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February Newsletter

Join Us March 1 for a Public Meeting to Press for Better Transit 

This Tuesday, March 1st at 7 PM join Baltimoreans for Educational Equity, Students Organizing A Multicultural Open Society (SOMOS), and the Fund for Educational Excellence for a virtual community convening on student transportation. Learn more on how you can support current transit legislation, the problems it addresses, and the next steps folks can take to advance transit equity.

Click Here to Register 

ICYMI: The recently published Baltimore Sun op-ed, co-authored by Matthew Rodriguez, a teacher at Digital Harbor High School, and our very own Ruth Farfel, outlines why we must invest in public transit now. The op-ed reinforces the findings of our report, NOT IN SERVICE, and calls for partnership and collaboration across government branches and agencies to improve transit reliability, frequency, and safety.

Call for Student Testimony for March 8 Hearing

There are several bills in the General Assembly this session that address the major concerns of City Schools students. We are excited to share that legislation (HB 1055) has been introduced that aims to increase the number of buses available to student commuters while prioritizing the hiring and retention of more operators and mechanics to run more frequent service on routes heavily used by students. It also proposes to digitize student transit cards, removing unnecessary barriers that prevent students from attending school. Similarly, HB 1056/SB 862 continues a program that provides free ridership for eligible Baltimore City Public School students during certain hours and for specific activities.

The hearing for these pieces of legislation is scheduled for March 8th at 1 pm. Student stories illustrating their daily experiences with transit must be part of these bill hearings.

We need your help to reach as many students as possible who are willing to share their varying experiences with transit from the front door to the school door by encouraging youth to submit written testimony. Here’s what you can do:

  1. Before March 1: Help spread the word in getting as many students as possible to fill out the testimony form.
    a. Please use these templates to share the testimony form with students in homeroom, google classroom, and other communication channels.
  2. On March 1: Attend the community convening from 7:00 – 8:15 pm on student transportation to learn how you can support current transit legislation so our students can receive the reliable, frequent, and safe public transportation they deserve.
  3. Mark your calendars for the hearing on March 8th! Watch the live hearing at 1 PM and show your support for City Schools students:

Under Armour’s Student Athlete Coalition February Meeting 

The Under Armour Student Athlete Leadership Council – an initiative that convenes three student-athlete representatives from every City Schools high school – held their monthly meeting at the UA House on February 11th. The 50 students in attendance, with representatives from nearly every Baltimore City high school, had the opportunity to meet with fellow City Schools student-athletes, share their voice, and enhance their leadership skills. Guest speaker Femi Ayanbadejo, former Baltimore Ravens player, current broadcaster, entrepreneur and Baltimore changemaker, spoke with students about perseverance and not letting others get in the way of your ambitions. Students also began to plan the Council’s service project which will take place in April. The character development and leadership programming, led by the Travis Manion Foundation, delivers inspiring mentorship to student-athletes with advice from former professional and collegiate athletes, military veterans, and professionals in a variety of industries. Check out the photo below from this month’s meeting:

To learn more about the Under Armour Student Athlete Coalition, the multi-faceted program that includes this Leadership Council, click here.

Princi-PALentines for Principals 

The Baltimore community loves its principals! In January, more than 650 parents, students, and community members nominated over 100 principals – the most City Schools principals nominated to date – for the 2022 Heart of the School Awards, sharing stories, anecdotes and praise for these dedicated school leaders. Given the challenges of this year, these heartfelt messages were incredibly meaningful to principals. Thank you to all who helped spread some positivity by nominating an outstanding principal who has had an impact on you or your community!

As a means of sharing some love this Valentine’s Day, we converted nominations into “Princi-PALentines” and sent notes to every principal in the district, delivered gift baskets to Transformational and Distinguished principals, and distributed treats to Distinguished District Administrators. Response from principals was overwhelmingly positive and showed how much they appreciate the support from their school communities.

Take a look at some of the Princi-PALentines:

Of Note:

Additional insights, updates and resources:

  • High School Seniors: The deadline to complete the 2022–23 FAFSA form is March 1. Apply here.
  • Baltimore City Public Schools seniors: Apply now for $3 million in scholarships and grants for college through the College Bound Foundation! Apply by March 1st for scholarships and June 1st for Last Dollar Grant funding. Don’t wait, start your application today, here.
  • Youth Library Tutorial, a student-run organization at Johns Hopkins University recommenced student tutoring sessions this month! Tutoring is completely free. For more information email or sign up for their email list, here.
  • The Mayor’s Office of Children & Family Success is partnering with the Johns Hopkins University School of Education to explore the experiences of Baltimore’s children and families during the early childhood period. If you have a child(ren) from ages 0 to 9, please complete this brief survey, here.

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