In April 2015, Baltimore joined a growing list of cities across the country to experience protests and turmoil. While there are myriad root issues at play, two speak to the core of our mission: race and opportunity.
Middle Grades Partnership bridges the traditional silos of race and class by fostering partnerships between middle school students from some of our city’s most challenged public schools with those from the area’s elite private schools. This puts Middle Grades Partnership in an exceptional position, and gives us the responsibility, to help our students process many of the issues that the unrest in 2015 brought to the surface.
In the fall, all partnerships will provide students an opportunity to explore how they, their neighborhoods and communities are portrayed by others, as well as how students see their own identity. The project – Portrait and Portrayal: City, Self and Action – was introduced in the summer. Students observed, reflected and responded to a carefully selected, age-appropriate array of images and prompts from art and media. The students will translate their responses into various research projects or art forms from performances to neighborhood mapping.
We believe Middle Grades Partnership is uniquely suited to act as the convener of meaningful conversation about identity and opportunity among the city’s young residents in a safe, supportive environment.