Went to NEW DESIGN FOR EAST BALTIMORE, a business networking event spotlighting urban lifestyle designers and makers, the All-American room -- Maryland Style, and Baltimore's emerging entrepreneurial neighborhoods, business innovators, and social impact leaders. Sponsored by Made: In America, The Carroll Museums, and CityLab Baltimore. Lindsay let me speak about my project; I talked with several small manufacturers and they were excited by the ideaof having a source for interns; I heard U.S. Congressional Representative Elija Cummings speak and he would be excellent to approach about finding funding for Baltimore Bauhaus.
Maryann Hendricks from Commodore John Rogers school said they are taking on a high school, had I made inroads on this project, and would I be open to collaboration? I said yes, who do I talk to? More info on them at Commodor John Rogers Elementary and Middle School.
Meeting with Ed Sauls and Melanie at Teavolve in Harbor East. Ed has a School Vice Principal cert and is interested in rehabbing homes in Baltimore and has connections with some developers.
I laid out the school idea and Ed immediately said that he prefers the non-public school option. "Non-public school option?"" I said. Ed said that they are schools that teach kids who the city schools don't have the capacity to serve, such as blind children, autistic children, etc. They are outside the school system but are paid by the school system. It would give us more flexibility in who we hire.
The demographic he prefers is emotionally challenged students, who also have the poorest outcomes; "these are the students for whom 'school to prison pipeline' was written," Melanie said. These are kids who need to see results and need active learning, which is a good fit for what we're teaching.
The advantage here is that there is more funding available, and class sizes and school sizes would be smaller. Class sizes would be about 8 students, with three personnel: instructor, teacher and co-teacher.
Ed recommended I/we talk to Maryland Association of Non-public Special Education Facilities (MANSEF) about what they are up to. Among the other members are the Maryland School for the Blind, Kennedy Kreeger, and LabSchool.
The way I look at this in the moment is that 1) it solves the issue of starting with a huge school; we can test with a smaller school, 2) it may make the issue of financing more manageable, and 3) it could be a big win for the students.
The challenge would be finding project managers with developers who are trained to work with these kids when they get out into the workforce. But not an unsolvable one.
Other things discussed:
- ROCA helps "truant" students lead useful lives.
- DORS is still a viable funding option
- Building sheds as a fundraiser
- After-school programs like documentaries, talking about the myths of the ghetto, board games like scrabble and chess, karoke, etc.
- If kids have access to snacks they'll stay
Met with Melanie and Michael Thomas from Baltimore City Community College. In a nutshell, he feels we could circle back around with BCPS to see if they have interest; otherwise we could submit a charter school application. If we do, we would want to plan on a 400+ student school, ramping up from 100 or so at the beginning. (So we're talking five teachers+.) Melanie has completed a charter school proposal before, and is lining me up with people to meet that she'd like on my team.
Met with Gregg Mitchell, Chief Development Officer, Stephen Bolton, Chief Operating Officer, and Matt Herberg, Volunteer Coordinator from Habitat for Humanity. They said that:
- Many Habitat projects begin as pet projects of a teacher, and when that teacher gets tired of handling it they drop the project, so usually a school's involvement doesn't last longer than two to three years. If its a "passion project," its not sustainable.
- That the most important things to consider are:
- Insurance, so students can use devices with blades, climb on roofs, etc.
- Materials costs, about $60,000 per house
- There are several ways that we could be involved with Habitat:
- Come out and volunteer, doing things at the various sites as needed. The average for schools has been about three volunteer days per year.
- School teams up with construction company that is donating/building a house.
- School acts as project manager, is given an entire house, and students build that house. Students learn about something in class, then go out and do it. Requires a commitment of several days a week.
- Kids commit to working on a house that's already started and work on it during summer break.
Talked with Josh Marshall, President, Marshall Financial Services, Inc., about some accounting I need. He has an interest in educating kids in accounting, which he calls "the performance language of business."
Setting up a meeting with Habitat for Humanity of the Chesapeake
Teaching art or teaching to think like an artist? — Cindy Foley
Do schools kill creativity? — Sir Ken Robinson
Torrence Test of Creative Thinking
Sent note to Mike Posko at Habitat for Humanity of the Chesapeake about the team I'm putting together and what it would take for them to be interested. He replied that they would like to meet and learn more. At the urging of Stu Simpson at Towson U, sent note to Ewan Simpson at Towson U about connecting with NFTE (Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship).
