City Schools Administrators Approve Progressive New Contract

Yesterday, the announcement was made that Baltimore “City Schools Administrators Approve Progressive New Contract”, which ties principals’ salaries to their School’s student achievement.  I forwarded the press release to our staff with this statement …

“Now if we can get the teacher’s compensation tied to student’s achievement.”

Sharon Rabb wrote back with this response, we’d love to hear your’s:

“Many teachers do not get the kind of education that allows them to move beyond basic skills.  Additional teacher training and mentoring could help them, but this is not given either.  Higher pay does not make them better teachers if they are not given the tools to teach.

An additional issue is the schools that they teach in.  Their programs are not designed for today’s students.

In contrast:  My daughter, when she was a classroom teacher, had the highest 7th grade math scores in DC Public Schools.  She did not get them because she was paid more.  She explains the difference comes from the entire school, a charter school that is allowed to make it’s own program, hire it’s own teachers, and set it’s own hours and year.  The school day for students is 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.  Student …Learn More

A Lesson Learned

Several months ago, I read an article, How I Stopped the Multitasking Madness by A.J. Jacobs.  Jacobs claims that

Multitasking makes us feel efficient. But it’s an insane delusion; it actually just slows our thinking down. Our brains can’t handle more than one higher cognitive function at a time. We may think we’re  multitasking, but we’re really switch-tasking and overloading our circuits.

My response to the article was something along the lines of, “Ha!  Not me – I am great at multitasking and I don’t know how I’d function if I didn’t.”

One of the ways I thought I was being effective at multitasking was by making phone calls during my commute home from work – I scheduled appointments, touched-base with my husband, called my family and chatted with friends.  Making these calls on my way home from work was a consistent, easy way for me to “catch up” on my responsibilities and nurture the relationships in my life.

While I had always heard about the dangers of driving while operating a cell phone, I permitted myself this luxury of efficiency, claiming that at least I didn’t TEXT while driving – now that was really dangerous!  …Learn More

What We Can Do About Bullying

(excerpt from Baltimore City Public Schools email, May 4, 2010)

… The reflexive response to school-based bullying is often to exclude the bully. That doesn’t work. Last year, the Baltimore City Health Department released a study that showed a strong correlation between children who had been suspended multiple times and those who committed, and were victims of, homicide.  Keeping kids in school can be literally a matter of life and death. Children who bully are almost always victims of bullying—and even violence—themselves, and they replicate with other kids what they see adults do. So to remove them from school is, in essence, to condemn them to a cycle of violence.  It is a narrow and unconscionable solution.

… At the same time, we know that the answers do not lie in City Schools alone. Because bullying behavior in school often reflects behaviors learned outside of school, we need our families’ and communities’ help. And there are many ways you, our partners and friends, can be involved. City Schools’ Family Institute offers regular anti-bullying trainings for parents, with several sessions slated for May and June. Please join these trainings or help spread the word. I also urge you to sign …Learn More

Campaign Consultation Weighs In on Proposed Wal-Mart Debate

Read the varying opinions captured in the “Shopping Center Plan is Food for Thought at Restaurant” article by Larry Perl below. How do you respond to Wal-Mart coming to District 7. What if it was coming to your community?

The critics have been vocal and supporters mostly silent at community meetings about plans for a $65 million shopping center with apartments in north Baltimore.

But Spiro Conits, owner of the New Wyman Park Restaurant, said the naysayers have been at community association meetings — and the cheerleaders are at his restaurant.

“Anybody I’ve heard talk about it is for it,” Conits said.

The eatery, 138 W. 25th St., at the corner of 25th and Howard streets, is open for breakfast and lunch at ground zero of 25th Street Station, a proposed 11-acre shopping center.

The center would be co-anchored by a Wal-Mart and a Lowe’s.

It would be on the current Anderson Automotive site across the street from New Wyman Park Restaurant.

Baltimore City Councilwoman Belinda Conaway, 7th District, who represents the area, introduced zoning legislation April 19 to make the site a Planned Unit Development — ensuring that the project will move forward for city review and …Learn More

Want to Make Baltimore a Better Place?

