Baltimore City Public Schools | WYPR

Baltimore City Public Schools

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About 1,200 Baltimore City students are set to re-enter the classrooms of 27 schools Monday morning for the first time last spring when the coronavirus pandemic hit.

The partial re-opening prioritizes the district’s most vulnerable students, including students experiencing homelessness, students with disabilities, English language learners and those who have been offline for at least 20% of remote classes. 

Baltimore City Public Schools' Facebook page


 Baltimore City schools administrators released Wednesday a plan to bring back a group of students that includes the district’s most vulnerable to 25 schools starting in November. In a town hall Thursday night, parents and teachers raised many questions and concerns to those  administrators.

“Why do families have a choice [to return to the classroom] but teachers and staff don't?” asked one commenter on a Facebook livestream. “If my child decides to continue to do virtual learning, will they have the same teacher?” asked another.

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  Baltimore City schools will bring some of its most vulnerable students back into the classroom next month, the district announced Wednesday.

Students in pre-kindergarten, kindergarten, special education, English learners and those experiencing homelessness, as well as those who have missed at least 20% of online classes, will be able to receive in-person schooling in the district’s second quarter, which starts Nov. 12.

Lowell Larson via Flickr

The Baltimore City school board stared down a $21 million shortfall Tuesday night brought on by pandemic spending, as its CEO decides how to handle the rest of the fall term.

Like school systems throughout the nation, the city schools racked up costs to keep online instruction afloat and support students and families as classes went online in the spring and stayed there this fall. All in all, the district spent $131 million on initial pandemic-related expenses.

Emily Sullivan/WYPR

The Baltimore Teachers’ Union staged a die-in protest at school headquarters Wednesday night, demanding that classes remain online through 2020. More than 50 teachers and parents lay on the ground to show they, or someone they know, have conditions such as asthma or diabetes that could make them more susceptible to COVID-19 .

The protest came as city school leaders try to decide what where the rest of the fall semester will be held. School officials announced in July that classes would be held online through at least mid-October. 

“We are here because we love kids and we're here because we love our educators,” said Franca Muller Paz, a teacher at Baltimore City College High School. “We will not put them on the line before it is time.”

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  Baltimore City students joined peers in Philadelphia, Detroit and Baton Rouge to call on Comcast to close the digital divide by providing free internet access for all students. The company’s Internet Essentials program isn’t fast or cheap enough to allow all students to learn remotely online, they said at a Wednesday news conference.  

Kimberly Vasquez, a senior at Baltimore City College High School, said her school year hasn’t been marked with the usual milestones but by internet connections that lag and drop, especially when multiple people in the same household are online.

AP/Julio Cortez

Transit officials, school officials and transit riders appeared virtually before the Baltimore City Council Wednesday night to discuss the Maryland Transit Administration’s proposed bus route cuts stemming from the fiscal impact of the coronavirus pandemic. 

“I don't, we don't, MDOT does not sit here as an opposing side trying to convince you that these cuts are OK,” Kevin Quinn, the MTA’s executive director, said before the council’s transportation committee. “They are impactful.” 

 

Drew Morris/Flickr

Baltimore’s public schools and the city’s Department of Recreation and Parks are partnering to provide more than 1,000 students access to virtual learning lessons at 15 schools and recreation centers.

 

The program is to start September 28. It is designed to provide students in grades K-5 who might not have Wi-Fi access a way to complete their lessons.

The Daily Dose 7-31-20

Jul 31, 2020
The Associated Press

Local election officials sound the alarm about enforcing masks and social distancing at the polls come November. And a Baltimore City Public Schools teacher shares a personal reflection on the challenges ahead for  the upcoming school year.

Rachel Baye / WYPR

Gov. Larry Hogan used a wide-ranging press conference Wednesday to respond to a barrage of criticism from local leaders about rising COVID-19 case numbers and the state’s plan for the upcoming election. WYPR’s Rachel Baye walks through what he said with Matt Tacka.

Rachel Baye / WYPR


Maryland public schools will likely operate this fall with a hybrid of in-person and virtual classes. Gov. Larry Hogan told NBC’s Chuck Todd Sunday that he expects a report this week from state schools Superintendent Karen Salmon. 

 

Maryland won’t “be rushed into” reopening schools full-time this fall, Hogan said. “I think everybody would like to get our kids back to school as quickly as we can, but we also want to do it and make sure that our kids are going to be as safe as possible.”

The Daily Dose 5-22-20

May 22, 2020
VERKEORG / FLICKR CREATIVE COMMONS

The top news of the day from Baltimore City, Baltimore County, and around the state. Plus, a deep dive into the Digital Divide. Who has access to computers and wired broadband internet? Who doesn’t? And what are the repercussions? Is internet access a human right in the era of Coronavirus?

YouTube

Maryland public schools will be closed through May 15, three weeks longer than previously announced, due to the coronavirus pandemic, State Superintendent of Schools Karen Salmon announced at a press conference Friday.

Salmon said local schools will continue online instruction, and they are developing plans to make up lost instructional time during the summer.

Mary Rose Madden / WYPR

Four hundred viewers logged on Thursday night to hear Baltimore City Schools Superintendent Dr. Sonja Santelises and her leadership team answer questions about the city’s distance learning during the COVID-19 crisis.

Baltimore Heritage/Wikimedia Commons

Baltimore City Public Schools officials are grappling with how to educate the district’s nearly 80,000 students while the novel coronavirus outbreak keeps them out of the classroom at least through April 24. 

