Schools take part in national survey

Published 9:25 pm Monday, March 21, 2011

Suffolk Public Schools is participating in a nationwide survey to help improve communication between parents and the school system.

“We want to hear back from our community on how to better serve them,” said Bethanne Bradshaw, spokeswoman for Suffolk Public Schools.

The school system is participating in this as part of a larger National School Public Relations Association study. The non-profit group compiles communications data from approximately 100 American and Canadian schools to interpret contemporary trends in school communications.

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The results of the survey will be returned to the Suffolk school system in late spring to analyze and determine how they can better communicate with parents. The data from the national study will be announced in July without identifying the results from specific systems.

“It sounded like a win-win,” Bradshaw said.

The survey is being conducted at no cost to the school system.

The school system has funded surveys in the past that have asked questions about the conditions of the schools, the work environment, safety, nutrition and more. The NSPRA survey focuses mainly on communications between the school system and parents. It includes only a few questions about the quality of education.

Suffolk Public Schools has signed confidentiality agreements to ensure the privacy of the participating parents. The results will be provided to district administration and the principals of each school building, who will use the data in preparing their School Improvement Plans.

All responses will be confidential, Bradshaw said. Responses will not be linked to specific e-mail addresses or IP addresses. The survey is being e-mailed to parents who created Parent Connection accounts.

The survey will be conducted by K12 Insight Inc., a survey firm that is donating its services to the NSPRA.

The longest version of the survey will require only 10 minutes to complete, and will help the school system determine if communications and the methods they use to communicate with parents are effective. The survey will help the school system determine the best methods by which they can communicate with parents.

The survey asks parents questions such as how often they want to receive information and what type of information they would like to receive. It also asks parents to rate whether or not they are able to express their concerns and whether they feel those concerns are taken seriously by the school administration and elected leaders. There are questions about how well informed parents feel when it comes to issues that affect statewide education, and there are questions about the quality of the education programs in the district.

Survey participants are also asked to rate their preferences for the manner in which they receive information.

The survey will close on April 7 at 11 p.m. For more information about the survey or to request the survey, contact Bethanne Bradshaw at 925-6752.