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?
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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.
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Looking into the future.
The inner courtyard at the school will feature hanging plants and a hydroponic system.
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Jon Constable, Seawall Development, points out a test area where the hardwood floors had been sanded and refinished.
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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.

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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.
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Sean Winston and Jerome Crowder talk about the opportunities that they have had to learn at Green Street Academy.
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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.

The High School Innovation Challenge, Warnock Foundation.

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Students from Green Street Academy pose with David
Warnock, the sponsor of the High School Innovation
Challenge.

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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

Baltimore.

That’s worth cheering.