The Port Washington School District’s second Panorama Education survey was sent to parents, staff and students, Superintendent Michael Hynes announced.
The district conducted its first survey last May. It assessed satisfaction on specific topics for each group. (Some topics, such as school climate, safety and “grit,” did overlap in multiple surveys.)
“I promise you it only took you a few minutes to complete. We really want to increase parent participation compared to where we were last year in the spring,” said Hynes. “So for parents out there, thank you in advance, because every single response makes this survey more accurate. And, of course, it allows us to reflect as to how we can improve what we’re doing within our school system.”
Hynes said the survey is anonymous. It will be open until Jan. 23.
The survey provider then provides benchmarks for comparing the district’s results to those of over 3,000 schools and 2 million students, family members and staff members nationwide.
Sean Feeney, an assistant superintendent, presented the findings of the first survey at November’s State of the District meeting. While students in grades three through five, as well as staff, had answers that were average or above average versus the national average in satisfaction, the other groups’ answers ranked mostly below average.
“We’ve got to address these problems that might pop up in the survey,” said Feeney. “And clearly there are some, right? We’re putting it out there, we’re not hiding any of the unfavorable responses, because this becomes our baseline now. We’re looking to improve and we’ve got action plans in place.”
In the most extreme case, the district polled parents on engagement barriers, family engagement, school climate, fit and safety. Compared to the national average, all five answers fell between the 0th and 39th percentiles. Three questions fell between the 0th and 19th percentiles: barriers to engagement, climate and fit.
About 23% of families responded to the survey. This was over 60% lower than the participation rates of students at 85% and staff at 87%.
Feeney said the data requires context and cautioned against panic.
“There are certainly some things we need to do and even if we have a very favorable result — 75% lands in the top quintile — what’s happening with that missing 25%?” he said. “There’s work to be done both on the high end and the lower end of those surveys. Which is the value of giving it again.”
The next school board meeting is Jan. 31 at 7:30 p.m. in the Schreiber Auditorium.