On Monday, June 19th, the Baltimore Teachers Union (BTU) and American Federation of Teachers (AFT) partnered with Baltimore City Public Schools, the Office of the Mayor, First Book, McDonald’s, and community stakeholders for the launch of a one-of-a-kind program focusing on enrolling students into Baltimore City Public Schools. The initiative, Baltimore Schools for Baltimore Students: Bringing Back Baltimore One Child at a Time (B3), was developed by BTU and AFT to tackle the enrollment challenges in Baltimore City Schools.
“We knew we had to do something proactive when we saw that one of the pillars causing this years funding issue was declining enrollment,” says BTU President Marietta English. “We decided that the best approach would be to engage Baltimore City parents one-on-one about enrolling their children into Baltimore City Schools.”
Over a period of five weeks, 40 teachers and paraprofessionals, called B3 Advocates, will canvass neighborhoods throughout Baltimore City speaking with parents and guardians about some of the exciting programming happening in schools in their neighborhoods, and encouraging them to enroll, or re-enroll, their children into Baltimore City Schools. “The implementation of this grassroots program puts our teachers and paraprofessionals in direct contact with parents and guardians, and it is their passion about the schools and educating our citys youth that will be a major factor in a parents decision to enroll their children,” says President English.
It is the partnership with the Baltimore City Public School System and the Office of the Mayor that makes the B3 Program groundbreaking. “City School teachers and staff work hard every day to provide a high-quality education for every child in the city and to make sure our schools meet the needs of students, families, and communities,” said CEO Dr. Sonja Santelises. Were proud of what our students have achieved, and were excited that the B3 initiative gives us the chance to show Baltimore that City Schools is a place where families can feel confident sending their children.
“Partnering to achieve the goals of the B3 Initiative is about establishing the types of relationships with families and parents that reinforce their confidence in the education and opportunities that await when their child enrolls in a Baltimore City Public School,” said Mayor Catherine Pugh. “The quality of a neighborhood school is, for many families, a deciding factor in whether they stay or move. Through this initiative, were excited to see families stay, to grow with their teachers, add value to their schools, and build up their communities as they grow themselves! I am enthusiastic to collaborate with the Baltimore Teachers Union, Baltimore City Public Schools and the American Federation of Teachers to focus on enrollment in 25 target neighborhoods and to put boots to the ground with teachers and paraprofessionals knocking on doors, speaking to parents and assisting with enrollment.”
AFT President Randi Weingarten traveled from Washington, DC to attend the press conference.This collaboration between district, community, educators and their union stands in stark contrast to the Trump-DeVos agenda that aims to destabilize, defund and destroy public education, said Weingarten. This campaign is about making every public school in Baltimore a school where parents want to send their children, where teachers want to teach and students want to learn.
The press conference culminated with a joint presentation from B3 partners First Book and McDonalds, who will be hosting two Family Reading Nights at participating McDonalds locations in Baltimore City to help promote literacy. Ten percent of the sales from those nights will be donated to individual Baltimore City Schools.
The McDonalds Family Restaurants of Baltimore are proud to support the B3 campaign to help all students in Baltimore receive a high-quality, public education, said Jeff Taylor, Owner/Operator and President of the McDonalds Family Restaurants of Baltimore. By hosting the Family Reading Nights, and donating 10% of the participating restaurants sales during them, our hope is to provide a fun and welcoming place for Baltimore families to receive school enrollment information, enjoy some quality family time with free books to read together, and support learning and reading all year long.
B3 Advocates will canvass over a five-week period, Monday through Thursday, and Saturday. The goal of the Baltimore Schools for Baltimore Students B3 Program is to enroll 1,000 students into Baltimore City Schools.