I was interviewed last Friday by a senior from the Park School in Baltimore.  Sophie came out to City Neighbors to ask me a few questions as part of an independent study she is doing for her senior project.  She asked me questions like, “How do you think City Neighbors connects to stories of desegregation of the public school system?”  and “How do you think charter schools impact traditional public schools?” and “What do you think is the number one problem we face in Baltimore city?”  and finally, “Why do you care?”

These are great questions, and reveal some deep thinking and thoughtful considerations from a young lady about to graduate from a school (Park) that is designed to promote leadership and responsibility in its graduates.  Park has a 100 year tradition of creating an environment for students and teachers that encourages responsibility, trust, and creativity.  In just one hour of conversation with Sophie, it was so clear that she has people who believe in her, people who make sure she has the room to think and ask questions, and to trust her own instincts.  Sophie is searching for truth and justice.

The public school system is a place where we reach 84,000 Baltimore City children.  And every day they come to us, (like Sophie) filled with possibilities, filled with hope, filled with the urgent human need to be known, loved, and inspired academically.  You may say they come to us with more than that, with hunger, trauma, pain, some odds that are hard to overcome.  But that doesn’t change the potential of our students, or the ideals of education, that just makes our work more urgent.  The way we see children, what we believe about them is revealed in our schools every day.  Our beliefs are evident in the way we talk to students, in what we choose to talk about, in what we ask of them, in what we encourage them to search for.

Imagine if we had  84,000 children inspired to believe in themselves and to search for truth and justice.

Come on, Baltimore.

You can do it.

– Bobbi Macdonald, Executive Director, City Neighbors Foundation

The countdown to the Summit continues.  We have only 3 weeks to go!  Hope to see you at the 3rd Annual Progressive Ed Summit on January 26.  Lets get together and create some more great schools in Baltimore.