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Truancy Court Program Newsletter

University of Baltimore School of Law Center for Families, Children & the Courts
 Winter 2011
In This Issue
Adult Education: Workshops for Parents
TCP Graduations!
Family Members Speak
Adult Education: TCP Student Fellows' Workshops for Parents

Judd and workshop, Tench Tilghman 

                                      S. Rubinstein
Student Fellow Judd Crane with Tench Tilghman parents and family members


One of the hallmarks of the TCP is its attempt to enlist parents and families in problem-solving about truancy. One of our newer efforts is reaching out to families to provide them with important and necessary information. 

In the fall, CFCC Student Fellows developed and presented workshops to parents of students involved in the TCP. Topics included: school and state attendance policies; bullying; student privacy and records; and what immigrant families need to know. Five schools, four in Baltimore City and one in Montgomery County, were the happy hosts for the presentations.

Toss Your Caps, and Be Rewarded! TCP Graduations 



  Presents and certificates at Barclay
S. Rubinstein      

Presents and certificates at Barclay




 Fall graduation
A. Bento     
Master Silvestri and Hazelwood participants  


 Master Peacock with a young TCP student at Hampden E/M
                                           A. Bento

Master Peacock with a young TCP student at Hampden E/M




 Judge Cox and graduate
                                    S. Rubinstein   

Judge Cox and a Golden Ring graduate 


  Tench Tilghman graduation
                                       S. Rubinstein 


TCP Judge Mark Friedenthal and Tench Tilghman graduates





  TCP studnets give presents to fellow & judge

                                         A. Bento


Violetville students present gifts to Student Fellow Cassie Seward and Judge David Young     

    Barclay Grad 069 

                                      S. Rubinstein


Judge O'Malley at Barclay 





   Grad Pic 142
                                          A. Bento



 Master Mitchell with Patterson High TCP students





  Fall Grad 2010 123
                                         E. Gerald


Tench Tilghman TCP students with their prizes and certificates   






                                                   A. Bento


Master Peacock and Hampden E/M's TCP Graduates   





Kids & Cameras
Our TCP students are budding photographers!


Photo by Dakwon Powell





Photo by Jamie Smith





Photo by Jasmine Adams





Photo by Dontay Dyson

Photo by Reginald Allen Jr.

Photo by Darrell Williams







In the middle of an academic year, we at the University of Baltimore School of Law's Center for Families, Children and the Courts take stock. We are pleased to report that our Truancy Court Program (TCP) is growing and thriving, with an expanded menu of programs, and a new crop of graduates at our fourteen schools in four counties. By the Fall of 2011, we hope to add to our TCP roster two more schools in a fifth county.
Please read along for news about our forays into arts education, our volunteers' contributions, graduation ceremonies, data that speaks volumes, and family members' reactions to the TCP. We welcome your attention and support!
The arts are a terrific vehicle for enriching students' lives. Art instruction fosters children's self-esteem and promotes their attachment to school.
In the Fall 2010 TCP session, a CFCC Student Fellow taught our successful Kids and Cameras program at Baltimore City's Tench Tilghman Elementary-Middle School. The Tench Tilghman staff, students, and their families responded with great enthusiasm, and at the culmination of the session over fifty people attended a December exhibit of the young people's work.
                                     S. Rubinstein
These pictures, worth a thousand words, tell more of the story. We have branched out and are piloting a "Kids and Theater" program in the Hampden Elementary-Middle School during the Spring 2011 session, in addition to continuing the Kids and Cameras program. Another CFCC Student Fellow is involved in developing and implementing this program. In addition, two professional actors and teaching artists are formulating the curriculum and leading the sessions. Here's to a crop of budding young thespians who will have the chance to express themselves and communicate in a very sophisticated and  gratifying way.
Joan Weber and Hamden students 
S. Rubinstein
     Joan Weber and Hampden Kids and
                 Theater students

Measuring Success: TCP By the  Numbers


a.       14................ Number of TCP schools in Fall 2010

b.      44............... Total number of 10-week TCP Sessions that the Fall 2010 TCP judges have presided over

c.       75................ Estimated number of attendees at Tench Tilghman E/M's TCP Family Fun Night

d.      103.............. Number of TCP graduates in the Fall (who improved attendance by approximately 75%, and showed improved behavior and academics)

e.      100%.......... Percentage of graduates from the Meade Middle TCP

f.        65%............ Average decrease in unexcused absences by Baltimore City TCP students in Fall 2010

g.       95..............   Total estimated number of hours donated by TCP volunteers in the Fall

h.      78................ Total number of TCP team members who were instrumental in implementation of TCP statewide

i.         54%............... Average number

of TCP Sessions attended by parents or caregivers at Violetville E/M in Baltimore (we ask for 30% parent attendance)

j.        2,332............ Estimated total number of absences and tardies logged by TCP students in just one marking period prior to enrollment in TCP.


