Archives for posts with tag: Danique Dolly

Enrollment Map of CNHS

Tomorrow we will have the first graduation of City Neighbors High School. In 2010  we opened and students came from all over the city, they decided to take a chance on a new high school and be the first class of freshman. (Check out our current enrollment map above with all four classes). Our school was designed based on the question, “What would it take for every student to be Known, Loved, and Inspired?”  And the class of 2014, our first class, helped us learn what it takes.  During the first year we only had part of the building renovated, no lockers, half the faculty we really needed, and all the start up difficulties faced by any new school opening up determined to innovate.  But through that struggle we forged strong relationships.  There is a sense of ownership that is strong and steady.

Here is a great quote on our values from our Principal, Danique Dolly:


You can listen to our students talk about our school and more from Danique in the TV spot on WBAL.

Graduation is the one last chance we have to make sure our students feel Known, Loved, and Inspired.  There will be dancing, there will be singing, and speeches, and laughter, and storytelling.  But after tomorrow, they have got to step into the world and take it with them.  We will miss this class.  Our pioneers. But I can tell you this, I’m not worried about this world.  When our students  have a hand in fighting poverty, racism, ignorance, and homelessness,  and when our students are the ones to build and create, and inspire others, and dream powerful dreams of change and possibility, then we are going to be ok.  After four years of watching the class of 2014 help create what a great High School can be in this city, I look forward to a future that will include these students as they forge ahead in college and careers.  Congratulations, class of 2014!  Thank you for making City Neighbors High School a special place!

Students at City Neighbors in a thoughtful moment, working together.

Students at City Neighbors in a thoughtful moment, working together.

Save the Date!  January 26, the 3rd Annual Progressive Education Summit is coming our way.  Every year at the Summit, educators and community gather  to attend workshops, hear a great keynote speaker, and eat some good food together. At the Summit we learn from eachother about progressive education for Baltimore City students.

This year our keynote speaker is Alfie Kohn.  Education reformer and author, Alfie is known for his commitment to progressive practices. But what do we mean when we say “progressive?”    With eight more weeks until the Summit, I decided to do the countdown using a description of values from the writings of our keynote speaker, Alfie Kohn: Progressive Education, Why It’s Hard to Beat, But Also Hard to Find (published in INDEPENDENT SCHOOL, Spring 2008).

So, here goes.  As you read, think about whether these values feel true to you, in your experience.  And then, try and imagine schools that believe in these values.

The 8 Values of Progressive Education:  What it IS
Value #8 – Attending the Whole Child

#8.  Attending to the whole child: Progressive educators are concerned with helping children become not only good learners but also good people. Schooling isn’t seen as being about just academics, nor is intellectual growth limited to verbal and mathematical proficiencies.

Have you ever been in a school that works in this way?  Do you think it may be difficult?  Why is this value important for a school?   Please leave a comment below.  I am interested in your thoughts.

Principal Danique Dolly, Josh and Ryan at City Neighbors High School

Can you remember being a child, sitting in a school assembly?

As the gym or auditorium slowly filled up with every person in the school, you would scan the crowd for a friend or two, and when you found them, you’d joke around or make plans.  As everyone settled down, the Principal would walk up to the microphone, and the program would begin.

Inevitably, at some point during the show, it got too noisy somewhere in the crowd.  The Principal would walk back up to the mic and stop everything.  “People,” his voice would boom.  “Time to quiet down back there.  I’m waiting.  Thank you.”  Right in the middle of the show!  As though it were part of the show.  In fact, it was part of the show – and that is the point of this blog post.    It was the regularly scheduled program.

Every school has a regularly scheduled program.

The other day I was at City Neighbors High School for the annual Talent Show.  As you may know, City Neighbors High School is in its 2nd year as a school, and shares its campus with City Neighbors Hamilton (K-5).  Imagine 180 students, freshman and sophomores slowly filling up the auditorium.  Kids, parents, teachers, and the young students of City Neighbors Hamilton came to see the Talent Show.

As everyone settled down, the Principal of CNHS, Mr. Danique Dolly, walked up to the microphone, and the program began.  There were dancers, singers, bands, hip hop, rap, spoken word, guest performers and teacher-performers.  It was wonderful.

At one point during the show, things got a little noisy in the back of the room.  It so happened that Principal Dolly was at the microphone, talking, when he noticed the noise.  He turned off his microphone and said, in an quiet, private, off-the-air tone, “People, time to quiet down back there.  I’m waiting.  Thank you.”

Exact same words as our old principals used to use.  But here’s the part that I noticed.  Principal Dolly turned back on the mic, and with his winning smile, said, “OK, folks, now back to our regularly scheduled program.”

That is it!   When Mr. Dolly turned off the mic to scold a bit and remind, he made sure the students knew that the regularly scheduled program is not the negative one.   The regularly scheduled program at our new high school is the one filled with creativity, joy, self expression, and courage.

What is your  regularly scheduled program?


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