Strong neighborhoods need strong schools. As an administrator of Healthy Neighborhoods, which focuses on revitalizing middle-market areas, we understand that the most effective way to attract and retain families in our neighborhoods is to ensure that their children receive a good education. That is why we see quality schools as integral to healthy community development and vibrant urban living.
With our deep connections in the community and years of partnership with higher educational institutions, nonprofit and faith-based institutions, GHCC is a trusted and reliable partner to six public schools where we annually leverage more than $1.5 million in resources that ensure academic success for children. Our partner schools include:
- Barclay Elementary/Middle
- Dallas F. Nicholas Sr. Elementary
- Guilford Elementary/Middle
- Margaret Brent Elementary/Middle
- Waverly Elementary/Middle
- Abbottston Elementary School
Research has shown that integrating academic and nonacademic services into schools is of great benefit to students, schools, and neighborhoods. A great example is the nationally recognized Community Schools model of integrating academics, health and social services, youth extracurricular enrichment, and community engagement to improved student learning, stronger families, and healthier communities. Typically, these services are brokered and managed by a community-based organization. Here in Baltimore, GHCC excels in this role.
With funding from the City and City Schools, we are able to employ full-time Community School Coordinators at four of our partner schools: Waverly Elementary/Middle, Margaret Brent Elementary/Middle, Guilford Elementary/Middle, and the Barclay School. Our staff collaborate with over 80 partners including the Johns Hopkins University, Goucher College, MICA, Towson University, and Loyola University, to leverage and coordinate service delivery, manage volunteers, and engage parents and neighborhood residents.
Great Schools Charles Village
GHCC’s Great Schools Charles Village Initiative focuses on enrolling more families into Margaret Brent Elementary/Middle and The Barclay School. When the Initiative began in 2010, we convened a focus group of local parents to identify the most important factors to them in choosing a school. Since then, we have been working with these parents, school staff, and community leaders to strengthen teaching and learning, and build neighborhood enrollment at the schools. Support from the Goldseker Foundation and Johns Hopkins University has enabled us to bring new programs like project-based learning, music and theater, and the JHU developed Success For All curriculum and Brain Targeted Teaching model.
For all families who are currently enrolled in our partner schools, GHCC focuses efforts on helping parents form and organize effective parent groups and connect to their children’s learning. For example, we work closely with The Village Parents to support their efforts in making Charles Village a family-friendly neighborhood with great activities for kids, great open spaces, and great schools. We also facilitate community and parent input in important school decisions: budgets, selection of new principals, and evaluation of school leadership. For information on becoming more involved, including how to join your school’s Family Council, please contact our Parent Organizer, Toria Schrayer at email@example.com or 443.826.9048.
GHCC uses its reputation, influence, expertise, and grassroots reach to affect public policy and ensure funding for education and neighborhood revitalization.
We are a founding member of the Baltimore Education Coalition (BEC), whose mission is to ensure that all children in Baltimore City receive an excellent education. BEC organizes and mobilizes the Baltimore community, including organizations, parents, teachers, and students, and advocates for effective education reform policies and practices. GHCC donates staff time to assist with BEC organizing and event logistics and takes the lead in organizing in the 43rd legislative district as well as at all six of GHCC’s partner schools.
GHCC is also a lead group as part of the Transform Baltimore Campaign, which seeks city and state support for innovative financing to fully renovate and rebuild all of Baltimore’s crumbling school buildings. With creative financing and dedicated new revenue, our city can build new schools to provide our children with facilities that help them learn and achieve. Instead of substandard old school buildings that are a liability for neighborhoods, new state of the art schools could help us revitalize neighborhoods and attract and retain families in the city.
GHCC led advocacy efforts for Waverly’s new school building. Construction is now under way, click here for images of the new building, scheduled to open in late 2013.
Barclay Youth Safe Haven (BYSH)
Barclay Youth Safe Haven (BYSH) is a community-based mentoring and after-school program for children living in the Barclay neighborhood of north central Baltimore. BYSH provides academic support, intensive mentoring, and extracurricular activities for students in grades K through 5 who are in need of a safe and supportive environment after the school day ends. The program works with the surrounding community to address the needs of both the young people in the program and the community as a whole.
Each young person in the program is matched to an adult volunteer, and they agree to meet for at least two hours per week. Students can meet with their mentors during the hours of the daily after-school program (Monday-Friday 2:40-5:40pm), or at other times agreed upon by the mentor in conversation with the young person and their family. The program is currently held at Dallas F. Nicholas Sr. Elementary School, which is located at 201 E. 21st Street.
Mentors provide young people with a consistent adult role model who listens, shows understanding, and helps problem solve. A mentor may serve many roles including that of friend, confidant and/or coach. Youth lacking this type of stable influence are often at risk for making negative choices that may permanently impact the rest of their lives and the stability of their community. For more information on how you can become a mentor, please contact Lesa Sexton, Program Director, at firstname.lastname@example.org or at (410) 301-8604.