Impacting Education from all Angles

Expanding access to high quality learning and equitable opportunity for all students takes many forms. At the Fund for Educational Excellence, our unique role working with the Baltimore City Public Schools and our community’s students, families, funders and organizations allows us to take many approaches towards this work. We’re managing programs, matching philanthropic support to system priorities, researching issues with community input, and identifying resources for students and families based on community-identified needs. Here is a look at a few of many programs managed and/or created by the Fund to expand equity and opportunity for all students in Baltimore – what they are, how we help, and where they’re headed.

Chicago Parent Program:
The Chicago Parent Program (ChiPP), a nationally recognized 12-week program for parents with children ages two to seven, promotes good behavior and educational success for children through empowered parenting. With the support of trained facilitators and the ChiPP curriculum, groups of parents meet each week to discuss parenting techniques, participate in role-play parenting scenarios, share experiences and explore ways to better connect with their children and schools.

The Fund helped bring ChiPP to Baltimore four years ago as a pilot/research project in partnership with The Johns Hopkins School of Nursing, and is now directly managing the program in 11 City Schools. We have been thrilled by parents’ interest in the program. During the three-year pilot program, 65% of eligible parents in the targeted schools registered for ChiPP, a higher rate than in other cities across the country. This year, our programs are fully enrolled, with parents consistently reporting increased confidence in connecting with their child’s school and talking about their child’s behavior. To learn more about ChiPP, contact danielles@ffee.org.

School Choice Workshops:
In 2017, the Fund spoke with 400 City Schools parents and students about their experiences with the district’s school choice process – how students and families choose which middle and high school they would like to attend – for our Calculated Choices: Equity and Opportunity in Baltimore City Public Schools report.  One of the biggest concerns we heard from parents was a lack of clarity and support throughout the school choice process.

Last year, in collaboration with parents, we created a School Choice workshop that gives parents the information they need to navigate the often confusing school process. Any group of three of more parents, school representatives, or community organizations can request a workshop. We do the rest – delivering an immersive group workshop covering timelines, choices available, school rankings, composite scores and more. This year, our materials were translated into Spanish and we expanded our team of facilitators.

All workshop resources are also available online – find them here! To schedule a workshop in your community, email danielles@ffee.org.

Bmore Ready – College Readiness:
Created and managed by the Fund in response to a need identified by parents and families, Bmore Ready is a one-stop, online college readiness resource
designed specifically for City Schools students by the people who know the process best – City Schools graduates currently enrolled in college. The Bmore Ready website and workshops offer helpful information and first-hand video advice from recent graduates on how to identify, apply and transition to college. Bmore Ready is an outgrowth of the Fund’s conversations with families as part of its 2016 report on college readiness: Building a Bright Future; Understanding College Readiness in Baltimore City Public Schools.

This year, we’re emphasizing the importance of early preparation for the application process. Most importantly, we’re demystifying the often-cumbersome processes of applying for financial aid using the FAFSA (Free Application For Federal Student Aid) forms. We will be working as one of City Schools partners, helping to support and get the word out about upcoming drop-in FAFSA fill-out sessions for students and families. Stay tuned as the sessions get scheduled! FAFSA applications are due March 1, 2019!

If you’re interested in learning more, getting involved or staying in the loop as we move these initiatives forward, follow us on Twitter and Facebook, or email info@ffee.org to continue the conversation!