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When is the BEST time to launch a survey?

One of the most common questions we get asked is, “When is the best time to launch a survey?”


Because all our educational partners and the districts we serve have slightly different circumstances and needs, our standard answer is, “It depends…”


Until we can have a dialogue where we better understand your local needs and goals, we are hesitant to give one-size-fits-all advice. However, we do have some general guidance related to our variety of survey products that we have found to be tried and true.

Community Surveys

When it comes to community surveys, timing can be critical, as there are budget cycles and potential construction timelines to consider.


Our suggestions for community operational referendum surveys are:

  • When you can clearly articulate your budgetary needs.

  • Approximately six to seven months prior to the potential vote.

This allows enough time to:

  • Study the results we provide.

  • Communicate your findings.

  • Write a resolution that reflects the survey’s findings.

  • Keep the topics covered in the survey fresh in the community’s mind.

Our suggestions for community capital referendum surveys are:

  • When you can clearly articulate your facility needs.

  • Approximately six to seven months prior to the potential vote.

This allows enough time to:

  • Study the results we provide.

  • Communicate the findings back to your community.

  • Potentially modify the plans with your builder/architect based on the findings.

  • Communicate those modifications back to your community.

  • Write a resolution that reflects the survey findings.

  • Keep the topics covered in the survey fresh in the community’s mind.

Staff/Student/Parent Surveys

When it comes to staff, student, and parent surveys, if the choice is between surveying or not surveying at all, then the answer is, “There is never a bad time.” However, there are better times than others.


Our suggestions for fall staff, student, and/or parent surveys are:

  • Avoid the first month of the school year, as everyone is trying to get into a new school year routine (and avoid homecoming week 😊).

  • October and early November are optimum; everyone has settled into a routine.

  • Avoid the Thanksgiving break, Christmas break, and New Year’s. We are stating the obvious, but we have found response rates decline during these times because students, staff, and parents are unplugging from school and enjoying their [brief] break.

Surveying this time of year gives your leadership team time to:

  • Study the results we provide.

  • Communicate your findings.

  • Make plans to address improvement goals during the current year.

  • Potentially implement those plans during the current year.

  • Show your respondents you are listening.

Our suggestions for spring staff, student, and/or parent surveys are:

  • Avoid February. This is just a yucky time of year because the joy of the holidays is long gone, we are tired of winter, and spring seems like it will never arrive.

  • March and April are optimum. Just avoid spring break for the same reasons we avoid the holidays.

Surveying this time of year gives your leadership team time to:

  • Study the results we provide.

  • Communicate your findings.

  • Make plans to address improvement goals during the spring and early summer months.

  • Implement those plans the following fall.

  • Show your respondents you are listening.

The bottom line is that it is always better to engage with your community, staff, students, and parents with a quality survey than not to survey at all.


Once you have completed your survey, it is just as important to report your findings.


At School Perceptions, we would be thrilled to partner with you in “Measuring What Matters.”

 

The School Perceptions Blog and Resource Center features the voices of our team members. This post was written by Daren Sievers, Project Manager.

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