Toward the end of 2013, the Fund for Educational Excellence embarked on an intensive study of Baltimore residents’ views on their public schools. Over the course of four months in 2014, we heard from 859 Baltimore residents representing all 55 community statistical areas (CSAs) in Baltimore City through a series of intimate conversations about schools and neighborhoods.
In the Canton CSA, we heard from 19 participants. We held two ‘kitchen table conversations’ in this CSA, one at a private residence on May 19, 2014 and another at Canton Baptist Church on May 27, 2014. Along with these conversations, we received some additional responses via an online survey. All of the 19 participants chose to submit at least some demographic data.
Some of the themes that we heard most often from participants in our discussions included:
- Participants shared a desire for increased community and parental involvement in schools. Some of the ideas shared include: improving school-community connections, possibly through the hiring of a community liaison; hosting more service events for students; and actively encouraging more volunteers.
- Respondents talked about discipline and behavior in schools, and called for better disciplinary systems. They also mentioned a need for anti-bullying programs, as one of the fundamental jobs of a school is to protect its students.
- Participants also shared that they think a school should also serve and help the community it is in. Schools should be respectful of the community and teach children to be respectful as well. One of the challenges they shared is that school lotteries don’t help build strong neighborhoods.