Tuesday, February 09, 2016

SPS Asking for Input on Family Survey

SPS is working on the Family Survey and are considering some new questions to add to it.  They would like your input but please get this back to them by the end of this week. 

Send feedback to  research@seattleschools.org

I applaud the district in asking for this input.  

My input is that I find some questions quite broad (see first section #1).  Is it the district's job to prepare a child "for the future?"  I'd like to see that kind of language tightened up to "to continue onto a career path and/or higher education?" 

Same section #5 - I'd add "fair and equitable" to make sure that discipline is meted out in similar ways.

Same section #6 - I'd have to know what a "supportive academic environment" looks like because I think different parents would have different ideas in their mind.

Under Parent/Family Knowledge and Confidence, #23, I'd add "I know special programs available at my school or in the district and how to access them to help my child.

District Satisfaction - here's the question
The district provides a good education that prepares children to be successful in college, career and life  
I would take out "life" as I don't know that any school/district has the responsibility for "life."  I think educating kids to launch to a career path/college and ability to be a good citizen is enough. "Life" seems more the domain of parents.

Start of Survey

SPS Family Survey Questions (w/ Draft Changes for 2015-16)

Working Draft as of February 4, 2016

School Educational Quality
1. The school is preparing my child well for the future
2. Teachers and staff at school care a lot about my child's academic success and personal well-being
3. Teachers at my school do a good job meeting the specific learning needs of my child
4. The school does a good job sharing information about my child's academic progress
5. The school’s approach to student discipline is fair (*NEW*)
6. The school provides a supportive academic environment for my child (*NEW*)
7. The school provides a positive social and emotional environment for my child (*NEW*) 

Welcoming and Culturally-Responsive School Climate ***
8. My child is treated with as much respect as other students
9. I am greeted warmly when I call or visit the school
10. My home culture and home language are valued by the school
11. The school has successfully overcome cultural barriers between staff and families
12. Teachers and staff at school are knowledgeable and respectful of different cultures and races
13. I feel my child is safe at school

Parent/Family Influence and Decision-Making ***
14. I have opportunities to influence what happens at the school
15. The school partners with families to improve the learning environment at school
16. The school encourages feedback from parents and the community
17. The school is responsive to the input and concerns of families
18. The school reaches out to families when decisions important to families need to be made
19. There is at least one adult in this school I can talk to if I have a concern

Parent/Family Knowledge and Confidence ***
20. I feel confident discussing my child's education with teachers at school
21. I feel confident in my ability to support my child’s learning at home
22. I know community resources that are available to help my child
23. I know special programs available at school or the district to help my child
24. I know what my child will learn this year at school

District Satisfaction
25. The district central office is responsive to the input and concerns of families
26. It is easy to find useful information on the district website
27. The district reaches out to parents when decisions important to families need to be made
28. The district provides a good education that prepares children to be successful in college, career and life (*NEW*)
29. Communications from the district central office are clear, timely and informative (*NEW*)
30. I receive effective service and support when I call or visit the district administration or central office (*NEW*)
31. The district does a good job engaging the community about issues and concerns that matter to my family (*NEW*) 

Open-Ended Response Questions (*NEW*)
Open #1. Please explain your answer to the last question (#31) above (*NEW*)
Open #2. Please provide any feedback to help us improve your child’s school (*NEW*)
Open #3: Is there anything else on your mind you would like to share with the district? (*NEW*) 

*** Items in these categories borrowed or adapted from the Road Map Family Engagement Survey developed for and by districts, community organizations, funders, and community leaders with the Equitable Parent-School Collaboration Project at the University of Washington (http://www.education.uw.edu/epsc/)


Anonymous said...

In the district's Highly Capable grant application for this year, they were required to include more details about their evaluation plan, as they are supposed provide data on the academic achievement of highly capable students and how well the program addressed the needs and capabilities of HC students. Among the evaluation methods and activities listed in SPS's application this year was "Surveys: administrator, parent, student and teacher."

I've been wondering about these surveys, and whether this annual parent survey was part of that plan or if they were planning to do a separate survey of HC-identified parents. My recollection was that the parent survey didn't seem likely to provide that information without some new questions--as well as demographic questions that get at HC identification, HC participation and HC delivery model--and reading through the proposed draft it still looks like this survey would be insufficient for these purposes. Do you know if they are planning to use this survey for that purpose? If so, why isn't the AL office adding questions that would be required for the evaluation?

The Board signed off on the HC grant application that included the evaluation plan, so I hope the Board is making sure the district has a plan to collect the information.

See No Eval

Anonymous said...

RE: the "School Educational Quality" section, where are the questions about academics, curricula, materials? You know, the quality of the educational program itself? Not the teachers, the support, the environment...the academics! The only hint of that is in #6, but by asking about a "supportive" academic environment they muddle it.

Along those lines, I'd also love to see them add a question re: whether or not kids receive outside tutoring or additional academic instruction like online programs. What percentage of families find it necessary to supplement, and why?

19. "There is at least one adult in this school I can talk to if I have a concern." Having one person you CAN talk to seems a pretty low bar. How about at least one adult you TRUST AND FEEL COMFORTABLE talking to?

21. "I feel confident in my ability to support my child’s learning at home." Not sure of the purpose here. Is it to assess whether parents think they have the skills/knowledge to be able to help, or whether they have access to the information needed to do so (e.g., access to textbooks, materials, clear communication from teachers of what the assignments are in the first place, etc.)? Both are important, but the question is too vague to interpret the results in any meaningful way.

The draft doesn't list the answer choices, but if memory serves correctly, they might have been lacking a N/A or I don't know option, which was sometimes necessary. Background information on those who respond is also important, such as school, grade, program, language, etc.


Anonymous said...

How about asking families to rate their response to questions they actually care about...
1. My child is receiving a good education.
2. I am satisfied with the quality of teaching my child receives.
3. I am pleased with the District office.
4. Board decisions are in the best interest of students.
5. The staff at my school work in the best interest of students, discouraging careerism and standing up to corporate interests in the classroom.
6. My child's aptitudes and abilities are thoroughly nurtured.
7. My child thrives in the public school environment.
8. The school staff appreciate parental input and make changes accordingly.
9. I am not solicited for money nor is my financial status tied ti my status in the school community.
10. I experience social, economic, and racial parity.
11. My student is given ample opportunities to thrive.
12. The pace of instruction matches my child's abilities.

SW Mom

Ann D said...

define what my child is safe at school is because not having locked doors during the school day, punitive approaches to discipline, withholding necessary recess breaks, scheduling too short lunch periods, and classroom management that results in kindergarteners being isolated from each other by the end of the year (no desk next to any other desk) plus no choice activities -- well I guess I didn't feel like my kid was going to get shot.