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On Feb. 6, the District 65 School Board discussed the surveys the District plans to conduct of parents, teachers and administrators in the next four or five months.

The District will continue to administer a District-wide survey to parents, teachers and administrators to gather views concerning the quality of education, the curriculum and instruction, standards and expectations, climate in the schools, communications, responsiveness and other topics.

The District administered this survey in the prior two years in partnership with ECRA Group, Inc., and it plans to do so again this year in early May. Several Board members suggested that the number of survey questions be reduced in hopes that more parents, teachers and administrators would complete the survey. Last year, 16 percent of the parents and 40 percent of the teachers/administrators completed the survey.

ECRA will attempt to eliminate questions where there is redundancy and may include questions on certain topics every second year in an attempt to simplify the survey.

In response to several Board members’ requests, the District also prepared a sample of a parent survey and a teacher survey that are designed to gather parents’ and teachers’ views about individual schools. These school-specific surveys were developed by Paul Brinson, consultant, in collaboration with the principals.

The parent survey will contain a standard set of questions to gather views about each school, including about the general level of satisfaction, satisfaction with children’s progress, whether children are challenged academically, whether teachers have high expectations, whether teachers do a good job adjusting to the needs of each student, satisfaction with enrichment programs, as well as other topics.

Each principal will work with his or her Advisory Team to develop a set of school-based questions that will be added to the parent survey, said Mr. Brinson. The surveys will thus contain a standard set of questions that may be used to compare how a school is viewed versus other schools. The survey will also contain school-based questions tailored to meet the needs of individual schools, he said.

The school-specific parent survey will be given at the time of the parent conferences during the week of Feb. 13-17. The survey will be available in both English and Spanish. Parents will be able to answer the survey for more than one school if they have children in more than one school. Computers will be available during the parent conferences for parents to respond while they are in school buildings for the conferences.

The school-specific teacher surveys will be administered in May.

Larry Gavin

Larry Gavin was a co-founder of the Evanston RoundTable in 1998 and assisted in its conversion to a non-profit in 2021. He has received many journalism awards for his articles on education, housing and...