Survey says …

Published 11:24 pm Friday, April 2, 2010

The results are in.

A parent survey taken by Suffolk Public Schools showed a satisfaction increase in 21 of the 27 areas surveyed, four areas that remained constant and only two decreases in satisfaction.

“Some people might look at our results and say if we’re a grading scale, we’d get a B, but we’re happy we improved,” said Bethanne Bradshaw, spokeswoman for the schools. “We need to ask how we’re doing. A lot of it’s common sense, but sometimes people need to be reminded.”

This is the second occasion the school system conducted the biennial survey. In 2007, only 910 parents of the 13,029 students responded to the survey. This year, 1,505 parents responded.

In both years, elementary parents were more satisfied than middle school parents, and middle school parents were more satisfied than high school parents.

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.

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 in a previous interview.

The two improvements survey results suggest are in the percentage of parents using online Parent Connection on a regular basis, and the percentage of parents who felt schools offered them opportunities to volunteer.

While each of the three subject categories saw a positive increase, the highest improvements were in high school parents who felt the “school seeks input from parents” and “school is led and managed well,” and middle school parents who felt “discipline is handled appropriately at school.”

Parents also were queried on their level of satisfaction with food and transportation services. The satisfaction rate for food and transportation was 80 percent.

A customer service planning committee, comprising central office administration, facility personnel, support staff, building administration, transportation employees and a parent, is now meeting to study these results, to determine what other data is needed, to develop customer service standards and to kick off a customer service initiative for all employees in August for the upcoming school year.

Principals will receive results for their schools so they can see what parents like and what needs improvement.