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January Newsletter

Supporting Students, Families and Educators: A Look Back on the Fund’s Impact in 2021

As we begin a new year, we’re reflecting on the work we have carried out in 2021 to support students and educators, to celebrate excellence, and to ensure learning in Baltimore continues at the highest level. Here are some representative highlights of the Fund’s work and impact this past year.

Supporting Baltimore City Public Schools

  • The Fund worked with City Schools to secure – and now manage – a five-year, $8.2M grant from the Wallace Foundation to develop an equity-centered principal pipeline.
  • Baltimore City Public Schools’ 4-year Career Readiness Strategic Plan announced in March 2021 integrates recommendations found in our 2019 report, Broken Pathways, and subsequent community conversation event Re-imagining Career Prep in City Schools.

Supporting Students and Families

  • Angelique Jessup Ph.D., Program Director at the Fund, shared tips and advice for families regarding Back-to-School Readiness and How to Set Children Up for School Success on Straight Talk with Mike Gimbel.
  • In September, we announced we were expanding and re-imagining our Grade Level Reading (GLR) work to focus on family engagement for all grade bands and academic areas. This programmatic expansion is a natural transition to our GLR efforts and presents the opportunity to broaden the scope of work to support more City Schools students and their families.
  • The Fund facilitated 10 virtual workshops this fall to help students and families more easily navigate the middle and high school choice process.
  • The Fund supports parents of pre-school children through the Chicago Parent Program (ChiPP) a 12-session, evidence-based parenting program. We successfully facilitated virtual programming with 10 Baltimore City Elementary Schools this past year.
  • The Baltimore Student Athlete Coalition – managed by the Fund – renovated City Schools facilities, convened student representatives for the Under Armour Student-Athlete Leadership Council, resumed recognizing two student-athletes of the month this school year, distributed the 2nd cycle of new uniforms to all City Schools student-athletes in the fall and continued to guide City Schools sports with coaches training and professional development.

Sharing Perspectives

  • In June 2021, the Fund published our latest report, NOT IN SERVICE: Why Public Transit Must Aim to Serve Students, which examines how students experience public transportation in Baltimore and the implications that experience has for their academic and career opportunities. The response to the report has been impassioned and encouraging, with local media coverage helping to spread the word about this important issue.
  • A year after asking Baltimore City Public Schools students, teachers, and principals to share their experience shifting to remote learning, the Fund followed up with those same individuals for their perspective on the 2020-2021 school year as schools prepared to re-open in spring 2021.

Supporting Our Partners

  • The Fund provides high-level fiscal sponsorship services to a range of mission-aligned local nonprofit organizations, community programs, and district initiatives. Over the past fiscal year, we have brought on over 20 new projects for our clients and managed over $19M in sponsored activities.

Celebrating City Schools Principals

    • To express appreciation for the tireless efforts of Baltimore City Public School leaders, the Heart of the Schools – the year-round program managed by the Fund – hosted the Big Night Out at Bengies Drive-in in June. Hundreds of City Schools principals, district officials, and their families came together for a fun-filled night – many for the first time in a year – to celebrate the end of the school year.
    • After two years aways, the Heart of the Schools returned to M&T Bank Stadium for the annual Heart of the Schools Holiday Celebration. Hundreds of Baltimore City Public School principals, district leaders, school staff, and partners gathered for a night of fun and fellowship to celebrate their work and the holiday season.

Of Note:

Additional insights, updates and resources:

    • Do you know an amazing Baltimore City Public Schools Principal? Nominate them for the 2022 Heart of the School Awards! Don’t delay! The nomination deadline is this Monday, January 31. If you haven’t yet, be sure to check out our conversations with WBFF Fox45 and WJZ about the Heart of the School Award nominations. Nominate a principal, here.
    • Congratulations to City Schools students Keon and De’Jah, December’s Under Armour Student-Athletes of the month! Read more, here.
    • Registration is now open for Blacktastic: A Children’s Festival of African American History & Culture! Join Arts for Learning Maryland virtually on 2/23 for 6 enriching performances & workshops for all grade levels that celebrate historical Black Marylanders! Register, here.
    • Reminder: High school seniors must complete the 2022-2023 FAFSA by March 1! MSDE has various resources to help students complete the application, here.
    • Commodore John Rodgers teacher, Ms. Palomares, was featured on Good Morning America for bridging the technology divide for her students. Watch, here.

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