Leslie Metzger with Barclay student

S. Rubinstein     

Leslie Metzger with Barclay Student             

Leslie Metzger, Director of Student Support at the UB School of Law, has volunteered for the TCP for three years now -- the longest that any volunteer has participated in the program (with the exception of the TCP judges). There are no signs that she will stop anytime soon.

Ms. Metzger's inspiration to volunteer for the TCP is because she "thought there must be more to life than just my job" and feels that all people have an obligation to give back to their community.  The TCP is a "really worthwhile program because it gives the opportunity to intervene before children become a part of the Juvenile Court System, she says. "  She has chosen to tutor students in reading because "if you can't engage them early, you lose them and they fall through the cracks and into the system" - exactly the situation that the TCP aims to prevent.
What is the secret to her success in reaching the kids she tutors?  First, she explains, volunteers "need to listen to what children are saying and find out what is happening in their lives."  This allows the TCP team to support the child when a volunteer identifies issues that affect learning, like mental and physical exhaustion.   Her many years of experience working with law students at the Dean's Office have prepared her well, as she has learned to "be natural" in her interactions with others. The TCP children respond to selfless and down-to-earth demeanor.  Further, she is prepared - she always makes sure to have a "supply of books and tools ready when the students come, so they can be engaged right away."  She allows the students to choose from a number of age appropriate materials (which come from the TCP or from her own collection) to encourage them to interact with her.  Ms. Metzger also notes that "a little encouragement goes a long way - a few words...can light up a child's face."  Finally, she stresses the importance of consistency - in three years, she has missed only a handful of TCP sessions because of unavoidable emergencies.  This may be why she always has such a loyal following of students who look forward to Thursday mornings with "the library lady".

For Lorraine Anderson, a minister and UB graduate student who has volunteered alongside Ms. Metzger, "it was delightful to work with the kids - I really enjoyed it and I pray that more parents open up and realize what's available to them in this program."  Volunteers have many options for contributing to the TCP in addition to tutoring in academic subjects like algebra, reading, and history. Some read to or color with the youngest children, while other volunteers help ensure that our Family Fun Nights and other events are a success.  

Lorraine Anderson

S. Rubinstein

Volunteer Lorraine Anderson

The TCP is always looking for new volunteers to join as we work to improve the lives of our students, strengthen their bonds to school, and work to catch them up in their classes.  Our goal is for these children to re-connect with school and realize their potential.   If you are interested in becoming a TCP volunteer, please contact Andrea Bento, TCP Manager, at 410-837-5614 or


C. Family Members Speak: Appreciating the Program


          Violetville grandmother 

                                                                  C. Seward

Nancy Jones with her grandson at Violetville TCP graduation; TCP Judge David Young, TCP Manager Andrea Bento, and TCP Mentor Coordinator Anthony Green


At Violetville Elementary-Middle School, in a trailer that serves as a temporary meeting room while a beautiful new school is erected, the excitement is not about bricks and mortar alone. Parents and grandparents alike are singing the praises of the TCP. One of them is Nancy Jones, whose grandsons were enrolled in the Fall 2010 TCP session.

"I saw a big improvement in my two grandsons," she said. "They wouldn't be where they are without the program."  One happy consequence: a flurry of "A" grades. Homework was done, too. For one of the youngsters, "Before the program, he said he didn't care about school," his grandmother relates, but now he says "This has really made me want to do better." In her view, the boys have had a true attitude change.

Ms. Jones  is grateful that getting the boys up and ready for school has become easier. While they were often late before beginning the TCP, "During the program they were up and ready to go."

Much of the credit goes to Baltimore City Court Circuit Judge David Young, who has served as a volunteer TCP judge since the program began in 2005, and the Mentor Coordinator Anthony "Bubba" Green, according to Ms. Jones.  Mr. Green is wonderful with the kids, so kind and nice, and so was the judge. It helped many of the children." In fact, graduation was bittersweet for one of her grandsons. Ms. Jones says he is upset he has completed the program, "that's how much he liked it."



Barbara Babb, Associate Professor of Law and Director, Center for Families, Children and the Courts

TCP Staff: Gloria Danziger, Senior Fellow; Sharon Rubinstein, Senior Fellow; Andrea Bento, TCP Manager and School Liaison; Anthony "Bubba" Green, TCP Mentor Coordinator; Jessica Stowell, TCP Coordinator; Edana Gerald, TCP Coordinator; Renee McElroy, TCP Mentor; Jana White, TCP Mentor; Sharon Curley, Program Administrative Specialist; Elizabeth Mullen, Administrative Assistant

Editing Staff: Barbara Babb, Editor; Sharon Rubinstein, Editor/Writer; Andrea Bento, Writer; Elizabeth Mullen and Gloria Parker, Assistant Editors


University of Baltimore School of Law Center for Families, Children & the Courts
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