Can a new school turn around an East Baltimore neighborhood?

Henderson-Hopkins school part of development plan modeled after successful effort in West Philadelphia

In the September issue of Baltimore's Urbanite magazine, Brennen Jensen writes about the new $43 million public school being built in East Baltimore and the impact it could have on the surrounding neighborhood.

The school—which will be named Elmer A. Henderson: A Johns Hopkins Partnership School (or Henderson-Hopkins, for short)—is slated to open in fall 2013 on a 7-acre campus north of Johns Hopkins' East Baltimore campus, part of an ongoing effort by East Baltimore Development Inc. to reshape the Middle East neighborhood.

Brennen writes:

The June groundbreaking of the new school, which will be run in partnership with the Johns Hopkins School of Education and Morgan State University's School of Education and Urban Studies, offered a chance to hit reset. EBDI and Hopkins officials hope that Henderson-Hopkins can serve as this reinvented neighborhood's heart and soul—a force that knits together displaced residents, new professionals, and the medical campus in their midst. "You build neighborhoods around institutions that matter," says EBDI president Christopher Shea. "And nothing matters more than a quality public education."

In essence, EBDI is borrowing a page from the classic suburban-developer playbook: using an amenity-packed school as a lure for middle-class families. There's an urban model for this arrangement right up I-95—the Sadie Tanner Mossell Alexander University of Pennsylvania Partnership School in West Philadelphia.

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