Shorter Version of DESE Parent Survey Now Available

As you know, last week we sent out a self-assessment survey from the Massachusetts DESE as a first step in collecting input from all stakeholders of the school community.   To oversee an effective and comprehensive plan once the survey closes next week, Superintendent John Doherty is also designating Assistant Superintendent Craig Martin to assemble and lead a task force of parents, teachers, and administrators to coordinate the subsequent steps of this important process.

While the initial survey is quite extensive and some sections may seem more appropriately targeted to educators, we felt that it was important to give the opportunity for every stakeholder to review all elements of the state’s tool and to give feedback on any aspect of the school.  Based on input we have received from some parents, however, we have also asked the DESE if it is possible to provide us a much shorter version of the survey for parents who would like to limit their feedback to more targeted areas.   Please see the links below, as the DESE has now made that option available. [Please note that the numbers of the questions may not be sequential in the abbreviated version of the survey, as it consists of the first two introductory questions (about tutoring and homework), as well as some targeted questions from Section I (School Leadership), Section IX (Students’ Social, Emotional, Health Needs/Learning Environment) and Section X (Family-School Engagement)].

We realize that parents may not always feel comfortable answering all of the questions in the complete survey and that it may also feel frustrating to reply ‘unknown’ to a question.  If you choose to do so while completing the full, unabbreviated survey, however, please know that this is also perfectly acceptable.   (Thank you as well to the parents who have already completed the full survey and done just that).  As the DESE team has confirmed, even the “unknown” responses can often provide very important information about improvements needed in school communication.

Feel free to choose either version of the survey, but once begun, please note that all questions must be completed in order for the survey responses to be tallied.  The survey itself was designed for the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education by the New England Islands and Regional Laboratory, and it has been determined to be a valid and reliable instrument.  We have learned from the DESE team, for instance, that this survey has already been used in several other Level 3 districts and schools as a tool to measure the perceptions of parents, teachers, and administrators on the Conditions of School Effectiveness (or the research-based practices that schools most require to effectively meet the learning needs of all students).  We appreciate you taking the time to answer this important survey, and we value all parent feedback that we receive throughout this process.

Once the results are collected from this first survey, the school will then identify the areas that most need to be strengthened and develop a very targeted feedback tool to address specific school needs, including with open-ended questions.  In addition, schools may host forums where the survey data will be presented and additional feedback can be given.  Director of Student Services, Carolyn Wilson, will also be providing an opportunity for parents to give their feedback on special education services, as we are in the process of reviewing all of our special education services and programs.  Moving forward, the School Council will play a major role as well in this process, as they oversee the implementation of the School Improvement Plan.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact your child’s principal or the Reading Public Schools Administration Offices.  Most importantly, thank you for your time, for working together as a community to constantly reflect and improve on our practices, and for your ongoing support of our schools. Through this review process, we will collaboratively work with all stakeholders to gather feedback, identify what is working, and what areas need to be strengthened.   Although this is a significant challenge facing the Joshua Eaton School and our district, I want to unequivocally say that we will address this challenge successfully by tapping the collective efforts and talents of our entire district staff as well as our community.

The deadline for completing the survey is Monday, November 17th at 12:00 p.m. and can be accessed through the following links:

Abbreviated Parent Survey Link:

Full Survey Link:

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