Archives For author

rochettaAs I begin the 38th day… 12th hour, 15th minute and 22nd, 23rd, 24th, second of social distancing, I reflect on everything. Has anyone ever noticed that all the lawns in the neighborhood look good except yours?  What about the kitchen floor?  Why doesn’t it stay clean?  I even found myself pondering on the merits of POTUS’s statement about ingesting disinfectant.  I mean, there has to be some favorable research about it, right? LOL!

I’m seated at the dining room table–my home office during the dayevery few minutes either my son, daughter, or husband walk by me while I’m on a Zoom meeting or webinar or conference call, motioning or mouthing something to me or staring at me as if I’m crazy. “Can’t you see I’m working!” This has become my daily reality. 

Let’s be honest, some of us prayed and wished to be able to work from home…pre-COVID 19.  Now that it’s a reality, most of us want OUT!  Working from home means that you not only have to complete all your everyday work tasks, but also link your children to their distance learning and special needs services (my heart goes out to parents of multiples–the struggle is real), AND use your “lunch break” to clean up breakfast, make lunch, and help your child set up their Zoom meeting with their class or attend appointments with their special educator, therapist, and…oops!…now you’re late for your afternoon meeting because there is now a passcode on the Zoom meeting that you didn’t bother to record.  Let’s not get into the million and one passwords and logins for the different sites as it relates to distance learning.  Needless to say, our days are now running together.  Is there even a Monday anymore?  Every day seems like Monday.

Nonetheless, we get up each morning, brush our teeth, wash our face, and may even put on a cute shirt and head to our office–the dining room table–and focus on a day of the unexpected.  The community that we are so used to is now physically untouchable, but easily reachable.  Even though the days are hectic and overwhelming, we are creatures that adapt to our surroundings and utilize our community to support and help us navigate through territory that is not familiar.  In times like this, our community is what bonds us and remains the glue that keeps us together.  It may not be pretty sometimes, but our willingness to use this social distancing to strengthen our community is what makes us strong and resilient.  So through all the chaos, take a deep breath, BREATHE. We got this!

~Rochetta Gordon, Parent and Board Member, City Neighbors Charter School~

National-Poetry-Month-AprilOne week before schools closed due to the coronavirus, we wrapped up a poetry unit in my 10th grade English class. Studying poetry in depth is probably my favorite exploration of the school year. Students are so open and honest with their feelings. The work they create is meaningful and complex and, as a teacher, I feel re-energized as I witness students speaking their truth through poetry. With that long haul to spring break (little did I know), we were all in need of some energy. Of course, there was a significant amount of grumbling and eye-rolling when I introduced the poetry exploration. However, during the course of this study, students-even the eye-rollers and grumblers–read and discussed beautiful poems and wrote deeply personal work that I hope they are very proud of.  

At the end of our exploration, students compiled their poetry into a digital portfolio. A few of them are shared with you here. Enjoy!

~Jenni Williams, Teacher, City Neighbors High School~

What It’s Like to be The Unseen Girl (For Those Who Don’t Know), by Jaylen Hall

For starters, it’s not as easy as you think it might be to be unseen or overlooked.

It’s as if you’re in a glass bubble and the only time it’s shattered

 is when others need help or want to copy your work.

It’s being in a void called the unknown,

never being enough 

even though screaming your loudest for help or attention

It’s hearing everything around you,

But not being able to join in the conversation.

It’s not having a loud enough bass in your voice, 

but having a quiet angelic voice.

It’s being drowned out in a sea full of screams, 

even though you’re the loudest.

It’s knowing we aren’t the worst type of people, 

but actually we’re the best.

It’s being zoned out in society, 

trapped in a book watching life go by you.

It’s listening, focusing, drifting on the pages, 

between sentences, 

hiding around every single word on your story

It’s being an unseen girl, in cause you didn’t know

 It’s hiding afraid of what’s ahead of you even though

you’re the most adventurous

It’s taking precautions,

Watching out for the ones who hide you

It’s caring for the ones,

the ones who treat you as if you’re the shadows they cast upon you. 

It’s wanting to be seen, but no matter how hard you try,

you’ll never be seen the way you’d like.

It’s being classified in the unknown species, The Unseen


See Jaylen’s complete poetry portfolio:


Kingdom of Sticks, by Caitlyn McGuire

This is our Kingdom

Down the small hill

Where the three pines grow.

Here we are rulers

Of stick and twig

Our weapons are broken branches

Our noble steeds are our feet.

And on them

We run.

Our jeans are stained

With grass and mud.

Here we seek

Wishes that never end.

We worship and dance in the 

Downpour of rain

Hide to the rumble grumble

Sounds of sky drums.

This place here

Is our Neverland

You’re the Lost Boys

I’m Peter Pan.

See Caitlyn’s complete poetry portfolio:


Childhood Love, By Noel Flournoy

Childhood Love was a dream from reality

Love like coming home to a brand new toy

Playing with it, home was the place to be

The toy never got old just like the boy

Elementary school honed kiddie love

It taught us that love was a simple word

That love that would never fall off the glove

The feeling of being light, just like a bird

Time was a watch that never stopped ticking

The watch on your wrist made time yours to keep

As time went on you noticed you’re growing

As you look back on it you laugh and not weep

Because love was as young as your little heart

You both grew old but we’re never apart

See Noel’s complete poetry portfolio here: Noel’s Poem Portfolio




tanishaI’ve always wondered what it would be like to be a stay-at-home Mom and home-school my children—to leave the stressors of outside work and the daily grind behind.  As of March 13, 2020, I wonder no more. 

I miss my crazy life! I miss the carpools, the rushing to practices, the interactions with people. I miss quiet moments in my classroom and hearing about my kids’ days. Being home has been loud, sometimes chaotic even, busy with planning, connecting with students and families, keeping my 5th grader on track, chasing after my 4-year-old, and trying to keep my 1- year-old entertained. Truth be told, I’m exhausted. 

It’s okay. I realize I went into this wildly idealistic, naive, and unrealistic. My expectations for my children, my ability to work and  home- school multiple grade levels were extremely high and optimistic. Of course I could teach my own children, I’m a teacher! 

Art, science, math, English, history, phys ed, music–if we fit it into a school day, surely we’ll have time for it at home! I got this, right? Oh, so wrong! It took me a week to get used to just being home all day. Then two weeks to get my three little ones into a new routine, and then one more week to get into what sure feels like a teacher flow–where my students and I are interacting and I’m figuring out what virtual learning can be. 

It’s as good a time as any to reinvent, rejuvenate, and recoup. The government mandated it and I think we could all use this time to practice some self care.  I’m learning, being kind to myself, getting in a few home workouts a week. It’s a process. I’m appreciating being able to spend this time with my children, trying to find and keep joy. And I’m letting go.

 For now, it’s all we can do.  

~Tanisha Carpenter, Teacher, City Neighbors High School~


Thoughts and ideas on great public education in Baltimore City

Stories of U.S.

Connecting communities through data-centered storytelling.

On the arts and education

with Chris Ford, Director of Baltimore School for the Arts


This site is dedicated to education, philosophy, spirituality, leadership, management, social commentary and self-actualization.


This site is the bee's knees


Just another site


once upon a time in a world that is not yet our own...

The Huffington Post | The Full Feed

Thoughts and ideas on great public education in Baltimore City

Deborah Meier on Education

Views on Education