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Menlo Park City School District is first in Bay Area to use survey developed by Harvard

by Linda Hubbard Gulker on January 31, 2013

The Menlo Park City School District is the first in the Bay Area to launch the innovative Harvard Graduate School of Education Parent Survey. The survey, which will be distributed to the parents of the district’s more than 2,700 K-8 students, attempts to identify potential communication gaps between parents and educators, and evaluates crucial areas of improvement to assess what factors matter most in determining student success.

“We strive to work as a community to inspire high academic achievement among all students, serve their needs, challenge their minds, and enrich their lives,” said MPCSD Superintendent Maurice Ghysels, Ed.D. “Parents are obviously a critical part of this community, which supports and values staying current on the latest thinking, trying new ways to reach students, and taking the initiative to develop and share best practices. The survey aligns with this effort, and will inform our five year strategic plan, helping lay a strong foundation for success for all students.”

The survey, a template for which is available to all schools through SurveyMonkey, will enable the MPCSD to rapidly analyze all aspects of the parent-school relationship for its four K-8 schools – Laurel, Encinal, Oak Knoll, and Hillview Middle School – and determine which of seven key areas need the most improvement to benefit students’ success:

  1. Parental support – How much help are students getting at home?
  2. Child behaviors – What habits have students developed that shape their success?
  3. Parent engagement – How engaged are parents in their child’s schooling, and what potential barriers exist?
  4. Parent self-efficacy – How confident are parents in supporting their child’s schooling?
  5. School climate – How do parents view their school regarding academic and social standards?
  6. School program fit – How well do a school’s academic program, social climate, and organizational structure match a student’s needs?
  7. Parent roles and responsibilities – How do parents view their roles as well as teachers’ roles in different aspects of their child’s schooling?

To create the survey, MPCSD worked with SurveyMonkey to customize the Harvard Graduate School of Education template, developed by SurveyMonkey and Harvard researchers who extensively reviewed relevant literature for each assessment area, conducted interviews and focus groups, and had each item in the survey scale reviewed by a panel of experts.


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