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The District Management Council 70 Franklin St. Boston MA, 02110 Tel: 877.DMC.3500 www.dmcouncil.org Fairfax County Public Schools Trust and Confidence.

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Presentation on theme: "The District Management Council 70 Franklin St. Boston MA, 02110 Tel: 877.DMC.3500 www.dmcouncil.org Fairfax County Public Schools Trust and Confidence."— Presentation transcript:

1 The District Management Council 70 Franklin St. Boston MA, Tel: 877.DMC Fairfax County Public Schools Trust and Confidence Survey Results November 15, 2011

2 2 Trust and Confidence in Fairfax County Public Schools Survey objectives What is in this report? This report highlights findings from an online survey distributed to parents of Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) and non-parent taxpayers of Fairfax County via the public library database. The survey is a snapshot in time of general perceptions of FCPS and will be carried out annually. What are we trying to explain? This survey had four sequential objectives culminating in determining the overall level of trust and confidence of parents and non-parent taxpayers in FCPS. AccessUnderstandingAgreementTrust Access to the information provided by FCPS Level of understanding of the information provided by FCPS Agreement with decisions and decision-making process made by FCPS Overall trust and confidence in current decisions and future decisions to be made by FCPS

3 3 Trust and Confidence in Fairfax County Public Schools Survey methods What were the respondent characteristics considered in this survey? Parent or non-parent identification If parent, then level of school of current student Geographic residence (by zip code) How were the questions developed? The questions used to measure overall trust and confidence were derived from best practice surveys used in public school districts combined with tailored questions from the Department of Communications and Community Outreach (DCCO). The resulting multi-item scales meet the conventional standard for reliability. The scale used included: Strongly Disagree, Disagree, Agree, Strongly Agree, Don’t have enough information to make an assessment. Questions on the extent of access of information 1. I receive the information I want or need about the school system 2. I receive specific information regarding FCPS’ progress towards meeting its goals and priorities 3. I am informed in a timeline manner of major decisions made by FCPS 4. Extent of access to various sources of information Questions on the level of understanding 1. The district has made progress in students’ academic skills 2. The district has made progress in students’ gaining essential life skills 3. The district has made progress in students’ understanding of their responsibility to the community Questions on the level of agreement 1. FCPS is providing students with the right education for the 21 st century 2. The quality of education has improved in FCPS over the past 2 years 3. FCPS respects the cultural diversity of students and their families 4. FCPS is innovative 5. FCPS school system leaders make decisions that reflect the community’s values Questions on the level of trust and confidence in FCPS 1. FCPS principals and asst. principals are effective instructional leaders for teachers and staff 2. FCPS teachers are effective in preparing students for the future 3. FCPS operates in the best interest of all students 4. School system leaders make decisions that are fair for all students 5. FCPS manages its budget responsibly 6. Extent of trust in information sources 7. FCPS is a trustworthy public institution

4 4 Trust and Confidence in Fairfax County Public Schools Survey respondent data The survey was distributed via the following sources: Parents: 5,000 individual randomly selected s Library Patrons: 150,000 individual s Other categories: former parent, private school parent, alumni of FCPS, parent of future student, grandparent or student of FCPS 8 parents responded to the Korean-language survey 29 parents and 2 non-parents responded to the Spanish-language survey Number of respondents Percent of total respondents A non-parent taxpayer in Fairfax County 6,17737% A parent of a student in FCPS6,77340% Other3,93323%

5 5 Trust and Confidence in Fairfax County Public Schools Table of contents Trust in Fairfax County Public Schools Information that supports trust Access Understanding Agreement Focus group comments

6 6 Trust and Confidence in Fairfax County Public Schools FCPS is a trustworthy public institution. Strongly Agree AgreeDisagree Strongly Disagree Not Enough Info Grand Total Parent1,3213, ,398 Non-Parent8301, ,1614,235 Total2,1514, ,6039,633 Parents: 81% agree / 10% disagree Non-parents: 63% agree / 10% disagree

7 7 Trust and Confidence in Fairfax County Public Schools FCPS is providing students with the right education for the 21 st century. Strongly Agree AgreeDisagree Strongly Disagree Not Enough Info Grand Total Parent1,4942, ,398 Non-Parent8611, ,4174,235 Total2,3554, ,7399,633 Parents: 80% agree / 14% disagree Non-parents: 55% agree / 11% disagree

