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October Newsletter

Read on for updates about what the Fund for Educational Excellence has been working on, including:

  • Preview of the 10/26 Re-imagining Career Prep in Baltimore City Public Schools: A Community Conversation
  • Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Visit
  • Chicago Parent Program Update
  • Of Note, News You Should Know

Preview: Re-imagining Career Prep in Baltimore City Public Schools: A Community Conversation

Bring your ideas and join the conversation about what Baltimore City Public Schools can do to better prepare students for life after high school – Saturday, October 26 from 10-2pm at Baltimore Design School (1500 Barclay Street, Baltimore, MD).

Re-imagining Career Prep will feature the following:

Setting the Stage: Leaders from Baltimore City Public Schools and the Fund for Educational Excellence will review current career prep programs and their recent analyses of them, including the Fund’s Broken Pathways report. Read that report here.

Panel: Students, educators, and district and education leaders will discuss current and best practices in career prep, and the challenges and opportunities of various options. Panelists include:

  • Timothy Scurry, Jr., recent graduate, New Era Academy
  • Taqi Juba, recent graduate, Carver Vocational-Technical High School
  • Richard Bianchi, Teacher, Mergenthaler Vocational-Technical High School
  • Rachel Pfeifer, Executive Director, Office of College and Career Readiness, Baltimore City Public Schools
  • Eshauna Smith, Chief Executive Officer, Urban Alliance
  • Jason Hardebeck, Founder, The Foundery

Brainstorm: In brainstorming sessions about improving career prep, attendees will participate through Design Thinking – a Stanford University-developed process for creative problem solving that will be led by facilitators from Wide Angle Youth Media. Participants will be encouraged to change patterns of thinking and uncover innovative solutions using empathy and creativity. Read more about Design Thinking here!

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Visits City Schools, Sees Progress

Allan Golston, president of the United States Program at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and other senior staff from the Foundation visited Baltimore in early October to observe the progress of their four-year, $11.2M investment to build a network of Baltimore City Public Schools focused on increasing literacy proficiency. The Gates team had the opportunity to speak with Baltimore City Public Schools students, teachers, principals, and district office staff; following their visit, they remarked on the tremendous alignment of the district’s work with its goals.

The Fund for Educational Excellence helped secure and now fiscally manages the Gates Foundation grant, and we look forward to our continued partnership with the district and Foundation on this important work.

Chicago Parent Program Kicks Off Another School Year

Dozens of Baltimore parents of children age two to seven are now participating at five local schools in the Chicago Parent Program (ChiPP), a nationally recognized, 12-session training program which empowers parents and supports educational success.

With the support of trained facilitators and the ChiPP curriculum, groups of parents convene every week to discuss approaches to parenting, engage in role-play parenting scenarios, and share ideas for better connecting with their children and schools.

Initially launched four years ago as a pilot/research project in partnership with The Johns Hopkins School of Nursing, the ChiPP program is managed by the Fund for Educational Excellence. Eleven Baltimore City elementary schools are participating in the program this year and we’re thrilled with the continued interest from families in Baltimore. To learn more about ChiPP or potentially implement the program in your school, email Kwane Wyatt at

Of Note:

Updates, resources, and articles of interest to the educational community

  • The Heart of the School Holiday Party – an evening for principals and district staff to relax and refresh while celebrating their work and their colleagues – is coming up Thursday, December 19th at M&T Bank Stadium. Spread the word to principals you know and learn more here!
  • Baltimore City Public Schools CEO Dr. Sonja Santelises recently shared her thoughts and insight with Tom Hall on Midday on WYPR-FM. Listen here – WYPR.
  • Check out this recent story in the Sun about exciting new curriculum in city schools – “‘Who deserves a monument?’ New lessons teach Baltimore students to find strength in city’s history” – Baltimore Sun.
  • Our hearts are heavy with the news of Representative Elijah Cummings’ passing. A true champion of Baltimore City, his advocacy, integrity, and commitment to justice bettered Baltimore and the nation overall. – Baltimore Sun.

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