The Education and Youth Development Program seeks to ensure that all student groups are fully included in schooling and other opportunities that prepare them for success in adulthood.
An overwhelming majority of youth in Baltimore City Public Schools experience the effects of concentrated and, most often, generational poverty, coupled with limited exposure to opportunities, which is further compounded by discriminatory treatment in and out of school. Equitable education is the most accessible way to break out of the crippling cycle of poverty. OSI-Baltimore believes that equitable education is best achieved by removing prohibitive barriers and inequitable practices that push children out of school and into the school to prison pipeline. The Education and Youth Development Program seeks to ensure that all student groups are fully included in schooling and other opportunities that prepare them for success in adulthood.
In 2018, we worked to advance this goal through a number of strategies. We partnered with Baltimore City Schools to implement restorative and other complementary practices that help students and educators resolve conflicts, lift up student voices, and improve instruction. We established Baltimore City Schools’ Re-engagement Center to provide opportunities for students who have separated from schools to gain the credits they need to graduate. And we worked alongside advocates to fight for long-term, adequate school funding for Baltimore City and other historically under-resourced Maryland school districts through the Governor-appointed “Kirwan Commission.” We also supported policies and practices that include and protect some of our most marginalized students, including immigrant students, LGBTQ students, students with disabilities, and African American students.
Still Leading the Way: Restorative Practices Go Statewide
OSI’s Education and Youth Development Program and its grantees have already begun to share resources about restorative approaches to positive school climate and discipline with districts throughout the state to ensure that restorative practices are as successful statewide as they have been in Baltimore.
Over the last several years, OSI-Baltimore has worked with Baltimore City Schools to pioneer implementation of restorative practices throughout the district, and 55 of the city’s 180 schools have already begun implementation or are scheduled to do so in the next academic year. The schools that have implemented these practices have seen dramatic drops in suspensions and school-based arrests, while test results and graduation rates have increased district-wide.
In 2018, OSI and its grantees, including the ACLU of Maryland, Baltimore Algebra Project, and the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund, developed a strategy to advocate for statewide implementation of restorative practices. These efforts bore fruit in 2019, with the implementation of a broad education package that includes a statewide professional development program for teachers on “racial awareness, cultural competency, religious tolerance and restorative practices.”
2018 Education and Youth Development Grants
Advocates for Children and Youth, Inc.
$165,000 over 18 months to advocate for the application of a racial equity/justice framework to three policy areas: 1) school funding; 2) school climate; and 3) school discipline
American Civil Liberties Union of Maryland
$100,000 over one year to advocate for equitable school funding; adequate school facilities; and school discipline reform
Association of Baltimore Area Grantmakers
$5,000 project support for its Education Funders Affinity Group
$50,000 over one year to monitor Maryland’s adoption of chronic absence and school climate indicators in its federal accountability plan and to advocate for adequate funding for Maryland schools, with a focus on Baltimore City
Baltimore Curriculum Project
$75,000 over 15 months to formalize City Springs Elementary/Middle School’s role as a restorative practices demonstration site
Center for Supportive Schools
$10,000 over one year to support its Peer Group Connection mentoring program in public middle schools in Baltimore
Community Mediation Program, Inc.
$25,000 over one year to support restorative practices implementation in up to four of Baltimore City Schools’ intensive learning sites
The Education Trust
$50,000 over one year to generate data and policy analyses that explain why addressing racial inequities should be a top priority for Maryland
FreeState Legal Project, Inc.
$50,000 over one year to advocate for practices and policies that protect the rights of LGBTQ students
$25,000 over six months to enable it to utilize restorative practices to address LGBTQ issues, beginning with Baltimore City Schools
$25,000 over nine months to pilot its Bridging Academics and the Mind Online Curriculum in Baltimore City Schools
Playworks Education Energized
$25,000 over one year to implement a combination of recess programming, professional development and online learning tools to improve the learning environment at Baltimore elementary schools
Strong Schools Maryland
$40,000 over 18 months to create a grassroots statewide network of education advocates, parents, students and teachers
Teachers Democracy Project
$25,000 over one year to support restorative practices training and implementation by creating a series of instructional videos
The University of Maryland Baltimore Foundation, Inc.
$100,000 over nine months to support The Positive Schools Center at the University of Maryland-Baltimore, School of Social Work to train principals, teachers, and students in Baltimore City public schools to use restorative and other complimentary practices that support the creation of positive school climates
Wide Angle Youth Media
$100,000 over 18 months to support youth produced media campaigns that promote strategies to integrate restorative practices in Baltimore City Public Schools