Schools seek parental input

Published 9:21 pm Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Nine out of 10 parents of students in Suffolk Public Schools have yet to respond to a system-wide survey seeking their input on school issues. Letters were sent home to parents on Nov. 30 asking them to give their input on what they think about their child’s education.

Halfway through the campaign, however, only 10 percent of the surveys for Suffolk’s 14,400 students have been completed.

“Hopefully, whether parents have good or bad comments, they’ll respond to the survey,” said Bethanne Bradshaw, public information officer for Suffolk Public Schools. “It’s like any customer satisfaction survey. We’re in the business of educating students, and parents are our customers. We need to know how we can improve and have a welcoming, well run, and efficient service for our students.”

Survey results from 2007 had parents rating the schools lowest on seeking input from parents. This year’s survey is one of several ways the schools are seeking to garner parent input.

The primary purpose of the survey is to get feedback from parents regarding various aspects of the public school system, including classroom instruction, teacher quality, discipline, homework, food services, transportation, facilities and technology.There is a survey for every child in the school system. So, if a parent has two children, the parent can complete two surveys. All results are kept confidential, but principals will be sent the anonymous aggregated results for their schools.

“We give school information back to the principals so they know what the strengths and weaknesses are,” Bradshaw said. “Then, they can use them in their annual improvement plan.”

But with only a 10 percent response rate, results may be skewed, Bradshaw said.

School officials are urging parents to take a survey for each of their children. Each survey should take only about five minutes to complete, but it will impact Suffolk’s schools for much longer, school officials say.

To complete the survey, sign on to the Web site and enter the password that was sent home with the children in a Nov. 30 letter.

If you no longer have your password, contact Bethanne Bradshaw at 925-6752 or e-mail her at bethannebradshaw@spsk12.net. Parents without Internet access can pick up a paper copy of the survey at their children’s schools.