From Our Executive Director

September 2021

This school year, the 14th that Afya Baltimore has been operating schools, promises to be our most significant and in many, many ways our most important.

It feels like we’ve been in the middle of the pandemic for a year now. And we keep telling ourselves that we are starting to recover from the impact of COVID-19. The reality is we are learning to live with the pandemic. And what we have learned, as a school community, is that we just have to keep going. We have to adapt, change, learn, and grow. And we have to keep pressing forward. No matter what. We have to mask up and move on!

In the midst of the uncertainty, with anxieties, questions and concerns, we carry the burden of the past couple of years with us, often filled with loss, but we also bring to our schools a sense of determination and hope— an enduring, abiding belief that we have been given the opportunity to create beautiful places of learning for our students and families. And this is what we will do.

Over the past year, the Afya Baltimore staff, school leadership and governing board has worked to create a five-year strategic plan that will guide our future work, which includes important feedback from staff members and families. The result is what we are calling A Promise and a Pathway: A Strategic Plan | 2021-2026.

As we look ahead, it is essential for us to renew and re-energize the commitment we have to our mission and reframe our work over the next five years as a promise and a pathway for our families and students. Long existing inequities facing our communities — including racism, violence, economic, and health disparities — have been exacerbated by the pandemic and require a significant and comprehensive response by our school community. In our own continual process to improve outcomes and experiences for our students, we want to understand, appreciate, and celebrate what we’ve done well over the past 14 years of operating schools in Baltimore City and embark on new work that is ambitious, courageous, and vital. 

We promise to continue to provide and maintain safe, equitable, and engaging places for our students to grow and learn with us from the time they enter in pre-K or kindergarten to the time they move on to high school as young adults. Families can trust ABI and our schools to honor the experiences, perspectives and potential of every child and to invest in the partnership between school and family. The pathway through these elementary and middle school years will be filled with meaningful experiences, rituals, and milestones — intellectual, social/emotional, and physical — that will ultimately help our students thrive in high school and beyond. 

Over the coming weeks we’ll be redesigning our website to fully reflect our work. More importantly, over the coming school year— in future years— we’ll be implementing this work with more urgency and determination than ever.

 - Will McKenna
Founder and Executive Director