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 Fells Point CSA, we heard from 16 participants. We held two ‘kitchen table conversations’ in this CSA, one at a private residence on June 4, 2014 and another at a separate private residence on June 6, 2014. Along with these conversations, we received some additional responses via an online survey. Of the 16 participants, 15 chose to submit at least some demographic data.
Some of the themes that we heard most often from participants in our discussions included:
- Participants talked about communication, and how the district needs to improve their outreach efforts. We also heard a call for the district to share positive stories and publicize successes.
- There was discussion about community and parental involvement in schools. Participants suggested that stronger school/community partnerships were needed, and that a community liaison could help with this. They also requested that the school/district actively encourage more volunteers.
- Participants also talked about school quality and discussed the disparity across the district. There was praise for successful charter schools, and recognition that schools are trying hard to improve their quality and have great promise. There were also comments about the lack of quality middle and high schools.