• IMG_6645 by Shan Gordon.
  • IMG_6654 by Shan Gordon.
  • IMG_6667 by Shan Gordon.
  • IMG_6598 by Shan Gordon.
  • IMG_6604 by Shan Gordon.
  • IMG_6609 by Shan Gordon.
  • IMG_6630 by Shan Gordon.
  • IMG_6637 by Shan Gordon.
  • IMG_5109 by Shan Gordon.
  • IMG_6554 by Shan Gordon.
  • IMG_6575 by Shan Gordon.
  • IMG_6576 by Shan Gordon.
  • IMG_6593 by Shan Gordon.
  • IMG_6596 by Shan Gordon.

Taking Green Street to Hilton Street

Forgive the pounding of hammers and the whine of saws at 125 North Hilton Street. They are uncovering a lost jewel of a school. The former Gwynns Falls Park Junior High School was poorly maintained and was closed in 1985. When it was built in 1926, it was the most expensive Baltimore city public school with large windows, two hour fire walls, beautiful floors and an indoor courtyard. This renovation will feature breakout rooms, white boards, technology studios, community and career centers, a green roof, hanging plants, gardens and aquaponics. The eight acre site offers space for play, greenhouses and reaches the Gwynns Falls stream.

The price? At $23 million dollars for 145,000 square feet, its cost ($158.62) per square foot is almost half the average estimated cost for the 21st Century Building project in Baltimore ($309).

By moving the school closer to its students and bus routes, the school helps its students get to school easier.

Perhaps most importantly, the school intends to involve its students in the design of the school, giving them a chance to learn about and help create their own school.

Baltimore City Public Schools….are you listening and learning?

IMG_6609 by Shan Gordon.
Will Green Street Academy break through the barriers of low expectations and excuses in Baltimore?
IMG_6604 by Shan Gordon.
Sean Winston and Jerome Crowder take a swing at “Fail” and “Excuses” during a groundbreaking ceremony at the future site of Green Street Academy at 125 North Hilton Street in Baltimore. Green Street Academy is presently located in a Baltimore City Public school building at 201 North Bend Road in Baltimore.
IMG_6667 by Shan Gordon.
Looking into the future.
The inner courtyard at the school will feature hanging plants and a hydroponic system.
IMG_6637 by Shan Gordon.
Jon Constable, Seawall Development, points out a test area where the hardwood floors had been sanded and refinished.
IMG_6598 by Shan Gordon.
Dr. Dan Schochor, Executive Director of Green Street Academy and Michael Phillips, Pastor at Kingdom Life Church prepare to break through the wall of low expectations at the groundbreaking ceremony for the future site of Green Street Academy. Kingdom Life Church will maintain a separate space in the building.

IMG_6645 by Shan Gordon.

IMG_6593 by Shan Gordon.
David Warnock and Lawrence Rivitz, Co-Founders of the Green Street Academy swing at “Fail” and “Excuses” scrawled in spray paint during a groundbreaking ceremony at the future site of Green Street Academy.
IMG_6596 by Shan Gordon.
Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake shows off her muscles after striking the ground breaking wall with a sledgehammer.
IMG_6554 by Shan Gordon.
Sean Winston and Jerome Crowder talk about the opportunities that they have had to learn at Green Street Academy.
IMG_6575 by Shan Gordon.
David Warnock, Co-Founder of Green Street Academy, talks about the change the school is trying to create in Baltimore.
IMG_6654 by Shan Gordon.
The renovation at the future site of Green Street Academy is underway.
  • IMG_6861 by Shan Gordon.
  • IMG_6869 by Shan Gordon.
  • IMG_6847 by Shan Gordon.
  • IMG_6803-2 by Shan Gordon.
  • IMG_6812 by Shan Gordon.
  • IMG_6813 by Shan Gordon.
  • IMG_6814 by Shan Gordon.
  • IMG_6829 by Shan Gordon.
  • IMG_6845 by Shan Gordon.
  • IMG_6856 by Shan Gordon.

Amazing STEM Laboratory!

Last night my 10 year old son ran a DNA test to identify a jewel thief, investigated enzymes in milk, and identified sickle cell anemia using electrophoresis. Students from all over Maryland are able to do these and other experiments thanks to the Towson University’s Center for STEM Excellence. The Center loans out kits to do these experiments to schools throughout Maryland for free. They even pay the FEX EX shipping and return for the kits.

If schools can bring students to the SciTech Student Lab, TU-trained staff can lead students through a lab chosen by their teacher. There is a $10 dollar fee per student for the SciTech lab experience.

