Leaders of the University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) and
city officials on two recent occasions have been invited to see for
how expanded opportunities at two elementary schools can brighten the
lives of families
in the Promise Heights neighborhood.
at The Historic Samuel Coleridge-Taylor Elementary School (HSCT)
and Furman L. Templeton Preparatory Academy (FLT) opened
their doors to show off the schools' latest amenities
Each public school is located only a short distance from campus in
high-poverty part of Baltimore that is the focus of the UMB-led Promise
The initiative is partially
funded by a Promise Neighborhoods planning grant from the U.S.
Department of Education
and led by the UM School
of Social Work (SSW) in collaboration with the School
of Medicine, the School of Nursing,
SSW Dean Richard P. Barth,
Mayden, MSW, executive director of Promise Heights and SSW
assistant dean, were
introduced to a large gathering of community leaders, parents, and
a ceremony on Sept. 23 at HSCT, 507 W. Preston St. in West Baltimore.
After months of renovation work, HSCT
dedicated a completely
redesigned and relocated library made possible by a grant from the
Jeanette Weinberg Foundation, part of the foundation's $10 million
Elementary and Middle School Library Project. One aspect of the project
Enoch Pratt Parent Place, furnished with armchairs, designed for
guardians of the 420 students enrolled at HSCT.
"Read every book in this room," Mayden admonished the
youngsters chosen to represent each grade, including pre-kindergarten,
reminding them in so many words of the goal of Promise Heights: to
improve the lives of children from cradle to college or career. "When
you're ready for graduate school, see us on our campus," she said. "You
are the future doctors, nurses, social workers, and pharmacists, and I
to take care of me!"
Speakers included HSCT Principal
Harold Barber, EdD; Senior
Pastor Alvin C. Hathaway of Union Baptist Church, which is among
Heights' faith-based partners; Amy Rosenkrans, director of the Office
Humanities at Baltimore City Public Schools; Baltimore City State's Attorney Gregg Bernstein, JD '81; and
City Council President Bernard "Jack" Young.
It was Young who told the children that reading has a
practical side, such as building vocabulary, but can mean far more.
you anywhere around the world," he said. Given that, HSCT pupils have
The Heart of America Foundation
provided nearly 1,500 books
on the day of the ceremony so each child was able to take home three or
books at the proper reading level to start their personal libraries. At
school, under the guidance of librarian Emmanuel Faulkner, the children
utilize an attractive, flexible space equipped with an array of titles,
technology and areas designed for special uses.
the dedication, one special
area became a stage for a reading by author Tremontenia Morgan, school
secretary at HSCT,who then led her African dance troupe in a
of the funga, a dance that is the subject of her book.
The Heart of America and the Maryland
Food Bank partnered with
the Weinberg Foundation to make HSCT the site of a mobile food pantry.
on dedication day, families who registered were able to take home 25
food per child.
Promise Heights staff helping with the giveaway and tours of
the library were Mayden; Rachel
director of Promise
Heights; Liz Buchanan, MSW '13, LGSW, the HSCT
Resource School site coordinator (who is shown with a young reader in
the photo above); and Claire
Meringolo, LCSW-C, mental
health consultant at HSCT's Judy Center, part of the Judith P. Hoyer
the Maryland State Department of Education.
result of the library
vacating its former space at HSCT, Meringolo and the rest of the Judy
were able to relocate their services, allowing more room to offer
mental health services and family literacy to families
with children up to age 5.
first Promise Heights partner
school to house early childhood services was FLT, 1200
N. Pennsylvania Ave., which now offers not only a Judy Center but
also the Metro Delta Head
Start program and the Martin Luther King Jr. Early Head Start program.
That portion of the public charter school building was on the tour Sept. 9
Principal Debra Santos welcomed University President Jay
A. Perman, MD, and other UMB leaders. Perman, a
soon took on the challenge of attempting to soothe a fussy 23-month old
that moment, was being held by JaVon Townsend, MSW '12, LGSW,
who helps staff Early Head Start.
Upstairs at FLT, which operates on a
schedule and emphasizes use of technology in its curriculum, UMB
observed first-graders learning the basics in a computer lab and
using tablets and an interactive whiteboard. The tools were high-tech
students' recent subject matter was ancient: Greek mythology.
the group paused at a wall display of the class papers on
the Pandora myth, Perman
and others were
pleased to see a notation about the collaborative nature of the
that collaboration is a core value of the University.
The UMB group, which also visited
HSCT, included Bruce E. Jarrell,
MD, FACS, chief academic and research officer, senior vice
president, and dean of the
Peter N. Gilbert,
MSF, chief operating officer and senior vice president; Laura
Kozak, MA, assistant vice president, communications and public
affairs; and the SSW's Mayden and Barth. He is a member of the FLT
also is the focus of a Promise Heights program called
Parent University that
for the fourth time in
as many years is teaching parents how to best engage with their infants
toddlers and keep them safe and healthy.
The 10-week session is held at Pennsylvania
Avenue AME Zion Church, a faith-based partner, and began Oct.
1. This is the largest class yet, with several three-generation
families and 24
families (more than 45 people) with children from birth to age 3
staff, and faculty at UMB are encouraged
to volunteer at Parent
other activities of Promise Heights such as a FamilyFest,
held recently at the Robert
C. Marshall Recreation Center field across Pennsylvania Avenue from FLT
and the Day of Hope
Promise, held in August.