It was a cold rainy day when the new Elmer A. Henderson: A Johns Hopkins Partnership School (unofficially known as Henderson-Hopkins) opened its doors for the first time on January 2, but that didn’t dampen the enthusiasm of the students, parents and teachers as they saw their new $42 million dollar facility for the first time. One student summed it all up when he told a Baltimore Sun reporter that “the new school is supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.”
The new K-8 school is the cornerstone of ongoing efforts by East Baltimore Development Inc. to redevelop and re-energize a seven-acre swath of East Baltimore just north of Johns Hopkins Hospital. With contemporary architecture and flexible learning spaces, Henderson-Hopkins is designed to be one of Baltimore’s most progressive schools, serving 368 students on the first day of school and 540 students at capacity.
” The opening of the Henderson-Hopkins school represents a tremendous moment for our entire community. But most important it is a powerful illustration of our deep, shared commitment to the future of east Baltimore – it’s all about the kids,” said Ronald J. Daniels, President of Johns Hopkins University.
Originally known as East Baltimore Community School, the school has operated since 2009 from modular, temporary classrooms just north of the current campus. Construction on Henderson-Hopkins’ 90,000-square-foot facility began in June 2012. In partnership with Morgan State University’s School of Education and Urban Studies, the School of Education will be the operator of Henderson-Hopkins. Johns Hopkins educators have taken the lead on everything from setting the curriculum to recruiting teachers to designing the learning space.
In addition to a $10 million early childhood center that will serve children as young as 6 months, the campus includes a gym, auditorium, library and family resource center — all available for community use. Students will enjoy space dedicated for art and music, rooms filled with natural light, wide open corridors and outdoor play zones. Instead of trekking to a traditional cafeteria for lunch, children will dine in more intimate nooks, close to their classrooms.
A key feature of the school will be the health suite staffed with students and faculty from the Johns Hopkins School of Nursing. Instead of merely treating students who aren’t feeling well, the emphasis will be proactive, teaching students and their families about nutrition and healthy lifestyles.