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 Harbor East/Little Italy CSA, we heard from 4 participants. We held one ‘kitchen table conversation’ in this CSA, which took place at a private residence in the neighborhood of Little Italy on June 23, 2014. All 4 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 district policies and practices, sharing praise for attendance initiatives, the teacher contract, and decreasing suspensions. They also called into question practices like social promotion.
- There was discussion about community and parental involvement in schools. Participants suggested that the schools need to do more to leverage community resources and reach out to community members.
- Respondents also discussed behavior and discipline. They talked about student behavioral issues and teachers’ of discipline and classroom management skills.
- Participants talked about the large disparity of school quality in the district, and shared the opinion that while some schools are improving, the lowest performing schools are very inadequate.