SPS seeks opinions

Published 10:26 pm Friday, April 24, 2015

How are we doing? Suffolk Public Schools is asking parents the question in a survey beginning Monday.

According to district spokeswoman Bethanne Bradshaw, the idea is to assess “each school’s education environment.”

Schools will use the results to help identify areas for improvement, she said in a news release.

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Parents will be sent an email directing them to an online questionnaire for their child’s school. They will need to respond by May 10. Results will be shared at the School Board’s annual retreat this summer.

“The survey will take approximately 10 minutes to complete,” Bradshaw stated. “Responses will remain anonymous.”

There’s an added incentive for parents to do their bit: Schools with the highest percentage of responses will get $500.

Parents can also pick up a paper copy of the survey at their child’s school.

The district plans to survey parents each year to chart progress, Bradshaw stated. Division-wide surveys conducted in 2001, 2006, 2008, 2010 and 2012 gathered opinions from all “stakeholders” — parents, employees, students and the community.

Bradshaw added the Title 1 program surveys parents at those schools annually, and principals often also survey their stakeholders.

The district is hoping for a better response rate this time after past response rates were “lower than we’d like,” according to Bradshaw.

The delivery method of this latest survey is new. “It should make it more convenient,” Bradshaw stated.

“We expect increased participation this year, because parents will have the email invitation with a survey link that they can go to immediately, or they can return to the email later to complete the survey when it’s more convenient.”

When the results are in, the plan is to apply them to each school’s improvement plan, according to Bradshaw, including “strategies and activities to address areas that parents say need improvement.”

“The superintendent and his administrative staff will also use the results to help the division further pinpoint weaknesses to correct and successes to share,” she added.