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Small school, big footprint


David Andrews
The Johns Hopkins School of Education, headed by Dean David Andrews,
has taken over the day-to-day operations of the East Baltimore Community School.
Photo: Will Kirk/Homewoodphoto.jhu.edu

On a beautiful, brisk day in early November, students of the East Baltimore Community School walked five blocks to the site of their new school building, dreams in hand.

The students were asked to write their hopes for the future school on 3 x 5 notecards, and attached the cards to a fence surrounding the construction site for the new EBCS campus. They then participated in a ribbon-cutting ceremony that marked the beginning of the demolition phase of the project. Construction will start in the spring.

If all goes according to plan, the new building will open in August 2013, and the small contract school—operated by Johns Hopkins University's School of Education, in partnership with Morgan State University's School of Education and Urban Studies—will become a model for urban-based K-8 education.

"Johns Hopkins is here because we can make a difference," says David Andrews, dean of the Johns Hopkins School of Education. "We have some of the most progressive education reform thinkers here who can implement programs with a track record of success. ... We like to say this is a small school that will leave a big footprint."

A new home is a good first step. The 219-student school is currently housed in a temporary location; the new building, a 90,000-square-foot, $30 million facility, will be constructed on a seven-acre campus just north of the Johns Hopkins Medical institutions. It will be the first new school built in East Baltimore in 25 years and will share the campus with a $10 million, 28,000-square-foot early childhood center.

The real changes, however, are just getting started—and Johns Hopkins will be there every step of the way. Andrews said that the new partnership cements Johns Hopkins' long-term commitment to the East Baltimore Community School and the desire to transform it into the highest-performing school in the district.

At a recent event at the Carey Business School, Johns Hopkins President Ronald J. Daniels called EBCS a "signature initiative" for the university and discussed the critical role the school can play in the lives of its students and their families, and in the revitalization of East Baltimore.

"We believe the school has the potential to change a child's trajectory, a family's trajectory and, indeed, the trajectory of an entire neighborhood," Daniels said.

"The school stands as a poignant, vivid and galvanizing place for us to demonstrate our core belief in the community and its future. It builds on our passion for the transformative impact that education can have on the lives of our fellow citizenry."

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