Urban Farming, Data, & Crew Games—Week One Wrap Up!

Thursday, July 11

Down on the farm

After a full morning in class—and a nervous glance or three at the gathering thunderclouds—we made our way across town to The Greener Garden: Baltimore’s only black-owned farm. Ms. Lavette Blue welcomed us with a tour and some history, and gave the boys a crash course in where the food they eat really comes from.

This was only the beginning, though; over the next few weeks, a select group of our gents will be returning to the farm to really get their hands dirty….

Friday, July 12


As you may recall, we’re a little bit obsessed with data here at Prep@Collegiate—but not in the No-Child-Left-Untested sense… ours is an obsession wholly oriented toward foregrounding growth over proficiency (without disappearing the latter!).


Fridays at Prep@Collegiate include one-on-one meetings: every boy meets individually with each of his teachers, to look at the week’s progress, and to set learning targets for the week ahead (it’s what the good folks at Expeditionary Learning call “student-engaged assessment”).


This first week, the work also entailed a crash course in data visualization: the boys were coached through the process of creating a spreadsheet based on their formative assessment data from the week, and then using that spreadsheet to generate a chart… which is the key, here, to (literally) seeing growth—in concert with, but prior to, a static measure of proficiency


Future Makers!

In the afternoon, our friends from FutureMakers came to visit (for the first of several times this summer). Mission #1: Wind-Up Crawlers!

Let the Games Begin (again)!

Finally, Friday afternoon found us in the gym, where our four crews—Morehouse, Hampton, Muhlenberg, and AAMU—battled it out for the week’s championship:

…and when we tallied up the scores at week’s end, it was Hampton with the win!

Opening Days--On the Course, and On Campus...

Monday, July 8

Once again, our summer began with a trip to Outward Bound; then, we brought those insights—experiential lessons about perseverance & challenging ourselves—home to campus...

Tuesday, July 9

…our first full day of classes continued our tradition of building culture at the program level: the boys worked in crews to translate our Five Core Virtues—Integrity, Wisdom, Courage, Compassion, and Resilience—into a rubric that lays out our shared norms and expectations… in a word: culture.

The morning wrapped up with the boys’ placement into their classes & an introductory meeting with their teachers—follows by the first lunch in the NDMU dining hall (…and there was much rejoicing!).


In the afternoon: co-curriculars! Our friends from OpenWorks Mobile returned to introduce some of the boys to 3D Printing…


…while downstairs, Mr. Smith gave a crash course in coding—and at the end of an hour, the boys were amazed that they’d created their own video game!

Wednesday, July 10

Our first full day of classes!


…and, in the afternoon, Crew Competitions begin in earnest!

Next up: our (first) visit to an urban farm! Stay tuned…

Four Days 'til Opening Ceremonies 2019!

On your marks...


Hello! As we head into our third year, we couldn’t be more excited about what’s in store. Team Prep@Collegiate has been hard at work, crafting a curriculum designed to meet our boys exactly where they are—and to push them far beyond.

Get Set…


This year’s session of Prep@Collegiate is organized around a theme: Our Boys as Agents of Change. In the classroom—and outside of it, too—we’ll be helping the boys to develop new & critical skills, and to begin deploying those skills in the service of addressing challenges related to sustainability, social justice, and masculinity (more on these soon!).



…and we’re off! Saturday, June 29th was our Third Annual Family Brunch. Gents and their families were warmly welcomed to the campus of Notre Dame of Maryland University—our home-away-from-home for the summer.

After we dined on the finest that NDMU’s dining hall had to offer, the boys went off to take their pre-assessment… and families got a treetop-level overview of the weeks ahead.


Then: the highlight of the morning, and a first for the Family Brunch—Mrs. Jazmin Muhammad (ELA Faculty) led us through an exercise called ‘Privilege for Sale’, in which families worked in teams to explore some of the different ways in which ‘privileges’ surface in our lives and communities, and to reflect on how we value—and take for granted—some of them. Here’s how it went down: participants were grouped into randomly-sorted teams, each of which was given a fixed amount of (play) money and a ‘menu of privileges’. Team members debated the relative value of advantages like “having paid leave from work,” “interacting with police without fear for your safety,” and '“being debt-free”—and then they took on the tricky task of deciding how to use the limited funds they had: what was a luxury, and what was an absolute necessity?

The big reveal came when everyone found out that each group had started with a different amount of money—which led to a rich and thoughtful conversation about economic injustice—and which laid the foundation for a(n ongoing) discussion about how enrichment programs (like Prep@Collegiate) articulate with questions of privilege, justice, and socieconomic mobility.


In the process, families got to know each other a whole lot better than ever before—and everyone got a boots-on-the-ground sense of just how powerful the time in class with our stellar faculty will be for the boys.


We can’t wait to see you at opening ceremonies!

Week Four Wind-Down

It's Over!

...another summer has come and gone--full of hard work in the classroom, fun on the field & in the lab, and adventures off-campus! In this final post for summer '18, we'll have a few last photo spreads, and some concluding thoughts...

Field Trip #4: Catoctin Mountain National Park and Catoctin Wildlife Preserve & Zoo

It was a *very* full day outdoors! We started with Ranger Carrie giving us an overview of the park and its history--and fielding many questions about how likely the boys were to be eaten by bears--before we hit the trail. ...an hour and a half later, we found ourselves at Cunningham Falls! In the afternoon, we stopped by a local Wildlife Preserve, to get up close & personal with Bengal tigers, white wolves, and the occasional alpaca.

Towson's SciTech Lab

One of the highlights of this final week was a visit to the SciTech lab at the harbor, where the boys conducted experiments to learn more about climate change--they had the opportunity to design their own experiments, exploring how temperature affects ocean water's ability to retain carbon dioxide and explore the role of CO2 as a greenhouse gas. Also: they got to wear labcoats.

Student-Led Conferences

Continuing the Prep@Collegiate tradition of student-led learning & student-engaged assessment, each boy had the opportunity to meet with his teacher, his Crew leader, and a family member (or two) in order to present an extensive reflection on his work this summer. They walked their audiences through their learning targets in Math & ELA, and showed the charts they'd produced to visualize the data from their ongoing formative assessments. Next, they explained the Peer Assessment process & the role of Crews, and they shared high & low points from the summer (we call them 'glows' and 'grows'). Finally, they laid out their action plans for the academic year ahead...

Closing Ceremonies

Ever the bittersweet moment, our summer drew to a close on Friday, August 3rd. The boys processed into Knott Science Center, where they shared some of fruits of their summer labors; we were also treated to some words of wisdom from Calvin Wise--Johns Hopkins University's Director of Recruitment for Undergraduate Admissions--before the boys received they certificates. Finally--of course--we ate. And ate. And ate.

In closing...

What remains to be said? The boys' extraordinary efforts this summer--in the classrooms; during film residency and 3D printing; on the playing field; and on our epic field trips--speak for themselves.

This year brought a 50% increase in the number of students who spent their summer learning, playing, and growing with Prep@Collegiate. We couldn't be more proud of them--or more proud to have the opportunity to work with them--and we're already making plans for an even bigger and better summer in 2019.

We hope to see you there!



George Laufenberg

Week the Third

Another week has come and gone! This one started with a Prep@Collegiate first: a full-day, competitive team-based project, designed to teach the boys about the path to college! After that: three more mornings of hard-charging in the classroom; three more afternoons of awesome activities; and one field trip... with a surprise twist!

Monday, July 23

The boys’ day began with a mission: working in their Crews, they were to assume the role of a (simulated) non-profit organization tasked with improving access to competitive high schools and institutions of higher education. They started off with a kind of map-making exercise: surveying the landscape of ‘unknown unknowns’, to get a sense of the kinds of questions they’d have to ask going forward—topics like financial aid, admissions, graduation rates, athletics, and student life.

They spent the day doing research; at the end of the day, they presented their findings to a panel of judges, who rated them based on the content and form of their presentations. They were a little rough around the edges, but it was great practice for their upcoming Student-Led Conferences!


The other key takeaway was the follow-up: each student worked on an individual College Action Access Plan—taking the questions they’d mapped earlier in the day, and applying them to their own intended trajectories. They worked together with their families to fill in the details... and take one step further down the path toward the future they deserve.

The Rest of the Week...

