Partnering for Sustainable Community Growth
One relationship that The New Century School‘s Head of School Alicia Danyali works hard to cultivate is between TNCS and the surrounding community. That’s why she maintains frequent contact with Southeast Baltimore’s Councilman Jim Kraft. Councilman Kraft’s mission for Baltimore’s first district is to keep it “safe, smart, green, and growing”—which are certainly TNCS core values as well.
Councilman Kraft’s Communications Assistant Kaitlyn Golden explained that the Office’s approach to realizing this mission is via active involvement in the district’s schools. “Parents are community stakeholders,” she said, “and so they need to stay informed about what’s going on in their community. Schools are a great way to spread the news.” In addition, Councilman Kraft is passionate that Southeast Baltimore students are getting the best education and the best school experience possible. This does not stop with the student, however, but also means that families are getting the support they need to keep their kids in school and thriving.
Ms. Golden says that to this end, at the beginning of each school year, Councilman Kraft and members of his staff meet with each school principle in the district to map out what kind of assistance they might need from his Office. Some are more receptive to this partnership than others. “Ms. Danyali is great,” said Ms. Golden, “and is very proactive. We really appreciate when schools come to us with what they need because that’s how we can best help them.”
Thus, last month they paid their annual visit to TNCS to make plans, brainstorm initiatives, and discuss what interventions the Office could most helpfully make to further both the school’s individual goals and their shared goals for the community. “TNCS has a great set-up,” said Ms. Golden. “We love this wonderful learning environment, especially the greenhouse, which is such a unique outdoor education site. Ms. Danyali hopes to expand greenhouse learning opportunities, in fact, and asked the Office to mediate on TNCS’s behalf with BGE to move the big green electric boxes that occupy much of the available space surrounding the greenhouse. Negotiations are ongoing!
“Councilman Kraft is particularly pleased that the school is so involved in the community,” continued Ms. Golden, citing TNCS’s involvement with the Thames Street Park Playground upgrade as an example and explaining how the Office was able to facilitate that interaction. TNCS has just launched its Mixed Bag Designs fundraiser, proceeds from which will be donated to the Rebuild Thames Street Park Playground renovations. Order forms are being sent home with TNCS students and must be returned by 11/15/14.
What Else Is Happening?
So glad you asked! This fall two initiatives run concurrently—the Healthy Harbor Poster and Recycling Contests. Readers, you may recall that TNCS won last year’s Recycling Contest (read more here: TNCS Wins Southeast Baltimore City Schools Recycling Competition!). Katie Miller is the contact for the Recycling Contest, which began October 6th and runs through November 14th, and has already been working with TNCS students to help organize and manage this worthy project.
Each participating school creates a Recycling Team of 10–15 students, who collect their school’s weekly recycling and report the amount to Councilman Kraft’s Office. Prizes go to the school who collects the most recycling, based on a per-student ratio. Ms. Golden also helped out with this project by donating recycling bins for use in the multipurpose room and delivering them in person. Here’s to maintaining championship status TNCS! Give your TNCS student a leg up by reviewing What is recyclable.
The Healthy Harbor Poster asks students to draw their version of what a healthy harbor looks like. Winners will be selected for each of the following categories: Grades K–2, Grades 3–5, and Grades 6–8. This contest also started October 6th, and submissions will be accepted through November 14th. “We welcome all creative, thoughtful, and visionary Southeast students to participate!” said Ms. Golden. To download a entry form, click 2014 Healthy Harbor Poster Contest Flyer. Winning posters will be displayed at the Enoch Pratt Southeast Anchor library.
“And that’s not all,” she said. “There are other exciting projects I’m looking forward to following up on in the coming year, like the ‘If I Were Mayor’ Essay Contest for 4th graders this spring!” TNCS also looks forward to continuing this fruitful partnership with Councilman Kraft’s Office and doing our part to make Southeast Baltimore safe, smart, green, and growing!