Survey: Parents less satisfied

Safety and food quality top list of their concerns

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Students need more homework.

They need less.

Some parents feel schools seek and use their input. Others feel communication needs vast improvement.

Zero tolerance policies need to be eliminated.

They need to be enforced.

Comments listed on this year's Moffat County School District were as varied as the students.

Each year for the past three years, the School Accountability Committee has asked parents for their input on issues ranging from school safety to curriculum.

This year's results showed a slight decline in satisfaction -- with safety and food quality topping the list of issues across the district.

Elementary schools had high showings across the board, with concerns growing among parents of students in fifth through 12th grades.

"This data is not scientific by any means," Superintendent of Schools Pete Bergmann said, "but it does indicate a trend. The whole purpose is to keep a pulse on schools and get input from parents."

The results are compiled to give results for individual school performance and on a districtwide scale. They are reviewed by the School Accountability Committee, which makes recommendations to the school board.

Last year's results showed that parents were concerned that their children had too much or too little homework. That response drove the SAC to conduct a homework study. The results of that study will be reviewed in June and the committee will begin work on recommendations it makes to the school board in terms of districtwide guidelines.

The results of the parental survey also are distributed to each school's principal.

"Then they'll hopefully work on areas of concern," SAC committee member Kim Norris said.

The committee is made up of parents from each Moffat County school.

Areas that concerned committee members included the number of negative comments about students being bullied in schools and on buses and the decline in satisfaction as children progressed through the school system.

"The bus safety issue surprised me the most," Norris said. "There were a lot of bullying issues that I thought had been resolved."

Positive comments from the survey included praise of teachers, the curriculum and the team teaching concept.

"Although there has been negativeness spread about this school system, I feel that they are putting forth effort to meet the academic goals," one Craig Middle School parent wrote.

One concern stated by several parents was consistency of discipline, urging schools to establish policies and stick to them.

"This shows our strengths and weaknesses and allows us to set goals to address our weaknesses," Bergmann said.

SAC members are refining the survey. It was changed slightly from last year, so the results are assumed to be slightly skewed.

The survey was distributed at parent/teacher conferences and through the mail to some parents. Return rates ranged from a low of 23 percent at Moffat County High School to a high of 65 percent at East Elementary School.

Maybell Elementary School had a 90 percent return with 9 parents turning in surveys for the 10-student class.

"This survey is just another way of having better communication between the schools and parents," SAC member Pam Hastings said. "Then, you can tell by the results where there's room for improvement."

Christina M. Currie can be reached at 824-7031, ext. 210, or at ccurrie@craigdailypress.com.

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