Tuesday, May 06, 2008



3 vs. 3 Round Robin

B-ball Tournament

The tournament will take place on MAY 9, 2008. The cost to participate is $5 per person. You must be between the ages of 10- 15 to play. You can sign-up, at any time, in the gymnasium, at New Song Academy, outside of Mr. Sean’s office. The winning team will receive half of the proceeds brought in by the tournament!

Wednesday, May 16, 2007






Who: You and all your friends


1530 Presstman St.

When: May 25, 2007 7pm to 10pm

Why: To raise money for a New Song student!




3 vs. 3 Round Robin

B-ball Tournament

The tournament will take place on MAY 25, 2007. The cost to participate is $5 per person ($15 per team). You must be between the ages of 10- 15 to play. You can sign-up, at any time, in the gymnasium, at New Song Academy, outside of Mr. Sean’s office. All teams need to be signed up by May 23rd, 2007. The winning team will receive half of the proceeds brought in by the tournament!

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Come Shake It Up!

Attention New Song Students, Parents and Supporters…..

The Shake Off

is coming!

When: Saturday, January 13th from 3 to 10pm

Where: New Song Academy 1530 Presstman Street 21217

: Your Hosts – New Song Academy 5th/6th Grade Boys

: The Shake Off, a fundraising event for the New Song Academy Dance Program featuring:


Ticket prices are as follows:
$4- Children 13 and under
$10- Adults who bring a youth as their guest
$12- Adults

Please Note: No child under 10 years old will be permitted in the building without adult supervision.

Call 410-925-6843 for more information.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

The Start of Another Wonderful Year - Please Try To Attend This Special Event

Dear Friends and Colleagues:

One of our teachers has a friend who is a talented photographer. Last year, as we endeavored to increase our funding from BCPSS, John came to the school and took pictures of every child. He has created a display that will be shown at the Baltimore Gallery starting this Friday, September 15th through Friday, October 5th. The Gallery is located at 4519 Eastern Avenue,on the corner of Eastern Avenue and Macon Street in the heart of Greektown near Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center It's John's way of expressing that our request for funding is not for our own personal gain, but to enable us to meet the needs of real children. It should be a powerful exhibit, and I hope you'll find time to attend and lend your support to our children and our school. If you will be unable to attend, but would still like to support us with a gift, please click on the DONATE NOW button.


Friday, May 12, 2006

The Struggle Takes to the Air

This past week, Susan was invited to share our struggle on the Mark Steiner show on WYPR. Along with Chelsea Carson from the Algebra Project, Ron Shelly, principal of the stadium School, Doug Austin from BCPSS and Pat Crain from the State Department of Education. You can listen to the show by clicking here.

Please listen to the show and then contact Mr. Austin (410-396-8803) and Mr. Crane (410-767-3677) to let them know what we need. Specifically that is 59% of the funding that the city received per pupil as opposed to the 41% that we currently get.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Contact Gubernatorial Candidates for New Song

Clearly, the funding of successful schools is bigger that New Song. Our push for the larger share of state funding has struck a chord with those who support successful schools. We need to get those who are seeking our highest state office to commit to funding success, not simply supporting failure. Here is contact information:

Doug Duncan:
Campaign Office
8719 Colesville Road, Suite 200
Silver Spring, MD 20910
Ph: (240) 821-1600
Fax: (240) 821-1601

Martin O'Malley:
2400 Boston Street
Suite 203
Baltimore, MD 21224
Phone: 410-814-4206
Fax: 410-814-4218

Governor Robert L. Ehrlich, Jr.
100 State Circle
Annapolis, Maryland 21401-1925
410.974.3901 ~ 1.800.811.8336

Friday, April 21, 2006

April 21st Update - and CALL TO ACTION!

Dear Supporters,

Although we have been quiet this week, there has been some significant work going on regarding our campaign to secure funding for New Song Academy. I'll give you the highlights:

  • Several of our Board members and one of our supporters from the business community met with Commissioner Buzzy Hettleman this past Monday. The outcome was less than encouraging and can be summarized by Mr. Hettleman's assurance that we would never get 59% of the BCPSS per pupil expenditure. Many of the budget concerns that we had he dismissed saying that he wouldn't look into them. According to Mr. Hettleman, the CFO is short staffed and overwhelmed. He doesn't want to make more work for him. Mr. Hettleman did agree to ensure that the funding formula for our school for this year and next is the same as that used for other "similarly situated" schools even though we are able to document that one school in the System gets 6 times what our school received this year. Mr. Hettleman refused to discuss that school. Mr. Hettleman also agreed to look into the $400,000 for consultants that is part of the Board of School Commissioner's $1.5 million budget. If you are interested in seeing the '07 budget, you can find it on-line on the BCPSS website. It seems evident, even to the untrained eye, that there are many pools of funds that could and should be redirected to schools instead of central office.

  • On Tuesday, Congressman Elijah Cummings visited our school and has offered his full support to help us obtain the funding we need. The channel 11 report covering his visit can be seen by clicking the link in another posting from our blog. The Congressman is arranging and attending a meeting with Dr. Nancy Grasmick and members of our Board to see how we might get assistance from MSDE for our efforts.

  • As part of the channel 11 report, the Chief Academic Officer, Linda Chinnea, was interviewed and clearly stated that the traditional funding formula for schools has not been changed. That same day, we got our staffing allocation form from BCPSS documenting that next year in addition to not having 5 th and 8th grade teaching positions, we will lose our 3rd grade teaching position. We will also lose our half-time allocation for an assistant principal. The new allocation provides us with 16.5 positions or a .5 increase from the current year number of 16.
    On Wednesday morning, there was a report on WYPR about our campaign. You can find that on our blog, as well.

On Wednesday, our Board of Directors met and decided that we will continue our organizing efforts even though it is extremely time consuming and oftentimes discouraging in terms of outcomes. At some point in the near future, though, we will have to decide whether or not we can continue operating New Song Academy next school year.


  1. It's letter, fax and phone time again. This time, we need to contact Mayor O'Malley. The school board budget goes to the Mayor for approval. We need Mayor O'Malley to demonstrate the leadership that will ensure that children in Baltimore City are getting the direct benefit of funds they are entitled to receive in their schools. If Mayor O'Malley fails to respond, we will make our appeal to Doug Duncan and Governor Ehrlich. The Mayor's contact information is Mayor@baltimorecity.gov, 410.396.4897 phone and 410.396.9568 fax. Please get everyone you know to contact the Mayor during this coming week since this is his last chance to act before we attempt to get support from other government officials.

