Baltimore City Schools | WYPR

Baltimore City Schools

John Lee

The head of the Baltimore City school system said she is pleased with how things are going so far with the reopening this week of more than two dozen schools.

Meanwhile, all schools in Baltimore County remain closed. The chief of the Baltimore County Schools said when it comes to COVID-19, much remains unknown.


Baltimore City Public Schools will scale back a planned partial reopening from 44 to 27 schools and open on-site testing at schools as local COVID-19 cases spike, CEO Sonja Santelises announced Tuesday evening. 

“I had epidemiologists telling me back in April, beware of the fall/winter surge. And it is happening,” Santelises said. “It's also why we've started with small groups, because we wanted to make sure that we could move through this.”


Misskprimary / Flickr

As Maryland school system leaders grapple with how to safely resume in-person learning, one thing is clear:  It will be very expensive. Four superintendents told a state Senate committee Wednesday that they need millions from the state to make it work. 

City Schools TV / YouTube

1,000 Baltimore City students will be able to return to the classroom next month. The district will offer this option to pupils it says are struggling with virtual learning - like students with disabilities. Alison Perkins-Cohen, chief of staff to the city schools’ CEO, lays out the preparation needed.


  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.

Drew Morris/Flickr

Baltimore City Public School leaders said Monday that they will delay the return to in-person classes until later this fall, saying the system must balance pandemic health measures with the need to get students back into classrooms.


“We were determined that our plan be data-based, both in terms of COVID-19 and the disproportionate impact of distance learning on our most vulnerable students — while avoiding any influence from attempts to politicize this situation,” Sonja Santelises, CEO of the school system, said in a statement.

Mary Rose Madden / WYPR

Parents are wrestling with the question of whether to send their kid into the classroom this fall, log them on, or come up with Option C.

­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­What to do about school. It is the only thing parents talk and think about.

Will it be 100% virtual? 100% in-person?  A hybrid model with some in-person teaching?  Will masks actually be worn? Could shields and dividers help? Why not have all classes outside? Transportation issues, bathroom access…recess? 

Noah Walker

Baltimore City School administrators haven’t made any decisions yet about how classes will be held in the upcoming school year, but they’ve announced some possibilities.  And they’re asking students, teachers, and families to engage on the topic through surveys, virtual town halls, and focus groups throughout July.

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.”

Mary Rose Madden / WYPR

One car at a time, seniors at City College High School drive up, have their names announced, and then pick up their graduation packet complete with caps and gowns, awards, and their diplomas. 

Their principal Cindy Harcum, and their teachers cheer them on, waving signs and calling their names. 

It's not quite how anyone pictured this moment in time, but this party of sorts is one of many efforts to make the best out of the circumstances for high school seniors graduating in the shadow of COVID-19. There have been car parades, balloon drop-offs, and semi-formal photo shoots on the steps of the seniors' alma maters. 

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. 

Baltimore Heritage/Wikimedia Commons

Public schools in Maryland will be closed for four more weeks, through April 24.

And school officials may, over the next four weeks, decide to extend the closure, Gov. Larry Hogan said at a press conference Wednesday. He called the idea that students will return to their classrooms in four weeks “somewhat aspirational.”

Rachel Baye

A sweeping overhaul of Maryland’s public school system is one step closer to fruition after the state Senate passed it Monday night. The changes came out of what’s known as the Kirwan Commission, a state panel that spent three years developing recommendations for making Maryland’s schools globally competitive.

Mary Rose Madden / WYPR

Baltimore City Schools will offer free meals to its approximately 80,000 students during the novel coronoavirus two-week closure.  

Emily Sullivan

As more cases of the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, have been confirmed in Maryland, state and local leaders are asking the public to take precautions to avoid spreading the disease.

Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski and his team of school, health, and public safety officers met with reporters Thursday morning to discuss the first known case of the novel coronavirus in Baltimore County. 

"The individual is in his 60s and worked at the recent AIPAC (America Israel Public Affairs Committee) conference in Washington DC. He is not hospitalized," Olzewski said.

