In February 2008, Baltimore City Public Schools (City Schools) was readying to roll out, in quick succession, a series of major initiatives that would lay the foundation for transforming the school system: Fair Student Funding, Transformation Schools and a new and improved Family and Community Engagement policy. To provide the larger City Schools community with some context for these initiatives—a heads-up and how they fit into the larger thinking about reforming City Schools—CEO Andrés A. Alonso sent a letter to all students and families. This set of initiatives and the guiding principles driving them needed a name, and “Great Kids Great Schools” was coined. It represents what City Schools has—great kids—and what it is striving towards—great schools.

The phrase puts kids and schools in their rightful place at the center of the City Schools universe. It injects the adjective “great” into the public education lexicon of Baltimore City—a first in a very long time. It speaks to the primary work and mission of the school system. It is an uplifting message in which all things City Schools-related are grounded.

The Great Kids Great Schools phrase topped the March 6 letter from Dr. Alonso in banner form, in teal and gold. The phrase took on a life of its own, and in very short order became the primary way people identified with City Schools. It has since become the City Schools logo.