This is an amazing resource for Middle and High School students and their teachers.
The website is http://www.towson.edu/cse/

IMG_6847 by Shan Gordon.
Your students could be doing this. Zen Gordon, 10, uses the Towson University SciTech Student Lab to learn about DNA, enzymes and Sickle Cell Anemia. Steven Fenchel, a teacher from the Einstein Science School in Kensington, MD offers support. Fenchel came to the lab to be trained so he can check out labs for his students.
IMG_6813 by Shan Gordon.
Christina Romano, Education and Outreach Specialist, demonstrates how to insert samples for testing.
IMG_6803-2 by Shan Gordon.
Students mix and create their own testing media with powder from seaweed and distilled water. The porous structure of the seaweed enables the DNA to migrate through the media for testing.
IMG_6829 by Shan Gordon.
Christina Romano, education and outreach specialist, demonstrates how to conduct the experiment.
IMG_6869 by Shan Gordon.
A visit with the Diamond Backed Terrapins outside the lab is a great way to end the experience.
  • Water-Cost-2014-Bar-graph by .
  • Water-Costs-2013 by .
  • Water-costs-2014-pie by .
  • Water-costs-2014-finally by .
  • Water-Use-2012-and-2011 by .

How many Drip, Drip, Drips does it take to lose a Million Dollars?

Water-costs-2014-finally by .
Water costs at Baltimore City High Schools

It was a joy to learn with the bright students at Baltimore Polytechnic Institute last week.  The students worked hard and offered the guest speakers great questions and great respect.

I’d like to challenge the students (and anyone who wishes) to understand and present the City Schools energy data accurately and informatively. Access to open and accurate information can help us understand and solve problems.

I’ve put together graphs and pie charts using the water data supplied by City Schools.
More data from City Schools is available in the resources section of this website.

Please use the original data from City Schools to create your own graphs or check the accuracy of my graphs.

Here are some important items to consider when we interpret this data and create our graphs and charts.

1) Schools vary by size, so we would expect to see some differences in energy and water use between schools because of their size.
You may want to create graphs that show the square footage of the building next to their water or energy use.

2) Poly/Western share a campus and their energy/utility systems, so we need to combine them to effectively benchmark their energy/water use or compare them to
other schools. Delegating water use to one school and oil to another when in fact they are sharing these resources is not helpful in understanding how these
schools use energy.

3) Sometimes the data can simply be wrong.  Errors in gathering, tabulating or calculating data can give us false data, so it is wise to check for these errors
as we interpret the numbers.

4) We would also need to consider the effect of operations and mission of a school. Having a pool could increase water use a bit, having air conditioning
or staying open longer for school events could increase energy use. These things support students and the community, so we don’t see this as waste.
Our work is to eliminate energy waste (lights and equipment on 24/7, broken windows, inefficient systems) so we can fund the things that help us learn and

5) Does the presentation of our information (graph, chart, written or spoken language) clearly and accurately explain the situation?

6) Did we include all relevant data and captions explaining how to interpret and act on the information we supply?

7) Is a high utility bill a temporary problem that is solved immediately, or is it a long term problem that hasn’t been addressed?

Water-Use-2012-and-2011 by .
Water use at Baltimore City Public High Schools.

I’m looking forward to seeing your charts and graphs on the energy and water use of the Baltimore City Public Schools.



Baltimore City Schools Water use 2014 High Schools Chart final


Water Use at City High Schools by cost FY 2014

Water use at City High Schools FY 2013

Poly-14-3 with totals


  • IMG_4821 by .
  • IMG_4826 by .
  • IMG_4841 by .
  • IMG_4855 by .
  • IMG_4866 by .
  • IMG_4887 by .

The High School Innovation Challenge, Warnock Foundation.

posted in: Blog, Multimedia, News and Issues | 0
IMG_4887 by .
Students from Green Street Academy pose with David
Warnock, the sponsor of the High School Innovation

IMG_4866 by .

IMG_4841 by .

IMG_4826 by .

The next time you are at a stadium filled with cheering fans,  imagine if our  teams ran onto the field  not to knock down their opponents, but to lift up their community.  
What if they came to tackle social problems, not quarterbacks?  

Would we cheer and wave in unison if our team helped our homeless get  to home base or renovated a rec center so more children could play?

Would we wear shirts emblazoned with the names of social entrepreneurs, inventors and volunteers?  Would call-in shows be jammed with fans celebrating an unbroken record of social reforms?

You can keep your season tickets to our big sporting events.

But if you want to see some real hero’s compete on behalf of your city, you might want to order your tickets to the next High School Innovation Challenge.

As with most things that are new, the first year of this event was small.   A few supporters gathered around small teams who had come to offer ideas and work to help others.

No cheerleaders, no screaming fans, no recruiters, no million dollar contracts.  Just high school students eager to make their city better.

The Warnock foundation offered prizes to help make these dreams come true.  But more importantly, they honored the voice and ideas of these students who are eager to create a better future for


That’s worth cheering.