Saturday, March 4, 2017

BCP February 2017 Newsletter

Read the Baltimore Curriculum Project's February 2017 newsletter at:

Video: The Adolescent Literacy Crisis in America

View the video of the Baltimore Curriculum Project's most recent Leading Minds forum: "The Adolescent Literacy Crisis in America: at:

For decades educators have attempted to avert the “fourth-grade slump” – the precipitous drop in performance experienced primarily by low-income children when reading texts become more complex and the subject matter broadens and deepens.

Despite the increased focus on early literacy instruction sparked by No Child Left Behind, millions of adolescents still struggle with low literacy skills. In 2015, 66% of all eighth-grade students, 85% of Black students and 79% of Hispanic students failed to perform proficiently in reading on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP).

Unless these students receive the intensive reading instruction they need in high school, their chances of graduating and securing gainful employment are slim to none.

On Friday, February 17, 2017 from 12:00 noon – 3:00pm the Baltimore Curriculum Project and the Johns Hopkins Institute for Education Policy hosted the ninth Leading Minds forum: "The Adolescent Literacy Crisis in America."


  • Dr. Elizabeth Birr Moje, Interim Dean, University of Michigan School of Education

  • Dr. Rhonda L. Richetta, Principal, City Springs Elementary/Middle School

  • Dr. Sonja B Santelises, Chief Executive Officer, Baltimore City Public Schools

  • Dr. David M. Steiner, Director, Johns Hopkins Institute for Education Policy (moderator)
Video other Leading minds forum videos at:

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

BCP September 2016 Newsletter

Read the BCP September 2016 Newsletter at:

This edition features:

  • "Are You Smarter than a BCP 5th Grader?" on April 20, 2017
  • How Does BCP Love Business Volunteers Maryland?
  • City Springs Elementary/Middle Celebrates 50th Anniversary
  • Govans Elementary "Back to School Blast Off" a Success
  • New Offerings at HHA for School Year 16/17
  • School Year Off to a Great Start at Wolfe Street Academy

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Restorative Circles Offer A Daily "Recharge" for Govans After School Students

By Sarah Ceponis, Director, BCP 21st Century Community Learning Center at Govans Elementary

Every day at 4:15pm, students at Govans Elementary hear an announcement over the loud speaker, "Time to clean up whatever you're working on. The restorative circle topic to start thinking about today is....", followed by a hint about the day's discussion question. 

Students and staff of the Baltimore Curriculum Project's 21st Century Community Learning Center at Govans Elementary -- a program made possible by the Maryland State Department of Education -- have come to expect and enjoy their ten minutes to recharge and check in with one another between after-school academics and enrichment time.

In November, all after-school staff members received training in the fundamentals of Restorative Practices, a positive approach to conflict resolution that proactively builds relationships and a sense of community to prevent conflict and wrongdoing. Training was provided by Chella Drew, a Restorative Practices consultant and former Director of Restorative Practices at Hampstead Hill Academy.

Restorative Circles can be used proactively to develop relationships and build community or reactively to respond to wrongdoing, conflicts and problems. With everyone now used to the daily restorative circle, it is a habit that students look forward to. Circles provide a a time to think about and share whatever comes to mind around the daily question or "circle starter". They are a time to learn from and listen to one another. 

Questions of the day can range from why animals hibernate to standing up to a bully; from what type of person would make a good mayor to what you might do if you won the lottery, from how to be a good teammate to traveling the world.

Based on the day of the week, topics rotate among being community-themed, learning-themed, conflict resolution-themed, or simply "Fun Thursday"-themed.

All 90 students, from K through 5, tune in and talk about the same topic in their classrooms, and sometimes, conversations carry over to enrichment, the hallways, or dinner.

Using restorative circles daily, in a fun and structured way, allows after school students to get used to the goal of circles: everyone having their voice heard.

Regularly practicing their circle etiquette and skills with the whole class means that when circles are needed for other reasons-- mediation, misbehavior, or bullying-- students are prepared and ready to, again, make their voice heard, and listen to the voices of their classmates.


BCP brought Restorative Practices to its schools in 2006 through the generous support of OSI-Baltimore and the Goldsmith Family Foundation. All administrators and staff members were trained by the International Institute for Restorative Practices (IIRP), which continues to be a strong BCP partner.

For more information about IIRP visit:

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Career Day 2015 at Govans Elementary

Govans Elementary hosted a Career Day on November 18, 2015 as part of the National Education Association's American Education Week.

We would like to thank the following guest speakers for participating:
  • Nick Alexopulos, Associate Director of Media Relations and Social Media at Loyola University Maryland
  • Muriel Berkeley, Member of the Baltimore City School Board of Commissioners and Founder/Former President of the Baltimore Curriculum Project
  • Michael Bell, Military Pilot/Engineer
  • Brandon Crowder, Area Leader at Procter & Gamble
  • Matt Facchine, System Architect at Northrop Grumman Corporation and Baltimore Curriculum Project Board Member
  • Councilman Bill Henry, Baltimore City Council
  • Clarence Jeffers, Pharmacist
  • Maggie Richard, Director of Professional Practice, Research, and Education for LifeBridge Health’s Sinai Hospital
  • Lamonte Tyler, Senior IT Support Analyst at Fox News Channel
  • Thiru Vignarajah, Deputy Attorney General, Maryland Office of the Attorney General and Baltimore Curriculum Project Board Member
  • David Walsh-Little, Chief Attorney, Felony Trial Division, Baltimore City Office of the Public Defender 
  • Marcus Washington, Anchor and Reporter, WJZ Eyewitness News

Monday, November 30, 2015

Nancy Grasmick Visits Govans Elementary for Ben Carson Reading Day

BCP and Govans Elementary​ would like to thank former Maryland State Superintendent Dr. Nancy Grasmick​ for serving as the guest reader at Govans Elementary School for the Ben Carson Reading Day on November 16, 2015.

Ben Carson Reading Day is an annual literacy event designed to raise awareness of the importance of everyday leisure reading.

Special thanks to the Carson Scholars Fund​ and Bank of America​ for creating the Carson Reading Room at Govans Elementary, which opened in 2011.

View the video at:

For more information about the Carson Scholars Fund visit: