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Family Survey Update
1 June,2015By: Diana Guzzi
Bowen School Council
Family Survey Work Update

During the April and May School Council meetings, the three working groups reported out summaries of recent work and identified action steps for each topic. ~Subgroups were formed based on themes identified in the parents survey from the fall and met outside of regular School Council times.

Communication: Administration & Parents:
  • The small group discussed the importance of differentiating between two-way communication (dialogue, collaboration) and one-way communication (newsletters, “pushed out” messages from the office) and that both types of communication are essential for different purposes.
  • We also addressed the need to answer parent questions in an efficient and timely manner, while also helping to build capacity for families to find information that is already available.
  • It was clear from the survey that there was some concern about whether administration is regularly seeking out and hearing parent feedback and comments. ~Actively promoting and utilizing School Council & PTO as channels for families to share feedback with the school will provide more opportunities for this to take place.
  • There is a clear need for coordinating and streamlining communications from school to home in order to make sure that families are not overwhelmed with messages and, as a result, pay less attention to communications from Bowen. ~This includes coordination with the PTO in order to connect to “office” communications.
Action Items:
  • Create a FAQ document to be posted prominently on the Bowen website and included in the PTO Directory when printed in the fall
  • Explore the creation of a general “help desk” e-mail address for general questions; this will include an auto-response message to direct sender to online sources of information and also would be regularly monitored for prompt response
  • Actively encourage and remind parents that the School Council and Bowen PTO are available as channels for families to share feedback with the school. ~This will be done through information shared at the fall Curriculum Night, with reminders included in the new FAQ and on the Bowen website.
  • Ask teachers to include link to Bowen PTO website on their classroom pages to promote information sharing
  • Coordinate with the PTO so that they send out one weekly e-mail blast with notices on a different day than the Bowen Office blast (which goes out on Fridays). ~Select important notices will be posted on the board outside the school, the PTO board inside the lobby, or on the digital display board.
Teacher Hiring, Retention, & Evaluation:
  • The issue of privacy was a large one for this group. ~There is information that simply cannot be shared by the administration about hiring and retention decisions. ~
  • In response to the number of new staff members who joined Bowen during the 2013-2014 school year, we have created our own “mentoring/induction program for new-to-Bowen staff that extends past the districtís program in order to better support them in their roles here.
  • There is also a place for parent voice/perspective on interview committees - many parents were not aware that this is happening. ~
  • We need to be more clear about how the process works for evaluation, since there are clear processes in place.
Action Items:
  • Evaluate/Survey the mentoring/coaching support at Bowen
  • Develop Exit Interview for feedback with District Personnel (for example - Curriculum Coordinator) to be implemented Spring 2016
Transition to Middle School
  • Information from the survey regarding transition concerns were shared with Oak Hill principal
  • Group began by identifying current transition events, which fell into two categories:
  • events held at Bowen
  • Parent/Guardian coffee with Oak Hill Principal & Counselor
  • Grade 5 students meet Oak Hill Principal & Counselor for Q & A
  • events held at Oak Hill
  • Incoming Parent/Guardian Night at Oak Hill
  • Grade 5 students attend 6th Grade Musical at Oak Hill
  • Parent/Guardian Tour & Coffee
  • Step-Up Day for Grade 5 students
  • Incoming Grade 6 informational packets are sent home in late January, which includes the schedule of transition events and contact information for Oak Hill staff members
  • How can we find ways to better help families become aware of all the resources that are available?
  • We want to make sure there is consistency between info shared by Oak Hill and info shared by Bowen.
Action Items:
  • Communicate what we have accomplished
  • Create HW Assignment w/ map to send home so parents can see what has been talked about in school
As a whole, we found the theme of “communication” threading throughout all three subgroups. ~There are times when information is available or processes are in place, however, there seems to be a breakdown in relevant information reaching the larger Bowen community. ~Another thread throughout this topic is that when a clear set of expectations has not been communicated, it leads to misunderstandings about what is or is not being done to address concerns. ~We will continue with most of this work when we return to school in September and hope that members of the Bowen Community will join our work as the Bowen School Council. ~Thank you. ~

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