  2. Propose to Congressman Cummings and Dr. Grasmick that they either promote a new national effort to create a referendum for every school district in the country (starting with Baltimore City) that 65% of the per pupil expenditure in every district go directly to classrooms or that the state designates all or part of their 9% increase in funding for BCPSS this year for schools that meet the city and state standards for success.

The pressure you have been putting on our various representatives is working. Even though many of them don't like our message, or the fact that we won't go away, we are getting through to them. We need to stand firm for what we know is right and not "grow weary in well doing." Please keep the discussion alive among your network of congregations, businesses, friends and relatives. Together, we can bring about great change for the children in our city!

Susan Tibbels

Thursday, April 20, 2006

We are putting the FUN in Fund Raiser

Dear Supporters,

Rain, rain, go away! Due to the poor weather conditions, the pre-game activities have been postponed. The celebrity basket ball game is STILL ON!. We would LOVE to see you here!

At 6:30 there will be a celebrity benefit basketball game at New Song Academy. The goal is to raise the necessary dollars so as to keep New Song Academy in position to continue doing the positive work it is doing with our children. For more information or to be a sponsor, please call Corey Mathis at 1.301.814.1436. Thank you.

Cost: $10.00 per adult, $5.00 per child.

Please come out and support our students!

Doni Glover, Parent

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

New Song Welcomes Congressman Elijah E. Cummings

On Tuesday, April 19th, Congressman Elijah Cummings visited New Song Academy and lent his support to our fight for full funding for successful schools. See the story by clicking here: New Song on TV

And, Baltimore's NPR station also came to New Song to learn about our struggle. This story aired on Wednesday, April 19th. Along with Congressman Cummings, Mr. Joseph and one of our 8th grade girls are featured. Take a listen by clicking here

Please take a minute to email the Congressman and thank him for his support. The congressman contact information can be found here: http://www.house.gov/Cummings/contact.htm

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Step Up and Let the City Council Know How Important New Song Is

Now that the school system has voted on its budget and successful schools and the students that attend those schools were left behind, we need to let the City Council know that we want our 59%. The City Council must vote to pass the budget and now is the time. Here is the contact information you need to get your voices heard. Every call, every email and every fax helps. Spend a few minutes, support New Song and other successful schools.

Sheila Dixon
Phone: (410) 396-4804
Fax: (410) 539-0647
Room: 400

Stephanie Rawlings Blake
Vice President of the City Council
Room 516, City Hall
100 N. Holliday St.
Baltimore, MD 21202
Phone: 410-396-4832
Fax: 410-396-6800
E-mail: srawlings@baltimorecitycouncil.com

James Kraft
Room 505, City Hall
100 N. Holliday St.
Baltimore, MD 21202
Phone: 410-396-4821
Fax: 410-347-0547
E-mail: jkraft@baltimorecitycouncil.com

Belinda Conaway
Room 548, City Hall
100 N. Holliday St.
Baltimore, MD 21202
Phone: 410-396-4810
Fax: 410-347-0537
E-mail: bconaway@baltimorecitycouncil.com

Kenneth N. Harris, Sr.
Room 503, City Hall
100 N. Holliday St.
Baltimore, MD 21202
Phone: 410-396-4830
Fax: 410-659-1792
E-mail: kharris@baltimorecitycouncil.com

Nicholas D'Adamo
Room 525, City Hall
100 N. Holliday St.
Baltimore, MD 21202
Phone: 410-396-4808
Fax: 410-396-4414
E-mail: ndadamo@baltimorecitycouncil.com

Robert Curran
Room 553, City Hall
100 N. Holliday St.
Baltimore, MD 21202
Phone: 410-396-4812
Fax: 410-396-8621
E-mail: rcurran@baltimorecitycouncil.com

Rochelle "Rikki" Spector
Room 521, City Hall
100 N. Holliday St.
Baltimore, MD 21202
Phone: 410-396-4819
Fax: 410-396-6800
E-mail: rspector@baltimorecitycouncil.com

Helen Holton
Room 518, City Hall
100 N. Holliday St.
Baltimore, MD 21202
Phone: 410-396-4818
Fax: 410-396-4828
E-mail: hholton@baltimorecitycouncil.com

Agnes Welch
Room 532, City Hall
100 N. Holliday St.
Baltimore, MD 21202
Phone: 410-396-4815
Fax: 410-545-3857
E-mail: awelch@baltimorecitycouncil.com

Edward Reisinger
Room 504, City Hall
100 N. Holliday St.
Baltimore, MD 21202
Phone: 410-396-4822
Fax: 410-545-7353
E-mail: ereisinger@baltimorecitycouncil.com

Kieffer Mitchell
Room 527, City Hall
100 N. Holliday St.
Baltimore, MD 21202
Phone: 410-396-4816
Fax: 410-545-7464
E-mail: kmitchell@baltimorecitycouncil.com

Bernard Jack Young
Room 509, City Hall
100 N. Holliday St.
Baltimore, MD 21202
Phone: 410-396-4811
Fax: 410-396-1594
E-mail: byoung@baltimorecitycouncil.com

Paula Johnson Branch
Room 511, City Hall
100 N. Holliday St.
Baltimore, MD 21202
Phone: 410-396-4829
Fax: 410-347-0534
E-mail: pbranch@baltimorecitycouncil.com

Mary Pat Clarke
Room 550, City Hall
100 N. Holliday St.
Baltimore, MD 21202
Phone: 410-396-4814
Fax: 410-545-7585
E-mail: mclarke@baltimorecitycouncil.com

Join Us In Support of New Song

Dear Supporters,

On Friday, April 21st from 6:30 to 9:30 pm, SOS (Save Our Seeds) Baltimore will present a celebrity benefit basketball game - as well as a day of fun - at New Song Academy. The goal is to raise the necessary dollars so as to keep New Song Academy in position to continue doing the positive work it is doing with our children. FMI or to be a sponsor, please call Corey Mathis at 1.301.814.1436. Thank you.

