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Using survey data, school district administrators identify key areas for improvement and support

CENTRAL OREGONIAN - Using survey data, school district administrators identify key areas for improvement and support

How satisfied are parents with their children's educational experience?

Local school district leaders wanted to know, so they sent out a survey to parents.

"We are keenly aware that our parents are one of the groups to whom we provide service. We want to know how we're doing at that service," explained Crook County School District Superintendent Sara Johnson. "The survey is one way to get that response back from the parents."

With input from administrators, CCSD Director of School Improvement Joel Hoff created a 10-question survey and emailed it to all CCSD families. Families had two weeks to complete the survey, which concluded June 7.

"Keeping in line with our voices initiative, the whole purpose of this parent survey was to listen to our parents, listen to our consumers, and see what they have to say," Hoff said.

He reported that 395 parents and guardians participated in the online survey. Results provided a fairly even representation of families with students in all grade levels.

There were six main categories for the survey: academic experience; facilities and nutrition; communication; school safety; climate and services; overall school experience; and comments.

Survey takers were asked to rate their experiences on a scale of 1 to 5.

More than 70% reported being highly satisfied with the educational experience their child received at school.

"This was a somewhat positive reaction from parents that we'll continue to build on," Hoff said.

When asked how likely they were to recommend the school to another parent, 70% chose the higher ratings.

"This was exciting, to see that the most frequent number was a 5, so that's something that we need to celebrate and be proud of," Hoff said, adding that they are always working to win over those with lower ratings.

He pointed out three strengths districtwide.

About 75% agree or strongly agree that their child feels safe at school and that they feel welcome when they come to their student's school.

Hoff said they were excited with those results.

"We want to create welcoming schools for our parents," he said.

Another strength was the overall cleanliness of the schools. More than 85% reported that school cleanliness was either excellent or good.

"Our parents are impressed. We're taking care of our schools, which is a good sign," Hoff said.

The parent survey also showed three main areas that could use some improvement.

About 28% of the parents surveyed said their child was directly affected by bullying from other students. Hoff pointed out that anti-bullying and Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports initiatives are in full swing.

The quality of the school's food services was also an area that could use some improvement, but Hoff pointed out that it might be more of a stereotypical perception issue. They will use this information to better market their food services.

Finally, the district would like to improve the way they communicate with district families to make sure families know about important events.

Hoff pointed out that there has been a nationwide shift in customer choice in the last decade. CCSD no longer has a monopoly on the education market in Prineville.

"Now, within an hour, you can un-enroll a kid from our school and enroll them in an online charter school, and that's a student out of our ADM and that's a dissatisfied customer," Hoff said. "We really have this push to listen to our consumer in order to provide solid customer service."

Hoff said that in order to get the most accurate picture, the district needs to "triangulate" their observations.

"We look at parent and student surveys, we look at student performance data, and then we look at live observations in order to identify our key target areas for improvement," he explained. "Using triangulation, we will identify those key areas for improvement."

The district plans to continue to offer a similar parent survey annually and align it with student and employee surveys as well.

Hoff thanked the 395 families who took time to complete the survey.

"We're going to be intentional about reporting back, posting on our district Facebook and websites, 'Hey we heard you, thank you. We heard from 395 of you. Here are our strengths, here's what we're working on,' so the parents know they were heard," Hoff said.

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