USM B-Power Initiative: Paving the Way for a Stronger Baltimore

The University System of Maryland (USM) B-Power initiative — short for Baltimore Power — was launched in 2016 by USM Chancellor Robert L. Caret. Since that time, the B-Power initiative has worked diligently with Baltimore City-serving organizations to increase educational opportunities and educational success for city students.

B-Power was developed as a partnership between Coppin State University (CSU) and the University of Baltimore (UBalt). These campuses are located, respectively, in west Baltimore and the historic Mt. Vernon neighborhood. With UBalt assuming a leadership role, B-Power uses a variety of strategies to help increase student success in Baltimore. Forging alliances with other educational and service organizations- Baltimore City Public Schools, Baltimore City Community College, and others—B-Power has grown into a formidable force.

Expanding College Readiness Programs

In the early days of the initiative, working with four Baltimore City public schools, UBalt launched the B-Power College Readiness Academy. Taught by UBalt instructors, students in the academy are exposed to college-level writing and algebra to better prepare them for post-secondary education. Since Fall 2016, over 300 middle school students from seven middle schools have participated in UBalt’s College Readiness Academy and 27 Baltimore high schools have partnered with UBalt in B-Power

Expanding Dual Enrollment

Since Fall 2016 and the launch of B-Power, 2,221 students have been given the opportunity to take a dual enrollment course at UBalt: 1,555 students (70%) earned college credit from UBalt and 1,444 students (65%) attended college (4-year or 2-year) their first semester after high school graduation. The number of dual enrollment students at UBalt has grown each academic year by an average of more than 20%.

Adding Partners

B-Power’s expanding list of educational partners have included CollegeBound, Code in the Schools, KIPP Forward, the Urban Alliance, the Urban League, Higher Achievement, Sister’s Circle, Junior Achievement, Bridges, Lyric Opera House, Baltimore’s Promise, Grads2Careers, YouthWorks, and more

Attracting Funding

In addition to the funding provided by USM, B-Power funding partners have included the Patricia and Mark Joseph Shelter Foundation, Whiting Turner, the Abell Foundation, Legg Mason, Sun Trust, the Fund for Educational Excellence, Robert and Jane Meyerhoff, Baltimore City Public Schools, and others.

B-Power Today

For the 2021-2022 academic year, 442 high school students are enrolled in 3-credit dual enrollment courses in 34 cohorts and 20 middle school students are enrolled in UBalt’s College Readiness Academy. Additionally, UBalt is leading a Consortium for Dual Enrollment with Coppin State University, Morgan State University, Baltimore City Community College, and BARD High School Early College. And UBalt’s Summer Academy 2022— in-person on the UBalt campus for the first time since 2019—will welcome over 100 students from partners Code in the Schools and KIPP Forward in dual enrollment and college readiness courses.

The Future of B-Power

With the landmark Blueprint for Maryland’s Future passed during the 2021 Maryland General Assembly session, Maryland has committed to transform public education. Significant additional funding will improve early childhood education and enhance teacher quality while improved governance and accountability will accelerate student outcomes in both college and career readiness. Over the next 10 years, the Blueprint is expected to significantly increase dual enrollment efforts across Maryland. UBalt’s ground-breaking work on dual enrollment through B-Power can serve as a template for the entire state.

For More Infomation
John Brenner
Program Manager, Early College Initiatives
University of Baltimore