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January Newsletter

Submit Your Nominations Today: Heart of the School Award Nominations Close 1/31

The Fund’s Senior Program Director, Kevin Leary, and 2023 Heart of the School Award winner, Principal Brandon Pinkney, spoke with WJZ-TV | CBS Baltimore on Monday morning to talk about the Heart of the School Awards and make a final call for principal nominations.\

Just two days left to recognize a dedicated Baltimore City principal for their incredible leadership, support, and hard work by nominating them for the Heart of the School Awards! Don’t delay!

Nominations for the 2024 Heart of the School Awards are Open Until 11:59 p.m. on Wednesday, January 31!

All are invited to nominate a principal they would like see honored at the Heart of the School Awards – the annual event coordinated by the Fund for Educational Excellence that celebrates Baltimore City Public School principals for their tireless work on behalf of students and families. Award criteria and details on the quick nomination process can be found, here.

All nominated principals see their nominations (with permission from those who submitted nominations) to reinforce that their work matters, has an impact, and is greatly appreciated. Help spread the word and nominate today!

Welcome to the Fund, Jade!

The Fund is thrilled to welcome Jade Johnson as our new Program Manager of Analysis & Engagement! Jade works closely with the Senior Program Director and Program Director on the Analysis & Engagement team to support all aspects of the Fund’s reports, coordinate the Fund’s School Choice Workshops and follow up on our report’s recommendations. She brings with her extensive experience in the international development industry and a background in public policy. She is deeply committed to serving and empowering historically under-resourced people and communities, including racial and ethnic minority groups, women, and children. Welcome to the team, Jade!

In the News: The Fund’s Reports

Student Transportation Report
Last week, the Fund co-authored a Maryland Matters reader commentary with Central Maryland Transportation Alliance and Associated Black Charities about how the state’s proposed transportation budget cuts will most adversely affect public transit and those who rely on it every day. The piece calls on Governor Moore to submit a revised budget reflecting his campaign and administration priorities.

Read Here

NOT IN SERVICE: Why Public Transit Must Aim to Serve Students explores how students experience public transportation in Baltimore and the implications that experience has for their academic and career opportunities. For more on NOT IN SERVICE, visit

Teacher Retention and Recruitment Report
ICYMI: In December, the Baltimore Banner released an article entitled Black teachers are leaving. How can Maryland schools get them to stay?. Black teacher recruitment and retention are still in the news. Schools and districts are looking for solutions.A key recommendation from the Fund’s 2023 Should I Stay or Should I Go? report focused on investing in the retention and recruitment of Black teachers in Baltimore City Public Schools via the establishment of a pipeline program for conditionally certified teachers designed to support them through full certification, robust partnerships with local HBCUs, and high-quality, strategically delivered mentoring.

Read Here

Should I Stay or Should I Go? Retaining the Teachers Baltimore City Students Need examines teacher burnout, retention and recruitment in City Schools. Teachers discussed their working conditions, general experiences, what makes the job difficult and what they love most about teaching. Read the full-length report, including detailed key themes and findings, teacher stories, and recommendations at

Of Note:
Additional insights, updates and resources.

  • On January 27, the Fund participated in the City For All Forum on public transportation at Morgan State University. Organized by the State’s Baltimore City delegation, the forum highlighted the need for equitable, accessible, and sustainable transit for all City residents. Check out the livestream, here.
  • YouthWorks applications for summer 2024 are officially open! Visit their website to apply and upload your documents, here.
  • Celebrate Black History Month at your schools (virtually!) with Arts for Learning Maryland’s Blacktastic – A Children’s Festival of Maryland + DC Black History & Culture! Coming up Thursday, February 22, Blacktastic features four enriching teaching artist performances in music, theater, hip-hop, and spoken word poetry — good for ALL grade levels — that enhance classroom curriculum. Grants available to participate. Learn more and register here!

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