Chadwick Elementary: Dispelling the Myth

ChadwickChadwick Elementary School in Woodlawn is one of only four public schools from across the country to receive an 11th Annual Dispelling the Myth Award from The Education Trust. According to The Education Trust’s website, Dispelling the Myth schools are doing the right thing for kids: providing a rich, coherent curriculum and making it interesting and engaging for their students. In the process, they are making themselves the kinds of places where teachers want to teach. Their success dispels the damaging myth that schools can do very little to help students overcome the barriers of poverty and discrimination.

Below is a Q&A with Chadwick’s principal, Bonnie Hess

1. What do you think makes Chadwick special?
Our teachers have a single-minded determination to work collaboratively to support the needs of our children. We know that our students are capable of achieving at high levels, and we have made this possible by developing home-grown programs that are data-based and tailored to their specific needs.

2. What are your thoughts and theories on how to make such a diverse school a success?

Many of our families have recently immigrated to the United States and it is essential to provide structures and routines that are consistent. It is essential to develop instructional schedules that maximize all of the instructional resources we have within our building. We set our goals high and strive for carefully scaffolded instruction that is rigorous in nature. Most of all, we work hard to attract and hold onto good teachers. We hire highly qualified, compassionate staff. Together we track our progress, monitor the success of our programs, and make modifications on an as needed basis. Consistency of the instructional staff allows for structured programs that promote collaboration and unity of purpose.

3. How many different languages are spoken at your school?
Our student population represents 13 different countries.There are approximately 14 different languages spoken at home. Urdu, Bengali, Nepali, Chinese, Punjabi, Hindi, Pashto, Yoruba, Amharic, Spanish, French, and more!

4 . What do you and your teachers do to accommodate these students/parents?

-We have a culturally diverse staff that has been able to educate us about cultural beliefs and practices
-Teachers are knowledgeable about cultural diversity. They respect the cultural differences among our children.
– Translators are provided whenever needed
-English Language Learners are provided after school homework assistance if needed
-We hold a yearly Multicultural Festival that features a variety of cultures
– Newsletters will be translated into Urdu and Spanish ( 2 major languages) this year
– Even Start Program on school grounds provides daily classes for parents and introduces them to American culture by visiting libraries, bringing them into our technology room, and making them feel a comfort level with school programs

5. What is your philosophy on public education?

All children deserve a high-quality education and I know that as a County resident and employee of Baltimore County Public Schools, we do an excellent job of educating our children. We have much to offer. We are charged with educating all children, including English language learners; those on free and reduced lunch programs, and those receiving special education services. As a public school system, we are faced with an amazing opportunity to enrich all children in a diverse setting that builds essential life skills. It’s critical to the future of our country that our children’s experiences include friendships, teamwork and learning opportunities alongside people who are different from them. The increasing diversity of our world requires that the next generation have the skills to live and work in our multicultural and technologically savvy world.

6. How does it feel to win the Dispelling the Myth Award?
As a lifelong educator, Chadwick’s winning this award is truly a dream come true! This award adds power to the belief that if students are educated within an environment that believes in them, (and with the most consistently effective instructional opportunities), they will and can achieve!

7. What do you think makes Chadwick so deserving of such an honor?
We are committed to providing instructional programs that enhance the educational experiences of all of our children. We are united in our focus on continuous improvement to prepare our students for the future.

8. What are some other awards/accolades that Chadwick has been honored with?
Title I Exemplary School
Title I Distinguished School
EGATE Award for excellence in Gifted and Talented Education
Maryland MESA Championships for several years
Maryland Blue Ribbon- 2012
National Blue Ribbon- 2013


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