Welcome to Laurie Goodman's blog. I use this space to share news and opinions about education and schools in Ridgewood, the state of New Jersey and the nation, in addition to other issues I'm personally interested in. I invite you to share your thoughts, feelings, questions or opinions, too, by posting comments on any blog entry. Please observe basic courtesy -- keep your comments focused on issues, no personal attacks or bullying, please. Contact me directly at: lauriegood@mac.com

Monday, June 14, 2010

Beware the survey? That’s just silly.

I hope all parents will complete the survey that we’re currently conducting regarding your opinions about our schools. Why now? If you recall, the Board has been talking about the survey for over two years now. The Communications Committee worked on the survey last year, but didn’t get it complete before the year was over. This year we worked on it in the Fall, but then we agreed we had to put it on the back burner while were consumed with the budget vote in March, April and into May. We got back to work a few weeks ago, and got the survey out as quickly as possible.

In the best of all possible worlds, I would not recommend running this survey so close to the very end of the school year. I know how distracted parents can be this time of year, with all the events, parties, deadlines, etc. A survey from the school district is probably not going to be a priority. But what could we do? The budget took longer than we expected, and the clock keeps ticking...

Then there’s the recent activity surrounding the Valley Renewal. The BOE has been in the news lately because a group of parents wants the Board to oppose the Master Plan amendment. They also want us to pressure the Village to conduct certain environmental studies sooner rather than later. We haven’t done it and that has upset some parents. What I find laughably curious is the contention that the timing of the survey and the Valley proposal are somehow related. What? What? I can’t even pretend to understand the logic of the argument, but trying to make some connection at all is very odd to me. Come on, people. How can I put this diplomatically…recently I’ve joked that you are giving us far too much credit to think we have masterminded some sort of conspiracy and that somehow this survey will be used for nefarious purposes re: Valley. Really.

As for the anonymity of the survey...it was always a priority. The survey is completely anonymous. We are NOT connecting survey results with email addresses. We are ONLY using email as a way to validate that survey-takers are parents or guardians.

Look, when I ran for the Board I mentioned that I thought the District should do some sort of annual report card for each school, showing what parents think. The Board made improving two-way communication one of its goals last year and again this year, and the communications committee worked on a survey as part of that goal, beginning over two years ago. We’ve discussed it at Board meetings. We’ve discussed it at HSA meetings. I’ve mentioned it to parents here and there. Every single time, I got nothing but positive feedback from parents, as in, “I’m glad to hear the District wants to hear our opinions.” This isn’t something we just quickly cooked up.

The survey questions are simple and straightforward. They have nothing to do with Valley or any other current event. They are "timeless." Please, parents, even if you are angry with the Board about Valley or any other issue, please answer these simple questions to share your opinions about your child’s school, day in and day out.

The deadline for participating in the online survey is Thursday June 17 at midnight. Any questions, comment here or email survey10@ridgewood.k12.nj.us


Anonymous said...

Whats the sense of filling it out.

Know one listens to the people anyway. Ex. BOE budget cut 100k.

Next year 2.5% will show the way.

Anonymous said...

I thought the survey was very well done. It was QUICK! and you're right the questions were pretty basic. Should be interesting to see how some of these come out. Will the comments that people write be made public too?

Anonymous said...

Basically only sycophants and cheerleaders will respond. Voters already responded and were ignored. Makes cuts at Cottage Place.

Anonymous said...


That's a a ridiculous statement. I'm not confident you even know what the word "sycophant" means. You certainly don't use it properly here.

Laurie, what happens to the data after it is collected? Assuming the responses indicate serious areas of concern, what happens next?

Laurie said...

A committee of parents, staff and the Board Communications Committee (myself, Sheila Brogan, superintendent Fishbein and Debra Anderson) will review the raw data and report back to the full Board and the community. The committee will identify common themes and the full Board will put together responses, depending on what the data seems to warrant. I'm sorry, I don't mean to sound vague, it's just that the specific "next steps" will really be determined by what we see in the data. We'll let the results guide us in our next steps.

The committee will also do a "debrief" on the actual format and implementation of the survey, in order to improve it for next time. There are some technology issues we can address to ensure maximum parent/guardian participation. We will definitely solicit input from parents regarding the survey itself.