In the field of youth education, Johns Hopkins
annually conducts scores of diverse programs and
initiatives, from after-school reading programs and
principal mentoring to summer math and science camps and
In fact, the number of education offerings is so
great, and growing, that staying on top of it all could be
a full-time job. For the Johns Hopkins Council on K-12
Education, it is.
Originally called the Hopkins Education Forum, the
committee was founded in 1999 to advise the university's
leadership on the regional and national challenge of school
reform and to foster collaboration among the leaders of the
university's education-related projects.
This year, the committee changed its name to better
describe what it does and to usher in a new era of
visibility, both to the Johns Hopkins community and to the
As part of this new commitment to visibility, the
Johns Hopkins Council on K-12 Education hosted in May a
two-day Hopkins Education Summit and later this year plans
to go live with an online K-12 database that will serve as
a clearinghouse for information on all JHU's education
Lea Ybarra, chair of the 14-member committee [see
below] and executive director of the
Center for Talented Youth, says that many people
underestimate how involved Johns Hopkins is in the field of
"I think it's part of this committee's charge to get
the word out that we are working on many educational
initiatives in many, many areas in collaboration with many
school districts," she says. "This is not marketing; it's
informing people what we are doing so that they can avail
themselves of the resources."
In addition to the programs offered by the
School of Professional
Studies in Business and Education, two of the most
prominent and established Johns Hopkins education programs
are the Center for Talented Youth and the Center for Social
Organization of Schools. CTY, established in 1979,
identifies and serves pre-collegiate students of high
academic excellence, offering them challenging education
opportunities; it also researches best practices for
dealing with this population. Currently, CTY works with
more than 10,000 schools and with students from throughout
the United States and 70 other countries.
The Center for
Social Organization of Schools was established in 1966
as an educational research and development center. CSOS's
staff of sociologists, psychologists and educators conducts
programmatic research to improve the education system,
develop curricula and provide technical assistance to help
schools use the center's research.
Other longtime education-related initiatives are the
Hopkins Tutorial Project, which for more than 40 years
has worked to improve the reading and mathematical skills
of Baltimore youth, and Barclay Tutorial, through which
participants tutor students at the Barclay Elementary
School, located near the Homewood campus.
More recent education efforts include the Baltimore
Scholars program, which will provide full-tuition
scholarships to graduates of Baltimore City public schools
accepted into the university's undergraduate programs, and
a new Baltimore City charter school, established by CSOS,
which will welcome its first class this fall.
With so many active programs, Johns Hopkins needs a
better way to inform parents, teachers and the community
about their options, Ybarra says. The new online database,
she says, will be a way of previewing what the university
has to offer.
"There is just no one place to go right now. You have
to go to the individual Web site of each program, if there
even is one," she says. "With the new database, a person
can come to one place, get an overview of all we offer and
then ultimately connect with the one that is applicable to
the child's or educator's situation."
The Council on K-12 Education meets four times a year,
and its current membership includes representatives from
the schools of Advanced International Studies, Arts and
Sciences, Engineering, Medicine, Nursing, Professional
Studies in Business and Education, and Public Health; the
Kennedy Krieger Institute; CTY; and CSOS. At each of the
meetings, the committee members discuss new initiatives
that are under way and share success stories and effective
methods and practices. The council also invites education
and community leaders to discuss issues of mutual concern
and ongoing partnerships and receives regular legislative
updates regarding educational issues and funding.
"In a decentralized university such as Hopkins, the
council serves as an important mechanism for the diverse
units within the university that are working on K-12
initiatives to come together and to know what each other is
doing. This enables us to collaborate in order to have a
greater impact on the issues faced by schools both locally
and nationally," Ybarra says.
The inaugural Hopkins Education Summit in May drew
educators from more than 30 school districts, state
legislators and representatives of education-related
foundations. The forum, titled Helping Talent Soar:
Identifying and Serving Gifted Students from All of
America's Neighborhoods, was organized to pull together
information and best practices on the education of
high-achieving students from groups traditionally
underrepresented in higher education.
The next forum is scheduled for spring and will be
titled A Quality Teacher in Every Classroom, and a
Quality Leader in Every School. The event, to be held
at the Homewood campus, will be co-sponsored by the Council
on K-12 Education and the School of Professional Studies in
Business and Education. Ralph Fessler, SPSBE's dean, will
head the conference.
Ybarra says that the phrase "sharing best practices"
perhaps best describes the mission of the Council on K-12
"Work and projects begun at Johns Hopkins can be found
in hundreds of schools. It is important for us to show not
only how much we are doing but also to let people know
exactly what educational initiatives we have in place," she
says. "Because of this, the council plans on being more
visible and active than we have been in the past. We are
asking ourselves, How can those who lead our education
efforts collaborate better and share resources? And how
does Johns Hopkins become a better resource for a parent or
educator who wants to help a child?"
When completed, the database on Johns Hopkins
education initiatives will be available at