Schools' parent survey covers event, engagement needs

Carson City School District administration building.

Carson City School District administration building.

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Results from the Carson City School District’s 2023-24 Parent and Family Engagement Survey showed families would like to see the district improve transportation or scheduling for events, communication and student safety.

The Board of Trustees received a presentation from Merri Pray, CCSD professional learning and family engagement coordinator, and Megan Newman, engagement and attendance specialist. Pray and Newman said the survey was administered twice through the district’s ParentSquare platform and received 89 responses with 84 from English-speaking families and five from Spanish-speaking families. Administrators asked where students attended school and at what level.

The survey, which helps the district gauge family levels of satisfaction and build on its partnerships after determining where to make improvements in academic or services, covered various topics about attending district-sponsored events, engagement in activities, the best times to participate in events and whether they felt their child’s school engages them as partners in their success.

Written responses addressed free transportation would be helpful to students and families to school events.

When asked about barriers for inclusion at events or in participating with their child, common responses included work schedules, conflicting events at other schools or in the community, language, lack of interest in the subject matter or financial, such as not having the funds to spend at book fairs.

Pray and Newman also reported said parent-teacher conferences were the biggest invitational event attended by families, including back to school nights and open house events, and while attendance generally is high during the elementary level, it tends to taper off in the middle and high schools.

Although some survey respondents were unclear about what constituted a district-sponsored event over a school event, 61.9% of the 84 English respondents said they had attended a district event, with 28.6% saying they had not and 8.3% answering “maybe.” For the five Spanish-speaking respondents, 60% said they had not attended an event while 40% said they had.

Pray said Spanish-speaking families would like to see more connection through parenting classes or multicultural activities.

Others answered they would like to see more family reading or math nights with their children.

Respondents also said they would more information available from the district about helping their child cope with issues of anxiety or preventing vaping, becoming more confident in school and offering more active shooter drills.

Trustee Mike Walker, after Pray and Newman’s presentation, said he felt one of the strengths of the district was the schools’ planning of family engagement activities but felt some families weren’t always aware of what happens at their site and asked how they might be better communicated to parents on a broader level.

Trustee Laurel Crossman suggested next year, the survey should be a part of students’ back-to-school registration.

“We have ParentSquare,” Walker said. “But it comes down to picking a platform. … Some parents don’t know how to navigate these things.”


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