Carl Stokes

The Baltimore Sun

Carl Stokes fills his days working to get a new all-male city charter school off the ground. The former 2nd District Baltimore City Council member who ran unsuccessfully for mayor in 1999 wants to open the Bluford Drew Jemison Math Science Technology Academy in East Baltimore by late August.

"This is going to be much more rewarding than politics," he said this week. Stokes will be director of operations at the school, which is supported by public funds. He also hopes to raise $750,000 from local philanthropic organizations.

Stokes, 57, says the school will start with 120 sixth-graders, all boys, who will attend classes or activities from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday. It will run 12 months a year, and students will have to show up for a half-day on Saturdays. They will wear shirts and ties in the sixth grade, with a jacket added in the seventh grade.

"Young urban males are not going on to high schools," he said. "We want to change that."

Stokes grew up in the Latrobe Homes public housing development and is a product of Roman Catholic schools. He is a former member of the city school board.

"The boys and parents will have to buy into the full program," he said this week. "It will have high academic standards, but there will still be fun."

The Technology Academy is named for Guion Bluford Jr., a NASA astronaut, Dr. Charles Richard Drew, a medical researcher, and Mae C. Jemison, the first woman of color to go into space.

The school is located in the former Madison Square Elementary at Caroline and Biddle streets. Among those joining Stokes in the endeavor are retired school administrator Anne Emery, the academy's board chairman; Kirk Gaddy Sr., an educational consultant and principal of St. Katharine's parochial school; Kevin Parson, the chief academic officer; and former Councilman Edwin Johnson.

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