District 834 assigns itself homework
Administrators at Stillwater Area Public Schools have given themselves a homework assignment: gather feedback from parents about both the school district and about how families make school selection decisions. With the help of St. Paul based research firm e.g. Insight, who has donated its professional services, the school district will conduct a two-pronged research effort. The project will include both a Parent Feedback Survey, which will be a web-based survey for parents of students enrolled in the district; and a School Selection Survey, a telephone survey of parents who have selected to enter or exit the district for a public school outside their home district. Due date for the three-week survey phase: April 18.
"This project will give Stillwater Area Public Schools the ability to gather real data directly from parents that will help us strengthen how we serve our students," said Superintendent Keith Ryskoski. "We are grateful for this rare opportunity to conduct the type of market research that often is commonplace for private sector organizations."
Both the Parent Feedback and the School Selection surveys will be administered during the first three weeks of April. Based on initial findings, e.g. Insight will then conduct two rounds of focus groups to gather additional information about key topics identified during the survey phase.
Grading the school district
The Parent Feedback Survey will ask parents of students currently enrolled in the district to evaluate candidly and anonymously how well Stillwater Area Public Schools is meeting the educational needs of their children. Respondents will get the chance to grade the school district on the quality of education it provides to current students.
Parents of children currently enrolled in Stillwater Area Public Schools are encouraged to visit the school district website between April 1 through 18 to participate in the survey (www.stillwater.k12.mn.us).
The School Selection Survey will provide Stillwater Area Public Schools with specific information about how parents make the very important decision of choosing a school for their child(ren).
"We have students from other districts enrolling into Stillwater Area Public Schools, and we have local students opting to enroll into other public schools," continued Ryskoski. "We respect the right of all parents to choose the best school environment for their child, and we are very interested in learning what factors weigh into this selection process."
A randomly selected sample of approximately 250 parents will be invited to participate anonymously in the voluntary telephone survey. These parents represent a group whose children attend Stillwater Area Public Schools even though they live outside the district, or who live within the district and have chosen an alternate public school.
"Stillwater Area Public Schools provides high quality, innovative, challenging education where all learners are valued and respected." (They) serve over 9,000 students in early childhood, k-12 and special education; combined with offerings from Community Education programs and services for learners of all ages. Stillwater is Minnesota's first school district and covers approximately 150 square miles serving students and residents from 18 communities.