Doni Glover, Parent

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Next Steps

We’re sorry for the delay in regard to the outcome of last night’s School Board meeting. We needed some time to discuss our next steps. The Board of Commissioners approved the ’07 budget without any line item for successful schools. Our finance committee is reviewing the BCPSS budget as we speak, and is identifying revenue that is being allocated for unessential items/services so that we can have it redirected to classrooms and students. Our Treasurer will meet with Commissioner Hettleman next week to explain how we are not trying to take money away from other schools. We will also continue to rally the support of City Council members to see if they can help since they give the final approval of the school board budget. Finally, we have an interesting idea that we have come up with to suggest to the State, that we are just starting to flesh out. More on that later…

Last night was an expected move on the part of BCPSS, so we are not discouraged, but more determined than ever. In the end, we believe that justice and persistence will win out. What started as a struggle for the rights of children at New Song Academy has now turned into a struggle for the rights of every child in the City. In The Sun today, the City has once again said that they will take away from successful schools to give to failing schools by moving their strongest principals to the failing middle schools. We’re back to where we started when we identified that BCPSS has one goal – sustain failure. We want to know why they aren’t focusing on developing competent new leadership instead of shuffling people around. Where will the principals of the failing schools go - to the openings created in the successful schools due to the transfers? We have to keep working to break the cycle of failure.

We have built up momentum due to your strong support. You can help keep our message alive by e-mailing the School Board members to tell them that we are disappointed but not discouraged, the Mayor to tell him “Now is your chance to show the leadership we need!” and City Council members to say you cannot vote on a school system budget that has no incentives for success. Some of us have had the opportunity to sing our message solo, but our message only has power because those of you who make up the choir continue to shout out the refrain.

“Many people fear nothing more terribly than to take a position which stands out sharply and clearly from the prevailing opinion. The tendency of most is to adopt a view that is so ambiguous that it will include everything and so popular that it will include everybody. Not a few people who cherish lofty and noble ideals, hide them under a bushel for fear of being called different.”

Martin Luther King, Jr.

Thank you for your willingness to be “different!”

Susan Tibbels

The System Stands By Failure

On Tuesday, April 11th, the Baltimore City School Board met to vote on a budget. New Song parents, teachers and other supporters tried once agian to get the system to support success and not failure. Read what happened at the meeting by clicking here.

Monday, April 10, 2006

We Want Our 59%

It's Time To Make BCPSS Sing a New Song!

This is what we are asking for! We are NOT trying to take money away from other schools. We are asking that schools, ALL SCHOOLS, get 59% and that the system learn to do with less!

See you at the school board meeting!

If you can't make the meeting tonight, please consider writing a school board member. Ask them to fund our school. You can also refer to facts on our blog about how New Song supports the BCPSS master plan.

Bonnie Copeland, CEO BSCopeland@bcps.k12.md.us
Brian Morris, chair bmorris@legacyunlimited.com
Anirban Basu abasu@sagepolicy.com
James W. Campbell jcamp@jhu.edu
Douglas R. Kington doug@kingtoncommercial.com
Kalman R. Hettleman khettleman@comcast.net
George M. VanHook, Sr gvanhook@dhr.state.md.us
Diane Bell-McKoy dmckoy@aecf.org
Michael Parker mikeparker33@hotmail.com
Jerrelle Francois Jerrelle.fancois@educate.com

Kieffer Mitchellkmitchell@baltimorecitycouncil.com

Show Your Support For Successful Schools Tuesday Night

We Want Our 59%!

This Tuesday, April 11th, BCPSS will vote on its budget for the 2006 - 2007 school year. There has been a lot of talk about the lack of support for success and the amazing amount of support that BCPSS provides for continued failure. As part of the small cadre of successful schools in BCPSS, we are planning to show up at the school board meeting asking for our 59%. If you can make it to the board meeting to stand beside us, we would welcome you. If not, think about making calls and/or other contact with the school board members and elected officials to express the frustration we all feel. The list of contacts can be found below.

If you can make it Tuesday Night, here are the details:

200 East North Ave
Meeting begins at 6:30 but sign up for public comment begins at 4:30
We are pushing the idea of the reversal of the funding allocation - currently the "system" gets 59% and schools get 41% - we want our 59%! Buttons, signs and tee-shirts that make that point will grab attention.

If you are contacting people through phone or email (or FAX), please refer to the New Song By The Numbers posting that shares just some of the success that we are fighting to keep.

As always, thank you for everything you do.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Another Sun Article About the System's Treatment of Successful Schools

Once again, the Baltimore Sun is covering the idea that if the School System isn't willing to support success than the only other option is that they support failure. Please read the article, and send your comments to the Sun. We MUST continue to put the pressure on the "powers that be" to find the money for success.

Support for Successful Schools Article

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Media Update

Dear Supporters:

Thank you for your strong show of support at the rally on Monday. Hopefully, you saw the article about it in The Maryland section of The Sun Paper on Tuesday. If not, we have a copy at school or click here to see a copy.

Although Channel 2 News missed the rally, they did come afterward and took some footage of our staff talking about follow-up with the politicians we contacted and let Jaz'mon Churchill read part of the fourth grade letter that you heard at the rally. They finished with an interview with Mr. Joseph, our 7th/8th grade boys' teacher. Jaz'mon and Mr. Joseph did a great job representing our school!

As a result of your calls, e-mails and faxes, we now have the strong support of Congressman Elijah Cummings, Councilman Ken Harris and Councilwoman Belinda Conaway. Please take time to send them letters of thanks.

Our thanks to Donnie Glover, Asaan Glover's father, who invited us to call in this past Tuesday to a radio show that he hosts at Morgan State University. Antoine Bennett, Director of EDEN Jobs, Consuelo Brown, our Parent Organization chair and our "one and only" Mr. Kelley called in to represent our perspective. In addition, Mr. Joseph, one of our eighth graders, Lakiesa McClean, and parent, Paige Fitz, will be on our local National Public Radio station WYPR Monday morning sometime between 7 a.m. and noon.

Next Monday (probably at 10 p.m.), FOX 45 will air an interview with Councilman Ken Harris, our preschool teacher and parent of Brittany Wood, Jennie Wiggins-Wood and me. The media attention is helping to keep our campaign for increased funding alive, and it was your voice that got their attention.


Please know that even though the school is on break for two weeks, we are continuing to pursue additional funding from BCPSS. Check in for updates!


Susan Tibbels

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Baltimore Sun Reports on Our Rally

To read all about the rally at New Song on Monday, April 3rd, click this link: City School Seeks More Money

It's not too late. Support New Song and other successful schools. Let your voice be heard.

