Exciting news from the BCP Schools: City Springs Elementary/Middle School,
Frederick Elementary,  Govans Elementary, Hampstead Hill Academy and Wolfe Street Academy.

January 2018 Newsletter
In this issue:

Contestants from "Are You Smarter than a BCP 5th Grader?" 2017.

Will the 5th Graders from City Springs Elementary/Middle, Frederick Elementary, Govans Elementary, Hampstead Hill Academy and Wolfe Street Academy triumph over the "Baltimore Big Shots" this year?

Video of "Are You Smarter than a BCP 5th Grader?" 2017.
Find out at the the seventh annual "Are You Smarter than a BCP 5th Grader?" Quiz Show on Thursday, April 19, 2018 from 6:15pm-8:15pm at City Springs Elementary/Middle School (100 S. Caroline Street, 21231)

This year the 5th Graders will compete with Tom Hall, Host of Midday on WYPR, and other local celebrities.

Last year the 5th Graders outsmarted Vytas Reid (Chief Meteorologist, FOX45 News), Gil Sandler (Host, "Baltimore Stories" on WYPR 88.1 FM), Dr. Sonja Brookins Santelises (CEO, Baltimore City Public Schools), and Maria Harris Tildon (Senior VP for Public Policy and Community Affairs, CareFirst).

Enjoy dinner and a fun-filled quiz show. Onsite parking is available. Seating is limited.  All proceeds will benefit over 2,600 PreK-8 students attending BCP's neighborhood charter schools.

Hampstead Hill Academy Receives Five-Year Charter Renewal
The Baltimore Curriculum Project is proud to announce that Hampstead Hill Academy has received a five-year charter renewal.

We would like to congratulate Principal Matt Hornbeck and all of the administrators, teachers, and staff who work so hard to make Hampstead Hill Academy an outstanding school.

Below is an excerpt of Principal Matt Hornbeck's  testimony to the School Board in support of the School Board's 5 year charter renewal recommendation:

Good evening. I'm Matt Hornbeck and for 15 years I've had the best job in the world as the principal of Hampstead Hill Academy. I want to recognize the hard, smart work of more than 100 HHA staff who believe in the power of Restorative Practices, truly know our students, plan and teach amazing lessons, and, based on actual student data, reflect and adjust their expert practice.

In particular, I thank my partner in the work, Laura Doherty and her colleagues at BCP, especially Jon McGill and Angela Scott, as well as the outstanding leadership team at HHA. I also want to commend SER Manager Brianna Kaufmann and her team. They provided the most credible, useful, formative, and summative analysis of the work taking place at schools. Schools need more of that critical friend feedback.

At HHA, we use Direct Instruction or DI to teach students how to read, as we have for more than 20 years, and we use other research-based programs including Core Knowledge, Singapore Math, IQWST, Dreambox and Springboard to give students the foundational and rich curriculum experiences they need to succeed in the best high schools as well as their chosen college and/or career.

To paraphrase a former Teacher of the Year, "DI is the meal students need every day. Then I can make sure that they get the appetizers and desserts." There is no substitute for putting great, research-based curriculum in the hands of super teachers.

Our achievement highlights include being number one in the City on PARCC in reading for African-American students in grades 3-5 and number two for low-income students as well. We are number one for Hispanic 8th grade students passing the PARCC Algebra test and outperformed the City average in every category in reading and math.

In terms of growth from 2015 to 17, we are number one overall in grades 3-8 reading and that's just test scores. The really interesting work is the writing in student portfolios, in drama class, in band and orchestra, in art, in cooking class, in the research taking place in the library, National History Day projects and in Nature Exploration class...

I'm grateful to work with such talented people who earn the trust of Baltimore's students and their parents every day. We are pleased with the district's recommendation to renew BCP's contract to operate HHA as a conversion charter school for another 5 year term. HHA was the only charter to receive a "highly effective" rating in every renewal category... Thank you for your time, your attention, and we hope your vote.
Reprinted with permission from the City Springs Elementary/Middle School Newsroom

What do you think of when you hear the word "mindfulness?" According to  Mindful.org, mindfulness is "the basic human ability to be fully present, aware of where we are and what we're doing, and not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what's going on around us."

