Baltimore City Public Schools and the Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth (CTY) will offer an academic enrichment and performance program this summer for 180 elementary school students with high academic potential in west and southeast Baltimore. City Schools was awarded a $400,000 Learning in Extended Academic Program (LEAP) grant from the Maryland State Department of Education that will expand and strengthen the long-time partnership between the district and CTY, which has 40 years of experience providing out-of-school learning to bright students.
The goal of the grant is to help close the excellence gap, the disparity between lower-income and higher-income students who reach advanced levels of academic performance, by fostering critical thinking and filling in skill gaps to increase the number of students identified as academically gifted or advanced in City Schools. The grant will fund two free learning sites at Gwynns Falls Elementary School in west Baltimore and Commodore John Rodgers Elementary/Middle School in southeast Baltimore. Students who attend schools in these areas will be invited to attend. During the six-week CTY Baltimore Emerging Scholars Summer Program, students in grades 1-3 will work in small, interdisciplinary classes focused on writing, science, and math and will receive highly individualized attention as they explore hands-on learning.
“We’re excited about the opportunity to reach Baltimore City students this summer with advanced—and fun—curriculum,” said Amy Shelton, interim executive director and director of research for the Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth. “Research shows that the younger we can provide this enrichment, the more likely we are to have a meaningful impact.”
“Students with high potential, no matter where they live, deserve to be challenged and prepared for gifted services at school. This summer program does just that,” said Sean Conley, City Schools’ chief academic officer. “As City Schools works to identify more gifted students and offer more equitable access to gifted learning opportunities across the district, we want to thank CTY for their ongoing support and partnership that now extends beyond the school year into the summer.”
Students’ progress will be evaluated throughout the summer to measure the programs’ effectiveness. In addition, the program will also provide resources to parents, especially for students from minority groups and low socioeconomic status communities. These will include weekly parent workshops as well as online resources to help children continue their academic growth.
The grant builds on a growing partnership between City Schools and CTY, which started with the CTY Baltimore Emerging Scholars Program, a free, 25-week school-based program dedicated to identifying bright Baltimore City elementary students and developing their academic talents. The program has grown from two schools in 2014 to 16 schools reaching 500 second, third, and fourth graders today.
About the Johns Hopkins University Center for Talented Youth
A nonprofit at one of the nation’s premier universities, CTY identifies academic talent in the world’s brightest elementary, middle, and high school learners and supports their growth with accredited summer, online, and family programs, services, and resources designed to meet their needs.
About Baltimore City Public Schools
City Schools serves close to 80,000 students in 172 schools and programs. Its mission is excellence in education for every child at every level, with an emphasis on equity and a blueprint for success that focuses on literacy, student wholeness, and staff leadership. Recent work to expand access to gifted and advanced learning opportunities means that 80 elementary and middle schools now offer these programs. In high school, students have opportunities to pursue advanced programming of different kinds at numerous schools across the district.