Monday, April 03, 2006

New Song by the Numbers

What does success in a BCPSS school look like? At every grade level we have success. At New Song Academy, #322, here is what we have achieved:

Met Adequate Yearly Progress in 2003 – 2004 and 2004 – 2005 (data for 2004 – 2005 school year)
  • Grade 3
    • Our students outscored the BCPSS average for proficiency in reading
  • Grade 4
    • Our students outscored the BCPSS average for proficiency in reading by over 6%
  • Grade 5
    • Our students outscored both BCPSS and Md. State averages for proficiency in reading
    • Our students outscored the BCPSS average for students scoring at the advanced level on MSA Reading by 5 times
    • Our students outscored the BCPSS average for proficiency in math
  • Grade 6
    • Our students outscored the BCPSS average for proficiency in reading by over 20%
    • Our students outscored BCPSS averages for students scoring at the advanced level in reading
  • Grade 7
    • Our students outscored BCPSS average for proficiency in reading by over 20%
    • Our students outscored BCPSS average for those students scoring at the advanced level in reading by 6%
    • Our students outscored BCPSS average for proficiency in math
  • Grade 8
    • Our students outscored BCPSS average for proficiency in reading by over 20%
    • Our students outscored BCPSS average for proficiency in math

  • Second highest attendance in the City
  • Attendance in elementary grades: 97.4%
  • Attendance in middle grades: 98.2%
  • 100% family involvement
  • On-going and meaningful community partnerships with Sandtown Habitat for Humanity, EDEN Jobs, Martha’s Place, New Song Arts and Media and New Song Health Clinic
  • On-going and meaningful partnerships with Rouse Co., T-Rowe Price, Towson University, Vertis Inc., and the Enterprise Foundation
  • Education as a value:
  • For students who came through New Song Academy, 78% have graduated high school on time. This number is projected to be over 86% for the high school graduating class of 2006
  • 13 graduates currently attending college
  • 15 parents currently attending college
  • A rejection of the idea that middle school’s need school police in order to create a safe, secure and orderly learning environment

How Has NSA Supported BCPSS?

New Song Academy
Fact Sheet

How has New Song Academy addressed the Baltimore City’s Master Plan Goals?

What BCPSS Wants:
Objective: Increase student achievement pre-kindergarten through grade 12

What New Song Has Done:

  • Met the standards for adequate yearly progress on the Maryland School Assessment (MSA) for both 2003–2004 and 2004-2005 school years
  • At every grade level has exceeded BCPSS average on the MSA in reading and/or math

Objective: Provide students with highly qualified and competent staff

What New Song Has Done:
  • Nearly 60% of the staff have Advanced Professional Certification
  • One staff member has received National Board Certification
  • Staff members have advanced degrees from Harvard, Towson and Johns Hopkins University
  • High quality, site-based professional development designed to meet the compliance with State Curriculum goals as well as current, research-based best practices

Objective: Comply fully with Federal and State laws governing the education of students with disabilities

What New Song Has Done:

  • No compensable special education violations in 9 years
  • Established a full inclusion model of instruction where every special needs student is educated in the regular classroom setting

Objective: Increase the level of parent, family, community and business support and involvement

What New Song Has Done:

  • 100% family involvement
  • Meaningful collaboration with Sandtown Habitat for Humanity, EDEN Jobs, New Song Arts and Media, Martha’s Place and New Song Health Center
  • On-going and long-term relationships with businesses such as The Rouse Company Foundation., T. Rowe Price, Towson University, Vertis Inc. and Enterprise Community Partners

Objective: Provide secure, civil, clean, drug-free and orderly learning environments

What New Song Has Done:

  • In a community recently noted for having the highest murder rate in the city, New Song has created an environment where there is no need for school police; where the high school graduation rate for graduates is 78.9% and is projected to rise to 86.6% this year; where 15 parents and 13 graduates are currently attending college; and where attendance rates are 97.4% in elementary school and over 98% in our middle grades

The Next Wave

Dear Supporters,

Thanks to all the people who have been making phone calls and sending emails and faxes today. The more people we have supporting--the better. Look for some coverage in the Baltimore Sun and Channel 2--both were out today to cover the rally at noon.

Three new ways you can support us:

There will be two radio shows broadcast this week. Please respond to this email if you will be able to listen to and potentially call to comment on either show. We would like to know we have people listening and commenting!

Tuesday 10:00 AM WOOLB 1010 AM

Thursday 6:00 PM WEAA 88.9 FM

Also, The Marc Steiner show on Tuesday from noon to one will be on the takeover of Baltimore schools. Feel free to add your voice to that conversation! 88.1 WYPR

On Tuesday April 11th the school board will be voting on next year's budget. We do not believe it is a coincidence that this vote comes in the midst of the city school's spring break. We are looking for anyone who might be in town who is willing to go to the board meeting to show support for New Song. Please contact us at this email address if you might be able to attend. The meeting starts around 6:30. More information to follow.

Thank you!

Your Support At Work

Thank you to all who took the time to call, fax and email in support of New Song today. We had a press conference and a crowd of people out front (look for us in the Sun and on Channel 2). Studnets, parents, teachers and other supporters all put their voices together. Here are some of the things we are saying:

Dear Mr. Mayor,

I am writing in regards to the school New Song Academy which is located here
in our community of Sandtown-Winchester.

As fellow community service provider, we at Martha's Place (a recovery
facility established in 2000 for women overcoming drug addiction -
www.marthasplace.org) have been aware of the ongoing challenges that New
Song Academy faces each year in order to meet their operating budget. As a
partner with New Song Academy in efforts to revitalize our community, we
have seen first hand the excellent education they provide for our children.
We believe that New Song Academy provides a level of education which
children in our community have been denied for too long because of the
multiple complexities of public education in our city for many years.

As New Song Academy finds itself facing the crisis of obtaining necessary
funding to continue its operation we write to support their requests for
funding from Baltimore City's Public School System. Furthermore, we feel
that if Baltimore City is going to demand that the Baltimore Public School
System be given continued authority over the failing schools, it must also
demand that they be held accountable for sustaining successful schools like
New Song Academy.

New Song Academy's budget has been cut by 26% over the past 3 years, all
while acheiving the designated "Adequate Yearly Progress" according to the
state and federal guidelines set up for successful schools. PLEASE, adopt
the proposal by New Song Academy to address this funding crisis by
implementing a reversal of how the overall per-pupil funding is being spent
at New Song Academy - instead of the typical ratio where 41% of funds go to
our students and 59% goes to administrative costs for the city school
system, they have proposed that Baltimore City Public School System flip
that ratio and give the school 59% to spend on children. New Song Academy
can make this proposal work because of it's own efficient administrative
structure and this does NOT ask that funds be taken from other BCPSS

We believe that the Baltimore City School System must support the success of
New Song Academy because the alternatives for our children are unacceptable.
Please provide for our community's children by providing the necessary
funding support needed by New Song Academy.


