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 Southwest Baltimore CSA, we heard from 23 participants. We held one ‘kitchen table conversation’ in this CSA, which took place at Franklin Square Elementary School in the neighborhood of Franklin Square on June 3, 2014. Along with this conversation, we received responses via one-on-one conversations with residents of the CSA and 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 the lack of activities and options for students, including in-school, after-school, and summer programs. Respondents requested that the district provide more activities for children, family, and community members, and specifically made reference to opening (or re-opening) recreation centers and libraries.
- There was also discussion about community and parental involvement in school. Participants suggested that the district encourage and fund initiatives that improve community-school partnerships, and also hold parents more accountable.
- Participants talked about standards, curriculum, and instruction and called for the district/schools to tailor instruction to different learning styles and meet students where they are academically.