The 2020-21 school year is fast approaching. Is your school or district seeking input from families, teachers, and staff with a return-to-school survey?
School closures due to the Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) this spring forced public school systems to rethink instructional learning models, stakeholder communication, and strategic plans.
This summer, the work continues. To plan for reopening in a pandemic, your district is likely reviewing department of education and CDC guidelines, consulting with the school board, and putting together a reopening task force. Will students return to school buildings full time with social distancing measures in place? Will online learning or distance learning continue through the fall? Will schools use a hybrid learning model to reduce class size?
Regardless of what the fall will look like, families and staff members are important collaborators in the decision-making process. Student success is now more dependent on family-school partnerships than ever before. We also know that students and educators are facing increased academic and social-emotional challenges as we head back to school.
A return-to-school staff and parent survey is a great way to elevate educator and caregiver voices. The survey results can surface stakeholder needs and reflections on how distance learning went in the spring. The data can also shed light on family and staff preferences for the upcoming school year to inform your planning.
Below, we've compiled 31 questions that your school district should ask families, teachers, and staff before returning to school. Please note that this is just an excerpt of our full survey instrument. We've made the complete survey content available for download in a PDF format—including topics, questions, and response anchors.
31 Questions Your School District Needs to Ask Families and Staff for Back to School
For Families, Parents, and Caregivers:
1. How would you like your child’s school to communicate with you?
2. Assuming appropriate safety measures are in place, what is your preference for how your child returns to school in the fall?
3. How can the district support you with returning to in-person learning or a form of distance learning this fall?
4. During distance learning in the spring, how clear was the communication from your child’s school regarding distance learning?
5. During distance learning in the spring, how challenging was your child’s schoolwork?
6. During distance learning in the spring, how engaged was your child with their schoolwork?
7. If a form of distance learning continues in the fall, what went well in the spring that you would like to see continued?
8. If a form of distance learning continues in the fall, what went poorly in the spring that you would like to see improved?
9. How confident are you that your child made sufficient academic progress this spring?
10. How much extra academic support will your child need upon returning to school in the fall?
11. How concerned are you about your child’s social-emotional well-being?
12. How concerned are you about your child’s peer relationships because of social distancing?
13. In the past month, how often has your child spoken with their teachers or other adults at their school?
For Teachers and Staff:
14. Assuming appropriate school safety measures are in place, what is your preference for returning to school in the fall?
15. If in-person learning resumes in the fall, how concerned are you about accessing personal protective equipment for classrooms?
16. If in-person learning resumes in the fall, how concerned are you about accessing cleaning materials for classrooms?
17. During distance learning this spring, how helpful were your school leaders in resolving challenges?
18. During distance learning in the spring, how valuable did you find the professional development resources that were offered?
19. During distance learning this spring, how often did you have access to the technology needed to complete your work?
20. During distance learning in the spring, typically how engaged were your students?
21. During distance learning in the spring, what was your most successful method for communicating with families?
22. If a form of distance learning continues in the fall, what specific systems and structures worked well in the spring that you would like to see continued?
23. If a form of distance learning continues in the fall, what specific systems and structures worked poorly in the spring that you would like to see improved?
24. If a form of distance learning continues in the fall, how confident are you that you can provide effective distance instruction?
25. How connected do you feel to your colleagues right now?
26. What professional development would you like as you prepare for in-person and/or distance learning in the fall (e.g., instructional strategies, technology support, trauma informed practices, family engagement, SEL strategies, etc.)?
27. During distance learning in the spring, how concerned were you about your students’ social-emotional well-being?
28. How many of your students do you think will need extra academic support upon returning to school in the fall?
29. What was your biggest barrier to effectively engaging with students during distance learning?
30. How concerned are you about your social-emotional well-being right now?
31. Do you have a colleague whom you can count on to help you, no matter what?
Gather Stakeholder Feedback for Back to School with Panorama
Schools and districts can use Panorama’s leading survey administration and analytics platform to quickly gather and take action on information from families, teachers, and staff. The questions are applicable to all types of K-12 school settings and grade levels, as well as to communities serving students from a range of socioeconomic backgrounds.
Schools and districts can customize the surveys and use the data to develop strong action plans and supports for next year. Arabic, Chinese, Spanish, Tagalog, and Vietnamese translations are available for the family instrument. Districts using the School Reopening Surveys may take action on the data to design an instructional plan for the 2020-21 year, address students’ academic and social-emotional needs, refine staff professional development, and deliver additional family assistance.