City Neighbors Charter School logo

5609 Sefton Ave, Baltimore, MD 21214
County: Baltimore City
Grades: K - 8
Phone: 443-642-2052
Principal: Shyla Rao
School # 0346

What makes us unique:

Our foundational belief, as a school, is that our students are known, loved, and inspired. To be successful in this belief we are committed to a small school model with one class per grade, allowing us to know our students and their families deeply. We have a fully inclusive learning environment engaging all learners within each class. We have a dedicated team of skills coaches to address the needs of our IEP students, enrichment opportunities for gifted students, and incorporate the arts and project-based learning within our curriculum to offer new points of access for the range of learning styles our students possess.

Unique programs include:
  • Presentations of Learning (POLs) -- these are portfolio presentations that students do at the end of each year where students reflect upon their work in each class, identify highlights and successes from their work and work that challenged them or needs more attention.
  • DewMore Poetry -- DewMore Poetry is a community-based organization dedicated to using art and community organizing as tools to increase community engagement in the greater Baltimore Community. They work within our school with one of their resident poets to host an afterschool program where students from grades 4th-8th are able to explore the art of poetry.
  • Documentation Boards -- teachers K-8 create documentation boards to depict the progress of their project study with students. These documentation boards have the rationale for the project, images of the students working, samples of work, and any other important information needed to showcase the learning.
  • 8th grade Service Learning Trip -- throughout the school year 8th grade students work towards their end of the year service learning trip. The goal of this trip is to provide students an opportunity to give back to a community, learn new skills, and apply the knowledge they gained about the particular area they are going to serve. This trip assists our 8th grade students in earning their service hours as well.
  • Arts Everyday -- As an Arts Every Day Level 2 school, we have two dedicated arts integration coordinators to ensure that the arts are integrated throughout the curriculum.


  • City Neighbors Progressive Education Summit

Mission and Vision:

The mission of City Neighbors Hamilton is to provide an extraordinary public school education with high academic achievement for all students. Our ultimate goal for our school is that through project-based learning, arts integration, parental involvement and community outreach, the students leave enlivened, with deep awareness of themselves, their families and the outside community, and with the capacity to be good citizens.


  • Advisory, In middle school, students are carefully grouped into Advisory groups of 9 or 10 students. Each advisory meets daily with the same teacher for all three years in order to build strong relationships with one another.
  • After School Programs. In non-COVID times, we have had robust after school programming with sports (such as boys and girls soccer, girls volleyball, and boys lacrosse), as well as arts-based programs, environmental programs, National Academic League, baking clubs, and DewMore Baltimore, poetry club).
  • Arts Integration, Our school provides a rich and sequential arts curriculum with full-time Visual Arts and Performing Arts teachers as well as arts-integrated curricula in all non-arts subjects. Our arts teachers spend half of their schedule teaching within their arts disciplines and the other half of each day collaborating with non-arts teachers and pushing into classes for arts integrated co-instruction.
  • Experiential Learning/Project Based, City Neighbors Hamilton is a Reggio Emilia-inspired school which means that learning is authentic, deeply engaged, and fun within long-term investigations of learning that we call Project Studies. Our project studies are rooted in current events, student interests, and personal meaning-making. As well, students demonstrate their learning in front of an authentic audience.
    Based (Field work components, overnight field experiences, PBL)
  • Individualized Learning, As a small school, with one class per grade, we individualize learning on many levels. During regular instruction in the classrooms, we utilize the Workshop Model – the teacher leads a mini-lesson to spark inquiry and build skillsets, and the majority of the class time is spent with the student actively learning. Typically, students rotate in small groups through various centers, after the mini-lesson, with content that is designed specifically for them. As well, we provide small group intensives in Reading, Writing, and Math where students are provided content at their instruction level (remedial, foundational, or extension work) to develop their learning where they need it. We have two intervention teachers and various tutoring opportunities to continue supporting student learning needs.
  • Portfolio Evaluations, Students in our upper grades create portfolios that reflect upon their learning and share their reflections in front of a small audience of teachers, family, and community members. We call this process “Presentation of Learning”.
  • PTO/PTA, Instead of a PTO or PTA, we have a parent-led Board of Directors. The Board consists of 9 elected parents/guardians, school leaders, Director of the Foundation (Operator), and student representatives. The board leads initiatives for the school, organizes fundraising efforts, oversees our budget, evaluates the principal, and votes on critical decisions for the school.
  • Restorative Practices, Our staff is trained in The International Institute of Restorative Practices (IIRP) and utilizes these methods in lieu of punitive measures. Our staff provides restorative practices in both preventative and responsive ways. We have a leadership position at the school that manages restorative practices with staff and students.
  • STEM, We are in-process of building a robust STEM program at the school by investing heavily in the Science program, providing Technology classes, and ensuring that our Math program provides rich and meaningful Math instruction with project studies that are deeply rooted in real-world applications. Next year, we plan to have a robotics program as well.
  • Summer Programs, We provide a City Neighbors summer camp for rising 1st through 4th graders, focused on Reading intervention within project studies, every summer. This program is combined with City Neighbors Hamilton.

​Lottery preferences:

  • Siblings of current students
  • Teachers and staff