Todd Marcus
Program Developer
Martha's Place
PO Box 12764
Baltimore, MD 21217
(410) 728-8402

Calling on You to call Them!

Dear Friends--
Here is the call list for Monday, April 3rd. We are asking that each of you make 3 phone calls. You can choose which of our elected officials you would like to contact. Most of you know the talking points, although we have listed them below. Please remember that our aim is to keep the pressure up and always maintain a positive tone. We are asking that all calls be completed by noon on Monday, April 3rd. If you can't call, please consider sending emails or faxes. Thank you for your continued support.

New Song Academy Phon-a-thon and Rally
Monday, April 3, 2006


If you are going to demand that the Baltimore Public School System be given continued authority over the failing schools, you must also demand that they be held accountable for sustaining successful schools like New Song Academy.

Talking Points:

  • New Song Academy's budget has been cut by 26% over the past 3 years
  • In that same time we have achieved "Adequate Yearly Progress" according to the state and federal guidelines set up for successful schools
  • What we are asking for is a reversal of how the overall per-pupil funding is being spent - instead of 41% going to our students and 59% going to administrative costs for the city school system, we want BCPSS to flip that ratio and give us the 59% to spend on children. We are NOT asking that funds be taken from other BCPSS schools
  • It is up to the Baltimore City School System to support success. If BCPSS and elected officials aren't willing to support success, the only other option is for the continued support of failure.


City Representatives

Mayor Martin O'Malley

410.396.4897 Mayor@baltimorecity.gov

City Council President Sheila Dixon

410.396.4804 sdixon@baltimorecitycouncil.com

Councilman Ken Harris, Chair of the Education Committee

410.396.4830 kharris@baltimorecitycouncil.com fax:410.659.1792

Councilwoman Belinda Conaway, New Song Academy's representative on the Council

410.396.4810 bconaway@baltimorecitycouncil.com

State Representatives

Governor Robert Ehrlich
(410) 974-3901 www.gov.state.md.us/mail
fax: (410) 974-3275

Senator Mike Miller, President of Senate
(410) 841-3700 thomas.v.mike.miller@senate.state.md.us
fax: (410) 841-3910,

Delegate Michael Busch, Speaker of the House
410.841.3800 michael.e.busch@house.state.md.us

Delegates 44th District

Delegate Keith Haynes
(410) 841-3263 keith.haynes@house.state.md.us
fax: (410) 841-3537

Delegate Ruth Kirk
(410) 841-3263 ruth.kirk@house.state.md.us
fax: (410) 841-3537

Delegate Jeffrey Paige
(410) 841-3263 jeffrey.paige@house.state.md.us
fax: (410) 841-3537

Senator Verna Jones
(410) 841-3612 verna.jones@senate.state.md.us
fax: (410) 841-3613

Salima Marriott
(410) 841-3255 salima.siler.marriott@house.state.md.us
fax: (410) 841-3278

Nathaniel McFadden
(410) 841-3138 nathaniel.mcfadden@senate.state.md.us
fax (410) 841-3138

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Call to Action!!!! This Monday!!!


New Song Community Learning Center is calling on all of our supporters to gather at noon on Monday, April 3, 2006 to hear about the outcome of our meeting with Mayor Martin O'Malley, Dr. Bonnie Copeland and Mr. Brian Morris. A committee of respected financial experts from throughout the City, who will be reviewing the BCPSS '07 Budget for potential funding sources for successful schools, will be announced at that time. The rally will be the culmination of a morning-long phone campaign to our City officials and State legislators. Our message will be:

If you are going to demand that BCPSS be given continued authority over failing schools, you must also demand that they be held accountable for sustaining successful schools like New Song Academy.

We need our public officials to not only consider the needs of the students in failing schools today, but to consider their needs upon achieving standards of success. If BCPSS can't fund New Song Academy and the other successful schools currently in the system, there is no reason to believe they will be able to fund any schools that may become successful in the future. As Peter Brunn said in his letter to the editor today, we must "connect the dots."

We will have phone lists available at New Song Center, and on our blog, on Monday, April 3, 2006 for any of you who would like to stop by and make your phone calls from the school. Our students will be encouraged by seeing you, especially since they have relinquished their first day of Spring Break to work together to keep our school open. We hope you will be able to join us for the rally at noon, too. Your strong outpouring of support is keeping our funding challenge alive in the current public school discussion. Don't stop now, we still need your help. On behalf of our community, teachers, students and parents, THANK YOU!

New Song Center
1530 Presstman Street
Baltimore, MD 21217

Letter for the Baltimore Sun in Support of New Song

These letters are from the current Baltimore Sun. Read what others are saying about us. Please read, leave comments and if you like, write your own letter of support by writing to: letters@baltsun.com

Don't wreck school that models success

I read with interest and sadness the article about New Song Academy ("Successful school fighting to survive," March 26).

The fairness argument that the Baltimore education establishment throws out is a sure sign that city schools are doomed by uninspired and gutless management worried about parents of poorly educated students complaining about the good education of others.

That kind of reasoning will drag down the entire system to the lowest possible common denominator - and all in the interest of "fairness."

Is it fair that some schools prosper while others do not?

No, but if you don't give succeeding schools a chance to shine, you will not have models to look to in fixing the bottomless money pit of a mess so many city schools are in today.

A calculator could divide the city school budget by the number of students and come up with a "fair" number to spend on each student. But that is not the answer to this problem. And depriving New Song of the chance to continue will not help the many schools that have failed.

Rather than wreck what is good about successful city schools, we should encourage them, learn from them and create more of them.

Tracy Swindell

Connecting the dots to improve schools

In Sara Neufeld's penetrating article "Successful school fighting to survive," New Song Academy Principal Susan Tibbels is quoted as saying, "If we won't fund a school like New Song, there's no hope for change in Baltimore City."

In the same article, Ms. Neufeld notes Baltimore schools CEO Bonnie S. Copeland's explanation for withholding additional funding. And that explanation?

If New Song were to receive the funding it needs to retain its high staff level, and with that the means to continue delivering outstanding education, the school system would be obliged to provide every other school the same level of support.


Is it just a coincidence that we read of the conundrum facing Ms. Copeland and New Song within a few weeks of a student strike organized by the Algebra Project demanding that the school system, among other things, address the problem of classrooms having too many students and not enough teachers ("Protesting students say way blocked at school," March 4?

