Our school is open!

After so many years of planning, preparation, fundraising, renovation, and more–it was wonderful to open our doors to students in January of 2018. A mid-year start gave us the opportunity to launch with a smaller group of students, which means we have been able to focus on building our sense of community, establishing our school expectations and schedules, and living into our new space. Our director, Ms. Sara Evjen, and our lead teacher, Ms. Callie Schwartz, have done great work to get things rolling and to establish a caring and fun learning environment. And thanks to everyone who has helped with their contributions, volunteering, prayers, and other forms of support!

Families interested in immediate enrollment, or enrollment for our summer and fall semesters, should get in touch with Ms. Evjen soon at sara@thehighlandtownpreschool.org for more information and to schedule a visit.

Sara Evjen, Director

Sara EvjenWith more than ten years of experience working with children and families, Sara Evjen is dedicated to improving the educational outcomes for Southeast Baltimore families.

Sara served in the Peace Corps in the Dominican Republic and also worked in two Southeast Baltimore schools through the Community Schools initiative. Sara holds a Masters in Social Work from the University of Maryland and a bachelors in Family and Human Services and Business Administration from the University of Oregon. During her graduate studies, Sara focused on community action and social policy and was recognized as a Leonard & Helen R. Stulman Endowed Scholar.

Sara is an active member in the Highlandtown/Patterson Park community, loves the outdoors and enjoys traveling to Latin America.

Pastor Mark Parker

Pastor Mark

Pastor Mark Parker is a native of Baltimore City, having grown up in South Baltimore and now having served here in Southeast Baltimore since 2009. He serves as pastor of Breath of God Lutheran Church, a congregation of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. Breath of God has roots in Highlandtown going back to 1900, but is always looking to find new ways to serve our neighbors and share God’s love within our community.

Mark has been involved with young people and education in a variety of capacities since 2000. During college he volunteered in one mentoring program and started a brand-new program supporting immigrant children from El Salvador in Langley Park. Through college and graduate school he taught city kids how to sail, including serving as head instructor for the summer camp at the Downtown Sailing Center. Here in Southeast Baltimore, Mark co-founded an after school mentoring program, serves on the School-Family Council at both Highlandtown public schools, launched a successful summer day camp, and is involved with youth baseball, soccer, and basketball. He particularly appreciates our existing partnerships with our local schools, Soccer Without Borders, Soccer Shots, and the Refugee Youth Project.

Mark and his family live in Highlandtown, and his daughter will be a student at the Highlandtown Preschool when it opens! Mark is dedicated to this mission of nurturing children, preparing them for success in school, supporting working families, and providing equitable and just access to education for children of all backgrounds.

Welcome our new director!

Sara EvjenJoin us in welcoming Sara Evjen as Director at the Naomi Gieser Memorial Highlandtown Preschool at Breath of God Lutheran Church. With more than ten years of experience working with children and families, Sara is dedicated to improving the educational outcomes for Southeast Baltimore families.

Sara served in the Peace Corps in the Dominican Republic where she worked to increase educational opportunities for residents of all ages by creating a literacy and technology center. More recently, Sara served in two Southeast Baltimore schools through the Community Schools initiative, where she developed programming and built strategic partnerships in order to address the barriers that prevents students from being successful in school.

Sara holds a Masters in Social Work from the University of Maryland and a bachelors in Family and Human Services and Business Administration from the University of Oregon. During her graduate studies, Sara focused on community action and social policy and was recognized as a Leonard & Helen R. Stulman Endowed Scholar. Sara is an active member in the Highlandtown/Patterson Park community, loves the outdoors and is currently training for the Baltimore Half Marathon.

Timeline:
Sara is getting started at the beginning of October. We’ll hire our teachers and aides in November so that our staff can orient and prepare throughout December. We’ll hold a student and family orientation with the staff on Friday, December 29th.

Our opening date will be January 2nd. We’re waiting on a few final permits and approvals from the state and city, and then we’ll begin taking registrations for our opening classes of three year olds and four year olds.

We are working to get open houses and information sessions scheduled for the fall, and will share those dates as soon as we have them.

Preschool Director Application Process

We are currently accepting applications for the director of the Highlandtown Preschool. The application deadline is June 14, 2017. Cover letters and resumes should be e-mailed to the preschool at HighlandtownPreschool at gmail dot com, or mailed to the church office at 141 S. Clinton Street, Baltimore, MD 21224.

Interested people may access the director job description here.

Applicants should also review these two documents: a Needs Analysis & Project Summary, and this Parent Information Packet.

Updates: September 2017

constructions workers replacing sidewalkWe’re in the middle of renovations to our building and expect to open a new community preschool in January 2018.

When complete, the school will accommodate twenty 3-year olds and twenty 4-year olds. We plan to offer instruction Monday through Friday, with half-day or full-day options, including before and after care, with fall, spring, and summer semesters.

We aim to serve students from among the many growing families of diverse backgrounds here in our community. Given the diversity of economic situations in our neighborhood, that means that our fee structure is not yet finalized but will aim to make school participation accessible to people of varying means.

Given the diversity of language and culture in our neighborhood, that means that our classes will mostly be taught in English but by staff who are bi-lingual and can also offer support in Spanish.

Given the diversity of faith practices in our neighborhood, that means the school will be grounded in our Christian understanding that every child is beloved in the eyes of God and is endowed with inherent dignity and worth, while also allowing students to engage with the full variety of faiths in respectful and age-appropriate ways.