North Baltimore Gets a New Charter School

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With help from several local education leaders, including Loyola prof Peter Murrell and former Gilman School headmaster Jon McGill, Baltimore City will see a brand new public charter school opening fall 2012 in North Baltimore.

As Murrell, an urban studies professor at Loyola, notes, “At this point, there’s no school that’s focused on college access and African-American students.” This school would be the city’s attempt to fill that hole. So what would make this particular charter school stand out?  Well, for one, the school’s goal would be to have kids taking college-level classes as early as 10th grade. Students would show up to college better prepared, and potentially be able to graduate from college a year (or more!) early.

It may seem counterintuitive to have a high school put an emphasis on college-level classes — especially a school that will most likely draw students from disadvantaged backgrounds. But fans of the early college high school model say that it’s exactly this rigor that encourages students to thrive. More than 230 of these schools have opened over the past decade, most of them catering to “low-income youth, first-generation college goers, English language learners, students of color, and other young people underrepresented in higher education.”

When it opens in the fall of 2012, the school will host 150 students chosen by lottery, half each in the sixth and seventh grades. Over the next few years, grades eight through twelve would be phased in.



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