teach as well as being an advocate for increasing diversity and equity in the school community. I want to eventually study further than my M.Ed., moving toward a PhD in Education. There is a lot of pressure here at HHA because it is such a high performing school. That pressure is lessened because I work with a great middle school team and have supportive administrators that help me be successful.

I have great relationships with all students, particularly students of color. I am currently the chair of the Diversity and Equity Committee at HHA, so that is also a priority for me. As an Afro-Latina teacher, I believe that all students benefit from having teachers of color and this is particularly true for our black and brown students. I believe that it is vital that we create an environment where all students can be successful and where students can see themselves reflected through a diverse teaching staff. My work on the Diversity and Equity Committee will help me address these areas of equity.
Baltimore Curriculum Project | 410.675.7000 | bcpinfo@baltimorecp.org | www.baltimorecp.org