October 22, 2019
BCF is making a commitment to support the neighborhoods around three specific city schools. These school communities bookend a main corridor in West Baltimore.
#1 Dorothy I. Height Elementary School
Dorothy I. Height Elementary School, a newly constructed 21st Century School that houses a Judy Center (see page 4), was formed through a merger of John Eager Howard School, serving mixed-income Reservoir Hill, with Westside Elementary, whose families largely come from the predominately low-income Penn North and Parkview/Woodbrook neighborhoods. Research shows that all children benefit from racial and socio-economic diversity in the classroom, but the advantage for low-income children is significant. The vision is to make the school a robust community hub for all of its surrounding neighborhoods, i.e., a place that appeals to all of Reservoir Hill’s micro-communities (North/Lakeside, Southeast, West, and the Community Core), and feels equally inviting to the former Westside families.
#2 Calvin Rodwell Elementary/Middle School
Calvin Rodwell Elementary/Middle serves an area overlapping five distinct neighborhoods: Howard Park, Grove Park, West Arlington, Forest Park, and Reisterstown Station. Calvin Rodwell has long held its own as a solid school in a pretty good neighborhood, but it is currently both undergoing reconstruction as a 21st Century School and a merger with Grove Park Elementary. The intersection of Liberty Heights and Gwynn Oak experienced its first boost of physical infrastructure investment when ShopRite anchored the area with a desperately needed grocery store less than 10 years ago. The new school construction is re-energizing the community, along with stirrings happening at the Ambassador Theatre right across the street. This community is ready for the world to know that it has what it takes to be a premier area of town.
Liberty Elementary School
Liberty Elementary’s catchment area touches all five member communities of the Forest Park Alliance and includes the neighborhoods of Dorchester and Callaway-Garrison. The school has a great reputation within the school system, among partners citywide and especially with local residents. The school houses a high-performing Judy Center, but is not on the list for 21st Century School construction, despite being fully enrolled and in an aging building. Over the years, school leaders and their community partners have been very forward thinking—and always able to mobilize people around their vision. Whether efforts are led by the school or residents, this community has proven it is motivated, innovative, and driven to protect what it boasts is the “jewel of Baltimore”—just as the generations before have done.