...was business as usual: hard work in class, and adventurous afternoons—full of 3D Printing, Chess, Hip Hop Dance, Flag Football, and Kinetic Sculpture-making (courtesy of the awesome Coach Matt from FutureMakers!): 

Oh, and: Field Trip #3

Our plan for this week’s outing was a trip to Annapolis, to the Chesapeake Bay Foundation’s environmental education center. Unfortunately, the near-Biblical deluge this week left the good folks of CBF up to their ankles (literally) in water. The team put their heads together, and came up with an on-the-fly alternative: we turned the bus to the right, and wound up in Washington, DC. In the morning, we went to the International Spy Museum... most of which time the boys spent trying to out-James-Bond each other by seeing who could hang on for the longest time (unfortunately, the ‘No Flash Photography' rule in there means you’ll have to imagine all of it).

In the afternoon, the Crews competed in a scavenger hunt and the Air & Space Muesum:

...keep an eye out for the next round of guest posts from Team Members as we head into our final week—and have a great weekend! 

Guest Post: Founding Summer Fellow Nere Eyeguokan

As a member of the Prep@Collegiate founding team, I had no other plan than to return to Prep this summer before embarking on a new career in Education. This Fall, I will be joining the BCSB team as a Collegiate Teaching Fellow. I’m extremely excited to begin working with all the boys, families, and the staff there.

In May, I graduated from Frostburg State University with a Bachelor’s of Science in Sociology and Leadership Studies. I was involved in several different leadership positions at FSU that have prepared me for life after college. During my sophomore year I served as a Rising Star in the EchoStars program where I completed 300 service learning hours with Americorps. I volunteered with organizations like the YMCA, the Salvation Army, Special Olympics, and the Cumberland Animal Shelter to name a few. I also served as both a Team Leader and Vice President of SafeRide, a shuttle service that runs from 10pm-2am on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights, during my junior and senior years. I spent most of my time working in the Student Activities Office with the University Programming Council, our student run activities board. I held several positions including, Assessments Chair, Business Operations Chair, and President for the 2017-2018 academic year. With these positions I was able to put my studies to practice, enhance my leadership skills and build long lasting relationships in the Frostburg community and beyond.

During my senior year I was accepted as a member of the President’s Leadership Circle (PLC). PLC is a distinguished group of 12 senior leaders on Frostburg State’s campus. It’s a unique experience where we have the opportunity to meet with the President of FSU regularly to learn from his experiences and wisdom. We also are involved in other small projects throughout the year and a cross-cultural trip.

This year, myself and five of my peers spent two weeks in Uganda over Spring Break. We ate the food, experienced the culture, learned the language (a little), saw elephants, lions, giraffes and so much more. Most importantly, we came to serve and to teach. We spent the majority of our time in the Pakwach District at Kinju Primary School. In this village, families live in huts made of dirt and clay with straw roofs. There’s no running water, plumbing, or electricity. They walk miles to the Nile River to get their water which they use for eating, drinking, and bathing. It’s a very poor community. At Kinju, there are 1007 students. There’s a total of 9 teachers including the headmaster to serve all these students. School supplies are limited, there are only 140 desks so most students sit and do their work on the ground. There are 304 students in P1 or kindergarden and 44 students in P7 or 6th grade. The dropout rate is high, as a lot of girls get married young and boys leave to go work for their families. Despite these conditions, the kids are full of joy and excited to come learn. Most of the students walk miles just to get to school in the morning, walk home for lunch and return for the remainder of the day.


We built two structures there and taught the community safe water sanitation and hygiene practices, we also taught the SODIS method, which is solar water disinfection. With the help of some members of the community we built a water tank next to the school to collect rainwater, to reduce trips to the Nile. We also built a latrine in the village and encouraged them to continue to build them wherever they build a home. This entire trip was a very humbling experience, it also taught me a lot about myself and educational inequality.


Bringing this back to BCSB, there’s definitely some inequality there as well. But the gap between them and the students in Uganda is much larger. They don’t have chromebooks or access to libraries and the internet in Uganda. However, we still have to attack the gap here in Baltimore and that’s what we’re attempting to do at Prep@Collegiate and will continue to do throughout the school year. There’s a quote by Frederick Douglass that says “It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men.” Building strong children isn’t just about educating them on Math and ELA but also their emotional intelligence, teaching them how to use their strengths and weaknesses to their benefit, and showing them how to succeed in a country where the black man is seen as dangerous.

