Carver Vocational Technical Teacher Starts Campaign Of Positivity

Stacy M. Brown | 8/23/2019, 6 a.m.
Baltimore City Schools Teacher of the Year for 2018 may already have a leg up on the award for 2019. ...
LaQuisha Hall (right) Baltimore City Schools Teacher of the Year for 2018 and Baltimore City Schools CEO Dr. Sonja Santelises. Courtesy Photo | Baltimore City Public Schools

Baltimore City Schools Teacher of the Year for 2018 may already have a leg up on the award for 2019. LaQuisha Hall, who teaches 9th grade English at Carver Vocational-Technical High School, started a campaign that both students and teachers alike are citing as a positive way to kick off the new school year.

Hall has started the #TeamCitySchools campaign, which received the thumbs-up from Baltimore City Schools CEO Dr. Sonja Santelises. The campaign encourages everyone to be “a part of the solution,” and to declare that they are in the city schools for the long run.

Using the hashtag, #TeamCitySchools, and with a photo of herself as background, Hall posted on Twitter: “I am a proud Baltimore City Schools educator. I am proud of my scholars. I am not going anywhere. Our community, youth, and success matters. I am part of the solution.”

Santelises followed with a post on Twitter of her own. Using the same hashtag, Santelises wrote: “I am the proud Baltimore City Schools CEO. I am proud to serve our resilient students and dedicated staff. I am not going anywhere. Our future depends on how well our children are ready to lead it. I am part of the solution.”

Teachers, students and others have followed with similar messages and photos of themselves.

Jacque Hayden, an instructional leadership executive director with the city’s public schools, said she was ecstatic to work with Hall to bring positive attention to the district.

“At a time when we often hear a negative narrative about Baltimore City and the school system, Hall’s mission and focus were refreshing,” Hayden said.

The campaign was simple and began with Hall and a few others showing their pride as leaders and educators in the district, said Hayden, who moved to Baltimore in 2013. She began working for the school district in 2015.

“It was a show of unity on social media. It was to show that there are real people who are proud to live, teach, and lead in Baltimore City Public Schools,” Hayden said. “I love this city. I love my school district. I adore Ms. Hall, whose idea gave me a simple way to express my love and loyalty to a city and the school system that is now my home.”

Education specialist Shanieka Herndon says that as a district office leader and doctoral candidate, she must serve and give back to a system that’s awarded her a plethora of academic and career-based opportunities.

“Often the media portrays the dark and negative coverage that plagues our children, communities, and schools,” Herndon said. “Our mission is to highlight the positive work. We are not perfect. However, we have great students who are doing amazing things. We are graduating college and career-ready students.

“I stand by city schools, and I am forever invested in facilitating positive change in the lives of the children and families we serve.”

Hall said there were a lot of issues within the district last year. “But what I found after these incidents is that we went to work. I also found that people tend to focus on the negative things that were happening, and I said, ‘let’s change that.’ So, I started the hashtag,” said Hall, who has also created fliers with motivational words. And, it’s caught on.