This weekend, I was with my siblings looking through old photo albums. We were laughing at our funny outfits in the 70s, our colorful hairstyles in the 80s, and our funny glasses in the 90s. We looked at our pictures in Kindergarten and then compared our Senior portraits with photos of our parents at similar ages.  My dad, at 18, was in college in India. My mom, at 18, was in nurse’s training in Missouri. It’s amazing, no matter the culture, how school photos are such wonderful markers of time passing. As we begin this week that leads to School Pictures, let’s pause and make note of what is happening in our lives and in the world at this point in time.  I wonder how, when we look back on the school photos from the 2019-2020 school year, what we might remember (and what we might laugh about).

Happy Week 5, everyone!


Dr. Shyla.

  • Thursday, October 3:  Hearing and Vision Screening for grades K, 1, and 8 (as well as all students who are new to Baltimore City Public Schools)
  • Friday, October 4: School Picture Day (see below for details)
  • Tuesday, October 8: Committee Night for all CNH Families (see details below)
  • Friday, October 18:  School Closed for Staff Professional Development
  • Wednesday, October 23, Thursday, October 24, Friday, October 25: SCHOOL CLOSES AT 1 PM EACH DAY for Progress Report Conferences

The DoSE Corner: A message from Ms. Rashida, our Director of Student Experience (DoSE)

DoSE classes are in full swing! Every now and then, I will share screenshots of something students accomplished, participated in, or learned during these classes. This past Tuesday, 5th graders talked about teamwork and communication. Together we defined what it means to be a good teammate (or classmate) – what it looks like, feels like, and sounds like. They then did an activity where they had to guide each other through an obstacle course, using only communication and listening skills. It was exciting to hear them progress in their understanding of what a good communication looks and sounds like over the course of the class!

Keep an eye out for more of these nuggets as the DoSE class continues!


Safe Space Drill Next Monday at 2:00

As often as possible, I will give you a heads up about scheduled drills we have in the school so that you have the opportunity to talk with your child about it beforehand if you so choose. Next Monday, we have a scheduled “Safe Space” drill.

The language we use with children is that sometimes you need to leave the building in order to be safe (like a fire drill) and sometimes you need to stay in your classroom in order to be safe.  When we have a “Lockdown Drill” or a “Severe Weather Emergency Drill”, we tell students to go to “safe spaces”.  This is a place away from windows and doors where students sit quietly.

It is very important to us that we approach these drills in developmentally-appropriate ways.  All of our teachers will practice going to their safe spaces with their students prior to the drill so that they will be ready and confident when the Safe Space alarm goes off.

Hearing & Vision Screening

Hearing and vision screening will be conducted by the Baltimore City Health Department on Thursday for students in grades K, 1, and 8, and all students who are new to BCPSS.  If your child is a student in any of these grades or is new to BCPSS and you would like to opt out of the screening, please submit your request in writing before Thursday morning.  Thank you.

Important Student Forms Needed

Thank you to everyone who has submitted their student forms that were sent over the summer. We are still waiting on those from a handful of families.  If you haven’t yet submitted them, please do so immediately.  We need to know who to contact in case of emergency and who we are permitted to dismiss your children to at the end of the day.  Students who do not have these forms on file will not be permitted to attend field trips until we have them.  We have reached out to families who have not yet submitted these, but if you want to check to confirm receipt, please reach out to receptionist, Kachaelar Jones at  Speaking of which…

Meet Kachaelar Jones

If you have been in the school office these first few weeks of school, you have already met our new receptionist and office assistant, Kachaelar Jones.  Miss Kachaelar comes to us with lots of office experience and she is excited to be working at City Neighbors. She used to come here daily when this building housed Hamilton Middle School! Miss Kachaelar is also a student, continuing her education with evening classes. Please welcome her!  And to those of you who asked about Miss Stephanie, she’s still here, sharing an office with Dr. Shyla.  Stop by and say “hi”!




Attention Families!  Earn your Family Participation Hours at School-wide Committee Nights! 

Free Dinner!  Free Childcare for school-aged children!

October 8, 5:30-7:00

Every family is required to join at least one committee each year to help support the work of the school.  In order to help make your committee involvement easier and more streamlined, we have created Committee Nights from 6:00-7:00 on the second Tuesday every other month (next one is October 8th from 6:00-7:00).

Here is the schedule for the evening:

  • 5:30 — Drop your school-aged children off in the Cafe for free childcare and eat a free dinner as a family
  • 5:45 — Walk to your committee room
  • 6:00-7:00 — Meet your fellow committee members and make a plan of action for the year.  Your voice is important to make the committee work meaningful!