And what are we to make of these events in light of other articles about state government budget surpluses?

Isn't this where some dots ought to be connected?

Dot 1: New Song has succeeded primarily because it has been able to deliver individual attention to its students through a low student-to-teacher ratio.

Dot 2: City schools are a mess largely because funding is not available to hire enough well-qualified teachers.

Dot 3: Investing in our students' education today saves money tomorrow, and better-educated students become graduates prepared to enter the work force and adults capable of being productive members of society.

Dot 4: Visit Baltimore neighborhoods blighted by drug trade, crime, poor housing and few job opportunities, and you can see for yourself the results of inadequate educational investment.

My line of work - bringing art to underserved populations and using art to give voice to those who need it most - brings me in contact with many wonderful organizations and individuals who work tirelessly to right the wrongs staring us in the face.

But witness the situation New Song finds itself in, and we have no choice but to conclude that our work alone is not enough. Government must find the courage to take the lead. And what will it take for that to happen? Ordinary people - each of us - recognizing that it is in our collective best interest to have a well-educated citizenry.

And that should just be a matter of connecting the dots.

Peter Bruun

The writer is an artist and the director of Art on Purpose.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

The Rouse Foundation Responds Back

Mr. Kington,

As Vice President of The Rouse Company Foundation and member of the Board of Directors of New Song Academy I would like to respond to your recent email to the New Song Advocates.

When The Rouse Company merged into General Growth Properties in November 2004 The Rouse Company Foundation continued as a separate entity. The Rouse Company Foundation was just one the funders who supported the school and to this day remains steadfast in its support of New Song Academy. In 2005 and 2006, we will fund New Song in the range of $260,000. As this crisis manifested itself Anthony W. Deering, former CEO of The Rouse Company and Chairman of The Rouse Company Foundation, wrote to Dr. Copeland informing her of both the Foundation’s and his personal financial support for New Song and urging her to restore full funding to this remarkable school. Mr. Deering’s letter to Dr. Copeland is attached. He is still awaiting a response from her.

“What changed” you asked. Baltimore City School System has cut funding to New Song Academy by 26% over the past two years. That’s the crisis issue.

We certainly agree that it would be nice for General Growth Properties to suddenly fund New Song - - good luck with your efforts in that direction. John Bucksbaum is CEO of General Growth - - his phone number is (312) 960-5005.

Margaret P. Mauro
Vice President
The Rouse Company Foundation
2328 West Joppa Road, Suite 110
Lutherville, MD 21093

Phone: 410.825.0336
FAX: 410.825.6525

Another Response

Mr. Kington:

I am member of the Board of Directors at New Song and a former Vice President at The Rouse Company.

The support of New Song, both operating support and support for the construction of the school building, came from The Rouse Foundation, not The Rouse Company. The Rouse Foundation survived the acquisition by GGP and continues to be ONE of the critical supporters of New Song. This support did not evaporate when The Rouse Company was acquired in 2004 and in fact this support has continued and increased.

The support that New Song has received over the past nine years from a host of foundations and individuals is not what has changed. What has changed is the support New Song receives from the Baltimore City School System – support that has decreased 26% reduction over the past three years (please see attached summary).

Once you have a chance to review this summary again (it was originally sent to all of the members of the Baltimore City Board of School Commissioners over a week ago), we would love to hear your ideas for addressing what has changed.

Thank you.


Anthony Mifsud

A BCPSS Board Member Responds to us

To All New Song Advocate:

First of all, thank you for sending me multiple emails expressing your concern for the funding challenges that threaten to impact your programs at New Song Academy. As a member of the Baltimore City Board of School Commissioners, rest assured that the entire Board and School System are committed to providing all students in the Baltimore City Public School System - including ours at New Song Academy - with an excellent education.

When I first received your letters and emails, I asked, "What changed?" As I understand the matter, New Song Academy had received funding in prior years from The Rouse Company. This funding was either drastically reduced or eliminated after General Growth Properties bought The Rouse Company, headquartered in Columbia, Maryland, in Q4 2004.

General Growth Properties (www.generalgrowth.com) , a New York Stock Exchange listed real estate investment trust or "REIT," was founded in 1954 in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, but is now based in Chicago. The Rouse Company purchase added 37 more regional shopping centers to the 200 General Growth already owned. This REIT now has a market value of $35 billion.

Understanding these facts, I thought of a potential solution.

Seems to me that if the problem is replacing the funds once supplied by The Rouse Company, the target of the derision should be the $35 billion REIT not the $1 billion, chronically under-funded urban school district. I suggest that advocates of New Song Academy, including The Sun, launch a full scale lobbying program focused on General Growth Properties. Perhaps advocates could attend the next shareholders meeting [May 10, 2006] after kicking off a letter/email writing campaign to convince General Growth Properties to change its mind. Public companies don't like to be seen a penurious in the eyes of shareholders, rating agencies and politicians. One never knows when Harbor Place, the Galleria or the Village of Cross Keys may need some zoning help or an expedited building permit.

Driving to work this morning, my memory was jogged as I eased down Gwynns Falls Parkway past Mondawmin Mall. General Growth Properties owns Mondawmin Mall. As a matter of fact, Mondawmin Mall figured prominently in the acquisition of The Rouse Company by General Growth due to its unrealized potential redevelopment opportunities. Mondawmin, built in 1956 is fifty years old this year. And while some members of the neighborhood were saddened by the loss of Sears, The Rouse Company didn't weep because they repositioned the mall with merchants aimed at urban consumers. This repositioning created a cash engine for The Rouse Company that catapulted Mondawmin into the ranks of the highest sales per square foot of any Rouse mall in the region.

Returning to a strategy for New Song Academy. General Growth Properties recently presented a plan to the Baltimore City Planning Department for redeveloping Mondawmin Mall, including restaurants on pads sites similar to those at Hunt Valley Towne Center and Reisterstown Road Plaza. I understand the plan also calls for relocating the MVA and constructing a 50,000 square foot grocery store. These are great plans that will benefit many neighborhoods in West Baltimore, including the families of New Song Academy.

Here's are my proposed Next Steps:

1. Schedule a community meeting with a senior representative of General Growth Properties, not just the mall manager. The message to General Growth Properties should be you can not be just a "taker" in our community. You must contribute, and this is how.

