Credit: Sheri Hairston

By Bill Ordine

Prior to start of the current school year, the Henderson-Hopkins school in East Baltimore was a frustrating contradiction.

The kindergarten through eighth grade school on Ashland Avenue, the first new school built in that part of the city in more than 20 years when it opened in January 2014, is an architectural gem that stands in contrast to many other city schools.

However, what was happening inside the school didn’t match the smartly functional physical appearance; test scores at some grade levels were especially disappointing and even enrollment was declining.

Peter Kannam–who took over as the school’s new principal last summer and was charged with reversing the school’s direction–felt his first order of business was not inside that new building. Rather, it was on the streets surrounding his new school.

“We started by knocking on doors starting in August,” Kannam said. “We knocked on 685 doors with my staff. We wanted to know, ‘What did people want from their school that they weren’t getting?’ And we listened. What they told us was that they wanted more after-school activities.”

Read the rest of this story over at PressBox.