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 Hamilton CSA, we heard from 8 participants. We held one ‘kitchen table conversation’ in this CSA, which took place at City Neighbors High School in the neighborhood of Glenham-Belhar on June 5, 2014. Of the 8 participants, 6 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 district policies and practices, and expressed frustration with the bureaucracy and how difficult it can be to navigate the central office. Participants expressed the belief that decisions should be made by students, teachers, principals, and schools, not North Avenue.
- There was a call for more support for students, including increasing student voice in their education, and greater inclusion for special education students.
- Participants also discussed school quality, and expressed the belief that there is currently a lack of real choice in the district due to a lack of quality seats.