Not so long ago, Edison High School was on the Philadelphia School District’s “persistently dangerous” list. Charlie Baltimore, a graduate of the M.S. in Educational Administration, became principal in 2012, the first year the school was taken off the list. He began making changes that would continue to significantly affect the culture and teaching environment, from personal attention given to each and every student, to organizational changes that clearly identified staff responsibilities.
"Communication, common sense and teamwork are key components," says Baltimore. "In the year before I started, Edison High had three different principals. We had to be clear about who was responsible for what and then we had to empower those people to make decisions and act on them."
In 2011, Edison High School had a total of 413 suspensions and 40 arrests. In the year that Baltimore became principal, these numbers dropped by 52 percent and 78 percent, respectively.
"I love being a principal," Baltimore admits. "I never thought I would wind up in a school--I didn't even like school when I was a kid! But watching how the lives of our children can be transformed by simply listening to them and then acting on what we hear has been more than rewarding."
Although Baltimore had acquired many of his management skills from past career choices, he found the degree from Drexel invaluable in confirming and placing in context his vision and plans for Edison. He describes his days as a continuous series of decision-making, with communication to students, parents, peers and superiors at the core. He feels that the degree has provided him with the confidence to lead, with his actions now supported by a solid foundation of theory.
"I had a good experience at Drexel," says Baltimore. "I got to work with some extremely intelligent and forward-thinking professors as well as with some awesome administrators. I was a single parent raising two teenagers at the time and could not have done it if the program had not been online."