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"This Is Parkway" Digital Magazine

Project Parkway

Subcommitte 3/D/2 Essential Question:
How will the District use the myriad of available media to most effectively communicate with the Parkway community?

9/28/2009: What data will be collected to reveal current reality?

  • All school/district print communications
  • All school/district social and electronic communications
  • Stakeholder demographics
  • School/district web site standards
  • School/district e-mail standards
  • District Communication strategic plan
  • Results of Communciation audit report/NSPRA
  • Current Branding information
  • Parent/staff Communication surveys/results
  • Other school district Communication tools
  • Data usage, privacy and confidentiality standards

3/1/2010: Key Findings

A. Positive Observations Revealed by the Data
  • Feelings of pride in Parkway are strong. 84% of parents surveyed feel proud to say their child attends a Parkway school and 90% of employees surveyed are proud to work for Parkway.
  • Satisfaction with school communications is high, with 81% of parents and staff reporting they are generally satisfied with their school communications.
  • Feelings of connection to Parkway schools are strong, with 78% of parents feeling connected to their child’s school and 88% of employees feeling connected to their school or department.
  • When parents and staff were asked to cite words or phrases that come to mind when thinking of
  • Parkway, positive words and phrases outnumbered negative responses by more than four to one.
  • Principals’ newsletters are highly valued and the most frequent source of school and district information for parents. They also have the highest rankings for being userfriendly, timely, candid and representative of all students when compared to other items. 76% of parents surveyed read them every month.
  • AlertNow messages are highly valued and were cited as the most frequently read communications from the district by parents and staff.
B. Identified Needs
  • With the exception of principals’ newsletters, when asked about the qualities of Web sites and publications on a 5-point scale, only 50-60% of parents and employees rated them with a 4 or 5 on being representative of all students or staff and on being candid. Parkway’s communication materials should be more candid and representative of all students and staff.
  • In open-ended survey questions about school Web sites and “other feedback,” about one in four referred to Infinite Campus not being kept updated. Similarly about one in four comments mentioned the need for teachers to have Web pages and to have them kept up-to-date. Teachers’ Web sites should be improved in quality and kept current. Those without substantive Web sites should have them. Infinite Campus should be kept consistently updated by all.
  • With more than 30% of parents and staff not agreeing that the district and school Web sites are timely and userfriendly, and based on committee review and focus groups, work should be done to improve the timeliness and ease of use of all Web sites.
  • Based on a review of all Parkway communication materials, there is a need for consistent branding – color, logo, tag line, use of mission statement, etc. This is especially important going forward with a new mission, vision, etc.
  • With one-third of non-resident families reporting they do not have access to the Internet at home, and onefourth not having access to e-mail, care should be taken to: ensure multiple avenues of communication are offered; and/or facilitate students’ and parents’ ability to gain access to the Internet and e-mail.
  • With the high percentage of parents who look to their school and district communications for calendars and dates to remember, efforts should be made to streamline, synchronize and ensure accuracy of all online and printed calendars.
  • Based on significant differences in elementary and high school parent survey responses, parents’ feelings of connection to their school declines as children progress to high school. Efforts should be made to strengthen the connection with parents at middle school and high school.
C. (If Necessary) Additional Data Needed
  • Feedback from community members (non-parents)—especially empty nesters—is needed to determine the value of communications targeted to them, such as Parkway Today, and to assess their level of satisfaction with the district.
  • Nearly one of three employee open-ended “additional comments” indicated wanting more face-to-face communication or feeling “out of the loop.” This should be explored further.
  • Parents felt significantly less well-informed about Parkway School District (63% rated 4 or 5 on a 5-point scale) than they did about their child’s school (81% rated a 4 or 5 on a 5-point scale). While some differences are to be expected, there may be a need to pursue this further.
  • There are many employees who do not have regular access to computers. With increasing reliance on the
    Internet and e-mail to communicate, further work should be done to determine the best way to ensure those employees receive timely communications. Bus drivers, for example, do not have regular computer access and survey results show they feel less satisfied, connected and informed than other employee groups.
  • Nearly 30% of parents and staff do not agree that Parkway is headed in the right direction. This may need to be probed further to determine why and develop strategies to address as needed.
D. Comments
  • While online surveys revealed helpful information and relative trends, caution should be used in acting on the survey results due to low response rates and potential bias.
  • Given the importance parents place on principal’s newsletters for both school and district information, Parkway should maximize use of school newsletters to share district-level information. With 70% of parents preferring electronic newsletters, work should continue to maximize electronic, printer-friendly formats.
  • AlertNow phone surveys seem to be effective means of soliciting information. Nearly 90% of all those who answered the phone participated in the survey about computer, Internet and e-mail access.