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 North Baltimore/Guilford/Homeland CSA, we heard from 10 participants. We held one ‘kitchen table conversation’ in this CSA, which took place at a private residence in the neighborhood of Homeland on May 6, 2014. Along with this conversation, we received additional responses via an online survey. All 10 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 how schools should serve and help the community, and how they have the ability to be the center of the community. They discussed how a school can be a resource for the community that serves and addresses community needs.
- There was discussion regarding district policies and practices, and some suggested changes, including more breaks for students and more autonomy for principals. In general, respondents suggested that the district should take a multi-faceted approach to fixing schools and improving education.
- Participants discussed the strong parent and community engagement in their neighborhood, but also suggested that the schools/district leverage community resources to improve community-school partnerships.