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The Green School of Baltimore a beacon of 'light and hope'

The Green School of Baltimore's Simone Brocht, center left, 7, puts her arm around classmate Ma'Kayla Cromartie, 7, as they and fellow first grader Jackson Vijayan, 7, ride on a boat to Poplar Island last year as part of the National Aquarium's Terrapins in the Classroom Program.
The Green School of Baltimore's Simone Brocht, center left, 7, puts her arm around classmate Ma'Kayla Cromartie, 7, as they and fellow first grader Jackson Vijayan, 7, ride on a boat to Poplar Island last year as part of the National Aquarium's Terrapins in the Classroom Program. (Jen Rynda / Capital Gazette)

I read with much interest, some dismay and more than a little anger the article, “School gets good grades despite achievement gap” (Feb. 3). I am the proud grandfather of an African-American first grader at The Green School of Baltimore. I am present in the school several times a week. I have volunteered at the school.

In 2018, Baltimore City Public Schools gave the school high marks for its strength in vision and engagement and ranked it highly effective in providing a safe and supportive learning environment, open communication and decision-making in the school community as well as a school culture that embraces community diversity. The state of Maryland gave it four out of five stars in its annual ranking. The Green School of Baltimore was one of 20 schools in the city to receive such ranking. This places it in the top 10 percent of Baltimore City Public Schools.

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You will never meet a collective of more dedicated, energized staff of educators than one finds at TGSB. You will not find a more devoted group of individuals committed to furthering the best interests of each student every day, every minute. And you would be hard pressed to find a more loving environment in which to trust your child or grandchild five days a week. Despite this, The Sun leads with sensationalist quotes from school system CEO Sonja Santelises, school board member Martha James-Hassan and fellow board member Cheryl Casciani. These are individuals who know better than to take an average of any data source and use that to form opinions and make public pronouncements. I am mystified at the reporter’s inability to grasp fundamental issues related to assessing such data in a manner that would actually lead to a series of questions and answers that would cause the reader to better understand the complexity of standardized testing in relation to cultural norms.

I am angry that The Sun’s editors would choose sensationalism over quality reporting, but no longer surprised. Ms. James-Hassan is quoted as accusing the The Green School of Baltimore of being in a place of complacence and questions whether there is a sense of urgency around eliminating the disparities evidenced by the recent testing. Let me assure the public and especially the naysayers, the school lacks complacency every day, every minute, everywhere.

It is a shame that our education leaders allowed their emotions to rule the day in terms of creating a public relations quotable. I would hope that they take the time one day to actually visit the school and see for themselves the environment that has been built in this one small building in the heart of Baltimore. TGSB is doing the right thing in a city that needs more right things being accomplished. I dare you to talk to any parent of any child in the school and find one that will not support it as a beacon of light and hope.

Michael V. Seipp, Baltimore

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