The last couple of years have been full of change for Afya Baltimore Inc. In 2016 we converted Brehms Lane Elementary School to a charter school. In 2018 we celebrated our 10th anniversary. In 2019 we merged Afya Public Charter School and Brehms Lane into a dual-facility pre-k through 8th grade school with a new name, The Belair-Edison School. Within the first few days of 2020, Tunbridge earned a contract renewal for five years, the maximum allowed by the school system.
This work has been both exciting and challenging. I believe we’re also at a place in time where we have to think and plan for our next decade of work—and beyond! We’re doing this now in a number of ways. Over the next month or so, I’ll be sharing this work through the blog and through our other social media platforms. We’ll also be sending home information to our families the old-fashioned way, via student’s backpacks.
Our work includes the following: A strategic plan for our organization and our schools that articulates the hopes and dreams we have for our students related to our mission, the services and supports ABI provides to our schools, and plans we have to build a stronger sense of community and spirit in everything we do. Related to this work, we’ll create a master plan for our facilities—a vision of work that includes maintenance and upkeep, mundane but essential, and more creative and inspiring work that enhances and beautifies our school buildings. As never before, we’ll be aligning the work we do with our mission so the spaces we create are healthy and happy.
Speaking of our mission, for the past couple of years we’ve taken steps to more clearly identify the things we care about most in the work we do. We’ve committed to work that promises an engaging and equitable education of the whole child: intellectually, socially/emotionally, and physically. This work will now be called The Afya Way.
Afya, which means health in Swahili, is a wonderful word that encompasses everything we do and everything we want to be in our schools. One of our founders, Patricia Njenga, chose this word to name our first school. She did this in 2007, when we had no schools and no students. We were just an idea. Now, all these years later, we are honored to serve more than 1,500 students across three buildings in two neighborhoods. The Afya Way is our way of making Baltimore a better place for kids and families.
We’ve created a new graphic, pictured here, to symbolize our work. Next week, we’ll be releasing a video that celebrates our vision and brings it to life. Through the voices of our teachers, our students, and our school leaders The Afya Way is beautifully shared and becomes our way.