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Miles out as East Baltimore Community School’s head

Cathleene J. Miles, principal of the East Baltimore Community School, has been removed and a new head of school is being sought by East Baltimore Development Inc. and Johns Hopkins University.

Miles, a former middle school administrator and music teacher at the elite Gilman School in Baltimore, was hired in 2009 to bring a new learning style and quality of education to the public “contract” school formerly known as Elmer A. Henderson Elementary School.

The school is located in three trailers on the Henderson campus in the 1100 block of North Wolfe Street. EBDI and Hopkins officials plan to build a $40 million school on 7 acres near Johns Hopkins Hospital, to be constructed with a majority of private money.

Miles left the position this summer, she said. She declined to comment on why she left.

In a July 29 email, she said she is moving on.

“I am currently being interviewed by other Baltimore City schools for principal positions,” Miles wrote. “I wish them [EBCS] all the best as they move into chapter 2 of their development.”

Officials at the Baltimore City Public Schools system would not comment on the move because the school is run in partnership with EBDI, said spokeswoman Edie House-Foster. She referred questions about Miles to EBDI.

Christopher Shea, CEO of EBDI, declined to comment. Hopkins officials did not return a phone call seeking comment.

This year, EBCS fifth- and sixth-graders did not meet Adequate Yearly Progress standards in reading proficiency, Maryland State Department of Education standardized test scores show. The students did meet AYP standards in math.

Click to see all EBDI related storiesEast Baltimore Community School opened on Aug. 31, 2009, for just over 100 students, many from the more than 1,300 households relocated from the Middle East neighborhood, part of the nation’s largest urban redevelopment project.

Enrollment last fall increased to include 27 relatives of employees at the Hopkins hospital campus, Miles said in an interview last year.

Just over 89 percent of the 206 students enrolled last fall qualified for free or reduced meals, the measurement of poverty used by the federal government for reimbursement. In addition, 74 percent of those students enrolled last fall qualified for federal subsidies for additional services such as free tutoring.

This year, Hopkins administrators led by President Ronald J. Daniels moved to increase control of the school. Officials of the university’s School of Education met with Miles and some of her staff to revamp curriculum and increase learning.

In 2007, EBDI hired a private contractor, Foundations Inc., of Moorestown, N.J., and paid it $554,000 to help establish a new curriculum at EBCS. Foundations identified Miles from a list of several candidates and recommended her hiring as the school’s principal, Foundations officials said in an interview last fall.

City Schools CEO Andres Alonso said in an interview with The Daily Record last fall that the school was given “tremendous autonomy” in choosing its curriculum, which was a hands-on, project-based program called Expeditionary Learning, used in many alternative schools in Baltimore.

Middle school students at EBCS have social programs including after-school activities and mental health and health services as part of a $12 million foundation grant given to EBDI called Elev8.

EBCS’ status as a city contract school makes it different from a traditional charter school, Alonso said, because it draws students from restricted boundaries.