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 Sandtown-Winchester/Harlem Park CSA, we heard from 5 participants. We held one ‘kitchen table conversation’ in this CSA, which took place at St. Phillips Baptist Church on April 9, 2014. Along with this conversation, we received one additional response via a one-on-one conversation with a resident of the CSA. All 5 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 the lack of community and parental involvement in schools, and requested that the school/district work to build better school-community partnerships. Respondents also shared the opinion that schools should encourage and motivate more community members to volunteer, as they saw a clear need for more positive influences for students.
- 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 parents and help to address community needs, including through the provision of adult literacy and education programs, parenting skills classes, and social services for families.
- There was also discussion regarding activities and options for students, including concerns about the lack of art and music classes in City Schools. Participants also suggested that the district should provide additional after-school activities and programs for students.