Schools struggling for feedback with parent surveys

Schools are struggling to obtain feedback in an annual parent survey that gathers information that can drive changes in the Clark County School District.

About 5,900 surveys had been completed by Tuesday, a 2 percent participation rate that falls far short of the 230,000 families in the nation’s fifth-largest school district. And only a few days remain until the Monday deadline.

The district received about twice as many responses in 2012-13 and more than three times as many in 2011-12.

Responses are taken seriously and can result in real change, said Deputy Superintendent Kim Wooden, referencing parents’ overwhelming request a few years ago for more communication about their student and school. The district sought a service to do just that, coming up with ParentLink in 2008. The online system allows parents to log in, receive messages from their school and view updates on their child.

“ParentLink is a direct result,” Wooden said. “Now, they have 24-hour access.”

The district is now using ParentLink messages and automated phone calls to tell every family about the survey, which can be completed online at ccsd.net/parentsurvey. Those with questions or requesting a paper survey can call (702) 799-1187.

“Almost every family has heard about the survey,” Wooden said. “We just need them to do it. We really do want the feedback so we can dive into the data.”

Individual schools want completed surveys as well but need a valid sample size on which to base campus-level decisions, she said. Las Vegas High School, for example, needs 726 parent responses out of 1,835 students.

Parents shouldn’t worry that principals and district leaders can see their responses to the 59-question survey, district spokeswoman Melinda Malone said. Parents must enter their student’s identification number to complete the survey, but that information isn’t kept with the responses. It’s only done at log-in to ensure that district parents are completing surveys and not doing so multiple times.

If more than one child attends the same school, the family can only complete one survey for that school using the oldest child’s identification number.

“Parent surveys provide a guide for us,” Wooden said. “It tells us not only what we’re doing well but where we need to improve.”

Contact Trevon Milliard at tmilliard@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0279. Find him on Twitter: @TrevonMilliard.