Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Calvert School Reaches Out to Hampstead Hill Academy

Calvert School teacher Mrs. Gilly Babb has launched the "Book Bonanza Project" to provide books for students at Hampstead Hill Academy. The project, part of Calvert's Community Outreach Program, is focused on kids helping kids. Mrs. Babb's students are making books for students in Pre-K and Kindergarten.

Their goal is to make a book for each student that allows them to practice the skills taught in school. Students will receive the books after the holidays. In addition, each child will be given a new set of markers, crayons, or pens and some books from the book drive.

Calvert students in grades 5-8 are responsible for creating the books, raising the money to buy the markers and motivating fellow students to bring in gently used books. "By all accounts we have had a lot of fun working on the books and look forward to giving them away," says Mrs. Babb.

We'd like to thank Mrs. Babb and her students for supporting Hampstead Hill Academy.

City Springs Students are Eager to Return to School

Due to inclement weather Baltimore City Schools are closed today, but one City Springs School student doesn't want a snow day. Here is the story in City Springs Principal Rhonda Richetta's own words:

"The school bell rang. I couldn’t see who it was except that it was a little person wearing a hood. So I asked, 'May I help you?' And he said, 'Ms. Richetta, school’s closed tomorrow!' I said I knew and he asked if he could come tomorrow any way.

I told him there would be nothing for him to do here tomorrow and I wasn’t sure how long I would be here. He also asked me if I got them a present this year (because last year I gave all the students City Springs beanie hats).

I told him yes, and he wanted to know when they would get their present and what it was. I told him that they would get it in January and that it was a surprise. I told him I would give it to him now if I had it, but they had not been delivered yet due to the snow.

He said okay and that he might stop back tomorrow. I said okay (as I was trying not to cry). It was one of my 6th grade boys. It was very heart-wrenching."

Happy Holidays!

BCP Schools Benefit from $12 million Grant

A program new to Baltimore is aiming to help nearly 500 families on the eastside suceed by focusing specifically on its young people.

City, school system and community leaders welcomed a $12 million grant from the Atlantic Philanthropies yesterday to implement Elev8 [pronounced elevate]. Atlantic Philanthropies is an international foundation with a focus on children and youth.

The East Baltimore Development Inc. (EBDI) will administer Elev8 Baltimore, that is designed to improve educational and social outcomes for middle-grade youth and their families. The grant is part of a national effort to prepare youth for high school and continue on to graduation.

"It is our strong belief that our redevelopment efforts in east Baltimore will be significantly enhanced by the Elev8 Baltimore initiative,” said Christopher Shea, interim President & CEO of EBDI. “With Elev8 Baltimore in place, our greatest contribution to this community will be the legacy of high quality learning, health and family supports that children, youth and adults in this neighborhood can rely upon for years to come.”

The grant will allow Elev8 Baltimore to transform Collington Square School for the Arts, Dr. Rayner Browne Academy, Tench Tilghman Elementary/Middle School and the new East Baltimore Community School, which opened in August.


Saturday, December 19, 2009

Duncan, Gingrich and Sharpton Visit Hampstead Hill Academy

Hampstead Hill Academy's outstanding student performance attracted the national spotlight on November 13, 2009 as Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, and the Reverend Al Sharpton brought their "listening tour" to the BCP charter school. Hampstead Hill was one of only three Baltimore schools chosen for the visit because it is an example of a successful learning environment that is meeting the needs of a diverse range of students.

The school was proud to host dozens of neighborhood, foundation, political, public education and faith community leaders who came to talk with the visitors about public education in Baltimore. Honored guests included State Superintendent Nancy Grasmick and City Schools CEO Andres Alonso.

View NBC's Meet the Press video of the visit:

Thursday, December 17, 2009

BCP Principals Grow Mustaches to Raise Money for Schools

This month Hampstead Hill Academy Principal Matt Hornbeck and Wolfe Street Academy Principal Mark Gaither competed in a mustache-growing contest to raise money for their schools. Mark won, raising $3,553. Matt was fourth with $1,715.

Read the Baltimore Sun article from December 16, 2009 here.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

The Jean & Sidney Silber Foundation Supports Hampstead Hill Academy Summer Program

We would like to thank the Jean & Sidney Silber Foundation for their gift of $7,500 in support of the 2010 summer program at Hampstead Hill Academy. The summer program will provide academic instruction, enrichment activities, and physical education for Hampstead Hill students.

