Green Street Academy is not your typical school. This West Baltimore charter school is known for a hands-on teaching strategy that incorporates farming vegetables, raising tilapia, and maintaining a chicken coop for fresh eggs. The school sells produce to local restaurants and runs a community-supported agriculture (CSA) program for students’ families. This year, the school brings that curriculum to their new location, the former Gwynn Falls Park Junior High, which has been empty for 30 years.
The community came together yesterday to celebrate the grand opening of the new Green Street Academy campus. Maryland Congressman Elijah Cummings, a former student of Gwynn Falls Park Junior High, joined the celebration and shared how the historical building had inspired him as a student.
“It gave me a sense of hope,” Cummings said. “My dreams began to unfold.”
The school’s leaders hope that the school’s relocation will invoke that same emotion for many residents of the West Baltimore neighborhood that has seen so much violence over the past year. Dr. Daniel Schochor, Green Street Academy's executive director, says the ultimate goal is to offer a job training site for neighborhood adults, and turn it into a dual-generation educational experience.
Rep. Cummings voiced his belief that the school will change lives as he left students with the following advice, "You get an education so you can emerge ... and make a difference. That's what it's all about. This is not just about you, this is about generations yet unborn. I beg you to take your education seriously … of all the investments that you can make, education is the one I believe that will pay off.”