Since 2011, Springboard has partnered with schools across the nation to help teachers and parents team up to support student learning. This year we’re honoring one of our longtime partners with whom we share a rich history: Baltimore City Public Schools. Baltimore City Public Schools has earned Springboard’s first-ever Outstanding Partner award for their continued commitment to closing the literacy gap. 

Since summer 2018, nearly 60 Baltimore City public schools, representing over half of the district’s 112 elementary or elementary/middle schools, have participated in Springboard programming. In addition to having a high retention of schools, city-based staff, and teachers, Baltimore City also consistently achieves high program outcomes.  

In 2022, they registered 113% of their target enrollment rate and had a 93% family workshop attendance. Moreover, since 2015, over 5000 students have met or exceeded their reading goals during Springboard programming. Baltimore also scored at the top of all cities surveyed with a 98% favorable response rate in terms of seasonal employee work experience.

This partnership has been made possible with the support and leadership from many strong leaders in Baltimore City Public Schools, including Baltimore City’s Director-Summer & Extended Learning, Laurie-Lynn Sutton-Platt. We briefly spoke with Laurie-Lynn about her journey into education, what keeps her inspired, and her reflections on Springboard. 

How long have you been an educator?

 I started in education at the age of 19. At that time in my life I was a cafeteria manager and cook in a private school. I started a culinary program teaching students the basic skills of cooking. I knew at that moment I wanted to have a bigger impact on students and went back for my teaching degree in mathematics. I transitioned into a teaching assistant role during my studies, moved on to teaching HS mathematics, and then was tapped for a school leadership position.

When did you start working for Baltimore City Public Schools? 

I started my career in BCPSS in 2011 when I relocated from my home in Upstate NY. I began as a Student Support Liaison before becoming an MS Principal in a Turnaround School. From there I transitioned back to central office to lead the school turnaround work for the district and most recently served as the Director for Summer and Expanded learning.

Who inspired you to be an educator and why? 

The children inspired me! Seeing their joy and desire for learning pushed me down the path of education.

What’s your favorite part about being an educator? 

I am a person that loves to connect with others and witness success. As an educator, you see that daily. Whether it is a child learning a new word, reading a story, understanding a formula, or finding their passion for art, seeing a child making that connection makes it all worth it. Additionally, the connection with families and fellow educators gives me purpose…

What are you most proud of accomplishing as an educator? 

As an educator, I am proud of the fact that I have been able to sustain the passion and drive to make a difference in the lives of our students. I wake up thinking about what I can do better and how my leadership can impact the lives of our students and families.

How do you think education has changed since you first started? 

I could always talk about the recent changes as a result of the pandemic but [I] will say that I see education as evolving in a way that both educators and students have more opportunities than ever to learn with and from each other.

How have you seen a shift in your district since working with Springboard? 

The biggest shift I have seen in the last 5 years is the number of schools that have been part of Springboard programming. We have gone from 3 schools to over 35 schools across our extended learning and summer programs. Each year I hear from a new school that wants to join this partnership.

What do you hope for your students in the future? 

My hope for our students is that they find joy in learning and that they discover their purpose and passion and have the freedom to chase their dreams.

What’s a piece of advice you’d give to fellow educators? 

My advice would be that when you get tired and frustrated think about your “why.” Why are you doing this work? Our work is not meant to be easy.

What’s your favorite Springboard-programming memory?

What’s your favorite Springboard-programming memory? 

I was at a family workshop this summer at one of our schools. The workshop was held in the school’s cafeteria and it was absolutely filled. Everyone was there learning a new reading skill to support student learning. When it came time for students to choose a book off of the front tables, they were able to engage the book with their families and then take the book home. Seeing that interaction and seeing those moments when the students and their families learn together has been my favorite memory by far.