Dec 17, 2007 Margo Frink Uncategorized
Better communication between the school district and the community at large was just one way the relationship between the two could improve, according to a community perception survey.
Mark Dangler, president of Research & Marketing Strategies, Inc. of Baldwinsville and his associate George Kuhn, senior research analyst presented results of the 12-week, district-wide survey to the board of education at its regular meeting Dec. 11.
Just 7 percent of residents in the district responded, around 350 people. Dangler said although RMS was hoping for a 10 to 15 percent response rate, 7 percent is normal for the industry.
Dangler said results of the survey showed that 58 percent of those responding were female, had children attending school in the district and have lived in the district more than 10 years.
Key findings determined that 34 percent of those responding were completely satisfied with the district, 53 percent were somewhat satisfied and 13 percent were not at all satisfied. Most that were satisfied had children in the school district.
Better communication was the best way for the district to do a better job. The public thought the board of education should take a proactive approach in reaching out to the community. They wanted more information on the website or through email. They were dissatisfied with how the board handled feedback and felt the board didn’t keep an “open ear” to concerns.
Most of the elementary school parents were satisfied with the district’s leadership but that number decreased with parents of junior and high school students. Many felt the district lacked academic challenges. They also felt the district employed a lesser quality of teachers, which contradicted the satisfactory respondents who felt the quality of teachers was the reason for the school’s success.
Although 90 percent of the respondents knew about the district’s website, a very small percentage actually browsed it.
Only a third of the people were fully satisfied with the balance of sports and academics and many believe more emphasis is placed on sports over academics.
The majority agreed the schools are a safe place for their children.
They least agreed with how well the board works with the community, and listed post graduate alternatives, poor college selections and lack of scholarships as areas the district could improve on. Most were happy with the advance placement and SUPA choices and felt they were important.
Seven out of 10 were happy with the transportation provided by the district, although some didn’t like the idea elementary children ride the same buses that junior and senior high school students ride on.
Two-thirds of those responding felt the current facilities could use renovations. Some felt the elementary schools should merge and a new facility built to house the students. Others felt it was important to keep the character of the existing elementary school buildings.
Dangler suggested a plan of action that included better communication, a better balance of sports and academics, a greater trust and openness between the board and the community at large and that it’s important to focus on academic expectations to achieve excellence. Students need to be challenged more.
Other suggestions included preparing a short term operational performance improvement plan and to move toward a goal, offer more post graduate resources to students and to create and share a facilities master plan with the community.
Superintendent of Schools Fred Bragan said the survey was a “journey” the board took with the community.
“It was done sincerely no matter if the feedback was good or bad,” Bragan said.
He said the board would take a look at the results of the survey and decide how best to address the needs of the people.
The board will meet again at 6:30 p.m. Jan. 8.
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