Superintendent Proposes Private Foundation Run Baltimore School

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The superintendent of the Baltimore school district has recommended that a private school in Maine take over a city high school threatened with state intervention.

Details were still being worked out last week, and a decision on the plan was expected no sooner than this week from Nancy S. Grasmick, the state superintendent of schools.

While some praise the approach of the college-preparatory Hyde School in Bath, Me., the proposal that a foundation affiliated with the private school assume control over Patterson High School for five years has drawn criticism from the Patterson community and even prompted a student walkout there.

Walter G. Amprey, the superintendent of the Baltimore schools, believes that Hyde's brand of discipline and emphasis on self-esteem and character building could be effective at Patterson High, Donna Franks, a district spokeswoman, said.

The Hyde School, a co-educational boarding and day school that also runs a public school in New Haven, Conn., was founded in 1966. Its program requires athletics, performing arts, community service, and rigorous academics for every student and stresses "attitude over aptitude, effort over ability, and character over talent,'' according to materials prepared by Hyde.

Budget projections were not available last week, but Ms. Franks said officials expect the cost of having the Hyde Foundation run Patterson High to exceed costs at other city schools.

If the state superintendent approves the plan it would still have to earn the backing of the state board of education.

State Intervention

Earlier this year, Patterson and another Baltimore high school, Frederick Douglass, were the first to be targeted under a new regulation giving the state board the authority to intervene in low-performing schools.

Patterson and Douglass both have declining attendance rates, falling scores on standardized tests, and high dropout rates, Ms. Franks said. Douglass High already has worked out a plan to keep the state from stepping in.

In a separate Baltimore development, a second public elementary school will begin using the curriculum of the private Calvert School, officials said this month.

The Calvert School's curriculum, which has boosted academic achievement at Barclay Elementary School, will be phased in at Carter G. Woodson Elementary School beginning this fall. (See Education Week, April 20, 1994.)

Funding for the expansion is not yet final.

Vol. 13, Issue 39

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