8 8 Trust and Confidence in Fairfax County Public Schools FCPS teachers are effective in preparing students for the future. Strongly Agree AgreeDisagree Strongly Disagree Not Enough Info Grand Total Parent1,4362, ,398 Non-Parent8451, ,5264,235 Total2,2814, ,8539,633 Parents: 81% agree / 14% disagree Non-parents: 54% agree / 10% disagree

9 9 Trust and Confidence in Fairfax County Public Schools FCPS principals and assistant principals are effective instructional leaders for teachers and staff. Strongly Agree AgreeDisagree Strongly Disagree Not Enough Info Grand Total Parent1,2852, ,398 Non-Parent4661, ,0984,235 Total1,7513, ,9979,633 Parents: 69% agree / 14% disagree Non-parents: 39% agree / 12% disagree

10 10 Trust and Confidence in Fairfax County Public Schools FCPS operates in the best interests of all students. Strongly Agree AgreeDisagree Strongly Disagree Not Enough Info Grand Total Parent8202,6451, ,398 Non-Parent4971, ,4424,235 Total1,3174,0931, ,8829,633 Parents: 64% agree / 28% disagree Non-parents: 46% agree / 21% disagree

11 11 Trust and Confidence in Fairfax County Public Schools Table of contents Trust in Fairfax County Public Schools Information that supports trust Access Understanding Agreement Focus group comments

12 12 Trust and Confidence in Fairfax County Public Schools I receive the information I want or need about the school system. Strongly Agree AgreeDisagree Strongly Disagree Not Enough Info Grand Total Parent1,6953, ,398 Non-Parent5591, ,2024,235 Total2,2544,7631, ,3479,633 Parents: 87% agree / 10% disagree Non-parents: 54% agree / 18% disagree

13 13 Trust and Confidence in Fairfax County Public Schools Trusted sources of information about FCPS ParentsNon-parents

14 14 Trust and Confidence in Fairfax County Public Schools I receive specific information regarding FCPS’ progress towards meeting its goals and priorities. Strongly Agree AgreeDisagree Strongly Disagree Not Enough Info Grand Total Parent9912,6221, ,398 Non-Parent , ,6094,235 Total1,3063,5362, ,1849,633 Parents: 67% agree / 23% disagree Non-parents: 29% agree / 33% disagree

15 15 Trust and Confidence in Fairfax County Public Schools I am informed in a timely manner of major decisions made by FCPS. Strongly Agree AgreeDisagree Strongly Disagree Not Enough Info Grand Total Parent1,3132, ,398 Non-Parent3441, ,5594,235 Total1,6573,9111, ,9319,633 Parents: 76% agree / 16% disagree Non-parents: 34% agree / 29% disagree

16 16 Trust and Confidence in Fairfax County Public Schools What information would you like to receive about FCPS? The majority of respondents wanted more information around the district’s focus and practices around Standards of Learning (SOLs) and testing The next most common requested topic was details around FCPS’ curriculum choices Other topics of interest for more information were (in order of frequency) : the School Board Student performance / grades / achievement FCPS Budget Discipline policies Principal decisions Superintendent / central office Diversity / minority-related issues Technology use

17 17 Trust and Confidence in Fairfax County Public Schools Table of contents Trust in Fairfax County Public Schools Information that supports trust Access Understanding Agreement Focus group comments

18 18 Trust and Confidence in Fairfax County Public Schools The district has made progress in students’ academic skills. Strongly Agree AgreeDisagree Strongly Disagree Not Enough Info Grand Total Parent6572, ,4575,398 Non-Parent3701, ,1914,235 Total1,0273,7411, ,6489,633 Parents: 58% agree / 15% disagree Non-parents: 39% agree / 10% disagree

19 19 Trust and Confidence in Fairfax County Public Schools The district has made progress in students’ gaining essential life skills. Strongly Agree AgreeDisagree Strongly Disagree Not Enough Info Grand Total Parent5222, ,5755,398 Non-Parent ,3354,235 Total7963,1831, ,9109,633 Parents: 51% agree / 20% disagree Non-parents: 29% agree / 15% disagree

20 20 Trust and Confidence in Fairfax County Public Schools The district has made progress in students’ understanding of their responsibility to the community. Strongly Agree AgreeDisagree Strongly Disagree Not Enough Info Grand Total Parent6592, ,4265,398 Non-Parent ,3274,235 Total9363,3181, ,7539,633 Parents: 56% agree / 18% disagree Non-parents: 29% agree / 15% disagree

