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 Forest Park/Walbrook CSA, we heard from 22 participants. We held one ‘kitchen table conversation’ in this CSA, which took place at Shiloh AME Church in the neighborhood of Windsor Hills on May 13, 2014. Along with this conversation, we received some additional responses via one-on-one conversations with residents of the CSA. Of the 22 participants, 12 chose to submit at least some demographic data.
Some of the themes that we heard most often from participants in our discussions included:
- Participants discussed the need for more community and parental involvement in schools. They suggested that schools need to build better school/community partnerships and actively encourage and fund initiatives that increase community involvement (potentially through bringing on a community liaison).
- There was discussion about teachers and school staff. Respondents thought that there needs to be better teacher recruitment/selection processes, and better support for teachers that are in the district.
- Participants also discussed district communications, and suggested that the district share more positive stories of student and school success.