Survey reveals what community members think about our schools
The Lenawee County Superintendents Association released results on Friday, Feb. 8, of its 2012 Community Survey. The survey gave Lenawee County respondents an opportunity to grade education in the Lenawee Intermediate School District (LISD) service area in several categories. “Every school district in the county had families contacted, and the local districts received data pertaining to their own schools,” said Mike Osborne, Supt. of the Hudson and Morenci school districts and member of the Superintendents Association Cooperative Services Committee.LISD Supt. Jim Philp cautioned that the survey results were not meant for district to district comparison, however. “The survey was designed to look at the results countywide,” he said. “Right now our schools are having to make some really difficult decisions, especially in the area of personnel, and I think the community sees that.” The questionnaire was developed by the independent research firm Banach, Banach and Cassidy following input from the county superintendents. Respondents were asked to use the traditional A, B, C, D, and F-scale to grade the school district in which they reside, all things considered. Seventy-seven percent of respondents gave their school district a grade of A or B.In addition to providing an overall grade for the school district in which they reside, survey respondents were asked to assign grades to six other aspects of their school district. The six areas that were rated and received the respective A/B grades were:• The quality of the educational program• The quality of teaching• The quality of principals and other administrators• The way the school district prepares students for college• The way the school district prepares students for careers and the world of work• The School BoardThe superintendents said the survey came about after some discussions a couple of years ago during a heavy advertising season as schools competed with each other for students. “Discussion came out of that, Osborne said. “We were wanting to know where our communities stood on these issues, including why parents relocate a student, and we wanted to understand where they were and how we could respond to their concerns,” he said. He added that he believed some very good information was gained through the survey, such as learning more about how constituents received their information about the schools. Whereas newspapers used to top the list, many people, especially parents, look to the school district’s website now. There was also some discussion at the press conference about how respondents are still protective of maintaining their district’s unique identities, especially in the area of athletics. Many did favor consolidation in various areas, however, such as food service and transportation. “We have engaged in a number of cooperative efforts, but we need to do more,” said Philp. The survey also asked some questions about their perceptions of the LISD TECH Center. “As many would suspect, the TECH Center is highly valued and appreciated by both parents and non-parents,” said Jim Hartley, Supt. of the Madison School District.Results of the survey and an Executive Summary of Findings may be found on the LISD’s website at www.lisd.us. Each district paid approximately $2,000 toward the project.