OrchKids at Highlandtown Elementary Middle School #215Neighborhood: East Baltimore, Highlandtown 
Children Enrolled: 215
Grades Served: Pre K – 8
Year Established: After-school, Fall 2013; During-school, Fall 2011
Site Manager: Mairin Srygley

Highlandtown Elementary/Middle School #215 is OrchKids East Baltimore Hub Site, just east of historic Patterson Park. It houses programming for all ages, from the exploring Kindergarterner to 1st year instrumentalists to Middle School mentors. Students at HEMS reflect a diverse neighborhood, including about 50% Spanish-speaking, 40% African American, as well as white and Asian students. OrchKids at Highlandtown #215 strives to support the social and musical development of students of all ages and backgrounds, whether they are just starting out or have grown up with the program. 

What Happens at Highlandtown #215

During School

Pre-Kindergarten through 2nd grade.
Established in the fall of 2011.

Since 2011, OrchKids has provided in-school Musicianship, an in-school service providing about an hour of additional music instruction per week through a strong partnership with the HEMS Music department. As of fall 2014, Musicianship classes are offered to students from pre-kindergarten through grade 2.

After School Programs

“Ms. Marin” Exploratory Level
Kindergarten through 2nd grade.
Established in the fall of 2013.

  • Bucket Band – A fun opportunity to hone students’ rhythm skills and develop their ability to play in an ensemble as they drum away on sturdy Home Depot buckets.
  • Enrichment Activities – Where music meets other arts forms, like visual arts, dance, theatre, and history, through singing, games, and hands-on projects.
  • Exploratory Classes – Provides an introduction to instruments by spending approximately 3 months each on the violin, trumpet, and recorder.
  • Choir
  • After school snack
  • Homework Help
  • Recess
  • Field trips
  • Special guest artist performances
  • Performances in the school, neighborhood, and Baltimore City


“Beethoven”, “Tchaikovsky”, and “Mahler” Instrumental Levels
Students in 2nd grade and up!
Established fall of 2014.

  • Instrumental Lessons – Students learn all the ins and outs of their chosen string, woodwind, or brass instrument in small group lessons.
    • 1st year instrumentalists receive group instruction. 1st year string students play in String Orchestra.
    • 2nd year instrumentalists play in Wind and String Ensemble, and start to prepare for Orchestra.
    • 3rd year and up instrumentalists play in Full Orchestra.
  • Bucket Band
  • Choir
  • Piano
  • Performance Ensembles: These groups can be contracted for neighborhood and city-wide performances.
    • Performance Bucket Band: A small group of OrchKids are selected by audition to hone their percussion skills, compose new songs, and perform with this energetic group.
    • String Orchestra: All level violin and cello students come together, creating a strong orchestral sound.
  • Internships – Middle school students earn their service learning hours while they help with snack, assist teachers during class, and mentor younger students on their instrument.
  • After school snack
  • Homework Help
  • Recess
  • Field trips
  • Special guest artist performances
  • Performances in the school, neighborhood, and Baltimore City

Neighborhood Partnerships

In addition to the integral partnership with the school staff of Highlandtown E/MS #215, OrchKids has drawn on the rich resources in the Highlandtown and Patterson Park neighborhoods to form new partnerships and offer unique opportunities for its students. We owe a big thanks to the following organizations for their great ideas and support!

  • Creative Alliance: Peter and Wolf – Set design/art workshops and a live theatre performance in fall 2014.
  • Pastor Mark and Breath of God Lutheran Church
  • Highlandtown Exchange Club
  • Highlandtown Community Association
  • Highlandtown Blockenstein Planning Committee

OrchKids at Highlandtown #215
3223 E Pratt St.
Baltimore, MD 21224
School Office: 410-396-9381