An old solution to an old problem
While working a routine weekend shift on Saturday, I had the opportunity to write an obituary (published today) for Lloyd McDonald, who worked as a teacher and administrator in the city schools for 30 years before his retirement in 1975.
In 1965, while head of the guidance department at Harlem Park Junior High School, Mr. McDonald founded a nationally recognized anti-poverty program called the Neighborhood School for Parents. The program held evening classes for parents so they could earn their high school diplomas. It also educated them in nutrition and provided balanced meals for the whole family. Daycare was offered for young children, and additional classes for older children while the parents were in school.
Learning about the program from Joel Carrington, a retired assistant superintendent in BCPSS who was friends with McDonald for 64 years, I was reminded of more recent initiatives. Over the past few weeks, I've written about an extensive effort in the city schools to get dropouts to earn their diplomas, helping them to arrange childcare or overcome any other barriers standing in the way of their getting an education. I've also written about the ambitious new food service director who's trying to get students eating healthier meals.
This may be an overly simplistic way of looking at things, but if the same challenges have been confronting Baltimore's schools for more than 40 years and if we once had an effective way of dealing with them, it seems a shame that we need to keep reinventing the wheel.
In any event, I enjoyed learning about Mr. McDonald from his old friend.