21 21 Trust and Confidence in Fairfax County Public Schools Table of contents Trust in Fairfax County Public Schools Information that supports trust Access Understanding Agreement Focus group comments Appendix

22 22 Trust and Confidence in Fairfax County Public Schools The quality of education has improved in FCPS over the past 2 years. Strongly Agree AgreeDisagree Strongly Disagree Not Enough Info Grand Total Parent5261,5541, ,8225,398 Non-Parent ,6984,235 Total7982,1731, ,5209,633 Parents: 39% agree / 28% disagree Non-parents: 21% agree / 15% disagree

23 23 Trust and Confidence in Fairfax County Public Schools School system leaders make decisions that are fair for all students. Strongly Agree AgreeDisagree Strongly Disagree Not Enough Info Grand Total Parent6242,3011, ,398 Non-Parent3481, ,6814,235 Total9723,4692, ,4109,633 Parents: 55% agree / 33% disagree Non-parents: 36% agree / 25% disagree

24 24 Trust and Confidence in Fairfax County Public Schools FCPS manages its budget responsibly. Strongly Agree AgreeDisagree Strongly Disagree Not Enough Info Grand Total Parent6102, ,3185,398 Non-Parent3401, ,7824,235 Total9503,6991, ,1009,633 Parents: 55% agree / 20% disagree Non-parents: 39% agree / 20% disagree

25 25 Trust and Confidence in Fairfax County Public Schools FCPS respects the cultural diversity of students and their families. Strongly Agree AgreeDisagree Strongly Disagree Not Enough Info Grand Total Parent2,2112, ,398 Non-Parent1,1771, ,4604,235 Total3,3883, ,9279,633 Parents: 86% agree / 6% disagree Non-parents: 61% agree / 4% disagree

26 26 Trust and Confidence in Fairfax County Public Schools FCPS is innovative. Strongly Agree AgreeDisagree Strongly Disagree Not Enough Info Grand Total Parent1,0452, ,398 Non-Parent6211, ,6494,235 Total1,6664,0181, ,3869,633 Parents: 66% agree / 20% disagree Non-parents: 49% agree / 12% disagree

27 27 Trust and Confidence in Fairfax County Public Schools FCPS school system leaders make decisions that reflect the community’s values. Strongly Agree AgreeDisagree Strongly Disagree Not Enough Info Grand Total Parent7002, ,398 Non-Parent3911, ,6954,235 Total1,0914,1061, ,5529,633 Parents: 62% agree / 21% disagree Non-parents: 43% agree / 17% disagree

28 28 Trust and Confidence in Fairfax County Public Schools Table of contents Trust in Fairfax County Public Schools Information that supports trust Access Understanding Agreement Focus group comments

29 29 Trust and Confidence in Fairfax County Public Schools Parent Focus Group Comments What are the strengths of FCPS? Safe, clean schools Good education and dedicated teachers Substantial resources for students Great reputation within Virginia and nationally that draws exceptional parents and students to the district The district feels welcoming to new parents What are the areas of improvement for FCPS? Concerned that FCPS is becoming a business and not a community-parent based institution Some initiatives go under the radar such as the decreasing honors programs in the district Too much trimming on the budget and parents do not know how decisions are being made on these items (this includes the thought process for and not only who is making decisions) Schools are not being treated equally in terms of funding, programming and class-sizes

30 30 Trust and Confidence in Fairfax County Public Schools Parent Focus Group Comments What are the characteristics of a trustworthy school district? Transparency and accessibility Strength of teachers Team environment Respect from the top all the way to the teacher level Honesty – be open about what is not working so parents can engage in developing solutions Parents must feel like valued partners Parents feel that trust in FCPS comes largely from great student outcomes derived from great teachers and a rigorous education Impressions on general access to information Information is not always user-friendly: There is a lot of information being distributed but does not allow the average parent to easily understand the big picture, the current news or the most relevant issues Many invitations to meetings but it is unclear whether the topic would be of interest to a particular parent Access and understanding of budget and student achievement in FCPS Parents know they have access to budget information but are not equipped to understand the information FCPS only communicates the positive information on student achievement but parents want to hear about the challenges and the solutions Regarding student goals: had not heard of the specific goals before but can see how those goals are reflected in the curriculum