Talked with Traci Ison. She has a plan to create Tiny Living Dream Homes, a business building Tiny Houses. She has contact with CCBC; Traci also knows Bernie Brown, who helped found the Gallaudet Innovation & Entrepreneurship Institute, who might be a good person to have on the BaltimoreBauhaus board.
Reached out to Michael Thomas, now Vice President of Workforce Development & Continuing Education Baltimore City Community College about meeting with Melanie and I about teaming up on the project. A meeting is being scheduled.
Met with Melanie Hood-Wilson, Director of Special Populations and Co-Director, Center for Alternative and Supported Education at the Community College of Baltimore County. She thinks that a smaller version of the idea, say, several hours at the end of the school day, several days of the week, would be a good place to start. Her vision is a team of CCBC for construction trades, BCCC to teach business, and BCPS to provide students and the facility. She suggested I contact the MD department that addresses curriculums and see what it would take to make my curriculum ideas real. She said she would reach out to David Frey, Coordinator, Technical Training, Pre-Apprenticeship and Construction Trades, CCBC.
Talked with Stanley Wolfe, Director, Baltimore Public School System about results of BaltimoreBauhaus being passed on to school principals about a school-within-a-school.
Background check completed.
Derek Robinson set up a phone conversation for me with Clinton Turner, principal, Walker Jones Education Campus, DCPS about BaltimoreBauhaus. He said that my idea would succeed and would succeed by cherry-picking the best students out of his school. What he wants to see is a model that would work for the vast majority of his students.
Talked with Solomon Thompson Jr. bluejeantime.com, a community-building platform, and https://www.houseconcertmovement.com/, and Derek Robinson, ccitraining.net, about plans for the school.
Talked with Jennifer Bodensiek from Junior Achievement. Figures for the Junior Achievement business school are $250,000 to start up the program, then about $500/student/year when we're talking about 150 or more students. JA wouldn't be able to impliment for about two years. Jennifer will talk with Atlanta about a "crawl before you walk" approach; this might be a possible approach for next year.
JA also has a project with Baltimore city schools to bring financial literacy to lower grades.
Talked with Matt Metzger from Habitat, who I had been in touch with previously, and he suggested I talk with their new Faith and Youth coordinator.
Talked with Lindsay Thompson from Baltimore CityLab about a redevelopment zone along Central Avenue/East Baltimore. She would like to have my school in the charter school in that area, which is a K-12 charter school.
Interesting talks with Neekta Khorsand from Thread and Neil Klienberg from Hopkins Carey School of Business.
Talked to Jim Brennan at BCPS and asked him how detailed Michael Thomas needed the information for the initial presentation to principals about the school-within-a-school (he said that he didn't understand my email, so perhaps was over-written); sent an email to Will Holman at Open Works about a possible collaboration, and contacted the Design School to let them know that email@example.com was bouncing.
Went to BCPS Board meeting; saw presentation from Heart of America Foundation about the renovations they've been able to do in city schools. (Possible organization for our students to work with?) Recommended to JD Merrill with Heart of AMerica that they contact Black & Decker as a sponsor. New Board chair Cheryl Casciani asked if the companies servicing school's generators and pumps could have their contracts include training for students, another possible cert for us. Spoke with the COO for the schools, J. Keith Scroggins, and he recommended that the students learn estimating. Question: Could Teach for America provide suitable teachers? Could BIFF Energy solar farm provide jobs?
What continues to strike me is how powerful, smart, and dedicated to the success of the students everyone I have met in the school system is. I look at what I pay in property taxes and I would pay that just to support these people. Given that progress isn't linear, I would predict that in the next five years there is a massive improvement in school results based on the energy being put in.
Sent email to Jim Brennan, BCPS, asking him if sending an email question about how much information they needed for financing and the final cert to Michael Thomas was the best way to go, or if there was a better way.
Meet with Allison Gardner, Betamore, about areas of collaboration. Allison offered to work with the school on a variety of web fronts.
On way to bank stopped in at TouchPoint in Mondawmin Mall. Touchpoint is a workers space created by Thread, Center for Urban Families, Baltimore Corps and investedimpact. It occurred to me that nonprofits are an "industry" and we could create a certificate around what they need.
Met with a gentleman from Thread who gave me a rundown of the organizations and said that one thing nonprofits need is entry-level social workers. He said that it would not require much education but would require a certain amount of in-the-field training. Idea: What if the cert was for social work, and requiring more education to increase their level of social work skill, but what we would be providing would be social workers who know how to change their world and could teach their clients that many problems are solvable?
