Media Advisory                                                            
Kaylen Tucker, NAESP


Principals to Build Inclusive Playground at Baltimore School

One hundred principals partner with NAESP and Landscape Structures to build an inclusive playground for students of all abilities
at John Ruhrah Elementary/Middle School

Alexandria, VA—July 2, 2013—Elementary and middle school principals from around the nation will put in sweat equity on Wed., July 10, to build an inclusive playground at a Baltimore elementary school during the National Association of Elementary School Principals’ (NAESP) fifth annual Community Service Day. Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake will be on hand to greet principals as they create a playground space that welcomes children of all abilities to play, learn, and grow together. The service day is part of NAESP’s annual conference, which is being held July 11-13 at the Baltimore Convention Center. The project is sponsored by NAESP and playground equipment supplier and corporate partner Landscape Structures.   

John Ruhrah Elementary/Middle School is a Title I school located in Baltimore's Greektown neighborhood. It serves 672 pre-K-8 students: 88 percent receive free or reduced-price lunch, 46 percent are English-language learners, and 53 percent are Hispanic. The school is a STEM school that provides an after school component. The school’s middle-level students are involved in a storytelling program with the Jewish Museum of Maryland, and Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center teaches a Healthy Heart class to third-grade students. The school also has programs for English-language learners and an after-school drama club. 

Mary C. Donnelly, principal of John Ruhrah for the past 12 years, believes the new playground will enable the school to dramatically increase the use of outside grounds for both instruction and recreation. “It will allow our families—particularly our new families—to network and feel comfortable and safe,” said Donnelly. “It will also significantly impact student achievement by helping children reduce anxiety and stress, adjust to a new environment, and focus on their studies.”

What: 100 K-8 principals from around the nation will volunteer at a Baltimore elementary school, installing an inclusive playground. Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake will attend, greeting principal volunteers.

Where: The service project will take place at John Ruhrah Elementary/Middle School, 701 Rappolla Street, Baltimore, MD 21224.

When: Wednesday, July 10, from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake will arrive at 9:30 a.m.

How: To cover this event and to interview principals, contact Kaylen Tucker ( or 703-518-6257).

NAESP’s Best Practices for Better Schools annual conference, which is being held July 11-13 at the Baltimore Convention Center, strives to provide principals with knowledge and experiences that will enrich them as education leaders and help them find new and innovative ways to lead students. In addition to the community service project, other convention highlights include the Teacher Leader Day, and dynamic addresses by U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, UMBC President Freeman Hrabowski, and teacher-wellness expert, Adam Sáenz.

More information about the keynote speakers and conference activities can be found at NAESP’s conference website.


Established in 1921, the National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP) serves elementary and middle school principals in the United States, Canada, and overseas. NAESP leads in the advocacy and support for elementary and middle-level principals and other education leaders in their commitment to all children.