2. Call the Mayor, City Counsel members and Otis Rolley, Director of Planning, to state clearly that you expect their support in regaining funding from the successor in interest to The Rouse Company.

3. Contact the merchants at Mondawmin Mall and request their support in exchange for your patronage.

4. Contact your state representatives and tell them not to renew its lease for the MVA office at Mondawmin Mall unless and until your funding request is given fair consideration.

4. Finally, inundate the CEO, senior executives and board members of General Growth Properties with letters stating your concerns and requests. Let them know that Mondawmin Mall is in your community and that you expect a $35 billion dollar REIT to be a good corporate citizen, especially during a period when General Growth Properties is seeking approval from Baltimore City to redevelop Mondawmin Mall.

If my understanding of the question "Why the sudden need for funding now?" is misguided, please let me know. If I am generally correct, I have many more ideas to bring pressure on a publicly traded company with assets in our jurisdiction. [Think about the fortuitous timing of (a) Constellation wishing to merge with Florida Power and Light, (b) BGE announcing a 72% rate hike for this summer and (c) the Maryland legislature being in session!!]

Douglas R. Kington

Kington Commercial, LLC
301 North Charles Street, Suite 702
Baltimore, Maryland 21201-4330

(410) 547-0515 phone
(410) 547-0516 fax
(443) 604-8898 Balto. cell

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Our 4th Graders Speak to The Sun Reporter

March 29, 2006

Dear Ms. Neufeld,
We, the fourth-grade class at New Song Academy, would like to thank you for writing the article about our school.

After we read your words, we sat in our morning circle and reflected:
Teyona scrunched up her face as she talked about how dirty her old school was.
Derrick remembered how he sat in the overcrowded classroom of his old school, not understanding his math, and wishing his teacher had the time to help him.
Kashai wondered aloud about equal education, “If we are to be treated like the other schools, then maybe we need to not come every day, not do our homework, and mess up our reputation so that we can get more money.”
What would we do without New Song?
Where would we go after school if we didn’t have basketball and violin?
Would we be in the streets?
Baltimore City says that they can’t give us extra funding because it wouldn’t be fair to other schools. Should we feel guilty about what we have worked so hard for? As one of our seventh graders pointed out in one morning assembly, “Why should we have to pay the consequences for being poor?”
A handful of students brought up the fact that one of the reasons their parents stay in Sandtown is so they can go to New Song. “If New Song closes, then my mom will probably move to the county.”
“I always thought the mayor wanted people to stay in the city.” I said out loud.
Then, we sat in silence, imagining “us” without each other.

We don’t know if we will continue, as a family, until we graduate from New Song. But we know that we will try our best to get there, together. Thank you for being part of that effort.

Asaan Glover
Kashai Galloway
Demond Brown
Brooke Turner
Eric Miller
Daniel Whitehead
Antonio Sims
Tyron Edmonds
Daisha Faison
Tyrone DeShields
Teyona Griffith
Derrick Moore
Malika Brookes
Jaz’mon Churchill
Kathleen McCullough

Your Support and Action Is Making A Difference

Dear Supporters,

We have heard word that The Sun is planning to publish the avalanche of letters they have received within the next few days. Any other letters can be sent to letters@baltsun.com

We have also been contacted by a Baltimore Sun editor who is planning to do an editorial.

Two more possible contacts are:

Diane Bell, school board member
email: dbell@ebmc.org
(we only had a fax previously)

And the email for David Stone, Area Academic Officer is

Thanks for your continued support!

What We Are Fighting For

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

What we need our supporters to do RIGHT NOW!

Dear Supporters,

Susan met with the mayor, Bonnie Copeland and Brian Morris, the chair of the school board this morning. Their solution is working to find after school grants which would sustain the school for only 1 year. This is not the long-term sustainable we want from the school system. They have also given us permission to look at the budget and see if we can find the money on our own. That will be our next step.

We are asking that in an effort to continue momentum, you would make some phone calls to various representatives on our behalf. If you are willing, please choose about three (or more!) individuals from the list below. We would like to keep comments positive. Feel free to speak from your heart or use some of our suggestions below.

If you are generous with you time and make some calls on our behalf, please leave a comment here so we know what our supporters are doing for us!

Here is a general statement and there are some specific talking points after some of the key players.

I am a New Song supporter. Currently we are receiving only 41% of the total amount that the system gets for students while the administrative costs total 59%. We want that ratio flipped. This would allow us to receive the majority of the funds while asking the system to make do with less. If BCPSS is not willing to fund and support success than the only other option is failure.

Robert L. Ehrlich, Jr. Governor, Republican

State House
100 State Circle
Annapolis, MD 21401


email: www.gov.state.md.us/mail
fax: 410.974.3275

Michael S. Steele, Lt. Governor (Republican)
address same as above
email: ltgovernor@gov.state.md.us

Specific talking points for Ehrlich and Steele:
a) At a time when good news from BCPSS is hard to find, New Song Academy
should be pointed to as a success and not punished by having its funding cut
over 25% over the past 2 years
b) When successful schools, in any district, are not being supported, it is time
for the state to protect these schools
c) If the state has the power to provide support for failing schools, it
must also be willing to step up and provide support for successful schools

Nancy Grasmick, State Superintendent of Schools

Dr. Grasmick has been very supportive so if you call, please be sure to thank her for her support!

State Reps:

Keith E. Haynes and Ruth M. Kirk and Jeffrey A. Page

Democrat, District 44, Baltimore Cit

Lowe House Office Building, Room 315
84 College Ave.
Annapolis, MD 21401

1.800.492.7122, ext. 3263


Federal Representatives

Elijah Cummings, Democrat, Representative to Congress, 7th District

1010 Park Ave.
Suite 105
Baltimore, MD 21217


Barbara Mikulski, Democrat, U.S. Senator from Maryland

Brown's Wharf
1629 Thames St. Suite 400
Baltimore, MD 21231


Paul Sarbanes, Democrat, U.S. Senator from Maryland

Tower 1, Suite 1710
100 South Charles St.
Baltimore, MD 21201



Bonnie Copeland
, Chief Executive Officer Baltimore City Public Schools


David Stone
, Area Academic Officer Area 9 - New, Charter and Innovation High Schools

410.241.5115 (cell phone)

Specific talking points for Bonnie Copeland and David Stone:
a) We believe that you and the school system must start supporting success
and not simply supporting failure
b) Allow successful schools to have funding parity with schools who receive
the most, not with those who receive the least
c) Actively work for a transparent budget that allows for accountability and
for the majority of funds to go towards the schools and not to the bureaucracy

Mayor Martin O'Malley

City Hall, Room 250
100 N. Holliday St.
Baltimore, MD 21202



Talking points for the mayor:

a) We appreciate your willingness to get involved and meet with New Song and
the school system, but what we need are results
b) When schools such as School for the Arts are getting $1.1 million on top
of their per pupil allocation, surely there are other funds for successful
c) Please encourage the school system to flip their allocation of local,
state and federal funds so that the majority of these dollars goes directly
to the students instead of to central administration.

