DTM: Chadwick Elementary School
“We hold all of our children to a high standard.”
—Bonnie Hess, principal
- Baltimore, Maryland
- Baltimore County Public School District
- Grades PK- 5
- DTM awarded in 2013
Recognized as a Dispelling the Myth school in 2013, Chadwick Elementary School holds all of its children to high standards and consistently exceeds state standards.
Traditionally serving a working-class African American community in Baltimore County, Maryland, Chadwick has attracted so many new immigrants from African, Southeast Asian, Central American, and Arabian countries that faculty members joke that there must be a sign somewhere in Ahmedabad saying, “Enroll in Chadwick.”
The new arrivals give Chadwick an international flavor and mean that teachers are presented with daily challenges to ensure that all their students master the English language, build a robust vocabulary, and decode written English.
To do so, they rely on a homegrown reading program developed over time by Principal Bonnie Hess. Across classrooms at Chadwick, instruction systematically incorporates all the elements of reading, from phonemic awareness to comprehension, with a deep emphasis on vocabulary and background knowledge in science and social studies.
And the results speak for themselves—not only do just about all students meet state standards in reading and math, more than 90 percent of all students, including 93 percent of African American students and over 95 percent of low-income students, exceed standards in 5th grade reading. This contrasts with the rest of the state, where less than 40 percent of African American and low-income students exceed state reading standards.
“We hold all of our children to a high standard,” Hess said. This is one reason she and the rest of the faculty are embracing Common Core Standards, which they see as being the next step up the ladder to academic excellence. Teachers and staff are working collaboratively to match their instruction to the new standards.
Chadwick Elementary is demonstrating Hess’s basic mantra: “Given our excellent teachers, who are deeply committed to high expectations for all of our students, all children will be prepared for college and career.”