What’s Happening

Happy New Year!

In this newsletter, we are excited to share with you some new GLR partnerships and what’s happening in the new year.

In Partnership,

Angelique Jessup

Program Director

Heart of the School Awards

Community nominations are open for just one more day for the 2020 Heart of the School Awards – the annual event each May that celebrates Baltimore City Public School principals for their work. Nominate a principal before Friday, January 31st by clicking here!

The nomination form is only one question long – it takes less than three minutes to complete! Whether you’re a parent, partner, City Schools supporter or community member – help us identify all worthy school leaders by nominating a principal to be honored! After the process, all nominated principals see their nominations, so each knows their work is transformational and appreciated.

ICYMI: we spoke with WMAR-TV on Midday Maryland last Friday about the Heart of the School Awards, nominations, and the work of one of last year’s winners, Principal Zulema Sockwell Moore of William S. Baer School. Check out the conversation here.

Morgan State University Urban Partnership on Literacy Instruction for Teachers (UPLIFT)

Grade Level Reading thanks the Department of Teacher Education and Professional Development at Morgan State University for inviting us to participate in Orton Gillingham literacy training in January. Orton-Gillingham is a multi-sensory and systemic phonics teaching strategy. Morgan State University, in partnership with Baltimore City Public Schools and the Baltimore Teachers Union have created the Urban Partnership on Literacy Instruction for Teachers (UPLIFT). UPLIFT will work to address low reading proficiency for children in grades 3-8 and reading instruction for elementary teacher preparation programs. UPLIFT partner schools include City Neighbors, Fort Worthington, Garrett Heights, Glenmount, and Mount Washington. Over three years, the program will directly serve 90 teachers and 2,250 students in grades 3-8.

Early Childhood Advisory Council (ECAC) & GLR

Grade Level Reading is excited to be working in partnership with the Early Childhood Advisory Council of the City of Baltimore (ECAC). The ECAC is a citywide group of stakeholders dedicated to improving early childhood services and supports to improve school readiness at a population-level and reduce disparities.  As part of our partnership with ECAC, Grade Level Reading will be co-chairing the Open Heart workgroup. The purpose of this workgroup is to engage families and build community support for early childhood development and school readiness. We look forward to sharing news and updates on the work to come.

Wit & Wisdom Parent Tips/Activities

We are working with City Schools to revise and expand the parent tip sheets that align with the new English Language Arts (ELA) curriculum, Wit & Wisdom, for grades K-3. The revisions are being made with input from families and include a plain language review, new design features, and multiple fun activities to do at home that align with each curriculum module. These tip sheets will be launched at the end of the 3rd quarter.


  • Dr. Sonja Santelises had a compelling, live-streamed conversation with City Schools Student Imani Humphpreys-Torres about student wholeness, safety and the Kirwan Commission – Baltimore City Public Schools.  
  • Mark your calendars: on Thursday, February 6, join City Schools’ 21st Century School Buildings Program for a reflection on the program’s history and a look ahead at future school projects. Find details here.
  • A new report by the Baltimore Neighborhood Indicators Alliance is out. This report explores neighborhood and school relationships in Baltimore City.  Find the report here.
  • The Teachers’ Democracy Project (TDP) is offering some tools and supports for folks who want to kickstart, reboot or invigorate a PTO, PTA, school family council or other organized parent teacher body. There will be an info session on February 10, 6-8pm. Food and childcare provided, to RSVP call Tyrone at 443-904-6547 or email Rebecca at