Parent Survey

By: Neil Mufson
As you know, in November we conducted a parent survey.  We did so in preparation for our strategic planning process and to see if there were areas that significant numbers of parents felt were in need of improvement.  We also are using the survey results to create a stronger marketing program to increase the school’s enrollment to pre-Great Recession levels.  
Instead of issuing a long and comprehensive report discussing the survey’s overall results, I will be writing several shorter pieces here in our Weekly Calendar. I am hoping this format will increase the number who will become familiar with the results. These pieces, taken together, are what would constitute the longer, comprehensive report.  All of these sections will be archived in their entirety on our website on our “From the Headmaster” page.

This week, in addition to welcoming everyone back to school and to wishing all a healthy, wonderful, successful, and satisfying 2014, I wanted to highlight survey results having to do with what our parents see as the most important components of their children’s elementary and middle school education and how they feel the school is delivering on these components.

Before I get to those details, a bit of background detail.  About 126 of our 148 families completed the survey conducted by Baltimore Research.  Our consultants tell me that this is an astoundingly high completion rate of 85% and that hence the survey results are exceedingly valid.  They also suggested that we exclude the “not applicable” responses and recalculate the percentages accordingly.
This week I am going to focus on the overall, broadest findings of the survey.  The following table details the top 10 components of a child’s education that our parents saw as either “very important” or “important” and the percentage who were either “very satisfied” or “satisfied” with our performance in those areas.

RankingComponent% Reporting This Area is “Very Important” or “Important”% Reporting They Are “Very Satisfied” or “Satisfied”
1strong academics100%93.6%
1quality of teachers100%92%
2strong prep for high school97.7%92.7%
3nurturing environment96.9%86.4%
4individual attention96%84.8%
5small classes95.3%91.2%
5character/values education95.3%86.4%
6motivated, focused students93.7%85.6%
7school safety90.5%91.2%
8life skills, health, drug ed.85.7%86.2%

It is worth noting that of the approximately 1260 responses to these questions, only 1.6% of responses indicated they were to any degree dissatisfied with our performance in any area.  Furthermore, these did not cluster in any particular area or component.

When asked on a scale of 1-10 (with 10 being high) how likely the parent would be to recommend The Country School, the average response was 9.1.  In response to the question “Overall, how satisfied are you with your child’s experience at The Country School?” 92.3% were either “very satisfied” or “satisfied.”  Only one parent (0.9%) responded “somewhat dissatisfied.”  No one said they were either “dissatisfied” or “very dissatisfied.”

The results cited above mirror the results of the survey in general.  An overwhelming majority of our parents are either “very satisfied” or “satisfied” with their children’s Country School experience in all areas.  While individuals noted areas they felt were in need of improvement, there were no consistent areas of deficiency or dissatisfaction identified.  Still, our intention is always to finetune and improve all areas of our performance.  It is good to know, however, that our parents are overwhelmingly supportive of our atmosphere, our program, and our teachers.

The next time I address the survey’s results, I will focus on what we learned about parents’ perceptions about the school’s communications and our perceived performance in the various academic areas.

As always, feel free to contact me if you would like to discuss, or have questions about, any of the survey’s results. 

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