I have goals of becoming a school counselor and eventually opening up a school in my Mother’s memory, who’s actions shaped me to be the person I am today. As I go on this journey, I ask for your support and I will do my best to serve the BSCB community as a whole.


--Nere Eyeguokan

Guest Post: Summer Fellow Sean Lumkong

From San Diego to Baltimore

Wrapping up my first year at Brown University, I was unsure what my summer held in store for me. I thought I might just go back to the local restaurant, hosting and dishwashing to make a few bucks. I always knew I was interested in teaching, but there weren’t too many opportunities back home, and I didn’t want to be solely in an academic setting. Using Brown’s internship listing site, I luckily found Prep @ Collegiate. I couldn’t believe it. I would get the opportunity to experience a new city, work with a great group of young men, teach, and coach sports. However, I soon realized that Prep @ Collegiate was so much more than its job description. Wrapping up my second week here at Prep @Collegiate, I can truly say that it has been a life changing experience.

Arriving in Baltimore on the fourth of July under fireworks in the sky, I went to sleep nervous and curious about the upcoming week. What will the boys think of me? Will I get along with my co-workers? Am I ready for this? Thankfully, my first day, I instantly bonded with the staff team. They were very welcoming and made me feel comfortable and confident. I can’t thank them enough. The opening ceremonies on Sunday were also great. It was wonderful meeting the gents and their families. Talking with the boys and their parents made things easier as I was able to come in to camp with a sense of each crew member’s goals and ambitions.

The first day with the boys was active and eventful. Tackling ropes courses and engaging in competitive games, Outward Bound was the perfect way to quickly gel with my crew and get to know my gents’ personalities. My experience has only gotten better since. My crew is a group of amazing young men that are committed to the goals of the program. They are talented, smart, and diligent, and they also love to have a good time. I have found it easy to talk with each gent, and some of my favorite moments at camp have been during these spontaneous discussions. Furthermore, the energy they bring to the camp is amazing. These boys just know how to keep going. This positive energy makes co-curriculars and competitions intense and entertaining. In addition, all 37 gents are very intelligent. Talking and watching these boys I am learning something new every day. Co-teaching English with Ms. Dry, I have been able to watch these boys develop their reading and writing skills daily. Working with each boy, I can see that he is committed to his schoolwork and eager to learn. Watching the progress the boys have made in the classroom over these last two weeks gets me very excited for each gent’s future. There is unlimited potential with these boys.

Outside of the classroom, I have had the pleasure of leading some co-curricular activities with the hope of informing the boys on different topics and helping them find a passion. Leading a seminar on community engagement and politics in Baltimore, I wrote a lesson with the goal of informing boys on the local political process and importance of voting along with different community organizations and how to get involved. The boys picked things up well, and I encouraged each to volunteer at some community organization for at least a day this summer. In addition to that seminar, Fellow Luke and I led a workshop on college athletics and how to get there. Working with the boys and finding out their goals, it soon became evident that half of them wanted to play in the NBA or NFL. With this workshop, Luke and I informed students on the college recruitment process, balancing academics with athletics, and the level of commitment it takes to play at the elite level. We also personally talked with students who really wanted to commit themselves.


--Sean Lumkong

Week Two in Review

We're halfway through our summer together--unbelievable!

The boys are working hard in the classroom, and covering a great deal of ground... in this post, though, the focus is on some of the fun we had this week! The highlight reel includes our second field trip, and an afternoon of Adventures in Financial Literacy (no, seriously--the boys had a blast!).