Although all people possess this ability, we at City Springs see mindfulness as an important skill that students should practice on a regular basis. 

Consistent mindfulness practices can help unclutter the mind, reduce stress and frustration, and focus your thinking on positive and productive things.
Ms. Arechar's class recently wrapped up a mindfulness program sponsored by the Baltimore Museum of Art (BMA).  The program teaches mindfulness practices via interactions with some of the BMA's prized artistic works.

Each weekly session began with yoga and meditation where we focused on positive things in our lives and released any negative feelings. From there, we explored different art pieces, engaging in activities that deepened our appreciation of the work while simultaneously strengthening our mindfulness practice.

For example, after viewing Tom├ís Saraceno's beautiful sculpture  Entangled Orbits , students wrote a poem expressing their emotional reaction to it and discussed what they thought the artist was trying to communicate (top photo). Additionally, after exploring African masks traditionally used in tribal conflict resolution, students created their own masks that represented how they resolve conflicts with friends and family members (bottom photo).
Each visit wrapped up with a bit more yoga practice and a few wise words from our yoga instructor. Ms. Arechar's students truly enjoyed the experience, and they hope to continue to grow in their mindfulness practice as well as in their appreciation of beautiful works of art!
Introducing Frederick Elementary's Community School Coordinator: Sabrina Wiggins

Sabrina Wiggins has served as the Bon Secours Community Works Community School Coordinator for Frederick Elementary since July 2017. As the school's Community School Coordinator, she  brings together a wide range of partners and community resources to promote student achievement, positive conditions for learning and the well-being of families and communities.

Sabrina graduated from Coppin State University with a Master in Education/Rehabilitation Counseling and earned Certificate of Advance Studies in Education (C.A.S.E) from Notre Dame of Maryland University.

Sabrina has more than 13 years of teaching experience in the Baltimore City Public School system as an Elementary and Middle School educator for families in West Baltimore. She has also served as a mentor for new teachers; a curriculum writer for 4th grade Social Studies; and was awarded Teacher of the Year for Baltimore City.

Sabrina has worked for two major Health Care Systems (Johns Hopkins and Bon Secours) as a Children and Family Advocate for five years. As an advocate, her role was to provide grass roots services in underserved communities in the Baltimore City area. Some of these services included connecting families to vital resources in the community, conducting home visits, developing and maintaining effective partnerships with different agencies, providing workshops to meet the needs of families, and collaborating with families to reduce barriers to improving family outcomes.

Sabrina loves to volunteer her time at Susan G. Komen of Maryland. She has been a loyal volunteer for more than 10 years. She serves as the Kids for the Cure Committee Chair at Race for the Cure. Not only does she work tirelessly to secure fun and engaging activities, but she flawlessly manages the entire operation on Race Day, overseeing more than 30 volunteers and hundreds of children.

She also serves as a Community Outreach Ambassador, representing Komen Maryland at health fairs, educational events and giving breast health presentations in Baltimore City's high risk communities. She was awarded the Volunteer Leadership Award for Susan G. Komen of Maryland.
Govans Elementary Students Explore STEM with LET'S GO Boys and Girls

LET'S GO Boys and Girls  is an important part of the 21st Century Community Learning Center after school program at Govans Elementary. LET'S GO provides STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) curriculum, teacher training and on-site support for the STEM-based after school program.  The slide show above  includes:
  • Ms. Gabuton's first grade after school STEM class learning about catalysts and chemical reactions;
  • The after school First Lego League team working on building and programming their missions with mentor Deb;
  • Students in the fifth grade engineering class discussing which items are "technology" and which are not;
  • Fifth grade engineering students working together to build a bridge that can support weight;
  • Govans First Lego League team members competing in a scrimmage against other BCPS teams at Medfield Heights Elementary;
  • Govans teachers Ms. Tracey, Ms. Gabuton and Ms. Alcuizar participating in LET'S GO  science program training; and
  • Teachers learning about neutral buoyancy.
BCP and Govans Elementary would like to thank LET'S GO Boys and Girls for providing engaging STEM programming and the  Maryland State Department of Education  for funding BCP's 21st Century Community Learning Center at Govans Elementary !

