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 Medfield/Hampden/Woodberry CSA, we heard from 23 participants. We held two ‘kitchen table conversations’ in this CSA, one at a private home in Remington on April 10, 2014 and another at the Keswick Multi-Care Center on May 27, 2014. Along with these conversations, we received some additional responses via an online survey. All 23 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 discussed standards, curriculum, and instruction, and shared their concerns that the curriculum is too test focused and that the classroom experience is too rigid. They also suggested that the district implement a richer curriculum.
- There was discussion about district policies and practices, as people voiced concerns about organizational inefficiencies, poor management, and lack of accountability. Participants also recommended that the district increase the number of charter school seats, and do more to reward positive school outcomes.
- Participants also discussed community and parental involvement in schools. They shared that schools should work to improve community/school partnerships and encourage more volunteers, and suggested that hiring a community liaison could help in this process.