Education and Workforce Development Committee
February 2nd 2017
1138 Hollins St 2nd Floor
PopFarm has been through the Committee before, a while back. Bill is here to give an update and make an ask.
PopFarm is owned by the city, licensed to James McHenry Elementary/Middle School. The lot is in Poppleton at 14 N Schroeder St. The site has been vacant for decades and used for dumping. 20 years ago it was a community garden organized by Del. Ruth Kirk. Site was adopted by students at Johns Hopkins through the Power in Dirt Program for children in Poppleton, but they lost capacity and the garden returned to being a dumping site. James McHenry Garden Club was looking for a new site and took over the license for the lot. University of Maryland Baltimore agreed to be a partner for the project.
The partners began a process to develop a long term plan for the space so it would be used by students, families, and communities. They worked with the Neighborhood Design Center, who created the attached plan.
NDC plan divided the garden into four ‘rooms’ garden, community space, play area, and orchard. The garden would always be open to the community.
Whiting Turner will bring a shipping container to store materials for the community in February 2017.
The types of fruit trees in the orchard were selected by the gardeners. The adults voted for Pomegranate and children for PawPaw. Would be largest Pomegranate orchard in the city and first in W Baltimore. There will also be a Pop Up Market at Pop!Farm where students could learn entrepreneurial skills. Market would be built into the fence.
Bill is hoping that the Education Committee is interested in being involved in the project, which would mean that the SWP would be the fiscal sponsor for grants and Committee members would help market Pop!Farm to the community and bring resources that could help Pop!Farm back to the Committee.
UMB, as part of their partnership with James McHenry, is committed to implementing the plan and finding funding.
Jane B: who will manage the scheduling of the community space? Abigail asked how to schedule school use?
Bill: right now, James McHenry is the only K-12 partner, so the issue hasn’t arisen. It is something they need to look at.He will get information from James McHenry on procedure for other schools using the open space.
Lou: idea is that this could this be a model that be planned at all the schools.
Bill: ultimate decision maker for the lot is Mr Miller, the principal at James McHenry. Bill himself is doing the logistical work (grant writing, volunteer recruitment)–consults with Mr Miller and the James McHenry Community School Coordinator (Emily Ames-Messinger). Also consults with the Poppleton Now! Community Association.
Amanda: what is the timeline for the project? Bill: as soon as possible. As money is raised projects are implemented.
Bill explained why the SWP’s assistance is needed. James McHenry is not a great partner for accepting money, UMB not ideal–internal infrastructure not conducive for swift action for community work, impossible to spend money without fronting the money. Also Universities are excluded from a lot of foundation grants.
Elizabeth explained the ways in which the SWP would be at risk and would benefit from being involved. As no money would be spent that had not been previously raised for the project, the SWP would not be financially at risk. We would need to make sure that there was open and clear communication between all of the partners. Benefits would be to support a great community project and to get the Southwest Partnership name is out in the community.
Bill: James McHenry, UMB, Poppleton Now! Knows that interested in switching fiscal sponsors, HRNI (the previous fiscal sponsor) still unaware.
A question was raised about the accessibility of the garden. There will be a lock on the shed, no lock on the community space. Theft has not been a problem so far, and rodents have not been a problem because of the cats.
Bill made a motion that the Committee become the fiscal sponsor of the garden, Jane B seconded.
Vote: 7 in favor, the movement passed.
Feleicia is unable to present tonight due to illness, and would like to present next month. She is meeting with the city and the police department and the new superintendent to cast a vision for the connection for the police and schools.
Baltimore Education Coalition
There is a $132 million shortfall in funding for Baltimore City Public Schools, including a $42 million cut in the Governor’s budget. There will be a rally in Annapolis to advocate for improved funding of Baltimore City Public Schools on April 23rd. If we get enough folks from the area signed up, we can get a bus or buses to pick up in the area.
Abigail: has gone in the past, has found rallying very effective both in showing people that when they gather together they have the power to achieve their goals and in getting media and legislative attention which is helpful to the city delegation as they advocate for city schools.
Abigail: everyone represents a school/community–everyone responsible for recruiting people from their school, community. Elizabeth will make a sign up sheet.
Elizabeth will be the point person communicating with the BEC and coordinating logistics.
Bill made a motion to recruit community members for the rally, Abigail seconded, motion passed.
The Southwest Partnership is working to put together a proposal to do a community-wide planning process with the goal of instituting community schools in every interested SWP area school. We are still in the process of meeting with schools to get their buy in. We should know who is interested and have a proposal by next month.
Stand for Youth (Virginia Grant)
A dual enrollment program at UM BioPark, they operate like a school, and are a member of the College Board. Working with schools in the area, met with Vivien T who wants to have the program in the school, will also have students from the Excel program.
Also meeting with James McHenry. Have eight different programs which include a STEM component as well a professional association associated.
Also have a K-5 component.
Provide young adults with nationally recognized certifications. Programs are accounting, biotechnology lab specialist, coding specialist, construction supervision, cyber security and assurance, information technology, lab animal science, practical nursing, paramedic bridge certification.
Hire teachers to provide the content during the summer.
Looking at being involved at Excel and Vivien T Thomas, James McHenry. Also interested in rehab projects for the construction crew group. Have very small groups up to 10 and always have industry professionals running the programs. Also having a College and Career Fair at the BioPark on July 8th. Interested in working with anyone and hearing any feedback. Applying for a grant from the Baltimore City Funding Collaborative for a YouthWorks program.
Program depends on MSDE requirements, evidence based life skills programs. Interested in what local partnerships there might be in the SWP area.
Lou will reach out to Ms Grant to connect her to other relevant Committees.
James McHenry Talent Show: tomorrow, 2/3 at 4pm