Why Here and Now? 

Why here in Annapolis? 

Annapolis is a remarkable community.  It is unique in its history, culture, and capacity.  But it is quite typical in the inequitable structures and systems that have created a "tale of two cities" (or perhaps three!).  

It is a city small enough to care about all its citizens and large enough to provide an array of compelling work and educational opportunities for young people.  The African proverb, “It takes a village to raise a child” may be difficult to manifest in DC or Baltimore, but here in Annapolis, we have the resources, the dedication, and the diversity to support the success of every young person, if we make the walls of school more permeable and leverage our amazing community for learning and growth.

There are over 51,000 businesses in Annapolis and Anne Arundel County. It is the home of thriving city, county, and state governments and multiple non-profit organizations.  Beyond these assets there are huge challenges on a local scale, from climate-induced flooding to a housing shortage and rising gun violence, that need the creative energy and active voice of young people to solve them effectively. 

In a small city like ours, internship mentors and community advocates, working together with the school’s Crew advisors, teachers, and parents, can support students one at a time, listening to their needs and goals and connecting students with what they need and want. The internship experience serves not only to educate students, but to enrich the internship mentor’s life, to weave community connections across Annapolis, and to make our beloved city more respectful, resilient, and sustainable. 

Why now in 2022?

Educators and policymakers have been talking about two parallel crises in education for decades – the opportunity gap for economically and culturally marginalized students and the changing demands of the 21st Century.  Despite these dual concerns, little has changed in the basic industrial-model structure through which high school education is delivered for more than a hundred years.

Student disengagement and loss of trust in education is not new, but the COVID pandemic and the rise of Social Media and Artificial Intelligence are further challenging the status quo.  Students feel increasingly isolated and stressed but also have access to information and learning more easily than ever, in school and beyond. 

The Blueprint for Maryland’s Future sets out ambitious goals for change, but only with real innovation will it realize its goals. New Village Academy meets the Blueprint’s requirements for college and career readiness by 10th grade, ramping up career and technical education, investment in underserved communities, smaller class sizes, and increased parent-school collaboration in ways that are not add-ons to the old design, but built into the very fabric of the school’s structure. 

Why within AACPS? 

Not every student or family in Anne Arundel County wants a dramatic alternative to high school learning.  Many students are thriving in traditional high schools. One size does not fit all.  But having real choice for students who would benefit from the increased responsibility, support, and empowerment of New Village Academy only strengthens the AACPS portfolio of educational choices. 

With Annapolis High School, like many high schools around the country, struggling to meet the needs of many of its diverse learners, providing a truly different approach to high school for families who choose it could help address over-enrollment at Annapolis High, be an incubator for the Blueprint for Maryland's Future career-related initiatives, provide a much-needed alternative for students who aren't thriving in large, traditional high schools, and generate the innovation that AACPS needs to begin to meet the educational challenges of our times.