Tag: baltimore city public schools

Johns Hopkins Helps Spiff Up Two Charles Village Schools

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Check out that cafeteria (pictured above)! It’s the new dining spot for the several hundred public school students who attend Charles Village’s Margaret Brent elementary/middle school, and it sure is spiffy… So spiffy, in fact, that it looks a lot nicer than what I remember of the basement cafeteria at Johns Hopkins’ Homewood campus. (I haven’t eaten there in a few years, so they may have installed their own colorful floor tiles in the meantime. But I have a sneaking suspicion they didn’t.)

Was Former Baltimore Schools Chief’s Contract “Overly Generous”?

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city schools CEO Andres Alonso

When Andrés Alonso announced his resignation as Baltimore school system CEO in May, he failed to give 90 days’ notice as outlined in his contract. The school board chose not to penalize him, and Alonso was able to cash out “unused vacation, sick, and personal leave days” for nearly $150,000.

If that amount makes you want to cuss, you’re not alone.

As reported in the Sun, Audrey Spalding, director of education policy at the Mackinac Center for Public Policy and an expert on superintendent contracts, called the figure “surprising” and symptomatic of a contract that was lucrative “to the point of being irresponsible.”

Who Changed Students’ Failing Grades at a Baltimore Middle School?

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Yikes. At Booker T. Washington Middle School, teachers discovered that some final grades they assigned to their students were altered after the fact from failing to passing. In more than one instance, a 50 percent (which is as low as they’re allowed to go) became a 90 percent (which is, you know, kind of high).

City Schools Spent Federal Funds on Cruises, Makeovers, and Chicken Dinners — So What?

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school-great

A federal audit determined that Baltimore city schools misspent thousands of dollars of federal grant money during 2009 and 2010. That includes $4,352 from Title I funds spent on Inner Harbor dinner cruises for parents, staff, and volunteers, $2,413 spent on chicken dinners for 28 people, $1,336 spent on theater tickets for 30 people, and $500 spent on a makeover day for mothers and daughters.

The audit also found hundreds of thousands of dollars that may have been spent on legitimate expenses, but were poorly accounted for — incomplete time sheets, invoices with no description of services, that kind of thing.

As much as Republicans (and some Democrats) in the state legislature are using the findings as an opportunity to sneer at typical liberal spendthrifts who have squandered our hard-earned tax dollars (and on what? Makeovers?! Cruises?!), the reality is probably a little more complicated, and a little less politically convenient.

Gun-Shaped-Pastry Control at Park Elementary?

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I told you. They’ve just been biding their time, waiting for any excuse to seize our pop-tarts.

I missed this the first time around. A second-grader at Park Elementary was suspended earlier this month for — allegedly — biting at his breakfast pastry until it looked like a gun and making “inappropriate gestures that disrupted the class.”

City Teachers Paid Thousands of Dollars to Reduce Suspensions

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Baltimore City schools have got a suspension problem — over 10,000 suspensions a year, district-wide. And that’s particularly an issue when you look at the link between out-of-school suspensions and test scores. On the 2012 Maryland School Assessments, “students who attended school regularly scored 22 percentage points higher in math and 17 percentage points higher in reading.”

Alonso’s Massive School Construction Plan One Step Closer to Reality

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city schools CEO Andres Alonso
city schools CEO Andres Alonso

On Tuesday, the Baltimore school board voted unanimously to approve city schools CEO Andres Alonso’s massive — we’re talking $2.4 billion spent over ten years —  school construction plan, which would close 26 schools and renovate 136 others.

Baltimore Schools to Fire Many Temporary Employees Right Before Christmas

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Last month, a temporary worker at Hazelwood Elementary/Middle School in Northeast Baltimore was charged with sexual abuse of a minor. Some months prior, Baltimore’s teachers union complained that temporary employees were filling union jobs. And now, the city school system is not only reevaluating its vetting process, but plans to fire many temporary employees by Friday.

Baltimore Public Schools CEO Wants to Shut Down 17 Schools

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Andres Alonso, Baltimore city schools chief (pictured), wants to shut down 17 city schools, renovate or replace 136 of them, and relocate 12 more over the next decade. The plan was unveiled Tuesday as a solution to the decrepit state of the buildings many Baltimore students are expected to learn in. (The plan’s executive summary cites buildings that lack computer set-ups, air conditioning, natural light, and safe drinking water in the fountains.) He just needs $2.4 billion to make it happen.

Foodie Celeb Alice Waters Stops by Baltimore School Garden This Week (Recipe Included)

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It would be easy for Alice Waters, the celebrity-chef owner of Chez Panisse and godmother to the organic/local food movement, to spend her days sniffing over heirloom eggplants and other organic delicacies at Berkeley farmers markets. Just like it would’ve been easy for Jennifer Crisp to continue her career as a chef in California, home of the country’s most discerning foodies. But “easy” isn’t necessarily what these women are interested in — which is why you’ll find both of them with their hands in the dirt this week, helping expand one struggling Baltimore City school’s nascent garden program.

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