Our Book


I Am Not a Test Score: Lessons Learned from Dreaming is a collaborative book written by Youth Dreamers themselves, young people who have grown up in Baltimore City schools and believe in alternatives to standardized testing.

This is a collaborative book about what the young people and their adult allies learned from dreaming and building Baltimore's only youth-run youth center.  It includes lessons learned inside and outside classrooms that were not controlled by standardized tests.  

Through this accompanying video, we give voice to other youth in Baltimore who share how they want to be taught, how they feel they should be judged, and what inspires them...beyond standardized tests.

We hope this book will not just inspire, but will encourage students, teachers, parents, and community members to challenge the problems in their schools, redirecting the emphasis on standardized testing toward programs promoting leadership, character, and youth voice.

Locally published by Otter Bay Books, I Am Not a Test Score: Lessons Learned from Dreaming is available for sale on our website for $30.00 (plus shipping and handling). We hope to have it available soon on Amazon.com and Barnesandnoble.com.

Seven students with over 40 years of collective experience working with the Youth Dreamers and two adult allies (including the original Teacher-Director) spent two years pulling together old pictures, lesson plans, student work, and more to tell our story! 









For young people trying to make a difference in their communities, this book is an invaluable resource -- a road map showing how to change minds, overcome obstacles, and realize dreams. For the rest of us, it offers inspiration, hope, and evidence of how much determined young people can achieve, even with limited resources. I'm proud of everything Youth Dreamers have accomplished, and thrilled that they managed to get it all down on paper."

-- Paul Tough, author of How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Character


Think About It!
  • How do YOU feel about standardized testing?  Complete these statements…
  • I am not a test score. I am…

  • Don’t judge me by my test score. Judge me by…

  • I am not inspired by a test score. I am inspired by…

  • Don’t teach me how to take a test. Teach me….

  • Don’t spend money on making standardized tests. Spend money on…







Click below to meet the authors

Click below for a
sneak peek!

Publication Date
MAY 2014


And check out our movie!

“The Youth Dreamer’s story is about
the lives of children who live
their dreams.
This is exceptional
and is a powerful counter
to the narrative that

reduces education to a
series of tests.”

-Brenda Bratton Blom, J.D., Ph.D.,
Former Supervising Attorney at
University of Maryland
Francis King Carey
School of Law





The Youth Dreamers Inc.
The Dream House—1430 Carswell Street
Baltimore, MD 212