The elementary school population is approximately half white (51%), with somewhat fewer students of color (African American: 8%; Asian: 13%; Hispanic: 18%; Multi-Race, Non-Hispanic: 9%). Compared to these demographics of students, respondents were more likely to be white (69%), and somewhat less likely to be African American (2%), Hispanic (14%), Asian (8%), or multi-racial (7%).
Core Learning Across Academic Disciplines
Of those who responded, a majority of parents across all schools felt that they knew their child’s learning objectives (52 to 80%), that their child was prepared to meet the course expectations (76 to 90%), and that there was adequate support available to their child (61 to 88%) across each of the four major academic disciplines (English, math, science, and social studies). Fewer parents across all schools reported that their child received meaningful homework, with greater agreement with this statement for English and math (53 to 71%) than for science and social studies (19 to 56%). Similarly, more parents agreed that their child received valuable feedback in English and math (56 to 81%) than for science and social studies (38 to 71%). There was less consensus on whether parents were regularly informed of their child’s progress in the core disciplines (45 to 78%) and whether the teacher contacted parents with concerns (35 to 84%), although most parents felt that the teacher was responsive when contacted by the parents with concerns (68 to 91%). Between 25 and 59% of parents reported that the level of challenge and expectations for their child’s learning was somewhat low or much too low across the four core academic disciplines (with only 0 to 14% reporting that the expectations were somewhat high or much too high). Most parents report their child spends 30 minutes to 1 hour (34%) or 1 to 2 hours a night (39%) on homework (with 19% reporting their child spends less than 30 minutes and 8% reporting their child spends more than 2 hours a night).
Of those who responded, the vast majority felt their child feels safe at school (86 to 95%), and that their child was adequately supported on emotional and/or social issues (75 to 84%). Most parents (77%) reported having no areas of concern in terms of safety, and very few (3 to 6%) reported that concerns about safety were not addressed in a timely manner.
Of those who responded, a clear majority report their child is positive about his or her experience in school (78 to 89%), their child has a strong, positive relationship with at least one adult in the building (87 to 98%), the school staff respects cultural/ethnic/gender differences (80 to 94%), their child’s teachers are welcoming when they come to school or call (91 to 98%), and that the office staff is welcoming when they come to school or call (80 to 98%).
Of those who responded, most parents feel that report cards provide an accurate reflection of their child’s progress (77 to 90%), the school’s discipline policy is clear to them (69 to 80%), the school provides information about upcoming events (87 to 100%), and they know how to get the answers to their questions about the school (86 to 97%). Most parents also felt that the school offers them opportunities to be involved in committees (Family-School Partnership, School Council, etc.; 91 to 98%), the school offers them opportunities to be involved in school activities (83 to 96%), they are welcome to volunteer (78 to 98%), and they are given enough information to volunteer effectively (57 to 81%).
These surveys indicate both areas of strength (many) and areas of concern (few). In terms of the strengths, most (75% or more) families feel:
- they can be involved in schools (PGOs, School Councils, activities)
- they are welcome to volunteer at their child’s school
- they know how to get their questions answered
- they receive information about school events
- reports cards accurately reflect their child’s progress
- teachers and staff are welcoming
- child feels safe at school
- child has a positive relationship with at least one adult at school
- school respects cultural/ethnic/gender differences
- concerns are addressed in a timely matter
- child receives adequate emotional support at school.
In terms of areas in which to improve, there are the following issues:
- only 53 to 71% of families feel their child receives meaningful homework in English and math across all four schools
- only 19 to 56% of families feel their child receives meaningful homework in science and social studies across all four schools
- in the four core academic disciplines across all four schools, between 25% and 59% of respondents see level of expectations and challenge as too low (somewhat low or much too low).