Mr. and Mrs. Silber have been involved in charitable work in the Baltimore community for many years. You can read more about the Silbers in the Baltimore Community Foundation's Fall 2006 newsletter:

Monday, December 14, 2009

David L. Holder Education Foundation Supports Hampstead Hill Academy

BCP and Hampstead Hill Academy would like to thank the David L. Holder Education Foundation for their recent grant of $8,000. The grant will support the Hampstead Hill Hornets Girls Soccer Team and Boys Basketball Programs, as well as an outdoor leadership experience at Genesee Valley Outdoor Learning Center. Genessee Valley provides groups experiences in the fields, woods and lakes on their 300+-acre property.

The David L. Holder Education Foundation was established in 2008 upon David’s untimely passing due to a rare form of non-hodgkin’s lymphoma. Although a mere 35 years at the time of his death, David left behind a tremendous legacy of community service, a passion for nature, and a commitment to public education.

In order to honor David’s memory and keep his passions alive, the Foundation will both continue to contribute to organizations that David cared about, and build new, enduring relationships and programs in the communities that he supported.

David Holder was an active member of the Baltimore Curriculum Project Board of Directors from 2006-2008 and is dearly missed.

For more information on the David L. Holder Education Foundation visit:

Friday, December 4, 2009

Soccer League Unites Schools and Community

Fourth grader Colby Johnson summed it all up when he told everyone at school about his experience playing soccer in his Patterson Park after-school league: "I like being out in the park for soccer. I learned how to keep the ball away from people on the other team, and I had fun." It is just that simple—playing outside in a public park, challenging oneself to learn, building skills and having fun doing it. This fall, three neighboring schools—Patterson Park Public Charter School, Hampstead Hill Academy and Wolfe Street Academy—developed their own soccer league where 66 students in grades two through five learned to play the beautiful game of soccer. More importantly, they learned to play as a team and respect themselves and others.

Read full article:{29932024-CEB2-45F0-A6A0-E5F280865490}&notoc=1

Ziger/Snead’s Classroom of the Future

In the summer of 2009, Ziger/Snead participated in Architecture for Humanity’s Classroom of the Future Open Architecture Challenge. The brief was to work with an existing educational organization to create a classroom design that would best serve their needs into the next century. Participating designers worked with schools from all over the world, but we decided to stay close to home, partnering with our friends at the Baltimore Curriculum Project. BCP is a nonprofit charter school operator that runs five schools in the city. We’ve worked with them in the past, collaborating on a vision for a renovated auditorium at the Collington Square School, and on the recently completed library, early learning center, and Phase One Masterplan for the Hampstead Hill Academy.

For this project, Rhonda Richetta, the principal of City Springs School, brought our team from Z/S into the classroom to talk to students about architecture, and find out from them what their school needed.

Read full article:

Higher Achievement at Collington Square

Liz Bowie's article in the Baltimore Sun on December 1, 2009 describes the Higher Achievement Program at Collington Square School of the Arts.

Read here:

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Wolfe Street Academy Custodian Helps Haiti

On a damp Monday morning with the wind exceeding 40 knots, Jean Locklear was out sweeping the trash that slobs had dumped on the street over the weekend.

Jean Locklear is the custodian at Wolfe Street Academy, the little neighborhood school at Gough and Wolfe streets, and she has a strong sense of what should be done and how it should be done.

Therefore she was out in her shirtsleeves in a howling gale with broom and dustpan, because no matter what happens trash is not welcome at Wolfe Street Academy. The rain may be falling sideways and tree limbs might be creaking ominiously, but there is litter in the tree wells and on the sidewalk and that is just unacceptable.

Besides, the place has to look its best when children and staff—organized by (who else?) Jean Locklear, collect loose change and paper cash for Haitian relief at the end of this week.

“It’s terrible, and they need help,” says Locklear. All of the money collected will go to the Red Cross.

Students and staff will be in front of the school and at the corner of Wolfe and Gough streets from 7 a.m.-noon on Thursday and Friday, Jan. 28-29. They will have buckets to collect cash.

“We have some buckets with wide mouths so if the light is green people can toss change on the fly,” said Mark Gaither, principal of Wolfe Street Academy.

The Red Cross is providing aid and shelter to earthquake refugees, most of whom have been living outdoors since the earthquake struck on Tuesday, Jan. 12. The 7.0 earthquake was the worst in two centuries in the poverty-ridden Caribbean country, and many buildings collapsed in Port au Prince. Most of the rest of the buildings remaining in the capital are uninhabitable. It is a catastrophe.

