Amara came to City Neighbors filled with ideas, filled with love, filled with her own thoughts and wonderings. Filled with her own challenges to conquer, and her own character to build. And for these past three years we have had the opportunity to get to know her. She is unique. She is smart. She is Amara. I asked a few of her teachers if they wanted to share what they think about Amara and here are some of the words and phrases that stuck out:
- Book loving
- Smile that can melt the coldest of hearts
- She is a firecracker that will keep you on your toes
- Making others smile when she greets them
- She helped the children in the class learn about differences and empathy
- She taught her peers how to be a friend and a helper
- She showed children that even if they thought she couldn't do something because she was different, she was a lot more similar to them and was capable of many of the same things they were
What kind of school would we be, if Amara couldn’t belong with us? Amara and her family belong with us and we belong with them. This is what we were hoping for, when we founded City Neighbors. A place where we can imagine together, the very best school for children, teachers, and families.
If you would have the best school you can imagine, what would it be? This is the question we used when creating our schools. At City Neighbors we serve over 850 public school students, K - 12 in Baltimore City. We are a grassroots kind of school, with parents, teachers, and students serving on the board, and a committee structure to invite families to help us create the culture and life of our school community. We see every child as creative, powerful, unique, and worthy of the deepest respect. And this vision of how we see children, leads us to make our decisions about the curriculum, the school environment, assessment, the daily life of our students and teachers in the building.
The Best School We Can Imagine - includes Amara and her family. I for one feel lucky to be a part of it all.
About the Author: Bobbi Macdonald is a founder and served as the first board president of City Neighbors Charter School. She was selected by the Annie E. Casey Foundation as one of 16 leaders from across the country for the Children and Family Fellowship. Bobbi serves on the Advisory Board of Convergence: Re-imagining Education Project, on the Board of Directors of Hamilton Bank and is past Chair and founding member of the Maryland Alliance for Public Charter Schools and the Baltimore Education Coalition. Previously Bobbi taught early childhood education and kindergarten in two University child development laboratory schools, and served as literacy trainer for Head Start and the Children’s Literacy Initiative. Bobbi received her Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Illinois in Human Development and Family Ecology, and holds a Master’s Degree from the University of Maryland, College Park, in Curriculum and Instruction.