Talked with Neekta Khorsand from Thread about my school idea; she has contacts at Open Works and suggested we may be able to collaborate. She will check and see whose toes she's stepping on and arrange a meeting next week. We discussed the possibility of her very bright students be part of the curriculum discussion so it's grounded in reality. (Was she also connected to Elemental Metalworks?)
We also briefly discussed the idea of getting a bunch of nonprofits in the same room to have a discussion. My intention is to ask Neekta to enroll someone to draw up a list of organizations and possible topics to discuss to move this to happening. ("Started is half done.")
Talked with the Community Law Center in Hampden about setting up a nonprofit. I will need to ask at least three people to be on the Board. There will be financial liability; board liability insurance is approx. $700/hr per member, and would be covered by nonprofit once set up. Have list of requirements and application.
I called the Design School to start a conversation about what financial numbers they would need to approve the school if they wanted to take it on.
Discussed school project with Charlie Cronheim. Charlie said I should talk with Paulo Gregory Harris again about what the certification could be, as he is working on placing kids in viable work positions in Baltimore. Mentioned that Beatty Construction has large construction contract with Port Covington right now.
Charlie also mentioned that Paulo had started an organization that provided sconstruction site cleanup and security called the Clean and Safe Team. This may be an opportunity for the students.
I had sent an email to Make Baltimore about being part of their pitch competition — I thought it would be fun! — and got a reply from Betamore, a campus for technology + entrepreneurship in Baltimore, that they were interested in potential partnerships. We meet Monday.
Talked with Robert Vasser. He looked at the figures from James Bond and said that I should read Jonathan Kozol's "Savage Inequality"; that there is a lot of unseen support created in wealthier schools by parents. Question: what figures do I really need to have in the rough financials we need to show for this school?
Talked with James Bond; I think he just wanted to check me out. He said that they have about 167 kids and the cost is about $2m, with $400k in donations and grants. This comes to about $12k per pupil. School system would provide $5k per pupil, plus about $4.5k structural, administrative support, etc. (Total value likely to be greater than $9.5k they give charter schools.) Additional $3.5k would need to be donated to cover higher level. So very rough budget for 60-kid test school would be $300k for teachers, supplies, classrooms, etc. but total budget better at $400k, with us having to raise $100k.
- 2 teachers at $70k ea.: $140k, or half of the total budget before donations.
- Part-time specialty teachers? (woodworking, metalworking)
- Makers space rental?
- Curriculum creation?
James said that certificate is very important, and that IF this school becomes a reality it COULD be a school he would send Living Classrooms kids to. That's a hurdle I would be up to clearing.
Met with David Steiner; he said that the certification is going to be the most important part of putting this school together. You want the students to get a part-time job based on the certificate, with the carrot that, if they finish a more advanced cert in community college, they would get hired full-time at a higher pay grade. The question is, what would be valuable, and in what industry?
Met with Michael Thomas from CTE and Jim Brennan from Baltimore Schools. Short meeting; Michael Thomas said he liked the idea and that he would walk the concept around to school principals to see who would be willing to take it on as a school-within-a-school if I would give him: 1) A one-age summary, 2) a financial estimate and 3) a certification the students could obtain that would guarantee them a job when they graduate. On the face of it an easy list, but not really.
Talked with Jennifer Bodensiek from Junior Achievement. She said they'd be happy to help, and that there is a JA Academy they are working on in Atlanta at five schools where the curriculum is taught using business projects. on't have much info and won't until after first week in August, but is a promising basis for the curriculum. (David Steiner said that there are specific tests that they use in Baltimore that don't get used in Atlanta.)
Met with Kevin Frick from Johns Hopkins Carey School of Business. This was a GREAT meeting; we threw around a lot of ideas. He said he would talk to two of his faculty and see what their interest level was.
Talked to Fred Lazarus, who heads the board for the Design School. He said he liked the idea; recommended I talk to his neighbor, David Steiner, at Hopkins about curriculum. Fred mentions that the Design School was considering industrial design as a curriculum for the school, but the school needs two more years to smooth out the bumps before they'll be ready to take on another curriculum.
Talked with David Ashton, who said I should talk with Fred Lazerus, who knows more about how the board is managed.
Meet with Jim Brennan, Baltimore Public Schools. He likes the idea, and will shop it around to the various players in the school system.
Received an email from Alison Perkins-Cohen at 12:45am saying she liked my idea and connecting me with Jim Brennan.
Went to BCPS school board meeting and afterward introduced myself to Alison Perkins-Cohen, chief of staff to Sonja Brookins Santelises, Ed.D., chief executive officer. Explained my idea and that I'd emailed her about it. She said she'd look it over.