farrah howard

Hello, City Neighbors students and parents! As we journey into this upcoming school year, let’s make an effort to come back together! We all have busy lives with work, chores, kids, shopping, social events, and all the other daily activities that consume our time.  However, let’s take time to regroup with one another. Try putting in place a “communication time” where we, as parents, get an update on our child’s day and let our kids know how we’re doing, as well.

It’s never too late and your child is never too old–especially high schoolers–to ask them about homework, school activities, and friendships. Our tasks sometimes take over and we don’t find the time to know what’s going on in school.  But if we set up a system of knowing when, where, who, and what, then we can help our kids succeed and have a great school year!

We all chose to send our kids to a City Neighbors school because of the type of learning environment we want our kids to be in, but teachers can’t do it alone.  Ask yourself if you know a parent of three of your child’s friends.  Perhaps create a parent buddy system when, if you’re working late, your child could get a ride and maybe stay with them until you get home. Then return the favor when and if you can.

None of us want to relive elementary, middle, or high school. But if we all walk through the doors on September 4–hand in hand–then I know we’ll have a prosperous school year, full of knowledge and caring.  Like a family.

Farrah Howard, Board President, City Neighbors High School

 

When we discuss public schools, whose voices are at the table?    When curriculum is being developed, who has real input?   When decisions at the school level are being made, who is involved in making those decisions?   When policy impacting schools is being developed, who is speaking at the policy- making table?

Anytime I have seen a successful, thriving school community–no matter how large or small–there has been a deep-rooted organizational and cultural belief that as many voices as possible should be involved in the creation of that community.   It is through those many voices that something collectively strong emerges – an identity, a sense of self-efficacy, buy-in, mutual support, community, power.

As a grassroots school here in Baltimore, we posit that real decisions should be made closest to the ground and with many voices at the table.  Whether through our parent-school cooperative, our commitment to teacher autonomy and voice, our myriad avenues for student voice and advocacy, our Boards–which are comprised of parents, students, teachers, and principals–our commitment to emergent learning, or simply the way we strive to dialog, assume the best intentions, or be in partnership, we believe in the ideals of democracy in education.

Democracy isn’t always perfect or efficient.   Sometimes it can be downright messy.   But whether it’s deciding new initiatives, creating community events, hiring staff, constructing and approving our budget, revising our bylaws, changing policy, or just having conversations about things that matter to us, it is our commitment that those of us who are closest to our students, to our mission, and to each other are the co-creators of this educational experience for children today, tomorrow, and for decades to come.

Beginning this year, we want this platform to be one that showcases many voices – teachers, students, parents, Board members, community partners, school leaders, and more.   These are the voices of our community, our creation, and the heart of public education here at City Neighbors.

Welcome to the new City Neighbors Foundation Blog.

Mike Chalupa, Director

Registration is now open for the 7th Annual Progressive Education Summit on Saturday, January 27th.  The Summit is our annual conference with over 40 workshops, 3 master classes, a delicious lunch, and this year a resource fair and ignite talks.

Why come to the Summit? There are so many reasons! Just to get us started, here are the top three reasons to come to the Summit this year:

#1
Because you are an educator who wants to keep learning. You see children as powerful, capable, and worthy of the deepest respect, and you are determined to continually hone your skills, build your network and create for yourself an environment of learning, growth and well being.

#2.
Because you love to hear from inspirational people. Keynote Ron Ritchhart is an important thought leader and you enjoy hearing from people in the field. You will come away with new ideas, new practices, new connections.  You want to be around folks who know how to put theory into practice and believe things like this:

“A culture of thinking produces the feelings, energy, and even joy that can propel learning forward and motivate us to do what at times can be hard and challenging mental work.”

― Ron Ritchhart, Creating Cultures of Thinking: The 8 Forces We Must Master to Truly Transform Our Schools

#3.
You know that in the midst of the winter days it will be wonderful to gather at the Summit.  You will be at City Neighbors with hundreds of educators, non profits, parents, students, and more…and feel the warmth of being with so many people who care passionately about teaching and learning. We need each other.

Do you have more reasons you would like to add?  Please add your comments below.

Register Here!

More about the Summit on the City Neighbors Foundation Website.

See you there!

– The City Neighbors Summit Team

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