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 Greater Roland Park/Poplar Hill CSA, we heard from 17 participants. We held one ‘kitchen table conversation’ in this CSA, which took place at a private residence in the neighborhood of Keswick on May 4, 2014. Along with this conversation, we also collected responses via an online survey and one-on-one conversations with residents of the CSA. All 17 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 talked about how schools can help the community and how they should be a vital part of the community.
- There was discussion regarding community and parental involvement in schools. Participants requested that parents become more involved, and suggested that schools should build better partnerships with community organizations and host more activities to promote family engagement.
- Respondents also talked about teachers and school staff, and shared their opinion that the district needs to work to improve teacher quality. They suggested that the district increase salaries for good teachers, and hire teachers that care about students.