Park School of Baltimore
The Park School of Baltimore
, known as Park, is an independent, coeducational, non-sectarian, progressive day school for children in Pre-Kindergarten (age 4) through grade twelve. Located on a 100-acre campus in Brooklandville, Maryland
, near the city of Baltimore
, Park's current enrollment is approximately 823 students.
The school was founded in 1912 by a group of parents, primarily social and educational progressives in Baltimore's German Jewish
community. It was determined that there was a need to provide a private school option, one that was nonsectarian, to accommodate Jewish students, who were either subject to a quota system or unwelcome at other private schools. They sought the counsel of noted educator Dr. Hans Froelicher, a professor of German languages at Goucher College
, who advised them, "The school you want to found, to be a success, must be a better school, better than any now in existence. It must offer a superior type of education, so superior that... [no one] can ignore it." A strong proponent of progressive education, Dr. Froelicher enlisted Eugene Randolph Smith, a well-known progressive educator and associate of philosopher John Dewey
, to become the first headmaster.
The Park School opened on September 30, 1912 on Auchentoroly Terrace across from Druid Hill Park
. In 1917, the school moved to Liberty Heights Avenue, now the site of the Community College of Baltimore City. In June 1954, Park became the first independent school in the area to accept African American students.
The school moved to on Old Court Road in 1959, and has undergone multiple renovations since then. More recent renovations include a new wing for science, mathematics, and technology in 1997; an Athletic Center in 2001; and a new visual and dramatic arts wing in 2003.
The average class size is 15 students. Park's faculty members have an average of 20 years of teaching experience, the highest of any independent Baltimore school, with an average of 11 years. Over 73 percent hold advanced degrees.
Ninety-two percent of Advanced Placement test-takers from the Class of 2018 scored a three or better. Over the course of the last 10 years, Park has had more National Merit Scholarship
Semifinalists than any other co-ed independent school in Maryland.
In 2012, Park was selected to receive a $2 million endowment grant from the Malone Family Foundation.
In the Lower School, all students who wish to come out for a team are included and receive playing time. Beginning in the eighth grade, and increasing each year through junior varsity and varsity levels, coaches encourage all players, but skilled and dedicated athletes receive the majority of the playing time. Boys and girls play in the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association
(MIAA) and the Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland
Park's Athletic Center is 42,000 square feet with three competition-length basketball courts, a 2,300 square-foot fitness center, an athletic trainer's room with whirlpool and treatment tables, and an 8-lane swimming pool. The school has five playing fields on the main campus for field hockey, soccer, and lacrosse, including an astroturf
field with a conditioning track. Four additional athletic fields for baseball, softball, lacrosse, and soccer are located on Sugar Campus in Greenspring Valley.
Notable faculty and staff
Laura Amy Schlitz, librarian and storyteller; won the 2008 Newbery Medal for her children's book Good Masters! Sweet Ladies! Voices from a Medieval Village and the 2013 Newbery Honor for her children's novel Splendors and Glooms. Schlitz wrote the monologues in Good Masters! Sweet Ladies! for the 5th Grade curriculum. Her most recent book, Princess Cora and the Crocodile, published in 2017.
Robert Austrian ('34) – developer of the pneumonia vaccine
Guy Blakeslee ('99) a.k.a. Entrance – musician currently signed to Tee Pee Records
Martha Clarke ('62) – theater director and choreographer, MacArthur Award recipient
Josh Dibb ('96) a.k.a. Deakin – member of the experimental music group Animal Collective
John Feinblatt ('69) – President of Everytown for Gun Safety, the largest gun violence prevention organization in the United States
Jane Frank ('37) (Jane Schenthal Frank) – painter, sculptor, mixed media artist, and textile artist (as a child, her name was Jane Babette Schenthal)
Alan Frank Guttmacher ('15) – obstetrician/gynecologist, served as President of Planned Parenthood
Adam Gidwitz ('00) – New York Times bestselling children's book author of A Tale Dark & Grimm (Dutton Penguin, 2010) and Newbery Honoree for The Inquisitor’s Tale (Dutton Penguin, 2016)
Lydia Kay Griggsby ('86) – Judge of the United States Court of Federal Claims and formerly Chief Counsel for Private and Information Policy for the Senate Judiciary Committee
Walt Handelsman ('75) – Pulitzer Prize-winning political cartoonist (1997 and 2007)
Ben Jacobs ('02) – journalist, political reporter for The Guardian
Amy Berman Jackson ('72) – United States District Judge of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia
Penny Johnson Jerald ('78) – actress, appeared in Fox television show 24 as the president's wife, Sherry Palmer
Annie Karni ('00) – journalist, White House Correspondent for the New York Times
Chris Keating ('00) – member of the experimental music group Yeasayer
Steve Krulevitz ('69) – professional tennis player, was ranked #42 in the world and a member of the Israeli Davis Cup team
Jeffrey Alfred Legum ('59) – President and CEO of The Park Circle Motor Company
Margo Lion ('62) – Tony Award- and Pulitzer Prize-winning producer
Amanda Lipitz ('98) – Tony Award-winning Broadway producer; director and producer of award-winning documentary STEP
Michelle Madow ('05) – USA Today best-selling author of The Secret Diamond Sisters, the Elementals series, Collide, The Vampire Wish series, and the Dark World series
Matthew Porterfield ('95) – independent filmmaker; Hamilton (2006), Putty Hill (2011), and I Used to Be Darker (2013)
David Portner ('97) a.k.a. Avey Tare – member of the experimental music group Animal Collective
Tom Rothman ('72) – Chairman of Sony Pictures Entertainment's Motion Picture Group
Jess Row ('93) – short story writer and novelist, author of Your Face in Mine (Riverhead, 2014)
Josh Tyrangiel ('90) – Executive Vice President, Vice Media/HBO
Matthew Weiner – creator of the AMC television drama Mad Men
Brian Weitz ('97) a.k.a. Geologist – member of the experimental music group Animal Collective
Julius Westheimer ('29) – financial advisor, television, and radio personality
Anand Wilder ('00) – member of the experimental music group Yeasayer
Edward Witten ('68) – mathematical physicist and one of the leading researchers in string theory
Civil Rights Litigation
In 2018 the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission filed a lawsuit alleging that Park discriminated on the basis of gender in employment decisions it made about sports coaches.