Director's Dispatch: Student and Parent Surveys

Thank you to everyone who filled out our parent and student surveys. I'd like to report first on the main takeaways--what we're doing well, and what our next steps are to continue improving--and, following that, provide a breakdown of the survey responses.

We were heartened to see that, according to the surveys, ISD parents are pleased with many aspects of the school. Ninety-three percent (93%) of the parents agreed that their child’s overall school experience has been positive this year. The vast majority of parents agree ISD is a friendly environment for students, parents, and families (95%) and ISD provides a safe and secure environment for their children to learn (92%). Parents are also comfortable approaching school administrators with questions, suggestions, or problems.


The teachers rated very highly on the surveys again this year. Teachers are the students and parents favorite thing about ISD. Ninety-one percent (91%) of parents agree that ISD employs highly competent teachers, an increase of 8% over the past two years. The percent of parents who listed teacher quality as a top concern has been cut in half over the past three years from 26% to 13%.


There are also a number of areas that concern the administration and the Board. While the number has decreased from last year, there is a significant number of high school students are unhappy. Parents continue to have a concern with the math programs in elementary and high school. There is interest the school adding a third language offering, either Mandarin or Spanish, in the middle and high school. A fairly large percent of elementary parents (38%) do not think their children are receiving enough homework, while half of the middle and high school students are state the assigned homework is exceeding the school guidelines.


We are a school committed to continuous improvement, and the administration uses the survey results to focus the school’s resources in the following ways: The elementary and secondary principals will be charged with examining the parents concerns with math and look for ways to address them. The principals and the teachers will review homework practices to determine if we are assigning the right amount and the right types of homework. The feasibility and cost of adding a third language will be reviewed as part of next year’s budgeting process. Most importantly, the administration and counselors will look deeper at the causes of student unhappiness.


As Director, the two most important questions in the survey are whether the parents believe their child’s overall school experience during the current school year has been positive and how happy the students are at ISD. As the charts below show, the responses from the parents and students have been relatively consistent over the past three years.


Parents – My Child’s Overall School Experience Has Been Positive


The percent of students stating they are happy at ISD increased in the elementary and high school while declining some in the middle school.


Overall parent satisfaction improved this year with 71% of parents stating they were highly satisfied with ISD. Parents are asked to rate their satisfaction with ISD on a scale from one to ten, with one being not satisfied and ten being extremely satisfied. The chart below show the results have remained relatively stable over the past five years.


The parents are asked to identify where ISD needs to improve in order to become a better school. They are given a list of 30 areas and asked to select up to five. The table below shows the highest rated concerns by school.


Communication has been a concern raised by parents in previous surveys. To address the issue, the Board added the Communications Coordinator position, which based on the parent responses has improved the school’s communication. Parents were asked to indicate whether the quality and relevance of the communication they receive from the school is better, the same, or worse than last year. The graph below shows the results of the parents who have been at ISD for two or more years.



Parents were asked how they would describe the average amount of homework that their child receives each night. The graphs below show the parents’ responses by school.


The school has set guidelines for the amount of homework that students should receive in a night. The students were asked if the average number of minutes of homework they receive was equal to the school guidelines, more than the guidelines, or less than the guidelines. The graphs below show the students’ results by school.


The parents were asked if the Board serves the overall interest of ISD. The chart below shows the parents’ responses, for those who had an opinion.


ISD has been soliciting feedback from students and parents since the 2009-2010 school year. The administration reports all the data to the Board and a summary to the parents and faculty. The survey data is used in a variety of ways. The Board reviews it during their August retreat and uses the information in setting the Board goals for the year, and the administration uses the data to identify internal goals for each division or department of the school.


We are always happy to discuss the results and our path forward. Please feel free to reach out to Alan at alank@faculty.isd.sn, or to anyone else in the school administration, if you would like to discuss the survey in greater detail.


The International School of Dakar

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