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 Howard Park/West Arlington CSA, we heard from 18 participants. We held one ‘kitchen table conversation’ in this CSA, which took place at a private residence in the neighborhood of Howard Park on June 2, 2014. Along with this conversation, we received additional responses via an online survey. Of the 18 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 community and parental involvement in schools, and indicated that the schools currently are not getting enough support from the community. However, they also shared that the schools are not welcoming, and that the school needs to establish better community partnerships.
- There was also discussion about teachers and school staff. The focus was on the high teacher turnover rate, and ways that the district can address this (including suggestions for increased incentives for teachers).
- Participants talked about standards, curriculum, and instruction and how schools should provide students with an education that prepares them for the real world and for employment.