This gorgeous slice of a Cyprus tree reveals its many layers of history and knowledge in the rings, knots, and holes. I wonder which markings reveal a difficult year or a dry summer… what caused this hole or that knot. I wonder how this year, with all of its peculiarities, impacted the rings of our center? What story will this tell in our futures?   


After countless months of sanding, prepping, and collecting all of the right pieces, this slab of wood is ready to become an outdoor table in my backyard. As a sculptor, I find a great escape when working with my hands and making new out of old. This weekend, my dad (pictured), husband Jay, and I sealed the wood with a marine-grade epoxy, torching the surface to release air bubbles and to prepare the surface for the final pour coat. It felt good to move one step closer to completion — more pics when it is finished! 


I hope that you each engaged in what replenishes you this weekend. Was it a walk in the woods, time with family, a good book, or engaging with highly toxic resin and propane torches? In whatever form that looks for you, my hope is that you found respite from the week.  


Be kind to yourself — take a walk, breathe deeply, eat something special throughout the day.


Happy Week 4, everyone! 

–Dr. Shyla.



Important Dates:



Important Links

  • The CNH Academic Calendar — This gives all important dates for this year (end of each trimester, Progress Report Conferences dates, etc.)

  • CNH Family  Site — This is one-stop shopping for families (links to Google Classrooms, Family  Resources, the Care Center, Tutorial Videos, etc.)

  • School Schedule Spreadsheet — This document has each grade’s schedule with links to Zoom meetings in one mega spreadsheet.  (NOTE: Student schedules are also posted in every Google Classroom with links to Zoom meetings)

  • CNH Main Website — Here is the main website with information about the school and resources.

  • Shyla Rao’s appointment calendar — Feel free to make an appointment if you have questions, comments, or concerns. Shyla looks forward to meeting with you!  


Committee Night — October 13 

Our school is able to provide great programming and events due to the fact that every family agrees to complete 40 participation hours every school year. This high level of family engagement is the center point of what makes our school so great! 


The easiest way to support the work of the school, as well as fulfill this 40-hour requirement, is to join Committee Night every month. 


Click here to see a listing of Committees.  Click here to complete the Google Form to sign-up for a committee. 



Synchronous Electives Begin on Wednesday

Here is the link to the Electives spreadsheet so that you can see your student’s elective.

Ms. Kachaelar is creating individual schedules for each student so that their specific links to classes are in one place.  We hope to have them completed by Wednesday.  If it takes longer than anticipated, we will share the link to your student’s elective to both the parent/guardian email as well as the student email accounts before Wednesday morning. Thanks for your patience!    


Help us shape the school: 

Board Nominations due Oct 3rd

The work of our school is supported by our Family-led Board. Just as parents/guardians join committees, parents/guardians also help to lead the work.  We meet one time per month (second Tuesdays of each month — same as Committee Nights). Help us shape the work of this school!  I’d love to have you run for a position!  Here is the nomination form to nominate yourself or another parent/guardian.  



Zoom Issues?

You may reach out to the IT Department (ITD) Helpline with the school district to receive support if you are still experiencing Zoom issues.  Some parents called the helpline and were told by ITD that they would not be helped since their child attends a Charter School. After hearing this news, I followed up with the district. It is not district policy to turn away families calling the helpline because of the type of school their student attends. I am passing along a heartfelt apology from the district with the promise that will never happen again.  Feel free to call the BCPS main phone number (443-984-2000) and follow prompts to the ITD Helpline if you are still experiencing problems with Zoom. 

You may also reach out to 

Related, but not the same thing — If you are continually being kicked off of Zoom, it might have something to do with bandwidth.  Try this — Keep your camera off and change the view in Zoom to “Speaker” view not “Gallery” view.  When you are in “Gallery” view and see everyone’s faces, it causes your computer to have to work harder and pull all of that data. For some people, limiting the data being pulled helps with being kicked off.  I’m not an expert, but this seemed to help some folks.



Attendance expectations

The following key parameters guide City Neighbors Hamilton #346 approach to attendance in the 2020 – 21 school year (see BCPS Attendance Policy):

  • All students are expected to attend school five days a week and to attend all classes in which they are enrolled each day.

  • Attendance during synchronous or “live” virtual learning sessions will be based on a student’s presence in the session.

  • Absences

    • In the event that a student is unable to participate in synchronous learning for a partial or full-day due to extenuating circumstances (such as work, child care, or other significant scheduling conflicts on the part of the student or parents/guardians) the student may be marked present for that day or class if:

      • The parent/guardian submits a note (email is fine) communicating that the student was unable to join class due to extenuating circumstances

      • All attendance emails should be sent to the classroom teacher as well as Kachaelar Jones at

  • Earning Participation Credit with Absences

    • The student must complete the asynchronous work assigned for that day in order to be marked present. Since some grades assign their asynchronous work weekly, the asynchronous work for missed classes must be made up within a week of the missed class in order to receive credit for participation.

