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 Mount Washington/Coldspring CSA, we heard from 13 participants. We held two ‘kitchen table conversations’ in this CSA, one at a private home in the neighborhood of Mount Washington on June 1, 2014 and another at the same private residence on June 19, 2014. Along with these conversations, we received some additional responses via an online survey. Of the 13 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 expressed the opinion that there needs to be more community and parental involvement in schools, but also discussed the need for schools to become more welcoming in order to attract more engagement.
- There was discussion regarding how schools can support positive neighborhood growth and development. Participants shared praise for the schools in the neighborhood and multiple respondents indicated that the strength of the schools played an important role in their decision to live in the neighborhood.
- Participants discussed school quality and how much it varies across the district. Respondents also discussed the achievement gap between City Schools and private school options.