Greater Homewood Community Corporation has an opportunity for you!

They are seeking qualified candidates for the nationally-renowned AmeriCorps VISTA program.

Sign on for a year of service with them and receive a modest living allowance, health benefits, and an end-of-service education award.

They have 10 positions available to start in August.

Think you have what it takes?

Click here for a list of opportunities, frequently asked questions and information on how to apply! …Learn More

A Message from Baltimore Public School System CEO

More School Choice for Families and Students

Dear City Schools Colleagues, Staff, Partners and Friends,

I am pleased to share with you some important news for the students and families of Baltimore City Public Schools. This week, the Baltimore City Board of School Commissioners moved City Schools a big step closer to being a school system where all Baltimore City families have school options that meet their children’s interests and needs, no matter where they live.

The Board voted to extend school choice to 5th-grade students for middle school in 2010-11, opening the way for many more students to choose schools for next year where they are likely to succeed.

Our prospective high school students are already choosing their high schools, and many rising middle school students at charter and Transformation Schools are exercising school choice. The Board’s action will give more 5th-grade students that same chance to attend schools that interest and work for them. For details on the middle school choice process, please click here.

It is critical that all Baltimore families with rising middle-grade students know about the school options available to their children for 2010-11. In the weeks ahead, City Schools will publish a Middle School …Learn More

A-rabber Enterprise

The Savoy Family, with volunteers of the A-rabber Enterprise, have been working to develop the A-rabber community as part of the solution for developing Baltimore related to such areas as youth, health, job skills, community gardens –all delivered in a green way.

See this month’s Urbanite and the graphics and article on page 34 by Elaine Eff and Mike Weikert, which highlights many of these ideas.

Click here to read the article.

…Learn More

Charles Village- “One of the Great Places in America”

Anyone who has ever navigated the streets of Baltimore knows when they come upon the center city neighborhood of Charles Village. One can’t help but notice all of the Victorian houses that are painted in quirky colors.

In 1998, Linda Brown Rivelis and Steven Rivelis from Campaign Consultation organized – along with a couple of their neighbors – the “Painted Ladies” campaign, encouraging homeowners and renters to paint their houses in three or more colors. This effort to display a streetscape statement of pride spread quickly throughout the community.

Today, there are over 200 brightly painted homes in the community. Each Painted Lady is a visible commitment to making Charles Village a great place to live, work, learn, and play.

The Painted Ladies campaign, along with several other grass roots initiatives (also backed by Campaign Consultation) – the nation’s first residential/business community benefits district, a community parade and festival, and a neighborhood driven PUD (planned unit development) – got results. Crime went down, home ownership went up, civic engagement increased.

In recognition of this urban success story, the American Planning Association recently named Charles Village “one of the Great Places in America.” Read more….

The Campaign Consultation team could …Learn More

A-rabber Enterprise:

Here’s a recap. The meeting Monday, accomplished two goals.

1. A strategy to get the horses back on “friendly” turf … not central city, but at a farm that the A-rabbers trust. So they’re not sold off and they can be kept together.

2. To review collection of good ideas that the public has presented with the A-rabbers. They gave the “green light” to about 95% of the ideas.

Ideas are are being capsulated and then will be shared with people interested in helping with business plan to build a sustainable A-rabber program. To goals is to see the A-rabber community as part of the solution for developing Baltimore related to such areas as youth, health, job skills, community gardens — all delivered in a green way.

Join the A-rabber Campaign! …Learn More

A-rabbers Enterprise

We want to thank everyone who has been involved in the A-rabbers Enterprise campaign. We have received some really excellent feedback and are working dilligently to get this process moving forward.

We are assembling the experts to provide the costs associated for land, stable complex, equipment, learning spaces, repair shops, etc. Once we have the costs, we can build the budget which will spawn the proposal for funding.

A draft proposal will be posted and we will be welcoming feedback. The fundraising team will review suggestions and make edits to build the strongest case for support from the funder’s perspective.

Then we’ll fundraise, because we need the resources to make the A-rabber Enterprise a reality and serve youth, promote health – all in a green way. …Learn More