Communication With Parents Gets High Marks

NEWARK – Parents gave the Worcester County public school system good marks in communication in a survey on how well the schools keep in touch and disseminate information.

A total of 1,653 parent surveys indicated that communication by schools with parents was satisfactory across the board, with all 10 information sources presented in the survey achieving a satisfaction rating of 90 percent or more.

This is the second year the survey has been sent out. The first year also garnered high marks, over 90 percent favorable, in all categories. Favorable ratings include all satisfactory, good, and excellent marks.

Parents were most impressed with the school newsletter as a source of school level news this year, as they were in 2006. The rest of the top rated sources were the schools’ front offices, the PowerSchool computer program, contact between parent and teacher, and school flyers.

Parent-Teacher Association meetings dropped out of the top rankings this year, while PowerSchool moved up to the top five.

The school handbooks were also popular, with 52 percent of respondents rating the documents “excellent”.

The school system overall communicates best through the handbook and calendar, basic facts brochure, closing and delays hotline, general information hotline and Board of Education meetings, according to the survey.

“The schools are doing a fantastic job of keeping the parents informed,” said Barb Witherow, coordinator of public relations for the Worcester County Board of Education.

Changes have been made in some areas, most significantly in the updated Worcester County schools website.

“Last year our parents told us we need a website that’s more timely,” Witherow said.

Parents now rate the website more user friendly, she said. Parents gave the website an overall 96 percent favorable rating.

The respondents also found several other sources helpful, from student agendas to e-mails from the school or teacher, weekly student folders, the school marquee and teacher phone calls.

Although communication ratings were high this year and last, the school system has some changes in mind, beginning with adding information to the website, mass e-mails to parents and keeping homework hotlines updated. The new website will be kept current and more and better photographs added.