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 Glen-Falstaff CSA, we heard from 27 participants. We held two ‘kitchen table conversations’ in this CSA, one at Comprehensive Housing Assistance Incorporated (CHAI) in the neighborhood of Glen on May 27, 2014 and another at the Jewish Community Center in Glen on May 28, 2014. Of the 27 participants, 26 chose to submit at least some demographic data.
Some of the themes that we heard most often from participants in our discussions included:
- Participants spoke extensively about standards, curriculum and instruction. Some of the items that came up multiple times included the belief that the current curriculum is too test-driven, and suggestions that schools should put more emphasis on fundamental skills, increase their focus on technology, and offer more curricular options for students.
- There was discussion regarding teachers and school staff. Specifically, participants thought that teacher training programs are inadequate, and that the district should improve its teacher recruitment strategies.
- We heard requests for the district to foster collaboration and the sharing of best practices across schools.
- Respondents also talked about school culture and climate, and how a respectable code of conduct should be implemented.