May 6, 2013
Baltimore schools CEO Andrés Alonso tearfully announced his resignation Monday, ending a six-year tenure marked by bold yet often divisive reforms and casting uncertainty on the future of the long-troubled school system. Under Alonso's leadership, city schools saw growth in test scores, graduation rates and enrollment, but his administration was dogged by fiscal problems and cheating scandals. "I have enjoyed being the superintendent of the school system in ways that are so astonishing," Alonso said, choking back tears.
November 18, 2010
The article "Plan to revamp schools" (Nov. 17) provided a profile of not only the poor performance of many city schools but also insights into why some of the problems exist — namely, the plans to provide special programs for the "growing international population" and to strengthen English for Speakers of Other Languages programs. One of the poor performing schools cited, Patterson High, happens to be my alma mater. In the '60s when I attended, the community had its fair share of immigrants who did not arrive in the U.S. fluent in the English language.
April 27, 2013
Before Lauren Preston opened the cover of the book "Spring" to read to her pre-kindergarten class at Mary Ann Winterling Elementary School, her students excitedly told her why, and showed her how, the season was underway. Daffodils - not just "yellow flowers" - were appearing from beneath the soil, they said. Hyacinths were blooming, they demonstrated with the slow unfolding of their tiny fists. And butterflies were emerging, the students showed by flapping their curled arms. In pre-K classrooms around Baltimore's school system, subtle changes like interactive reading are having a substantial effect in helping prepare 4-year-olds for elementary school - addressing an achievement gap that city schools have faced for years.
March 5, 2013
I recently had the privilege of speaking to an enthusiastic and hopeful crowd gathered in Annapolis to urge lawmakers to pass a bill allowing the state of Maryland to renovate or rebuild Baltimore City's school buildings over the next 10 years through an innovative financing arrangement ("Thousands rally for city schools construction plan," Feb. 26). We are not asking for additional funds but a simply a long-term commitment of funds already allocated by the state so that the city's school buildings can be brought on a par with those in the counties and with charter schools.
November 8, 2012
The most recent data on high school graduation and dropout rates from the Maryland State Department of Education suggest that while Baltimore City still lags behind other jurisdictions, it is making solid progress in its school reform effort. Graduation rates have risen and dropout rates have fallen. Baltimore isn't out of the woods yet, but the numbers suggest that the reforms put into place by city schools CEO Andrés Alonso starting in 2007 are beginning to show results. The latest data are the first produced under the state's new method of calculating graduation and dropout rates, which tracks the academic progress of individual students in greater detail than ever before.
February 14, 2013
The latest statistics from the Maryland State Department of Education show Baltimore City making steady progress toward increasing the number of students who finish high school. Last year city schools awarded 149 more diplomas than in 2011, and the city's 3.3 percentage point decline in dropouts was the largest in the region. That's great news for all the teachers, principals and school staff who have worked so hard to get the city's schools back on track. Since his arrival in Baltimore six years ago, schools CEO Andrés Alonso has made boosting high school graduation rates a priority of his reform effort, and during that period the schools' dropout rate has declined by more than half.