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Parent survey shows positive experiences around distance learning

A survey of parents conducted in early November showed most felt positive about their and their student’s experience in District 191 schools this fall, including around health and safety measures, improvements to distance learning, and connections with teachers. 

As a way to safely implement a hybrid learning model that allowed for smaller learning pods and fewer students in school each day, the district used a staggered approach to opening the school year in which more grade levels joined the hybrid model each week. The “safe start to school” plan allowed for more time to practice new health and safety protocols and emphasized building strong connections with younger students and students who were transitioning from elementary to middle or middle to high school. 

Here are some key results from the survey.

Health and Safety

(answered only by parents of students in the hybrid model)

  • 99% said they understood the health protocols their children were expected to follow at school
  • 97% said they felt schools were doing what they could to keep students safe

Distance Learning

  • 83% said the addition of live video conference classes (synchronous learning) was a helpful change
  • 91% said they were somewhat or very satisfied with how teachers connected with their child
  • 67% said the amount of independent work their child had was “just right,” with 20.6% saying it was not enough
  • 83% said they knew what was expected of their child on distance learning days

Family Resources

  • 94% said they had the information they needed about family resources like school meals and child care
  • 89% said they knew how to access technology support

Parents also shared what they saw as working well during the first months of the school year. Among the most common responses were praise for the increased connections and rigor of distance learning compared to last spring, a more consistent schedule, communication from schools, and praise for specific teachers and staff. 

Among the most common concerns parents shared were the increased stress families are feeling, the difficulty of building relationships during distance learning, and the loss of social interaction. 

“I think the responses we got tell us that we’re doing the right things, including increasing in-person interactions, focusing on the emotional and social needs of students, and working to maintain rigor,” Superintendent Theresa Battle said. “We know that distance learning isn’t ideal for most students, so we need to keep learning and keep improving, but I’m proud of how we’ve worked together to meet this challenge.” 

More than 550 parents responded to the online survey between Nov. 1 and Nov. 20. Similar surveys of students and staff are currently underway. 

  • COVID-19

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