Field Trip the Second

This week, our journey off-campus took us down to Baltimore's Inner Harbor... from there, though, we got off the beaten track: instead of the usual 'aquarium-and-science-center' fare, the boys spent half of their day out on the water with the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, learning about water quality... as well as how far an eel can jump out of a bucket:

The other half of the day was spent on a different kind of ship: the venerable US Coast Guard Cutter Taney. The folks from Historic Ships gave the boys a backstage, hands-on tour of the ship from stem to stern (and up to the bridge); the boys also tried their hand at a simulated damage control situation, and they learned about buoyancy by competing with each other to see whose aluminum-foil boat could hold the most weight:

Money is Fun(ny)

On Thursday afternoon, the awesome team from Ortus Academy brought their roadshow to us: for the full afternoon, the boys ran themselves ragged trying to earn the most (play) money & manage it well... and then, in the postgame session, they came to realize how much they knew--and how much more they didn't know--about personal finances. They. Had. A. Blast.

...coming up next week: Monday brings Prep@Collegiate's first Expedition. Stay tuned!


Guest Post: Math Faculty Akeish Forsythe

Long Live Gaming

Prep@Collegiate Summer Academy was the perfect opportunity for me to get a better grasp of gamifying lessons and content in the math classrooms by using two distinct strategies and methods and marrying them as one: Class Craft and Judo Math. Because Middle school lends itself to this model, we have successfully done this in two ways: character training and personalized learning goals. In the beginning, students were given avatars through Class Craft and online gamification program that allows teachers to award experience points and powers for great behavior and action while taking away health points and assigning consequences for inappropriate behaviors. Their life has become the video game and everything they do impacts their virtual character as well as their real-life character. FortNite the game has made this the perfect time to implement because kids live, sleep, and breathe virtual reality.  It is such an awesome opportunity to use that world to help keep track of the real long-lasting behaviors that determine future success. 


In addition, the Judo Math system has been incorporated in the Class Craft world through the Quest option. Judo Math separates the curriculum into a set of achievable learning targets and objectives grouped by color or belts. Each belt may have 2-6 objectives so that when the student masters them all, they move on to the successive belt until they reach black belt or green belt. Each belt group comes with a bracelet; the goal is to get all 5 by the end of the unit. I have found that it is better for students to see their progression sooner than later, therefore stretching all 5 belts over the school year is not advisable. It is best to reset belts at the end of a quarter or semester. Within Classcraft, the teacher has the option to set a Quest in a make-believe world where the first task is a video with an embedded quiz or assessment – Edpuzzle or LearnZillion is best for this. If students show that they understand they can go to the next town or mission; if not, they can go in a different direction to help reinforcement the correct learning and then catch up with those who got it the first time in the next mission. The same goes for practice or independent work when assigned.  Teachers can grade work or assign it so it is graded digitally. Then send students with mastery in one direction to complete a project or final culminating event while students without mastery travel in another direction to practice more. Finally, they then connect with the final event (assessment). The good thing is students only see their path and what they have unlocked, they do not know about the other worlds until they unlock it with mastery, so everyone’s path is different. 


I like to use the 5E approach to learning which exposes students to the new material by making connections to what they already know. Then students learn by engaging in an interactive task or video. Afterwards they explain their understanding by submitting notes or reflection. Next, they practice until they are ready to assess. Each Learning target is given to students in advance and they take the time they need to master and move on.  Each quest is different and unique to the student himself. For every progression they gain points and powers they can use in the classroom.

Who said learning couldn’t be fun!?

--Akeish Forsythe


Ms. Forsythe flying high with the boys at Outward Bound! 

Guest Post: Summer Fellow Luke Mallette

Good morning to all the families at Prep@Collegiate! My name is Luke Mallette, and for those of you who do not know or haven’t met me yet, I am one of the summer fellows this year at Prep@Collegiate. I am the leader of the Amherst Crew, and an assistant to Mr. Amin in the mathematics classroom. Some of your boys may already know me from the end of the year where I assisted with the 7th grade Northbay trip, and I have spent the previous month working alongside the operations team at Baltimore Collegiate School for Boys.

I was born and grew up in Chicago, Illinois, and attended Whitney M Young Magnet High School where I received an offer to play college lacrosse at the next level. I am now a rising junior at Amherst College, where I am majoring in Economics, and a two-year contributing member of the lacrosse team as a Long Stick Midfielder. This upcoming year, I will also be trying out for and playing football at Amherst at the Wide Receiver position, as I am now confident enough in my time management to attempt being a two-sport athlete at a highly competitive university. In my free time (wherever I can find some), I enjoy working out, drawing, chess, and photography.

