Check out these schools and their creative ways for making everyone's voices count.
Cedar Hill Elementary School in Warwick succeeds in hearing from all stakeholders! Dr. Colleen Mercurio, principal and site coordinator, explains that “it was definitely a team effort to have participation rates of 100% of our staff and more than 80% of our families completing the survey”. She communicated with parents via Blackboard Connect5 (a mass notification system), the Remind app, and the PTO Facebook page. To generate more participation from parents, she also sent home a flyer that offered an extra recess incentive to the classes who had 100% parent participation. Dr. Mercurio appreciates the high participation rates, and thanks the faculty at Cedar Hill Elementary School for “taking the time in their classrooms to conduct the student surveys, encouraging students to ask their parents for their participation, and completing their own teacher surveys.” Dr. Mercurio will use the feedback from the surveys to continue to personalize the learning with collaboration and support from the Cedar Hill families.
Principal and site Coordinator Michael Templeton has a great story to tell. The process began 3 weeks ago when he communicated through a school newsletter and parent messaging system. Beginning on March 13, chrome books were available to parents in the mornings and afternoons. On March 16, Ella Risk held a parent-teacher conference and Templeton told the parents “We need you!” The school had an ingenious idea. Each parent was given tickets, which could be stamped at three stations: one for the Parent Teacher conference, one for the bookstore, and one to fill out SurveyWorks. If the parent received a stamp at all 3 stations, their ticket was put into a lottery to win a tablet. But Templeton wanted to be sure all were acknowledged, so if a parent got a stamp from each station, their child received B-Bucks to use at the school B-Bucks store. This store, according to Templeton, is a prized reward for students at Ella Risk. In addition, the school had translators available. Parents told Templeton that it was a great family night. Templeton says it could not have happened without the enthusiasm of the teachers and the hard work of home school liaison Tatiana Batista.
Doing whatever it takes:
Central Falls High School is determined to hear from parents. Site Coordinator Amy Burns, an Aspiring Principal, worked hand in hand with principal Troy Silva, the Home School Liaison (HSL) and the Lead Parent Volunteer to organize and help with survey administration. 20 high school students assisted as interpreters during parent teacher conferences. These students also helped families with the technology when completing the Surveyworks instrument online. In all, 29 parents were able to complete the survey on-line and 88 parents completed the paper version. Congratulations to Central Falls High School for a true team effort to hear your parents’ voices!
Compass School Site Coordinator Kat Schafer explains how Compass had such great success. Students completed the surveys during their health classes. If there were any absent students, teachers let them make it up at another time. Teachers completed surveys during designated staff meeting time. Director Brandee Lapisky communicated with parents about the survey as part of her weekly “Note from Ms Brandee”:
We know that there are a lot of standardized tests out there; there's the NECAP, the NAEP, the PARCC... so many acronyms. While these assessments don't usually make me feel warm and fuzzy, this next one is my absolute favorite.
SurveyWorks is a measurement of school culture - it asks questions about our students', staff's and families' school experience. It puts student achievement and test scores aside for a minute and asks about how it feels to a member of each and every school in RI. …
100% of our kids and staff have already completed the survey; YOU are the last piece of the puzzle! Please take 10 minutes to tell RIDE about us. In addition to how you respond, the number of people who respond is just as important. High response shows an engaged community. Thanks in advance for taking a moment to tell The Compass story!
The link to the survey was directly included in the e-mail so parents could easily access it. She also sent out subsequent reminders and was able to communicate specifically how many families had responded.
Yanaiza Gallant, Principal of Orlo Avenue School in East Providence explains why and how she reached out to her school community: “We only get better with feedback. We don’t know what we don’t know.”
Gallant took advantage of every opportunity, including snow days, to encourage parents to take the survey, and posting on social media to reach her community. In her Monday morning community meetings, Gallant provided computers for parents and had a translator available. She promoted the survey through the parent teacher association (PTA) and also sent students home with stickers reminding parents to take the survey. She involved the students by providing a special incentive: if parents took the survey, they could send in a slip with their child’s teacher’s name, and the class with the highest number of responses would receive an extra recess. Gallant really wants to hear from her entire school community and she knows that her parents believe she listens to them.
Below, a student from Orlo Avenue School in East Providence wears a sticker home to remind her parent to take the survey.
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