Community School Updates
James McHenry: in week 12 or 13 of distance learning–had 90% today and in general attendance has been working pretty well. Have been doing a lot of outreach. Have regular curriculum distribution to families and are working with the United Way to distribute chickens to families in the area and James McHenry families. Also had turkey donations from UMB and the UM Police as well as winter coats. James McHenry is an Ingenuity School and are accepting applications for the Ingenuity program are open now–deadline for rising 6th graders to apply is December 23rd.
Amanda and Heidi discussed issues with using the free Comcast for families who had had Xfinity in the past, which is an issue when there are no longer hotspots available. The free wifi via UMB uses Comcast codes, which unfortunately don’t work if families have had Xfinity in the past 90 days. Heidi suggested Baltimore WAVES as an option for internet access–it depends on the geographic location of the families. Abigail also suggested reaching out to the Baltimore Digital Equity Coalition.
Franklin Square: are working on re-engaging families at Franklin Square E/M, as well as multi-tiered interventions that can work virtually. Also reaching out to partners for support for families who are struggling around the holidays.
Charles Carroll Barrister: focusing on attendance–rate has dropped from 94% to 90% so are focusing on attendance incentives. Gave out gift cards for attendance as well as an outerwear giveaway. Main focus has been gearing up for the holiday break. School budget has been frozen, so in general in need in donations and support. Money remains in school budgets, but they aren’t allowed to spend the funding. Have been able to connect families impacted by grief with resources.
Vivien T Thomas: team has been adjusting well to changes. Definitely been having attendance challenges, working with students to be proactive in identifying challenges and getting resources to them when they are needed. Students are really ready to be back to in person schooling. 9th graders are at 60% attendance, in general the school is at 70% attendance. Have put together incentive packages for the 9th graders so hopefully that will make an impact. There is definitely an issue with transitioning to high school for 9th graders that virtual learning has really made more challenging.
Felecia: held monthly Community Schools meeting–had four new schools join the call this month. Attendance has been a challenge for a lot of schools in the area, and has been an ongoing issue. The group discussed the planned closing for Lockerman Bundy. There is a vacancy for Community School Coordinator at Steuart Hill Academic Academy, are looking to fill the position again. SWP CS team is working on a donation wishlist.
Quincy asked if it would be possible to get academic data for the first quarter? Felecia will reach out to the principals and CS coordinators to see if there is academic data that they can share.
Loraine asked about the biggest challenge in reaching students? Felecia and Heidi said it was more having students and families that are hard to contact–phone numbers are out of service, addresses change, students are attending school from out of town.
Derrick asked if any schools were doing virtual field trips? Would be an attendance incentive. That would generally happen on a class by class basis–have been issues with screen fatigue.
Abigail suggested that developing attendance strategies around social networks in communities.
Felecia is looking for resources around supporting families in helping students who are dealing with grief and mental illness.
Derrick asked about the Mayor’s Office of Children and Families–do share information that they provide, don’t necessarily work directly with students.
Youth Engagement Subcommittee developed a ‘curriculum design subcommittee’ who are proposing a fertilizing event, matching mentors and mentees (youth and adults) and identify purpose and provide an orientation, and then working with adults and young people to develop the skills and information to work well together. That subcommittee is collecting effective models of this type of work. On Monday Lou met with an organization in San Antonio called Tomorrow Now–they were encouraged by the work we are doing and offered a lot of information which Lou will offer to the subcommittee next week. One of the ways they got started was starting an intergenerational steering committee which helped to jump start their efforts.
Next subcommittee meeting will be December 9th at 6pm.
Pod Subcommittee has been paused as there has been a lack of need around pods–families have not been identifying pods as a need, pivoted to support families around tech–but there was also a pause as families didn’t express a need for ongoing support. Will revisit after winter break to assess where families are and what needs they have.
Abigail is working on following up with the BioPark on the community money which they are interested in providing to schools.
Lou: Baltimore Community Foundation has a grant opportunity that he will share that could support our intergenerational steering committee.
Lou is in the process of thinking through a door knocking campaign to connect with all area residents, would like to collect ideas for questions from each committee–want it to be more than gathering a bunch of data–want it to be about building relational connections.
Qunicy toured the new Mother Mary Lange School there are a few hundred empty slots and tuition is $6000 a year. Alisha Jordan, the principal at the school, has been attending the community school meetings and has identified a staff member who will serve in a community school coordinator type role. Committee discussed a concern that the new school will decrease enrollment at area public schools.