Peabody-Burns Elementary School Principal Ken Parry said he was nervous to receive the results of a survey distributed to parents and students by the school’s site council.
Surveys were mailed to every family with a child in PBES, but of the 74 mailed only 21 were returned.
“I’d like to see that go up,” Parry said.
Surveys also were completed by 34 kindergarten through second-grade students and 57 from third through fifth-grade students.
“It had questions about me on there and I was nervous to see how I was perceived,” he said.
While Parry received high marks across the board for respect, availability, communication, and care, other aspects of the school need a bit of improvement.
“I thought the survey was overall positive,” Parry said. “There are areas we need to work on definitely, but there were no overwhelming negative responses in any category.”
The majority of students responded they enjoyed going to school, with 100 percent of third through fifth-grade students saying they feel there is an adult at school that they can talk to when they have a problem.
“That’s something that is very good to see,” Parry said.
Areas for improvement for Parry are in communication between teachers, parents, and administrators, as well as informing parents about safety procedures, and making sure students know the consequences of their actions.
“I feel like a lot of these things we could improve by simply communicating with everyone better,” Parry said. “We’ve been already working on ways to help parents feel more involved.”
School safety is also somewhere Parry hopes to improve upon. The majority of students surveyed kindergarten through second-grade say they feel safe in school, but 38 percent say they don’t know what to do if they are bullied.
Students in third through fifth-grades said that while bullying isn’t a problem, 44 percent said teasing is, and 36 percent said students don’t follow rules.
The site council is working on compiling a consistent discipline plan and a possible reward system for students who follow the rules.
“We’d like this area to be 100 percent strongly agree, but that may never happen in my lifetime,” he said. “It’s too situational of a section, but there is always room for improvement.”
The majority of parents and students believed the school was meeting students’ social and emotional needs, with only a handful of negative responses. However, 27 percent of students third through fifth grades responded that students did not respect each other at school.
School lunches across the board received the most negative responses.
“We need to dig deeper into that and see if it’s because we’re serving things they don’t like or if it’s the government regulations that are making our lunches score low with students,” he said. “If it’s something like we’re serving a lot of Mexican food and the kids don’t like it, then it’s something we can easily change.”
Parry said he and the site council are currently discussing options to help make lunches better for students.
Overall parents gave a favorable rating of the school with 82 percent saying they would give the school an A or B rating, and only 5 percent saying a D. To improve that score Parry is recommending teachers contact parents to share bad and good information and to use the school alert system more often to keep parents informed.
Teachers also for the most part received favorable ratings with the vast majority of parents saying teachers do a good job in all subjects. Art and physical education followed by writing had the most negative ratings. The site council is assessing the possibility of adding formal art instruction, Parry said.
“I was pleasantly surprised at the responses,” Parry said. “We’re a public school so I think it is important to get the public’s input on how they thing we’re doing and things they think we could improve on.”
He plans to conduct a similar survey every year to assist the school’s progress at improvement.
“The surveys are anonymous, but if someone has a specific issue or item they think we should be working on they can always contact me,” he said.