31 31 Trust and Confidence in Fairfax County Public Schools Business and Community Representatives Focus Group Comments What are the strengths of FCPS? Parents are educated and engaged FCPS has the necessary resources to be successful Advanced academic program which draws great parents Special education services are also strong Wonderfully talented students, teachers and parents What are areas of improvement for FCPS? Responsiveness to requests for data and district-level issues This may not be able to change but FCPS is constrained by the state in terms of innovation and choice Trust between parent groups / teacher groups and the district. Also, district trust IN parent and teacher groups to be representative. The district is too centralized when parent populations want more differentiation (of students and of schools) Demand to be heard is a lot higher at FCPS than in other districts FCPS needs to look at stakeholders as decision-makers too which can prevent a lot of the parent reactive backlash Lack of understanding and lack of consistent messaging causes a limited sense of credibility of central office

32 32 Trust and Confidence in Fairfax County Public Schools Business and Community Representatives Focus Group Comments What makes a trustworthy public school district? Open dialogue and true collaboration Concessions are made by the district and is therefore representative of cooperation Follow-up with parents and community members Good communications Trust in FCPS comes because stakeholders know FCPS operates with good intentions but they would like to see a greater effort in engaging in meaningful dialogue with community groups Impressions on access to information There is a high level of information being distributed but limited understanding therefore groups are creating and sharing their own interpretations which can lead to widespread misunderstanding It is hard to find specific information when you need it Access and understanding of budget management and student achievement Unclear how specific management decisions were made concerning the budget on specific programs Most parents don’t need details, they need to know what the return on their investment is and how their money is being invested Achievement has not improved because class sizes are increasing across the district Advanced programs have been watered down as more and more students are involved limiting overall achievement The district has left out the “middle” students: provides great support for special needs and academically advanced but no supports for the middle and they are falling behind

33 33 Trust and Confidence in Fairfax County Public Schools FCPS Teachers and Employees Focus Group Comments What are the strengths of FCPS? Exceptional special education programs Great programs for academically advanced Professional development for teachers is very high Focus on lowering class sizes and increase staff at high risk schools Cluster-level information and support What are the areas of improvement for FCPS? Schools need updated technology especially to support a 21 st century education Too much emphasis on Standards of Learning (SOLs) as a primary indicator of student success Achievement gap still exists despite efforts to eliminate it Not everyone has a pre-K foundation and therefore are further behind at the start and continue to fall behind Little understanding of how budget decisions are made especially with regards to certain programs Parents have a low level understanding of curriculum and academic achievement levels and

34 34 Trust and Confidence in Fairfax County Public Schools FCPS Teachers and Employees Focus Group Comments What makes a trustworthy school system? Focus on teacher development (professional development) Professionalism from every level (central office, school level, teachers and parents) Consistency of communicated priorities and visible practices A consensus on the goals for the school district – if it is to eliminate achievement gap then community should be prepared to align financial resources to this goal Staff believe that trust in FCPS comes from its commitment to support and develop staff but believe greater consistency in messaging could increase overall trust School-level engagement of parents and communities Schools conduct surveys of teachers, students and parents on specific issues as needed Instructional committees at schools often have parent participants Parents are involved in principal selection so there is a high level of accountability to the community Most parents ask about: Discipline issues and policies International Baccalaureate programs Extra-curricular program information Concerns about “regular” programming – that money is being invested in advanced programs and remediation programs but is consistently taking funds from support to regular programs

35 35 Trust and Confidence in Fairfax County Public Schools Takeaways from the Survey We now have a baseline to measure against. Strong trust from parents and non-parents on FCPS: As a trustworthy public institution Providing students with the right education for the 21 st century Teachers effectively preparing students for the future Respecting the cultural diversity of students and families Parents receive the information they want or need about FCPS Parents trust FCPS, their local school, friends/neighbors Non-parents trust the Washington Post, friends/neighbors, FCPS Parents feel informed on major decisions in a timely way

36 36 Trust and Confidence in Fairfax County Public Schools Takeaways from the Survey We have opportunities to inform in several areas: Principals’ and assistant principals’ role as instructional leaders for teachers and staff (50% of non-parents indicated not having enough info) FCPS’ progress on three student achievement goals (more than 50% of non-parents and 26% of parents indicated not having enough info in each of the three areas) How the quality of education has improved in FCPS over the last 2 years (64% of non-parents and 34% of parents indicated not having enough information) How FCPS manages its budget responsibly (42% of non-parents and 24% of parents indicated not having enough information)


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