Positive and Affirming Parent Feedback

Seeking feedback is an essential aspect of continuous school improvement and practice, something we believe strongly in. Over the past years, there have been several occasions where we have invited formal parent feedback including the strategic planning process, Student-Teacher-Parent conferences, communicating student learning, and during our swift shift to remote learning last spring. We continue to engage faculty and students, as well, in feedback on this year’s experience for our future planning.

Before the Winter Break, we sent out a Parent Satisfaction Survey with report cards to allow families to reflect on the return to in-person learning. We understand that everyone has been required to do things differently this year, and this has certainly not come without stressors and anxiety as our school responds educationally during this pandemic.

We felt that December was an ideal time to take the pulse of our parents on a few things: COVID response protocols, communication from the school, and the student experience in the learning process. This information allows us to continue examining how we are proceeding through these extraordinary times in addition to considering potential alterations.

The Parent Satisfaction Survey ran between December 10 and January 5. Although the participation rate was lower than we wished for, the results from parents in all three schools were overwhelmingly positive and the commentary praised our efforts as a school community under these extraordinary circumstances.

The following provides a snapshot of the survey results:

  • 94% of respondents were either satisfied or very satisfied with the school’s return to in-person learning plan this term;
  • 94% of respondents indicated their child was satisfied or very satisfied in attending school in person;
  • 87% of respondents indicated their child felt a sense of belonging to the school;
  • 90% of respondents indicated that they were satisfied or very satisfied with the general learning experience of their child;
  • 82% of respondents indicated they were satisfied or very satisfied with their child’s connection with key adults in the community;
  • 82% of respondents indicated they were satisfied or very satisfied with the modified extracurricular opportunities under the current situation;
  • 74% of parents indicated they felt their child’s workload was just right;
  • The majority of respondents were either satisfied or very satisfied with our school communications (e.g. from Directors, the Head of School and the SMUS Weekly) and our COVID-19 safety protocols.

Not only did the commentary provide us with positive feedback, there were many helpful suggestions. For example, we learned that some parents are looking for more opportunities to connect with teachers for quick discussions about student progress in learning. This is a topic that we have been exploring, given we cannot hold in-person conferences this year.

While we welcome connection from parents at any time throughout the year, we recognize that a formal process is desired. We are currently considering how we might accomplish this using technology. More information will be forthcoming.

Additional comments and suggestions were submitted that are also under consideration. While there remain limitations due to the pandemic and related Provincial Health Authority restrictions, we still endeavour to always model a growth mindset in our teaching and learning practices. In our classrooms we speak to the students about having growth mindsets. It is only fitting for the adults to model it as well, pandemic or not.

Thank you to everyone who participated and submitted feedback. We are indebted to the SMUS community in this time of uncertainty for your patience, creativity, and partnership in learning. As James Joyce wrote in Ulysses, “To learn one must be humble. But life is the great teacher.”

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