Parent experiences during COVID-19: What have we learned?

As I mentioned in last week’s blog, the first anniversary of our original lockdown is upon us. If I recall correctly, many school districts in Wisconsin closed their doors in mid-to-late March right before spring break and remained closed (i.e., without instruction) through the first week of April. I remember reading about school districts closing and couldn’t help but wonder how might impact School Perceptions.


Like many businesses, we found ourselves in a bit of a “sink-or-swim” situation. We could either hunker down and hope for the best when (or if) the dust settled, or we could put on our creative hats and see where our services could be most helpful. We chose the latter and began developing survey questions intended to identify how schools could better communicate with parents and continue to provide meaningful instruction to students who would not be returning to in-person classes at least until the fall.


With most of our surveys, we collect both quantitative (such as averages and percentages known as “descriptive statistics) and qualitative (meaning the comments we receive) data. We advise schools to make decisions based on the quantitative data, but comments typically mirror those results as well.


When distance/virtual learning began last spring (2020), parent survey comments commonly identified areas of concern, including issues with internet access/reliability at home, how coursework would be graded, and the amount of communication between school and home.

Now, if you’re an educator, raise your hand if you were fully prepared for a pandemic and had the right answer to every question you were asked last spring.


(Waiting…)


I’m guessing there’s not a single hand in the air.


Like everyone else, you were likely worried about your job security and how your role was going to change – could teaching and learning even be done virtually?

It turns out it can.

In fact, much like the “COVID-era” staff data we discussed in last week’s blog, recent parent data show general satisfaction with schools, which has ever-so-slightly improved when compared to the past couple of school years. In particular, parents have rated communication as one of the most-improved areas. It appears schools have made a significant effort to connect with students and their parents on a regular basis – possibly even more than before.


Parents have also rated things like their school’s financial management and effectiveness of partnerships with businesses/community organizations higher. They also believe that their school is run effectively and is heading in the right direction. Again, both of those were rated slightly higher than the past two school years.


You might be wondering if parents rated anything lower than past years? The answer is yes but not too much. The biggest decline was seen in the level of academic rigor. While students have continued to learn and be challenged, their experience with fully/partial distance learning has likely been the cause.


So, although there have undoubtedly been numerous bumps along the way, schools have proven to be flexible and adaptive to the pandemic’s lingering twists and turns.

I do have one question, though – now that many schools have utilized distance learning for nearly one year, will there ever be another snow day?


Contact us today to implement a mid-year COVID-19 parent check-in survey!

The School Perceptions Blog and Resource Center features the voices of our team members. This post was written by Chelsea Davis, Data Analyst.

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