BPW Approves Contract For New SEED School - Southern Maryland Headline News

BPW Approves Contract For New SEED School

Innovative Residential School Scheduled To Begin Classes In The Fall Of 2008

BALTIMORE - Maryland's Board of Public Works, chaired by Governor Martin O'Malley, on Wednesday, July 11 approved a multi-year contract that will help launch the SEED School of Maryland.

Under the terms of the contract, the new statewide public boarding school serving grades 6 through 12 will open its doors in the fall of 2008. In its first year of operation it expects to enroll up to 80 sixth-grade students from at-risk, disadvantaged backgrounds. A new grade will be added each year until the school is at capacity.

The initial year of the contract calls for $2 million in state funds for fiscal 2009. The school will be held to same accountability measures as all public schools in the State.

"The SEED School offers a bold, innovative program designed to help our most at-risk children succeed," said Governor Martin O'Malley. "The SEED School of Maryland will play a critical role in improving the lives of our young children."

When Governor O'Malley was Mayor of Baltimore, he visited the SEED School of Washington DC, a comprehensive college prep public boarding school and encouraged the SEED Foundation to bring the SEED model to Baltimore.

In 2006, The SEED Foundation worked with then-Mayor O'Malley's staff to achieve passage of legislation which will provide a state and local operating funding stream for the school.

State Superintendent of Schools Nancy S. Grasmick has been a long-time supporter of the SEED Foundation's plans to bring a school to Maryland and the State Department of Education has worked closely with foundation officials to develop the idea.

"This is great news, because this gives our young people and their families another pathway to creating a better life," she said. "The SEED School's results have been outstanding, and we will be working closely with SEED staff to make certain that success is replicated in our State."

The SEED School is based on a model created by the SEED Foundation that integrates a rigorous academic program into a nurturing boarding school environment. The curriculum focuses on college preparatory work, while the residential program teaches life skills and provides safe and secure surroundings, 24 hours a day.

The SEED Foundation launched its original school in Washington, DC, in 1998. The school has successfully sent its students on to college, and the Foundation has received a host of national awards for its work with disadvantaged youth. The Maryland location would be its second school.

Students from at-risk, disadvantaged families throughout Maryland will have the opportunity to apply for sixth-grade enrollment at the SEED School. The enrollment process is expected to begin early next year.

The Maryland General Assembly paved the way for the new statewide school by passing HB 1432 in 2005. Since that time, MSDE has been working closely with the SEED Foundation to make those plans come to fruition.

The SEED School of Maryland will be based at the former Southwestern High School Complex at 200 Font Hill Avenue in Baltimore. Foundation officials are at work on a fundraising program aimed at securing funding for capital improvements, such as the dormitories necessary to house the students.

Source: Md. State Department of Education

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