All of us here at SurveyMonkey are proud to announce that Garland Independent School District (GISD) in Texas has partnered with us in their launch of the Harvard Graduate School of Education Parent Survey. The survey template is designed to help K-12 schools ask their parents the right questions to measure crucial aspects of the family/school dynamic.
Key areas such as school climate, child behaviors and level of parent engagement are all addressed in the survey’s questions. Public, private, independent, charter, urban or rural schools can use this template in order to better understand how they’re doing with parents.
Here to share with us how the data and insights gained from their survey launch will help GISD collect more in-depth findings on the parent/child relationship is Jonathan Armstrong, Title 1 Parent Involvement Facilitator from the Special Programs department.
GISD is the second-largest district in Dallas County and the twelfth-largest in Texas. We educate 58,000 students at 71 campuses and also offer magnet programming for twelve of their elementary, middle and high schools. Magnet schools provide special programs that aren’t available at other schools. Our magnets cover a wide range of students: gifted/talented, those with a high interest in math, science and technology, fine arts, aptitude for classical studies and students focused on college and career preparation. GISD also offers open-enrollment options for their students and parents can select which school they prefer their child attends.
Previously, we’d been sending out a survey to parents that essentially only measured our school’s climate (i.e., how welcoming is our school, how parents feel about the communication within the school and about access to staff, etc) and not the level of parent support for the student at home. We realized that we needed a new survey in order to measure more in-depth findings. The goal for us is to first find out what the level of parent involvement is, identify areas where we can further support our families, and incorporate that into our parent involvement plans for next year.
Other questions we hope to answer going forward–Are parents able to develop and identify the skills needed to help support their student’s goals and dreams? Is GISD giving parents the information and skills they need to support student achievement? What’s measurable at home when the student is out of class, the intangibles that impact student achievement? It was also important to us that the survey template be research-based because we’re trying to gather information on not only how a parent feels about the campus climate, but on the attitudes, parenting behaviors and expectations which make up the academic socialization in the home that’s so important for secondary achievement.
What do we mean by ‘academic socialization’? Factors such as students internalizing family values regarding the importance of education, developing their own high expectations for achievement, aspirations, and their career goals. We want to link what we’re doing at GISD with the families’ own goals and dreams for their children to improve our students’ educational outcomes.
We discussed creating a new survey that addressed our concerns, but when I was introduced to the K-12 Parent Survey at a Family and Community Engagement mini-conference at the Institute for Educational Leadership in the Fall, I knew we wouldn’t be able to duplicate the amount of research and evaluation that had gone into developing it. We made the survey available in both English and Spanish and we gave our schools the option to choose between sending an online or a paper survey to parents. So far, about 3600 surveys have been returned to us in both formats.
We’re already seeing benefits. A high percentage of parents at one campus reported their children struggle getting organized for school. Recognizing how this affects learning, the principal has already set a goal for next year to address this need. Discussion of strategies for reaching the goal has included collaborating with parents on incorporating new organizational tools for children, creating a daily routine in the classroom around students organizing their school work, homework, and materials, and working with families on the implementation of the new strategies and expectations at home. This goal will be reflected in the campus improvement plan and staff development plan for next year. It will also be included in the parent involvement policy, and the conversation will be extended into parent meetings and parent-teacher conferences in order to reinforce and support change.
This is what we were hoping for: Meaningful feedback from families so that we can respond and provide the support to parents and students that will affect long-term success. Our partnership with SurveyMonkey will help us continue to fulfill our stated mission of ensuring that children in GISD succeed academically with the support of all adults involved.
We’re proud that we can help support the Garland Independent School District in realizing their educational goals and continuing to better students’ lives.
Interested in learning more about Garland Independent School District? Click here.
If you’re a school administrator/educator and are interested in learning how to get started with the Harvard Graduate School of Education K-12 Parent Survey or would like to get in touch with us, please visit our resource page.
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