Survey says: 10 percent

Published 10:48 pm Friday, January 8, 2010

Parents of just 10 percent of Suffolk’s public-school students responded to a recent survey by the school system’s administration, but officials hope the response is enough to help them draw conclusions about the system as a whole.

Of the 14,360 students in Suffolk Public School Systems, surveys for 1,475 of the students were completed.

“We had significantly more parents respond this year than they did last time,” said Bethanne Bradshaw, public information officer for Suffolk public schools. “Even though 10 percent of parents responded, a survey like this is like taking a spoonful from a pot of soup. You assume it’ll all taste the same in the bowl.”

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The survey is designed to gauge the level of “customer service” that the school system provides, along with the level of satisfaction among parents, school officials said.

“We’re just putting our toe in the water and seeing what kind of comments people have and where we can make improvements,” Bradshaw said.

This is the second occasion the schools sent out the biannual survey, the first time being in 2007. In 2007, only 910 parents of the 13,029 students responded to the survey.

Notices were sent home to parents on Nov. 30 asking them to give their input on what they think about their children’s education. All responses were anonymous.

Results will not be released to the schools until later this month, Bradshaw said.

“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.”

Because the survey depends on the initiative of parents, school officials recognize results will be slightly skewed.

“Some parents love us, and some might hate us. It’s those in the middle who are mostly likely not to respond,” Bradshaw said. “So, we’re not firing people based on these surveys.”