City schools make up list of state's "persistently dangerous" for 2013

Eight Baltimore City schools were named to the state's "persistently dangerous" list for 2013, after noting high numbers of suspensions for the most violent or harmful offenses.

The list, which federal law requires to be reported every year, was released Tuesday and only included schools from the city.


A "persistently dangerous" school is defined as one where for three years in a row, a school suspends 2 1/2 percent of its students for more than 10 days for the following offenses: arson or fire, drugs, explosives, firearms or other guns, physical attacks on students and adults, and sexual assaults.

Six schools were named to the list: Augusta Fells Savage Institute of Visual Arts; Baltimore Rising Star Academy; Benjamin Franklin High School at Masonville Cove; Garrison Middle School; Maritime Industries Academy; and William C. March Middle


Three of these schools, Rising Star Academy, Garrison Middle, and William C. March are now closed.

Two more schools were placed on probationary status, meaning they met the criteria for two years in a row: Booker T. Washington Middle School, and The Reach! Partnership School.

Under the law, the school district has to notify parents of every student attending these schools and offer them the opportunity to transfer. The district must also submit "corrective action" plans to the state superintendent outlining how to improve conditions at the designated schools.

City school officials said that while they expect the number of schools that make next year's list will rise, this past school year marked efforts toward improving climate and relationships in schools that have produced encouraging statistics.

According to Karen Webber- Ndour, executive director of student support & safety, the district's preliminary analysis from this past school year shows a 24 percent decrease of out-of-school suspensions.

Still, the school district expects that 10 schools will be designated "persistently dangerous," or be placed on probation or "watch list," for the 2013-14 school year. They said the number would be down from 18 the prior year.

"While these improvements are significant, there is a clear need for continued efforts to ensure that all schools provide secure and supportive environments," Webber -Ndour said. "We anticipate that progress will continue in 2013-14 as we provide schools with additional resources and support to meet the needs of our students."