Southwest Partnership
Education Committee

June 1 2017

1138 Hollins St 2nd Floor




Sheila Drummond Camm

Kelleigh Eastman

Lou Packett

Dan Morrison

Julie Rivera

Abigail Breiseth

Jane Buccheri

Laurie-Lynn Smith

Tenne Thrower

Amanda Benjamin

Bill Joyner

Vernell Lewis

Sabrina Sutton

Elizabeth Weber


James McHenry and George Washington Update

James McHenry has received a federal SIG (School Improvement Grant) which will provide a large amount of money over the next three years. There has been a change in leadership and all but four staff members. The new principal is Chris Turk, who was the principal at George Washington Elementary School, which is also one of the SWP neighborhood schools. He will be taking over at James McHenry on July 1st.


What are the Committee’s priorities for next steps? What do we want to see happen at these two schools?

  • Sit down with Principal Turk, sit down and see how we can be involved in moving forward. The same with the new principal at George Washington.
  • Lou: what does BCPSS anticipate in the choice of principal in moving forward?
    • Laurie Lynn, Sabrina could speak to that better–there is a role for community in that engagement process.
      • Someone needs to be on the School Family Council, and its preferential that it’s someone from the neighborhood. Should let Sabrina know who the community would like on the list. Will send Kelleigh’s, Aparna’s, and Hernan’s name to Sabrina for inclusion.
    • Abigail: was there community engagement when Principal Turk was selected for James McHenry
      • No, that was an appointment
      • Lou: doesn’t see from the federal grant that community members aren’t engaged in the process, and that not having community members engaged in the principal selection process ignores that.
        • Laurie-Lynn: wasn’t involved in that process so can’t speak to that any more
    • Abigail: what’s the involvement of Principal Martin?
      • There’s a proposal that Commodore John Roberts would be a lab school–Principal Martin would still be principal, but would mentor turnaround principal and the school would be a hub of learning for professional development
  • Dan Morrison: can we invite the PTAs be involved? Can we encourage them to attend. Ms Vernell will follow up with the PTA and Elizabeth will follow up with Emily.
  • Plan is for James McHenry to be a community school, but it’s up to the principal if they will stay with SWCOS/UMB. It also needs to be a mutual decision between the community school provider and the school.
  • Kelleigh: Citizens of Pigtown board would probably want to be involved with the principal selection involvement at George Washington
  • Dan: Hollins Roundhouse would want to have more communication between the school and the community association. Would like to know what other groups are doing and ways that the neighborhood association can supplement that. This has been a challenge with changes in the principal. It’s challenging for community members to try and establish relationships with the schools only to have the potential for change be there.
    • Abigail: could Emily put together a list of programs and partnerships that people are invested in so that they stay. Concerned about programs that are teacher-led and that parents and the community expect to happen and that there are problems when the program doesn’t continue.
    • Tenne: that is part of the process, want to build a culture of building on existing partnerships and investments rather than always doing new programs and cutting existing programs. This would be Tenne’s primary role in the district is to help coordinate.
      • Sabrina: This will be the role of the Office of Community Engagement at the District, to help the principal see how important existing partnerships with. It’s the job of the Office of Community Engagement to facilitate the process of sharing information with the community.
    • Bill: to make sure he is on the same page–if Office of Community Engagement is the tool for making sure those programs continue, but wants to know how exactly this will happen
      • Sabrina: will set up a meeting, and the community will need to make the case to the principal
      • Tenne: would want to meet with community partners to strategize before the meeting
      • Bill thinks it will be important to know publicly all the programs that are in the school so that everyone knows what is going on in the school
    • Bill: is there a way for the community to input some of their programs into the plan? So that if leadership changes the programs would stay in there?
      • Yes, but the plan can be changed
    • Tenne: the best way to do big, multi-year plans is through an MOU with the School
    • Lou: this is why the community school model is so important–shouldn’t there some over-riding principle that says some things have to stay the same?
      • Tenne: not really, the biggest sources of power is the School Family Council, which is open to the entire community. It’s important to keep in mind that decisions do need to be based on school data and school needs.
    • Dan: likes the idea of an MOU to protect programs that are funded through outside programs, especially those that there has been large investment in the schools. Would like to see 2-3 year commitments to programs invested in by the community to a large extent
    • Abigail: accountability and trust are the big issues here–is there a way that the community can be a part of designing the assessment
      • Do want community members to be part of the plan
      • MSDE is who checks the plan, and determines the metrics for assessment
      • Laurie-Lynn: have a timeline of their community engagement. The plan is developed from the needs assessment. When the plan is reviewed by the state they determine the metrics, and require measures of effectiveness. They will receive the narrative of the plan with the budget attached, and will determine whether they think it is robust and effective enough.
  • Jane: would hope to have same type of relationship with the new principal as there has been with Mr Miller.
  • Abigail: will James McHenry staff be able to re-apply?
    • Yes
  • It is still unclear if James McHenry would be affected by the layoffs
  • Vernell: have they come to the neighborhood association meeting?
    • Schools were asked to submit information about partners and contact information–some of the information was not shared to all the community partners. Only mandated that information is shared with the members of the School Family Council and the Community School Steering Committee. Can get information about them from Emily and Mr Miller.
  • Jane: Is the questionnaire that was distributed the questionnaire that will be distributed at the fun fair? Are there going to be people at the fun fair who will assist community members in taking the survey
    • Tenne: that will be here, and yes.
  • Jane: who should she contact about the James McHenry Rec Center–trying to sort out if the school system still owns the Rec Center
  • Develop questions that were left unanswered and can be forwarded on


Program Updates and Announcements

Jane: a large company may (and this is a big maybe) be interested in putting money into the Rec Center–Jane was asked because she had been involved in it in the past to meet with them in the past. She spoke with Dan to update HRNA. The meeting was to provide the history on the Rec Center to express the concerns on the history. Tried three years ago to get active programs in the Rec Center and there was very limited support from Parks and Recreation, especially after a change in local management.  However, there are concerns about the ways in which it is currently being managed. Mr Miller had been making inroads in the Rec Center, but there is still no structured programming. There is still a lot of work that needs to be done to determine programming.

Jane: asking if the Committee would like to take it on as a project?

Jane will send Dan a one page summary, so he can reach out to the other presidents to see if they are interested, and present at the HRNA Board meeting.