Continue to check our blog for updates and consider posting the letters you have written in the comment section so we can be encouraged through one another. www.newsongacademy.blogspot.com

Thank you for all your support. You are truly making a difference in the lives of the children of Sandtown.

What our teachers have to say

Ms. Emily:
Dr. Copeland asks why we should bother funding excellent schools like New Song Academy. As a New Song teacher of six years, I must ask why aren’t we fully funding all schools so that all children in this city have access to an excellent education? Small class size is just one of the reasons why New Song Academy is leading the city in excellence. The school’s ability to attract and retain excellent teachers is another.

I started teaching for BCPSS in 1997 at a traditional middle school but decided to leave after three years of battling for supplies, administrative support and a vision for change or improvement. I was looking to work at schools in other cities—until I found New Song Academy. I recently earned National Board Certification. I could teach anywhere in the nation. I choose New Song.

I teach at New Song because we use research-based reforms to create a positive learning environment. As a staff member, I have a voice in everything from the curriculum to the behavior policy. When BCPSS starts empowering teachers to make research-based decisions to boost student achievement, our schools will stop being the training ground for teachers to go on to jobs in other counties and cities. The financial and educational costs of constantly hiring and training new teachers are too steep, and ultimately fall on the shoulders of our children. We can and are doing better than that at New Song Academy. How can we afford not to fund a school that’s working?

Emily Maunz
Teacher, New Song Academy
1506 McCulloh St.
Baltimore, MD 21217

Mr. Fireside
Dear Dr. Copeland and the Board of School Commissioners:

I have been a BCPSS teacher since 1994. I have worked at 4 BCPSS schools and have, for the past 2 ½ years worked as the Academic Coach and science teacher for middle grades at #322, New Song Academy.

I am writing to express my frustration with the way that New Song has been treated when it comes to our funding model. Since my arrival at 322 I have seen the staffing allocation fluctuate – first being increased and than steadily decreased. Changes of this type have a major impact on every school, but as New Song is a small school, the impact has been devastating. Next years staffing allocation with its further reductions will not allow New Song to operate as designed. It seems clear to me that while the System is happy to accept the model that was proposed for New Song, and happy about its continued academic and social success, it believes that treating New Song like every other school will somehow reap different results.

A little background on our academic success is in order:

In 2005 we met AYP in every grade level for both reading and math

In the following grade levels and subjects we beat the city average:

Grade 3 reading
Grade 4 reading
Grade 5 reading (we beat both city and state averages) and math
Grade 6 reading and math
Grade 7 reading and math
Grade 8 reading and math

In grade 5, no school in the state of Maryland outperformed us in reading based on similar Title 1 and FARM statistics

In grade 6 reading, only 2 schools with similar FARM and Title 1 populations outperformed us in the state

In grade 7, only 3 schools in the state outperformed us in reading when comparing schools with similar Title 1 and FARM populations

In grade 8, no school in the state of Maryland outperformed NSA in reading based on comparisons to our FARM and Title 1 populations

In grade 7, only 3 schools with similar Title 1 and FARM populations exceeded out MSA results

In grade 8, only 1 school in the state outperformed us when comparing schools with similar Title 1 and FARM populations

Clearly the dedicated staff and students have found a model of instruction and a school model that provides success for the state’s most forgotten students. What is also clear to me is that at a time when BCPSS is searching for examples of true academic success, New Song should be held up as a model.

I encourage the Board and Ms. Copeland to reflect on their desire for successful schools and fully fund New Song as a model of success.


Doug Fireside

Academic Coach #322

What our students have to say in response to the School Systems offers

Dear Baltimore Sun,

Why do they want to shut our school down?

I think my school should not be shut down because we have less students so there is less violence and conflicts. Also, we get more attention in class. Is the school board being selfish with their money?

I think all schools should get money because you need to have more success with students so they will not drop out and bring more violence by selling drugs and getting pregnant.

My principal Mrs. Susan Tibbels is a wonderful principal, she would do anything for this school as well as Ms. Jane, the vice-principal. Ms. Emily is my teacher. She is the best teacher. She gives lessons on being better readers and writers. She knows how to pick great books at the store called Barnes and Nobles. Ms. Emily is a teacher who believes in the children that she teaches.

Every child is well educated by wonderful teachers. Please don'’t shut down our school.

Cheyenne Johnson
6thh grader, New Song Academy
Vincent Court
Baltimore, MD 21217
school: 410.728.2091

And another

Dear Baltimore Sun,

My name is Jawanda. I'’m twelve years old and in the 6th grade. I've attended New Song Academy for three years. When I first came here I failed. My second year was more successful and I learned more.

Last year 92% of the 5th grade students passed the MSA and I was a part of that. There are some schools that have 5th graders that can’t even read on a 3rd grade level. At New Song, we have 3rd graders on a 4th and 5th grade level.

Our teachers make sacrifices for us. There are times when it’s hard for me and I can turn around and there is my teacher Ms. Emily saying, “'I love you' or when we were doing MSA, '“I hope you do well. You can do it!' She was encouraging me just like she always does.

Our school is safe. Everyone knows everybody. Not many schools are safe. BCPSS, you can't take our school away. We will stand up until it'’s over. I am saying, don'’t let us down. We love our school.

Jawanda Bowman
6th grader, New Song Academy
Mount St.
Baltimore, MD 21217
School: 410.728.2091

And another

Dear Baltimore Sun,

I'm Latora Brockington and this is my first year at New Song. I'm writing about the funds. I think this school should stay open because it's successful and to stay successful, we need money.

New Song has good teachers who pay a lot of attention to each person and we don't have to act out to get attention. The school stays clean and we have no graffiti or bad language on the wall. Another good thing about the school is that it is connected to other good things in the community.

My question is: Why are they doing this to us? We don't deserve a good school? Give us what we deserve.

Latora Brockington
6th grader, New Song Academy
Presstman St.
Baltimore, MD 21217
School: 410.728.2091

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