Here is a list of Family Committees for this school year:

  • Classroom Support — This committee is an important hub of communication between teachers and families. This committee works in partnership with the Principal and faculty to host events such as family educational workshops regarding curriculum. It also assists with school functions like picture day and teacher appreciation week.
  • Communications — This committee helps to extend our communication to all of the ways that families need — through the website, social media, flyers, posters, and newsletters for the school.
  • Community Relations — This Committee helps to establish/maintain relationships with the community outside of the school building (ie. Glenham Belhar and Lauraville community associations). We also look to collaborate with local businesses and schools.  We will also assist with developing the extracurricular/after school catalog (ie. litter patrol, dance club, chess club).
  • Culture of Care — This Committee will work with Rashida Joiner, our school’s Director of Student Experience, to create family events and workshops that help to enhance the student experience at this school.  Come and help us plan events and activities that celebrate and support our students!
  • Diversity and Inclusion — This committee helps to plan and host events to engage and include the entire school community. We will also seek resources and venues to facilitate meaningful interactions that explicitly grapple with diversity in our school, community, and world, and allow opportunities for individuals to connect and grow with all fellow CNH community members. Our job is to proactively promote, support, and celebrate our wonderful diversity at CNH.
  • Facilities — This committee assists the Principal, building manager and faculty to create and maintain a great learning environment for students. This committee assists with family work days  where we may be painting, working on the playground and grounds around the building, helping with projects in the school and even some digital infrastructure. Join this committee and do some of this work on future Committee Nights!
  • Fundraising — This committee assists in coordinating efforts to raise money to meet the school’s commitment to providing a rich program for our students. This committee assists with grant writing, fundraising event planning, and fund drives to raise money for field trips, technology equipment, teaching supports and professional development for teachers.
  • Family Participation — This committee is responsible for tracking family participation and volunteer hours, encouraging family participation in school events, and celebrating family engagement. This committee also helps to coordinate family volunteers for the library!
  • Finance — This committee is charged with the development and recommendation of the CNH annual budget. Help us review and approve budgetary decisions for the school.

School Pictures This Friday!

Don’t forget that we have school pictures this Friday!  Each class takes their class photo first (on the playground if the weather is good or in front of the auditorium on the lobby steps if it is raining) and then go to the Library for their individual pictures.

Photo packets will be sent home today or tomorrow. You can follow directions for ordering pictures on the form. We have scholarships available for Package H photo sets if you are in need of support for your students’ school pictures. Complete this simple Google Form to request a scholarship.

Picture Day runs smoothly when we have a number of volunteers who help walk kids to and from their classes and help out at each location for the pictures. Please fill out this Picture Day Volunteer Sign-Up sheet if you can help out for part or all of the day!

Introducing the Arts/PE Integration and Class Photo Blog. We are excited to share photos of the great work happing in physical education, dance and visual art classes. Check out the photoblog on Monday’s to see highlights from the previous week:

~Ms. Cohen, Ms. Breai, and Mr. Bush~

PARCC Scores

We should be receiving PARCC scores from last year in the next couple of weeks and will mail them home right away. Since we just received the MISA (Science) scores for grades 5 and 8 from last year, we will mail both results at the same time. As soon as we receive the PARCC scores, we will be sure to let you know.

The Ingenuity Project

Ingenuity provides an accelerated and enriched mathematics and science program for 6th graders that takes place at the following schools:  Hamilton E/M, James McHenry E/M, Mount Royal E/M, and Roland Park E/M.  From October 1 through December 20, applications for 2020-21 will be accepted:  Admissions testing takes place on January 12, 2020, snow date January 25, 2020.  For more information, information sessions will be held at Poly on October 16 at 5 PM, November 2 at 10 AM, and December 12 at 5 PM.

Baltimore Buddy Walk

Please join us at the 6th annual Baltimore Buddy Walk and 3.21mile run October 5 at West Shore Park in the Baltimore Inner Harbor. All proceeds from the Baltimore Buddy walk fund education, support and advocacy for children and adults with Down Syndrome in the Baltimore area and their families. This event promises to be a great and fun community event!  There will be bounce houses, characters, games, music/DJ, performances, and so much more.  Amara has a team called Amara’s entourage if you would like to join. Please visit for more information

Winter Coat Swap

Despite the unseasonable temperatures, the cold weather will be upon us before we know it.  Please consider donating new or gently used coats, hats, scarves, and gloves for us to share with our friends at CNH. By donating a coat, your child will be able to participate in the Coat Swap later this trimester. Students will be able to “shop” the coats and pick one that they would like to wear this year! Even if you don’t want your child to participate in the coat swap, please consider donating a coat to help keep another child warm this winter.  We will keep the hats, scarves, and gloves for students to use during recess or if they do not have some of their own.

Clothing Donation Drive

We keep a collection of plain t-shirts, sweatshirts, and sweatpants in the office in case someone slips in the mud, spills something on themselves, or needs a change of clothing for any reason during the day. We also keep a collection of belts in case someone needs one.

Please consider donating new or gently used children and adult-sized clothing (for kindergarten through 8th-grade students to wear). All donations will be collected in the Main Office.

Wanna Meet with Dr. Shyla or Ms. Rashida?

You are invited to make an appointment to meet with either of us, at your convenience, using our appointment calendar. Be sure to add the topic/agenda of our meeting in the Notes section, so that we are prepared for the meeting. We look forward to speaking with you.

Here is the link to Shyla’s Appointment Calendar.

Here is the link to Rashida’s Appointment Calendar.

Downhill Derby

Hamilton Lauraville Main Street is holding its Indie 900 Downhill Derby on October 27.

Go to for more details on how to register!