You do what you can, so Jean Locklear, showing the mindset that sent her outside in a gale to sweep the sidewalk, went to WSA principal Mark Gaither to begin organizing a penny drive to help the Haitians.
Wolfe Street Academy is a preK-5 school where 93 percent of the students receive free or reduced-price breakfast and lunch. More than 50 percent of its students speak English as a second language. Very few WSA families are well-do-do. Big checks for Haiti might not be forthcoming at WSA, but loose change is a real possibility.

Gaither keeps a five-gallon water cooler jug in his office. He has told his students that he wants it to be so heavy by the end of the week that he can no longer fill it. It was about a quarter-full on Monday, with loose change, many singles and a five-dollar bill.

Every morning at breakfast he makes a big weight-lifter act of hoisting the bottle. He grunts and groans. The children laugh and go cadge some more money from Mom or Dad or the neighbors.
“I talked about money for Haiti at our Martin Luther King service day,” said Gaither. “Usually there is a lot of noise in the room when I make announcements, but this time they went quiet.” He made a flat motion with his hands and said a quiet “whoo.”

“I told them how proud I am of them. They understand how terrible it is there.”

People going to work can drive straight down Wolfe Street on Thursday and Friday morning and drop off a donation. Jean Locklear, and the children who understand that times can always get tougher, will be there to accept with a smile.

by Jacqueline Watts

From The Baltimore Guide, 10/27/2010

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Screening of Film by Collington Square Students at The Charles

From Liz Bowie's InsideEd Blog:

Last year, Collington Square Elementary/Middle School teacher Koli Tengella worked with students to make a 30-minute film that portrayed students participating in an academic contest they didn't think their school could win. The film explores the social stigmas many students face in schools, he said.

On Thursday, the Charles is allowing third- through eight-graders from Collington Square to view the first showing of the film. It won't be open to the public, but we will try to have it online here in the coming days. And Tengella said the the film will be shown again at the central branch of the Enoch Pratt Free Library on Sunday, Nov. 1 at 2 p.m.

"I personally want these children to understand their world is much bigger than they think it is," Tengella said.

Tengella, Collington Square's theater arts teacher, said he was able to get the help of a filmmaker to work with the children. About 50 children act in the drama and only three adults.

Hampstead Hill Opens Early Learning Wing

WJZ-TV covers the ribbon-cutting ceremony for Hampstead Hill Academy's new Early Learning Wing on August 28, 2009.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

City Paper Features Hampstead Hill Academy

A June 3rd article in the Baltimore City Paper features the Food for Life program at Hampstead Hill Academy.

Video of Hampstead Hill Food for Life Program

The Plant-Based Nutrition website features a video about the Food for Life program at Hampstead Hill Academy.

The Food for Life program uses the Food Studies Institute's Food is Elementary curriculum. The Food Studies Institute (FSI) is devoted to changing the health destinies of children through proper nutrition and education. This has been the life-long work of Dr. Antonia Demas whose groundbreaking curriculum, Food is Elementary, educates children about nutrition by providing a positive experience of food and food preparation that is fun, hands-on and sensory-based.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Hampstead Hill Lit Mag Featured on BCPS Website

The Baltimore City Public Schools website features an article about Hampstead Hill Academy's Literary Magazine.

Read the BCPS article...

Download the Hampstead Hill Academy Literary Magazine.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Milt Thompson Selected As New Beloit Superintendent

BCP Board Member Milt Thompson has been selected to become the new Schools Superintendent for Beloit, Wisconsin. Mr. Thompson will take over the 7,130-student district on July 1, leaving his post as the Kenosha Unified School District's director of Title I, English as a Second Language and summer school programs.


Unified veteran to run Beloit district (Kenosha News)

School chief ready to start job (Beloit Daily News)

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Hampstead Hill in City Journal

A City Journal article from Autumn 2008 takes a look at the use of Direct Instruction in Pre-K classrooms, including Hampstead Hill Academy.
For the full article visit:

"One site that has endured is Hampstead Hill Academy, a public charter school (pre-K to grade 8) operated by the Baltimore Curriculum Project, a nonprofit organization specializing in Direct Instruction. Stephanie Brown has taught DI math, reading, and language curricula there for ten years, the last five in all-day, state-funded pre-K. Eighty percent of her students come from poor homes, more than half are African-American or Latino, and one-third are immigrants still learning English. Many arrive not knowing how to hold a pair of scissors, use pronouns, speak in complete sentences, or follow simple directions. By the end of the school year, they have learned to sort objects into classes, identify opposites, recognize logical absurdities, use synonyms and if/then statements, create definitions for objects, read simple sentences, and do simple addition problems."