  • Longer-term absences

    • If the student and/or family have a longer-term conflict or challenge that makes it necessary for them to participate in asynchronous learning on an on-going basis, this issue should be discussed with the student’s teacher(s) and a request should be submitted and approved in writing by the teacher(s) (an email is sufficient). In either case, the documentation should be preserved in the student’s attendance record.

  • Unexcused Absence

    • Students who do not attend school and do not provide a written note or email with a legally recognized reason for their absence will be marked absent and every effort will be made to find, support, and re-engage them.

  • Absence due to a lack of computer or internet access

    • In the event that a student is absent due to the lack of a computer or Internet access, the school must be notified that this is the reason so that they student will be coded as “City Schools Emergency Exempt” for that day.

    • All attendance emails should be sent to the classroom teacher as well as Kachaelar Jones at

  • Unanticipated Absence

    • When a student returns to virtual learning from an unanticipated absence, a written note should be submitted by the parent to the student’s teacher and Kachaelar Jones (  This note can now be submitted via email and a copy of the submitted documentation must be retained by the attendance monitor for possible future audit.

    • All attendance emails should be sent to the classroom teacher as well as Kachaelar Jones at


Absences are considered “excused” for the following reasons (from BCPS Attendance Policy):

  • Student illness (a doctor’s note is required after a student is absent 3 days or more days in a row)

  • A death in the immediate family

  • Court summons (with the child’s name on the summons)

  • Religious holiday

  • Official school closing

  • Work or other activity sponsored and approved by the school

  • Suspension

  • Lack of authorized, district-provided transportation

  • Pregnancy and/or parenting needs (student)

  • Other emergency as determined by City Schools’ CEO or designee


Care Center Site 


Families can access the Care Center Site by accessing the CNH Family Site and clicking on the Family Resources tab. You can also click here to access the site. Students, teachers, and families can find different ways to support social-emotional learning on this site. You can also use this site to get in touch with Ms. Lauren & Mr. Jerred. 


Care Center Week Ahead… 




City Neighbors Votes! Please join us as we commit to vote this fall. We’re partnering with My School Votes to spread the word and make registering to vote a little easier. 

If you haven’t registered yet, now is the time! Click the link to access our portal. Then click Register to Vote. 

Following these links gives you access to Maryland’s online voter registration process, which is open to anyone 16 or older. In Maryland, you can register as early as 16, although you have to wait until 18 to cast a vote. Please make sure you’re registered, and share the link with your friends, family, and neighbors to help us spread the word. 

Let’s make our voices count!



Public Comment at Board Meetings 

Every month, at Board Meetings, we welcome public comments. Since we are functioning in a virtual space, if you would like to make a public comment, please email our Board President, Erika Coughlin, at at least 24-hours before the next Board Meeting. She will send you the link to the next meeting.  



Follow Us on Social Media!


CNH is on Social Media — Follow us! Please note that Twitter and Instagram are new endeavors for CNH so please know that it will pick-up momentum as we breathe through the start of school.  🙂 


  • Twitter — @CNHschool

  • Instagram — city_neighbors_hamilton

  • Facebook — Follow us at our official school page City Neighbors Hamilton (to receive important information) and our City Neighbors Hamilton Family page (where you can share photos and comments with CNH Families as well as Staff)



Donations to the School

Some families reached out to the school over the summer mentioning that they would like to donate the money they didn’t spend on groceries this summer due to receiving the P-EBT card for their children.  Other families reached out to me wanting to donate money to support our acquisition of technology to support families this fall.  


If you would like to donate money to the school (for any reason), the easiest ways are through our CashApp or PayPal accounts.  Checks mailed to the school will also be accepted. Please add a note, no matter how you might donate, with how you would like it used (general educational expenses, technology, arts, etc). 


If you aren’t able to donate funds to the school, we always appreciate your donation of time supporting the general programming needs at our school (all virtual, of course).  If you would like to volunteer for the school, please email our Family Participation Board Director Elisabeth Hyleck at





  • Meal Sites

    • This Spring, Baltimore City Schools opened meal sites at any school location that offered.  We were one of them.  This upcoming school year, the school district is carefully selecting meal sites so that they are spread out evenly throughout the city and in areas of highest need. Here is the link to the school district’s Meal Sites page.  It provides information for meal sites as well as other resources for accessing food. Bookmark the link so that you can visit it again closer to the start of the school year to see which schools will serve as meal sites near you.




Connecting with Shyla

Below the signature of every email I send from my computer (not the ones from my phone), I have the following text.  


Want to meet?  Click here to make an appointment. Be sure to add the topic/agenda of our meeting in the Notes section, so that I am prepared. I look forward to speaking with you. 


I wholeheartedly mean it when I say that I am happy to meet with you anytime you’d like to talk. It can be something you’re excited or upset about, a new idea you have for the school, if you want to share news about your family, or just to connect.  I would love to meet with you!




Have a great week, all!