New school year: Celebrations and Observations
Some Maryland students went back to schools that boasted millions of dollars in renovations and state-of-the-art upgrades. The energy of students and school leaders was almost as high as the temperatures, our reporters found, making for a great kick off to the school year. Even those who didn't have to head back to the classroom found a reason to celebrate.
In Baltimore City, schools CEO Andres Alonso kicked off his annual school tours at Mt. Washington Elementary school where Mayor Stephanie-Rawlings Blake's daughter, Sophia, started her 2nd grade year. I took note of the language arts objectives of the day, outlined by Sophia's teacher, and was impressed. Among them were: identifying high-frequency words, recognizing short vowel sounds, and explaining the components of a folktale. Guess practicing fire drills and playing name games aren't the first-day protocols anymore.
The next stop was Commodore John-Rodgers Elementary/ Middle School, a turnaround school who is also building a new identity for itself this year. I noticed the city's 2010 Teacher of the Year, Brian Rainville, formerly of Maree G. Farring Elementary/Midde School was teaching at Commodore. He was delving right into intense math lessons.
Next on the tour was George W. F. McMechen Middle/High School, a school for special education students. The stop represented growth the city has made in serving its special-education students. There, students were doing everything from preparing meals to learning basic skills. Lots of waves and smile there. It was heartwarming.
And, finally there was a visit to the Walbook campus, which we feature in the story. Definitely a story of new beginnings there. The two schools who share the old building have driving forces behind them, and it will be interesting to see how they redefine the "Walbrook" legacy.
Alonso took a second-round of tours on Tuesday, this time promoting the district's focus on attendance this year. Look for that story in tomorrow's Sun.