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  • Dr. Kristi Cole

School Surveys – Why Do They Matter?

“Giving feedback means caring enough about someone {or something} to want to see them be successful.” Michael Sonbert, Founder and CEO of Skyrocket Education,

TLA Coaching Consultant


Twice per year, each school-year, The Lincoln Academy distributes surveys to parents, scholars and staff. With the recent completion of 2022-23 mid-year surveys, this seems like a good time to talk about why we do this, why the feedback we receive through these surveys is so important and to share some of our results.





Why We Use Surveys

TLA is a feedback rich environment. Feedback is an ingrained part of our culture and coaching is an integral part of what we do every day. When members of our school community share what they see from their unique perspectives, we get invaluable feedback. We use the feedback to hold ourselves accountable and to coach our team.


One of the strengths of charter schools is the ability to pivot quickly in order to stay focused on what is important and to ensure we achieve results. Our surveys provide us with a frequent and important touch point. They give us data that can challenge us to pivot where needed and they ensure that we never veer too far off course for

too long.


Our Results

Surveys are distributed to all parents, scholars and staff. They are tailored to each group, and each contain questions that we see as vital to academic achievement and school culture. We work hard to get strong participation and this year 90% of scholars, 83% of staff and 52% of parents completed the survey. Our goal is to achieve a 4.0 on a 5.0 scale.


Overall, feedback from parents is strong. My children are safe, I am supported as a parent, I am satisfied with exploratories/electives, and I would recommend TLA to my friends and families all exceed our 4.0 goal. Satisfaction with extracurricular activities was 3.7. As a new school this is indeed still developing, and we appreciate hearing how important it is to our families.


Scholars are surveyed by grade bands and feedback from our elementary scholars is overwhelmingly positive. They tell us they enjoy attending school, they are learning, feel safe and feel connected to both teachers and administrators. Last year elementary scholars told us they wanted more career opportunities at school; we heard that feedback, worked on programming and saw the score increase from 3.9

to 4.4.


TLA middle and high school scholars offered candid feedback. Their responses tell us they have friends at school, and they are exploring careers. Hovering just below a 4.0 they say they are learning, enjoy the exploratories and extracurricular activities. Safety is close behind. The scholars have also shared that they don’t feel as connected as we would like to teachers and administrators - critical feedback for

our team.


None of this work is possible without the teachers in the classrooms and the team that works to support them. Our staff tell us they feel safe, and they are growing professionally. They are glad to be a part of the team and would recommend TLA to their family and friends. Their feedback tells us we still have room to grow in our communication. We also saw a slight drop in staff feeling valued thus helping to demonstrate the importance of these touchpoints.





How We Use Results

This ultimately, is most important. What do we do with the information we receive? First you should know, as the CEO of TLA, I review each and every survey we receive - every score, every comment. We review the aggregated results with our staff team and share with parents. And we use the information to make adjustments in our work.


For example, this year, our high school scholar surveys reflected some dissatisfaction regarding an on-line program used to differentiate reading and math support. Our teaching staff echoed the concerns. By the next week, we were able to change the program and utilize an alternative option to support our scholars. Immediately, we noticed a dramatic change in their participation in programming and their engagement in learning.


Another example included parents requesting more extracurricular activities for elementary scholars. We already added a soccer camp and literacy camp for the scholars this spring. We hosted a family dance recently for our K4-3rd graders which had a big turnout filled with lots of joy!


Why Do the Results Matter?

We are committed to achieving our vision of being the premier K-12 school in the state of Wisconsin, providing college and career pathways for scholars to lead happy, choice-filled lives. We are also committed to ensuring we strive for excellence in all that we do.


We know parents have a choice in whether they send their scholars to TLA. We know scholars who want to be at school are best positioned to learn and thrive and we know teachers who feel supported, connected and valued are key to helping scholars achieve their dreams.


We will continue to ask for feedback, celebrating the positive and working hard to respond proactively to that which is more critical. Feedback from our families, scholars and staff is key to our work together to build a healthy, connected, joyful school community where we are all focused on supporting scholars in achieving their happy, choice-filled lives.


Dr. Kristi Cole is the Chief Education Officer at The Lincoln Academy, a K4-12, 2x independent charter school in Beloit, Wisconsin.



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