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Equity in Education

Students in a classroom raising their hands; Students playing outside on a blacktop

Community Schools Virtual Panel Discussion

Learning from (and Planning for) Research on Community Schools.

Practitioners, researchers and community stakeholders are invited to join a panel discussion about Community Schools in Baltimore. Co-hosted by the Center Equity Leadership Social Justice Education and the Baltimore Education Research Consortium, our panel will feature [local scholars: Claudia Galindo, Mavis Sanders, Jessica Shiller..] and experienced field leaders [principal, coordinator, parent leader] who are deeply engaged in the work of community schools. As Maryland now disburses millions of dollars to initiate the community school strategy in hundreds of historically underserved public schools across the state, our panel will address:

  • What does it mean to become a community school?
  • What is the current research about the effectiveness of community school strategy as an approach to promote educational equity?
  • How do leaders of Baltimore’s Community Schools approach their work?
  • How might new research address challenges confronted by community school leaders?

Event Details

Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2022
12:30 - 2 p.m.


Claudia Galindo headshot

Claudia Galindo

Claudia Galindo is an associate professor of education policy at the University of Maryland, College Park. Her research, teaching, and service demonstrate a strong commitment to improving educational opportunities for students of Color and poor students in K-12 grades, emphasizing the Latinx community. Her projects highlight the cultural assets and strengths of underserved families and students and emphasize the importance of considering structural, historical, and cultural contexts as well as the interactions among those contexts. She studies full-service community schools, conducts formative evaluations of school-university partnerships and after-school and tutoring programs for elementary and high school students.  

She has co-authored around 50 articles and book chapters. Her most recent book Reviewing the Success of Full-Service Community Schools in the US: Challenges and Opportunities for Students, Teachers, and Communities (with Mavis Sanders) was published in 2020 by Routledge. She has served as a member of Baltimore’s Strategic Committee on Evaluation and Implementation on Full Service Schools, where she collaborated with school officials and researchers on evaluating schools’ effectiveness.  

Mavis Sanders headshot

Mavis Sanders

Mavis Sanders, senior research scholar of Black children and families at Child Trends, leads an applied research agenda that advances racial equity and social justice. Before joining Child Trends in 2021, Dr. Sanders served as a professor of education and affiliate professor in the doctoral program in language, literacy, and culture at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC).  She has authored over 60 publications, including five books, on family and community engagement in schools and the effects of home, school, and community collaboration on African American students’ school success. As the co-editor of Reviewing the Success of Full-Service Community Schools in the US: Challenges and Opportunities for Students, Teachers, and Communities (with Claudia Galindo, Routledge, 2020), she also examines full-service community schools—characterized by integrated services, family and community engagement, collaborative leadership, and culturally and community-responsive teaching—as a strategy to transform learning experiences and opportunities for underserved students.  

Aneuri Castro headshot

Aneuri Castro

Aneuri Castro is the Community School Coordinator at Wolfe Street Academy. He graduated with his Masters in Social Work from Boise State University in 2020. He is a contracted employee through the University of Maryland School of Social Work and serves as a macro social worker. His primary role is focused on the development of partnerships that support non-academic needs of students and families. In doing so the Community School Coordinator establishes strong supporting relationships with parents, staff, and the larger community. Any needs or questions that concern the non-academic strengths and weaknesses of students, families, or the school community in general can be brought to the Community School Coordinator where they will then research, develop, implement, and evaluate, in collaboration with others, effective means to address the identified issue. Partnerships, grant writing, community development events and ideas are also supported by the Community School Coordinator.

Mark Gaither headshot

Mark Gaither

For the past eighteen years Mr. Gaither has lead Wolfe Street Academy, a Baltimore City Public Conversion Charter School in Southeast Baltimore operated by the Baltimore Curriculum Project. Over 80% of the school’s students live in poverty and 80% of its students speak another language besides English in the home. With a focus on finding and retaining great educators, providing them with proven curriculum and supporting the whole child through the Community School strategy, Wolfe Street Academy went from the 77th to the 2nd highest performing elementary school under the previous state standardized test, has consistently outperformed the Baltimore City Average on the PARCC assessment and, most recently, was recognized as a 4-Star School by the State of Maryland Department of Education for the past two years, including being the 2nd highest rated elementary school in the 2019 school year. Mr. Gaither has been recognized by the Fund For Educational Excellence with the 2019 Heart of the School Award and has been one of the district’s Transformational Principals since2015. Mr. Gaither lives in Baltimore with his wife and two sons.

Stephanie Flores-Koulish

Stephanie Flores-Koulish headshot

Stephanie Flores-Koulish is Professor and Program Director of Curriculum and Instruction for Social Justice. Her primary area of expertise and research has been within the field of Critical Media Literacy Education. She also has conducted research on identity and adoptees, education policy and practices, and critical multicultural education. Her research provides her with many opportunities to practice engaged scholarship in and around Baltimore City. She serves on the board for the National Association for Media Literacy Education (NAMLE) and is on the executive committee for the Alliance of Adoption and Culture (ASAC). Flores-Koulish is also an alumna and mentor of the Institute for Recruitment of Teachers (IRT).

Jessica T. Shiller 

Jessica T. Shiller headshot

Jessica T. Shiller is a professor of education at Towson University. Her teaching and research interests include urban education,culturally sustaining school practices, critical race theory and methods, civic education and university-community partnerships. She is the 2018 recipient of the Alan G. Penczek award for her work as a faculty member in the area service learning, and has co-authored  “Critical classrooms matter: Baltimore teachers’ pedagogical response after the death of Freddie Gray” with Dr. Stephanie Flores-Koulish of Loyola University Maryland. Her most recent scholarship focuses on community schools in Baltimore and has most recently published “Clients or Partners:  The Challenge to Engage Families in Baltimore’s Community Schools” in a 2020 special issue of Urban Education for which she was the editor. She also co-authored “Baltimore community schools: A multifaceted approach to developing relationships” which appeared in a 2018 issue of Phi Delta Kappan. Prior to coming to Towson, she was faculty at Lehman College/CUNY, and worked in New York City as a high school teacher in city schools, a coach to new teachers in Bronx high schools, and co-directed a high school. She lives in Baltimore City with her family.

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