Friday, June 06, 2008

SPS Family Survey

Have you received your survey yet? It's online at the SPS website and was mailed to families.

Unfortunate, neither the paper version or online version allows you to elaborate. The answers to these questions are only going to give the broadest outlines about what parents want or don't get. It's unlikely to help the district understand why parents don't participate more in their child's school.

I wish it had been a different survey for elementary versus middle/high school parents. The answers would be very different because, for example, if you are asked about homework policy, well, it varies from teacher to teacher in middle/high school.

The question about volunteering is a bit muddled because it asks about the school communicating and not teacher or PTA volunteering.

Also, here is blurb from the Seattle Council PTSA about an error on page 2 of the survey:

"You recently received a Family Survey from Seattle Public Schools. Please return this survey in the postage-paid, self-addressed envelope or take the on-line survey at www.seattleschools.org by June 17, 2008. The survey is available in 8 languages.

Note there is an error in the English version of the paper survey. On page 2, the first response column in Section IV should read STRONGLY DISAGREE instead of STRONGLY AGREE. The on-line version is correct. This is an important step in helping our schools improve their ability to reach and engage families - thank you for doing your part!"

They put Strongly Agree in the bookend columns instead of using Strongly Disagree at one end. Hard to believe someone didn't catch this but fyi.


SolvayGirl said...

I wish they had a way to survey families who are currently not in the system (like mine). Our two years at an independent middle school have definitely showed us the places SPS where is lacking--but also where SPS has advantages.
Someone at the District should be trying to get a real feel for what all the families in the District are looking for in education. We're planning on coming back into the fold for high school; it would be nice to think our opinions mattered.
But, alas, as Melissa points out, the current survey offers little room for elaboration. As a person who has worked in advertising/marketing, I am all too aware of the fallacy of survey results as they can be written to elicit the desired responses to support or revile any specific thing.

Beth Bakeman said...


Can you tell us more about what your two years at an independent middle school have shown you in terms of what SPS is lacking and its advantages?

I'm sure there are lots of blog readers who would be interested in your personal story.

You can either post it here as a comment or, if you want to write something a wee bit longer, just send it to me (bbakeman@comcast.net) and I'll post it as its own thread.

Thanks --- Beth

anonymous said...

Yup, I wish they had a survey for families that live in Seattle but are not in SPS. I would tell them all about our experiences at a Shoreline MS, as I have told you all many times before. I would tell them how we had a fabulous elementary school experience, and look forward to a fantastic high school experience. But found middle school to be the weak link. It's a shame that they are not collecting that feedback.

I used to fill out my survey enthusiastically, but not any more. I throw it out now. I have yet to see anything come out of it. I have yet to see any results posted, and I have yet to hear any feedback at all about it. I do see a couple of the questions and results posted on the district website under climate survey.