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Why Students, Parents and Teachers Should Take the JCPS School Satisfaction Survey

Eleanor Hasken
Sarah Yost prepares her classroom for her new students at Wesport Middle School, in Louisville, Ky., on Friday, August 8, 2014. Photo by Eleanor Hasken

Jefferson County Public Schools will begin conducting school satisfaction surveys over the next several weeks that district officials say will help the district and schools make improvements.

The Comprehensive School Survey has been around since the mid-1990s.

They ask students, parents and staff questions about individual school climate and resources, said Bob Rodosky, the data chief for JCPS. "Schools can, quote, change some of their practices, based on this survey--maybe around homework, maybe around instruction," he said.

Questions range from how a student feels at a particular school (for example, does a student feel safe at the school or are sports supported at the school) to the resources and attention the student has at home (for example, does that student have Internet access or are they reading more at home).

The surveys are also useful to the district to determine why one school may be getting better satisfaction rating than another, said Rodosky.

“They are looking at that and then they are trying to figure out why would one school have a higher satisfaction rate than another school," he said.

Between 60,000 to 70,000 surveys are returned each year, which means tens of thousands more surveys go unanswered.

According to JCPS data, students have the highest rate of return. Nearly 90 percent of all JCPS students took the survey in 2012, while only 28 percent of parents did and about 79 percent of teachers did.

Rodosky said the surveys are also helpful to determine how the district itself is perceived. Often, people have more positive opinions of individual schools than they do about the larger overall district, he said.