We Wish Dr. Thornton a Warm Welcome to Baltimore.

Last week’s Maryland Arts Day was truly inspiring!  Our constituents from Baltimore, Harford, Anne Arundel, Carroll, and Howard Counties as well as Baltimore City were out in force to say thank you and encourage legislators to support Governor Martin O’Malley’s proposed budget.  O’Malley’s appropriation of $16.2 million for the Maryland State Arts Council and the $2.5 million special fund allotments for 2014 and 2015 recognize the many ways in which the arts and culture sector helps build thriving communities AND will continue to return more than 300% on the state’s investment.  Your voices are still needed to ensure this level of support is sustained.
 
According to WBAL TV, The Baltimore City Board of School Commissioners officially announced the hiring of Gregory Thornton, the current superintendent of Milwaukee Public Schools, as the new chief executive officer for city schools.  A scan of reporting from Milwaukee reflects a leader with a connection to the community and a commitment to arts education.  I was particularly struck by two articles, the first about a program called “Saving Our Sons,” which is part of a larger initiative aimed at increasing youth engagement in their schools and communities.  The second is about how Dr. Thornton has made art, music and physical education priorities in his budgets.  Arts education advocates were among community stakeholders who met with Dr. Thornton today and report they are excited to work with him to benefit the children of Baltimore City.  We wish Dr. Thornton a warm welcome to Baltimore.
 
We are still encouraging concerned citizens to join us next Tuesday evening at 5:00 pm at the school system headquarters at 200 E. North Avenue for the Board of School Commissioners meeting to show your support for arts education. Our work has just begun! Please join me as we celebrate the arts with student performances in the lobby and continue to establish a united voice as we look towards the future of City Schools under new leadership. You can also sign in your support of our efforts through this online form.
 
All the best,
Jeannie

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