I learned about the Prep@Collegiate program through Mr. Jack Pannell, the founder of Baltimore Collegiate School for Boys, and have had a great experience working with both the boys and the team so far. I’m excited to keep it up and see them again next week. Go Amherst Crew! 


--Luke Mallette


Mr. Luke teaching high finance, lemonade-stand style...


 ...and leading his Crew through a discussion about one of BCSB’s Five Core Virtues.

Wrapping Up Week One...

It’s hard to believe we’re just about 1/4 of the way through our summer together!

The week began with a trip to Outward Bound; then, we brought those insights—experiential lessons about perseverance & challenging ourselves—home to campus...

Tuesday, July 10


We began our first full day in our new home by working together to decide what kind of community and culture we want to share. Boys worked in Crews to take Baltimore Collegiate School for Boys’ Five Core Virtues—Integrity, Wisdom, Courage, Compassion, and Resilience—and turn them into a set of clear, specific examples.


Next, the boys prepared to translate these ideas into different media: one group prepared a skit; another worked out a dance number; a third rapped; the fourth put their thoughts in pictures; and the last—‘TwitterFingers’—drafted a series of tweets and replies, playing out a mock online debate. After presenting these to each other, the boys reassembled into their crews to bring it all together into the elements of rubric: an enumerated set of shared norms and expectations for behavior.

If some of this sounds familiar, it’s because we did something similar last year... with some key differences: this year, the gents are conducting daily assessments—of each other. Each boy was partnered with a classmate; every day, he’ll fill out this sheet:

At the end of the week, the partners will share their evaluations with each other; they’ll ask each other questions to better understand their peers’ assessments of them, and then they’ll gather with their Crew to reflect on the experience. Drawing on these insights, they’ll set goals for themselves—making commitments to challenge themselves to grow in the week ahead.

The boys started getting to know their teachers on the Outward Bound course on Monday; Tuesday brought their first (brief) encounter in the classroom, as the gents received their class assignments & began mapping the academic course ahead...

...and after lunch in the campus Dining Hall—where we taught the University the danger of an ‘All-You-Can-Eat’ policy—the Crews dove into the first of many rounds of fierce competition: a scavenger hunt, followed by Capture the Flag!

Wednesday, July 11

Our first full day of classes!

In afternoon co-curriculars, the folks from OpenWorks introduced some of the boys to the rudiments of computer-aided design and 3D printing—by the end of the summer, they’ll have designed and printed their own set of chess pieces—and Young Audiences’ Ras Tre offered the first in a series of lessons in photography and video production:

Thursday, July 12

Day two of classes, and the gents were finding their bearings; the afternoon brought another round of Crew-on-Crew competition—in the gym, and on the field:

The end of our first week brings our first round of one-on-one meetings between boys and their teachers, in which the gents will work to set their own Learning Targets for the weeks ahead...

...more on all of this—and much more—next week!

Prep@Collegiate 2018 :: The Ship is Underway!

We're back--and we've grown!

All of the anticipation and planning have led to this: our second year of top-notch, intensive summer enrichment programming for highly-motivated middle school boys. We have a stellar faculty & staff; rich co-curriculars & exciting field trips; and Baltimore's best & brightest students (50% more students than in our inaugural year, in fact!).

Sunday, July 7

...brought our 2018 Opening Ceremonies--families met the team; our parent coordinators led an ice-breaker:


..before we moved on to a delicious Notre Dame University dinner, followed by a tour of the classrooms. Boys went with their Crew Leaders, while parents had the chance to speak with faculty about the summer ahead. At the end of the evening, the boys rejoined their families as newly-minted Prep@Collegiate 2018 Scholars!


Monday, July 8

...found us at the Baltimore Chesapeake Bay Outward Bound School, for a(nother) extraordinary day of experiential learning and team-building. Every single boy challenged himself--and exceeded his own expectations. In the process, we laid the foundation for the educational philosophy that guides our approach to work in--and outside--the classroom.

Of course, we also had a blast. The pictures speak for themselves:

Next Up:

Working together to shape the kind of community we want to share--and beginning our work in the classroom...

...oh, and: a scavenger hunt.

Stay tuned!