Networks of Support

I used to believe that trees fought one another to reach the sun, get nutrients, and simply to thrive. The smallest tree in a forest was doomed from the start. A few years ago, I learned about a secret communication that exists between trees that tells quite the opposite story. The gigantic trees that we admire above ground are connected through a network of teeny tiny fungi that communicate between trees of all species. If one tree is aware of drought or of an insect manifestation, it sends messages to other trees in the area through these fungi.  In turn, the other trees change their behaviors in order to survive. As well, they send nutrients to help a struggling tree to survive. as I lay under my favorite large oak tree, I find it completely fascinating to consider that its survival is dependent upon little string-like fungi that exist under the ground.

The week before school started, my mom went into hospice and passed away.  My nieces, nephews, siblings, our spouses, and my dad stood around the hospital bed that week like tall oak trees singing her favorite songs, telling exaggerated stories of times passed and laughing in full support of each other’s needs at the time. I was reminded of how, as trees grow and mature, they become increasingly more and more interdependent, knowing each other’s needs and providing just what each other needs. 

This week, as we embark upon the 6th week of the school year, I challenge each and every one of us to think about the ways in which we support and are supported. In a school with only one class per grade, I wish for our students to find themselves in an interdependent network of bad singing, big stories, and lots of laughter. 

Happy week 6, everyone!

Love, Dr. Shyla.


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

The highlight of my day is when students drop in on me while I’m in my office just to say hi. I keep my door open because I want them to know that I am available to them at (just about) any time. There have been numerous days over the last couple weeks where students from various grades took it upon themselves to come to me during their lunch period just to hang out, eat and chat. It’s during these informal times that relationships with students are most deepened. From conversations about birthday parties, weekend plans, high school choices, and famous Baltimoreans – these moments, along with the drop-ins, hugs, and enthusiastic hello’s, are at the core of what should make the student experience special. And they serve as a reminder that relationships are the foundation of every great school and community!

No significant learning can occur with significant relationships.” – Dr. James P. Comer


  • Tuesday, October 8: Committee Night for all CNH Families (see details below)
  • Thursday, October 10: Grades 3-5 Family Potluck in the Cafe


  • 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


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.

Policy Review:  Early Dismissal/Re-entering School After Dismissal

A friendly reminder that important work is still happening during the last 30-minutes of the school day.  Unless it is an emergency, please do not collect your child between 2:45 and 3:15 on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays, or between 12:30 and 1 on Wednesdays or any other early release days.

The school office closes at 3:30 PM every day that school is in session. Please keep in mind that once students are dismissed at the end of the day, no one is available to let your child back into the building and supervise them after that time.  Therefore, students are not permitted back into the building after they are dismissed.  If you and your child stay back to play on the playground or the field after school, please be sure to bring water bottles, as school will not be open to access water coolers or restrooms after hours. Thank you!

Hearing & Vision Screening–POSTPONED

Hearing and vision screening, conducted by the Baltimore City Health Department for students in grades K, 1, and 8, has been postponed until November 12.  We will remind you as the date approaches.


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


Enrollment Season Open for 2020-21!

Despite the fact that 2019-20 has barely begun, the 2020-21 enrollment season has officially begun!  We will be accepting applications from new families through 3 PM on Wednesday, February 5.  Please share this information with anyone who may be interested.

We request that staff and current families submit sibling applications by Monday, January 27, 2020 so we can determine how many available seats we will have open when we conduct our lottery.  Applications are available in the office or on our website.  You can submit them to the office directly or by scanning and emailing to

Any questions about enrollment for 2020-21?  Contact Stephanie at

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.

Check out the latest City Neighbors Foundation newsletter here.