John Lee

A highly anticipated effort to boost state spending on school construction and renovation projects passed with an overwhelming majority in the House of Delegates Friday. The bill would add $2.2 billion dollars to the state’s existing school construction funding over five years.

Seth Sawyers/flickr

The General Assembly earlier this year tossed out Governor Larry Hogan’s 2016 executive order forcing school systems to wait until after Labor Day to start classes. 


School systems in Maryland now are considering taking advantage of that because they are facing a looming calendar crunch. Labor Day next year comes at its latest possible date, September 7.



Rachel Baye

A state panel has proposed a highly anticipated revamp of the formula Maryland uses to fund public schools. The new formula would facilitate a major overhaul of public education in the state that would eventually increase spending on schools by roughly $4 billion a year.

The formula gradually increases the state’s share of education costs so that in the year 2030, the state would spend an additional $2.8 billion. Local jurisdictions would be on the hook for the remaining $1.2 billion.

Baltimore Teachers Union

The president of the Baltimore Teachers Union has formally challenged the results of this week’s election, which she lost by 62 votes.

Mary Rose Madden / wypr


  This post has been updated.

Diamonte Brown, a Booker T. Washington Middle School teacher, has narrowly defeated long-time Baltimore Teachers Union president Marietta English in one of the most contentious union elections in recent memory.

Preliminary figures released by the union last night showed Brown, who led a group calling itself The Union We Deserve, with 901 votes to English’s 839. The cursory release said English would be challenging the results.

The election was marked with charges and counter charges of foul play.

Rachel Baye

The state Senate gave preliminary approval Tuesday to a bill that aims to reshape the way Maryland approaches public education.

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.

Recent Immigrants Shut Out of Elite High Schools

Jun 13, 2018

Updated 3:32 p.m., 06-14-18

While Baltimore’s schools are losing students every year, there is one population that is growing rapidly: students whose first language isn’t English. But many of those students are shut out of the elite city high schools.

Now, a group of Latinx students at Baltimore City College is trying to change that.

Rachel Baye

Four Democratic candidates for governor and three for lieutenant governor discussed education policy at a forum Tuesday night hosted by the Real News Network in Baltimore.

The forum’s focus was the state panel studying how to revise Maryland’s education funding formulas and modernize the state’s approach to education more broadly. The group is known as the Kirwan Commission because it’s led by University System of Maryland Chancellor Emeritus Brit Kirwan. It plans to publish its recommendations at the end of the year, and they are expected to come with a large price tag.

City Students Who Died From Violence Remembered at Vigil

May 30, 2018
Dominique Maria Bonessi

In this school year, nine Baltimore City students died as a result of violence. CEO of Schools Sonja Santelises and Mayor Catherine Pugh held a memorial vigil Wednesday for  them and all city school students.

Rachel Baye

Gov. Larry Hogan on Wednesday morning vetoed a bill taking the Board of Public Works out of the school construction approval process.

The Interagency Committee on School Construction, or IAC, makes recommendations to the Board of Public Works on school construction projects. The bill instead makes the IAC independent and gives it final approval of those projects.

Mary Rose Madden / 88.1 wypr

When the heat failed in many of Baltimore’s schools last month, angry families came face to face with CEO Sonja Santelises, complaining not just about their freezing kids, but about curriculum, tests and their inability to get answers from school administrators on a variety of issues.

Santelises said she wanted to build a partnership with families in the school district.

Mary Rose Madden / wypr

The pictures of collapsed ceilings and students wearing parkas and gloves in their classroooms earlier this month outraged parents, grandparents and teachers. 

They showed up at a town hall meeting at Dunbar High School Monday and a school board meeting Tuesday to express fears for their children's safety and complain of a lack of communication from school administrators.

People at the town hall meeting held signs that read “warmth is a basic human right” and “no more excuses.” 

Baltimore public schools' heating crisis earlier this month was a "day of reckoning" for the system, the city, and the state said public schools CEO Sonja Santelises. The crisis, she said in an interview with WYPR Wednesday, exposed the truth that Baltimore city school buildings are less than functional.

Rachel Baye

Gov. Larry Hogan’s proposed $17.7 billion operating budget for next fiscal year, released Wednesday, cuts funding for several Democratic priorities.