Twenty-four years ago, a judge ordered fundamental changes to the way Baltimore City Public Schools are managed and funded. The ruling, the result of a 1994 lawsuit, led to Maryland’s current public school funding formula.

Then over the next decade, the court issued more opinions, saying that Baltimore students continued to be shortchanged.

On Thursday, the American Civil Liberties Union of Maryland and the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund filed a motion in Baltimore City Circuit Court to reopen that 1994 lawsuit. In the filing, they accuse Maryland of violating the state constitution by underfunding Baltimore City schools.

Rachel Baye

Maryland elected officials are fighting over who should decide academic calendars for public schools.

Gov. Larry Hogan in 2016 signed an executive order requiring schools to start after Labor Day and end by June 15. He is now trying to write that change into the state code, while the Senate gave initial approval on Thursday to a bill reversing Hogan’s order.

Five More City Schools on the Chopping Block

Nov 28, 2018
Dominique Maria Bonessi

  

Last week the Baltimore City School Board voted to revoke the charter of Banneker Blake Academy and close the school in June 2019. The board is to vote in January on closing five more schools—two traditional and three charters.

City School Board Votes to Close Banneker Blake Academy

Nov 14, 2018
Dominique Maria Bonessi

Baltimore City Schools’ board of commissioners voted seven to zero at Tuesday night’s meeting in favor of closing Banneker Blake Academy in north Baltimore. WYPR’s Dominique Maria Bonessi was at the meeting and spoke to Morning Edition Host Nathan Sterner about the board's decision.

Banneker Blake Academy Protests School Closure

Nov 12, 2018
Dominique Maria Bonessi

 

Parents and faculty from Banneker Blake Academy, a charter school in North Baltimore, gathered in front of city school headquarters Monday to protest the threatened closing of the school next January.

School officials say the academy didn’t meet requirements for renewal of its charter, but advocates argue it goes beyond that.

Dominique Maria Bonessi

 

Tuesday’s 105-degree heat index kept 10 Baltimore County schools without air conditioning closed on the first day of the school year. In Baltimore City, more than 60 schools dismissed students early — some before noon — as a result of the heat.

The lack of air conditioning is part of a larger political fight over school funding.

City Council Committee to Look at Stop Gap Funding for Schools

May 15, 2018
Dominique Maria Bonessi

Some Baltimore City public schools have lost thousands of dollars in federal funding because of changes to the school lunch program. City Council members are looking for ways to bridge the gap.

City Schools Expected to Lose 1500 Student in 2018-2019

May 8, 2018
Dominique Maria Bonessi

Baltimore’s schools, already suffering from declining enrollments, will lose even more students next year. School officials gave the news to a city council committee Tuesday.

Schools CEO Sonja Santelises told a committee looking into the school system’s enrollment task force that officials are projecting that 1500 students will leave the district in the 2018 to 2019 school year. She said the loss of students typically happens in 5th and 6th grades because parents are unsure of the middle school options available to them, but that trend has changed.

BCPS Looks to Increase Enrollment with Taskforce

May 1, 2018
Dominique Maria Bonessi

 

At Monday night’s city council meeting President Jack Young introduced  a resolution to hold a hearing with Baltimore City Public Schools on their enrollment task force. City school’s enrollment numbers have been declining faster than the city's population. WYPR’s City Hall Reporter Dominique Maria Bonessi spoke with Morning Edition Host Nathan Sterner.

Council Pushes for Diversity in City School's Taskforce

Apr 30, 2018
Baltimore City Public Schools

Baltimore City Council President Jack Young will introduce a resolution at Monday night's city council meeting to hold a hearing on Baltimore City Public School’s Enrollment Taskforce.

BCPS Headquarters May Be Moving

Apr 5, 2018
Baltimore City Public Schools

Baltimore City school officials are considering moving from their long-time headquarters on North Avenue—the building that once housed Baltimore Polytechnic Institute. But it’s unclear when, or if, that will happen.

Latest Addition to Baltimore's 21st Century Schools

Apr 5, 2018
Jonna McKone

Five years ago a coalition of state and city agencies embarked on an ambitious, $1 billion plan to renovate, replace and combine at least 23 of the most run-down and under-enrolled schools in Baltimore—all by the spring of 2022. Dorothy I. Height Elementary in Reservoir Hill was among two of those new, 21st Century Schools that opened Wednesday.

Pugh Unveils 2019 City Budget

Mar 28, 2018

Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh unveiled her $2.8 billion budget for the coming fiscal year yesterday at a meeting of the Board of Estimates. The budget projects maintaining the property tax rate at $2.25 per $100 of assessed value.

Recap of Pugh's State of the City

Mar 13, 2018
Dominique Maria Bonessi

Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh gave her state of the city address Monday to a gathering of city leaders with a theme of “Baltimore: A City on the Rise.” WYPR’s City Hall Reporter Dominique Maria Bonessi spoke with Morning Edition Host Nathan Sterner.

 

Hogan allocates $2.5M in emergency funds to BCPS

Jan 8, 2018
Baltimore City Public Schools

Governor Larry Hogan promised an emergency $2.5 million for repairs to Baltimore City Schools' troubled heating systems today. And he blamed the problems on mismanagement. Meanwhile, at least eight Baltimore City schools were closed today because of continuing problems with the heating systems and a water main break.

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