Editor's Note: The entire press release with complete results and charts are in a pdf file under the photo with this article.
The Monroe Board of Education and Superintendent of Schools James Agostine recently announced the results of a recent email survey conducted with local residents. The eight-question survey was designed specifically to learn more about what communication vehicles Monroe residents use to receive information about school news and activity, which of these they prefer to use most, and if the current frequency of communication is appropriate.
An important first step by Agostine and the Board to improve communications with parents, students and citizens, the survey was emailed to several thousand parents and family members this past spring.
"In spite of the fact that we live in an era of the endless 24/7 news cycle and social media like Twitter, Monroe families told us that they overwhelmingly prefer more traditional modes of communication like websites, texts and email for receiving information about their children's schools and academic progress," said Agostine. "This survey has helped us identify what types of communication to focus on and improve. The results will help us to build a stronger bridge between the school system and the community."
For example, the survey revealed that Monroe residents believed that frequently updated websites, more meaningful text messages, and encouraging teachers to stay in touch with parents more frequently via email or individual classroom websites would help Monroe Public Schools improve its overall communications. The survey also identified communication vehicles such as Twitter that people simply don't use and from which precious time and resources can be diverted.
The survey revealed people overwhelmingly prefer to receive their information via the Monroe Public School's School Messenger Service, a process used by the district and school principals to communicate directly with parents in an automated fashion by email, phone and text messages.
Websites, both for the district (www.monroeps.org), and individual teachers were also popular. To improve website communication, the district intends on revamping Monroe’s site to be more user friendly and easier to update. They also plan to provide training to teachers to ensure uniformity and consistency in how website content is presented and updated for parents and students.
Distribution of information in paper format via the mail, flyers sent home with students, or local media outlets including the Monroe Courier, Monroe Patch and Eye on Monroe were also methods of communication preferred by many.
"We did receive some comments from survey respondents about the negative environmental impact of sending communications home via paper handouts,” said Agostine. "In recognition of this important concern, we’ll always be as judicious as possible in determining when this method is necessary, but we cannot eliminate it as a mode for communication due to its popularity."
Finally, the survey showed that the vast majority of respondents believed the frequency of communications from Monroe Public Schools was just right.
"The good news is that this survey validates that we have good vehicles for communication already in place, and that we’re communicating effectively through those channels," said Agostine. "The survey results will now help us make informed decisions about what communication channels to use so we can reach Monroe families and residents with everything from critical information about school closings or emergencies to the many good things that are happening in our schools everyday."
For more information about the survey or questions, contact Superintendent Agostine at firstname.lastname@example.org.