New School, New Start: Ravens Pitch In To Renovate Renaissance Academy

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — After a student was stabbed at Renaissance Academy in 2015, the district to consider closing the troubled school, but now students have a fresh start after the Ravens stepped in to help.

17-year-old Ananias Jolley was killed after being stabbed during his science class. Police arrested classmate Donte Crawford with his murder. Investigators say Crawford had previous fights with Jolley.

But on Monday, the Mayor instead celebrated the renovation of the Renaissance Academy.

The hallways are now clean, well lit, and the students are adhering to a dress code. There are now scores of newly renovated classrooms.

Tight end Ben Watson and future Hall-of-Famer Ed Reed have come to award students for their accomplishments.

Baltimore Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti heard about the school’s troubles and donated $1.5 million to the school, and oversaw construction.

“The school needed to be renovated, and they didn’t have any money in the budget to renovate the school, so when we heard that we called the CEO of the school system, Dr. Santelises and asked if we could be of any help,” says Ravens President Dick Cass.

Indeed they could — and their involvement brings great joy to Ed Reed, who’s been volunteering with the school his entire pro career.

“I’m just so thrilled that this has happened. That it happened. That I’ve seen it happen. I’ve seen 10 principals in 15 years,” says Ed Reed.

“Environment matters,” says Renaissance Academy School Principal Nikkia Rowe. She feels this is a turning point.

“If we are setting a standard here, we need to ensure we have the tools and the kind of learning space that’s conducive to supporting kids to meet that standard,” she says.

It is a standard, that the kids can recite when asked:

“If you do not put your mind to it, it will not come to you,” says student Jazmine Hull.

“Ms. Rowe lets us know every day. This is the only school where I’ve gone to where the principal gives you great advice and then right after tells you she loves you,” says Hull.

In addition to the renovations to the classrooms, a food pantry was established for students whose families need help.

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