Collington Square in EBDI Newsletter

The January 2009 EBDI newsletter featured the following article about Collington Square School:

Collington Square School Forges Ahead

A celebration was held on Tuesday, December 9th at Collington Square School, operated by the Baltimore Curriculum Project, to mark the renovation of the school’s library. Ten years in the making, the project included upgrading, expanding, and/or building an office, stage, computer lab, IT station, and broadcast room.

Generous in-kind and monetary donations from Baltimore City Public Schools, school partners and other sources made this project possible. Some of those partners were on hand, including Mr. Henry Kahn and Rickey Hill from Hogan & Hartson LLP; Ms. Michelle Kurta, Ms. Sarah Morgan, and Ms. Jessica Rae from the Legal Aid Bureau; and Mr. Jonathan Oatis from Dickstein Shapiro LLP.

Ms. D’Andrea Chapman, Collington Square School’s principal, has more exciting plans, such as renovating the school auditorium for utilization as a community arts center focusing on visual and performing arts and increasing activities beyond the traditional school day. These activities
include middle school sports leagues and enrichment clubs.

One such standout club, The Baobab Program, is a year-long international service-learning class currently fundraising, with the operation of student businesses, for a May 2009
service-learning trip for 10 eighth graders to Central America.

There, the students will assist with rain forest community sustainability construction projects and trail preservation. For more information, please visit, or contact Ms. Kelia Murray at 410-675-7000.

Wolfe Street Featured in Obama Video

Emily Troutman, a 29-year-old writer and photographer living in Washington, spent last week going around with her video camera asking people to choose among 26 words to describe how they feel about President Obama's inauguration. As she explains on her blog, she paid a visit to Baltimore's Wolfe Street Academy, where her sister, Lauren Troutman, teaches first grade in a class where most students are learning English as a second language.

When she sent home permission slips for children to be included in her video with a picture of an Obama "Hope" poster, she writes, "the kids thought that Barack Obama was coming to school for pictures and my sister had to break their hearts! The new President is generally known in her class as, 'Rock Obama.'"
(Posted by Sara Neufeld on the Baltimore Sun's Inside Ed blog on January 27, 2009 6:03 AM)

A full-screen version of her video is available here or you can click below.

President Obama: Words for How We Feel Now from Emily Troutman on Vimeo.

Hampstead Hill Receives $100K Capital Grant

Hampstead Hill Academy is the proud recipient of a $100,000 Baltimore City Charter School Facilities Improvement grant, which will help fund the school's Early Learning Wing renovation. Mayor Sheila Dixon held a press conference on Janary 9, 2009 at the Baltimore Freedom Academy to announce the grant.

Only seven other schools received funding. Mr. Hornbeck, Ms. Chris, Ms. Swann, Dr. Berkeley and Mr. Schugam represented the school at the press conference. The grant will support Hampstead Hill's $2.5M renovation scheduled for this summer. The grant proposal was written by the Baltimore Curriculum Project. Special thanks to Alison Perkins-Cohen and Larry Schugam of BCP for their work writing the grant and securing these funds for our school.

BCP and ECSM's Club at Collington

George Wills, founder and Chairman of Wills & Associates, commented on the work of BCP and ECSM's Club at Collington in his business blog ( on February 9, 2009.

"The Maryland State Government must push school administrators to reform spending habits and focus on teachers in the classrooms. Students need more individual attention. I volunteered at Baltimore's "Club at Collington Square" after-school program for elementary and middle school kids. This program is operated by a private non-profit foundation: Episcopal Community Services, with high level talent from two Maryland Institute College of Art graduates who use art education and math training as creative motivators. That program, along with outreach efforts from the privately funded Baltimore Curriculum Project are examples of results rather than rhetoric. Maryland has an especially good resource in Superintendent of Schools Nancy Grasmick. Politicians should back her efforts and those initiated by Baltimore City Superintendent Dr. Andre Alonzo."

Thursday, February 5, 2009

BCP Video of Hampstead Hill Academy

View this video of Hampstead Hill Academy from Fall 2008.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Principal Matt Hornbeck on Marc Steiner Show

Baltimore City Public Schools CEO Dr. Andres Alonso discusses the fate of Baltimore public schools in the face of the economic crisis on the Marc Steiner Show with Matt Hornbeck, Principal of Hampstead Hill Academy, and Tisha Edwards, former Principal of the Baltimore Freedom Academy.

Click here to listen to the show.