About LET'S GO Boys and Girls
Founded in 2009 by Dr. Clark "Corky" Graham, LET'S GO Boys and Girls, Inc. (LET'S GO) set out to increase the number of STEM professionals from urban underserved communities by engaging and supporting elementary and middle school students through the STEM education pipeline. LET'S GO partners with schools and youth organizations interested in offering STEM to their students and provide the materials, training, and support necessary to implement fun, hands-on STEM curricular activities. http://www.letsgoboysandgirls.com/
Hampstead Hill Students Host "Be a Climate Hero! Expo"
By Alexa White, STEAM Enrichment Tutor, Hampstead Hill Academy
Green Leaders are eager to start their "Be a Climate Hero! Expo" presentation.
On December 5, 2018, Audubon Green Leaders had a wonderful success at their first-ever "Be a Climate Hero! Expo." Hampstead Hill Academy's middle school Green Leaders did a fantastic job of presenting really critical information about global climate change that they have prepared all fall and, for some, almost three years!

During the interactive presentation audience members had the opportunity to connect with their tablemates about what they were learning: how climate change is caused by industrial agriculture and burning of fossil fuels; how Baltimore's birds and people are impacted; and how we can all take action in our everyday lives to protect our birds and people. Participants were invited to stand and cheer to make a pledge to:
  1. Save energy at work, home, or school,
  2. Plant a garden for birds, and/or
  3. Urge elected officials to make change.
Patterson Park Audubon Center Green Leaders were joined by several community partners who equipped participants with ongoing climate and environmental justice actions, energy-saving kits, and tools to create bird-friendly spaces.

Community partners engaging with participants included Sierra Club-Maryland chapter, Residents Against the Tunnels, St. Ignatius Parish Green Team, Glenn Ross, Energy Justice Network, Marylanders for Energy Democracy & Affordability, Citizens' Climate Lobby, Headcount Baltimore, Food & Water Watch, Baltimore Beyond Plastic, Interfaith Power & Light (DC.MD.NoVA), Maryland Environmental Health Network, Chesapeake Climate Action Network, Clean Water Action, Baltimore Energy Challenge, and Blue Water Baltimore.

By the end of the night, it was clear that participants were moved by what the Green Leaders had shared. One community member, Leland Srygley, said, "We can take this into our neighborhoods. Start small, come together and make it a community effort."

Ms. Dee from Baltimore Energy Challenge shared, "...One parent talked about how her son has changed how she operates in the home. If you empower the kids with this message then the parents are gonna say, 'Wow, I didn't have the time to read about that, but my kid is involved.' It might even encourage the parent to vote differently and take on initiatives they otherwise wouldn't be focused on because they're focused on food, on shelter. Your amazing students all need to go on the road! You were excellent!"
DBFA Adopts Families from City Springs, Govans Elementary, and Wolfe Street Academy

Numerous volunteers, including members of Wolfe Street Academy's PTO, helped with DBFA's Adopt-a-Family Program
Since 2008, Downtown Baltimore Family Alliance (DBFA) has been providing toys, books, games, clothing, bicycles and other gifts for hundreds of Baltimore City families through their Adopt a Family Program. This year they expanded the program to include City Springs Elementary/Middle School.

Wolfe Street Academy has participated in the program for nine years. Last year, DBFA had so many families volunteer to buy presents, that they were able to add Govans Elementary to the program.

DBFA's Adopt-a-family program works with local schools to identify families that need assistance with the holiday season. The schools vet qualified families; DBFA puts out a call for adopters; the amazing Baltimore community responds, purchases gifts for the families, and drops the gifts off at the school locations; and 500 families have a brighter December.

BCP would like to thank DBFA for supporting our schools!

About the Downtown Baltimore Family Alliance
Fueled by the belief that communities flourish when families thrive, DBFA empowers families to access quality educational opportunities and vibrant cultural experiences, advocates for excellent public resources, and connects communities throughout Baltimore. We work with elected officials, business leaders, and grassroots community activists to represent the voices of our 3,000+ member families on issues that matter the most to parents and children who choose to call Baltimore home.  http://www.baltimorefamilies.org
Baltimore Curriculum Project | 410-675-7000 | bcpinfo@baltimorecp.org | www.baltimorecp.org