Policy & Engagement
At Elev8 Baltimore, we work to change the policies and practices of schools, government agencies, community organizations and others to strengthen their focus on student success. We also help families and students learn to be more effective advocates for themselves and their communities.
Our priorities in the areas of advocacy and change are:
Chronic health problems contribute to chronic absenteeism. And chronic absenteeism leads to poor educational outcomes. But we know that adolescents with access to school-based health services, especially minority youth, show greater health knowledge and take significantly greater advantage of mental health and physical health services. That means they stay healthier, and come to school more often.
Community Schools and Out of School Time:
At Elev8 Baltimore, we believe that all schools should be community schools and have high quality partnerships that support students, parents, teachers and communities.
Studies have proven that having out-of-school time programs, including afterschool, extended-day and summer learning programs on the school site can promote participation in these activities. And young people who participate in high-quality afterschool and summer programs improve attendance, gain confidence and try harder to learn.
Our partners in this effort are Family League of Baltimore and Baltimore City Schools. Elev8 Baltimore is a member of the Maryland Coalition for Community Schools.
Maintaining full funding for City Schools:
Baltimore’s schools are making progress. Test scores are continuing to climb, and the graduation rate is improving. But facing a budget shortfall this year, legislators proposed $15 million in cuts to city school funding. Those cuts would have led to increased class sizes and a reduction in support services, enormously affecting the quality of the city’s schools.
How we make a difference:
Elev8 Baltimore went to Annapolis to protest the 2011-2012 state budget which includes cuts for Baltimore City Public Schools. Elev8 Baltimore took the lead in preparing a range of documents to support the work of the Baltimore Education Coalition, including creation of a summary of the cuts, talking points for the rally, and press materials about the rally. Elev8 also documented the event in words and photos.
More than 3,500 people, including Elev8 Baltimore parents, students, staff and community members participated in the rally.
Elev8 Baltimore has developed a strong partnership with the Maryland Out of School Time Network (MOST), and provided support to MOST’s efforts in Annapolis to increase state funding for out of school time activities and anti-obesity efforts.
Several of our students and parents participated in the National Youth Summit in Washington, DC. The summit, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education, was a follow up to last year’s Youth Listening Tour which allowed Education officials to visit schools and hear from students across the country (including Baltimore) about what they need to successfully enter and complete high school.
Four of our students met in Washington, DC with key education staff members from the offices of Senator Barbara Mikulski, Senator Ben Cardin, Congressman Elijah Cummings and Congressman John Sarbanes. The students discussed the value of Elev8 and raised several questions about conditions in their schools and communities.
Elev8 Baltimore’s bottom line is student success: When students are healthier, and involved in high-quality afterschool and summer programs, they do better in school and in life. That benefits the students, their families and the community.