Mission Statement: Living Classrooms Foundation strengthens communities and inspires young people to achieve their potential through hands-on education and job training, using urban, natural, and maritime resources as "living classrooms."
Founded in Baltimore in 1985, Living Classrooms Foundation has grown into an educational and economic force that combines one of the city's most cherished assets - its beautiful and historic harbor - with some of its most overlooked - the thousands of bright, ambitious children and young adults who are struggling to succeed against terrible odds. What began with one program in one city has grown into dozens of programs across a region that now encompasses Washington, DC, Virginia, and Maryland.
Living Classrooms has developed a distinctive competency in experiential learning -- literally learning by direct experience -- or what we call "learning by doing." These experiences take place at many "living classrooms" on our various campuses, including maritime museums and ships, and in neighborhood and community settings. We apply our "learning by doing" approach in three focus areas:
- K-8 Schools
- Educating students through our own charter middle school and K-8 school
- HANDS-ON EDUCATIONAL ENRICHMENT
- Educating students through after-school and supplemental education programs, through environmental, maritime heritage, and health and wellness experiences, with special emphasis on serving students who live in high-risk environments.
Educating the general public, and students in particular, about the significance of the region's maritime heritage and its role in shaping who we are as a community and nation
- JOB TRAINING
- Eliminating barriers to success for young adults and families through community development, workforce preparation, and life skills training
While each of our program areas is distinct, in combination they create a powerful synergy. Our maritime heritage sites create opportunities for employment training. Our education programs use our environmental and maritime resources as living learning laboratories. Our employability programs create stronger communities that are better prepared to exercise environmental stewardship.
The Living Classrooms Way
We dedicate ourselves to transforming the lives of those we serve.
We will become a national model for community engagement and student achievement because we will constantly produce quality programs and learning opportunities with consistent, reliable, and predictable results.
Our Core Values
- We believe that every individual who steps through our doors has the ability to learn and the potential to be great. It is our responsibility to nurture that ability and help them achieve that potential.
- We believe that communities must be heard, actively involved, and engaged from the very beginning. We will listen, we will keep families, stakeholders, and constituents involved in our planning and programming, and we will keep communities engaged.
- We believe that respectful service, a great attitude, and follow-through on commitments will be the foundation upon which we hold ourselves accountable to our supporters, our constituents, and the community.
- EY Entrepreneur of the Year Award.
- Lewis Hines National Award for Service to Children and Youth.
- Crossroads School one of 13 U.S. schools selected for Schools as Centers of Community Honor Society.
- U.S. Dept. of Labor Top Ten Model Program for Best Practices.
- Masonville Cove named country's first Urban Wildlife Refuge by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
- Commodore John Rodgers School named one of the U.S. top 5 turnaround schools in 2014, by U.S. Dept. of Education.
- Named "Best Nonprofit Organization" by City Paper 2011.
- SmartCXO Executive Team Award by SmartCEO Magazine.
- In 2011, the Maryland Port Administration received President Obama�s Coastal America Award for environmental restoration efforts and education programming provided by Living Classrooms and partners at Masonville Cove Environmental Education Center.
- 2009 William S. White Program of Distinction Award.
- JHU School of Public Health's 2009 Community Hero Award.
- Frederick Douglass-Isaac Myers Maritime Park ranked by SoulofAmerica.com as one of Top 21 Black Museums in the Nation.
- Model United States partner organization of the International Youth Foundation, as of 2008.
- 2006 Lewis Hines National Award for Service to Children and Youth.
- 2005 Citigroup Salute to Friends of Maryland Education Award.
- 2004 Mayor's Business Recognition Award from the City of Baltimore and Greater Baltimore Committee.
- Innovative Program Award from the Maryland Recreation and Parks Association.
- Special Appreciation Award from The Arc of Baltimore.
- Citation of Recognition from the Maryland House of Delegates.
- Maryland Green Center Award from the Maryland Association for Environmental and Outdoor Education.
- National Schools as Centers of Community Honor Society by the Knowledge Works Foundation.
- 2002 Achievement Award from the National Association of Counties.
- Economic Development Organization of the Year by the Baltimore City Chamber of Commerce.
- Program of the Year by the Baltimore County Office of Employment and Training.
- Top 10 organizations nationwide providing Promising and Effective Practices for Youth.
- Sea Education Program of the Year by the American Sail Training Association.