Tuesday, April 27, 2010

D-200 SpEc survey results

Just prior to spring break in the Woodstock (Ill.) School District 200, parents of students in special education were offered an opportunity to participate in a survey that asked their interest in a Parent Advisory Council and/or a Parent Support Group.

As of Monday, 61 surveys had been received. Fifty-four (54) indicated an interest; seven (7) said they were not interested.

The first question that came to my mind was, where are the other 600-700 surveys? There are over 1,000 students in Special Education in Woodstock D-200. Because the survey was handed out (not mailed) by teachers at parent-teacher conferences, IEPs and Annual Reviews, it seems to me that 200-300-400 could have been returned, if there had been strong teacher encouragement.

At one school the surveys were merely placed on a table in a common area. At at least one conference, no mention of the survey was made to the parents. I know; I was there with the student's parents.

One parent told me today that, when the survey was handed to her, the teacher said, "You probably don't want to fill this out. You can take it with you, if you want, and mail it back."

I suggested that another survey needs to go to all the parents who didn't respond. I don't think they'd get mad, do you? Most parents want to express their opinions about their childrens' education.

On the second survey, I would inquire why they didn't respond to the first and offer some possible choices:
__ I really am NOT interested in either group
__ Never saw the first survey
__ Took the first one home but lost it
__ Didn't think my opinion would be listened to
__ What's the use? Nothing is going to change
__ Teacher told me not to bother filling it out
__ Other: ________________________________

As far as I know, the survey was prepared only in English. I'd love to be wrong about this. If it was in English only, exactly how where the parents who don't speak English surveyed?

D-200 will now announce an organization meeting of parents. Meeting time preferences were about equally divided between 6:00-7:00PM and 7:00-8:00PM. Personally, a one-hour meeting is not long enough to accomplish much.

The areas of parent interest were varied and provide enough "meat" for years of programs. The interests will be the topic of a different article.

Many thanks to the 61 parents who returned the surveys. Please spread the word about this blog and the upcoming programs at District 200. There will be strong parent leadership and involvement. Come and play an important part.

These will not be dull, dreary, boring, get-talked-to meetings. These will be your meetings!

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