Parents of students in the Abbotsford school district are appreciative of teachers, staff and administrators, but say more must be done to increase discipline and orderliness.
Those are some of the results of an online survey of parents conducted earlier this year by the district.
Some 1,900 people took part. Parents were asked open-ended questions about their feelings about their children’s schools. The results were grouped into categories, and parents could signal which opinions they agreed with. That feedback will be broken down on a school-by-school basis, but administrators presented district-wide results to the board of education at its meeting last Tuesday.
Trustees heard that the dominant theme was one of appreciation for district employees, with about 2,200 positive comments recorded, with around 600 concerns.
On the flip side, negative comments far outweighed the positive when it came to “school and class management,” with concerns also raised about “school facilities and resources.”
The feedback from parents will influence how the district goes about its daily business, superintendent Kevin Godden told The News.
“It’s absolutely essential that we talk to them about how our schools work and how we can make them better.”
Godden said parents appreciate the “caring attitude” staff have for kids. “The biggest thing I got from this is we have amazing staff, teachers, leaders and support staff. Our parents recognize that.”
But some parents say that could improve at their child’s school, he said.
“It’s not universal across the system. On the one hand, they tell us the teachers are caring … and are committed and dedicated. But they’ve also said, ‘We want more of that.’
“Parents are legitimately concerned, as they should be, about safety and orderliness of our schools.”
Looking deeper into the survey, Godden said parents were requesting more discipline in certain schools.
He said administrators at those specific schools will be able to use the results from the survey to respond.
The concerns about facilities focused on parking issues and access during drop-off and pick-up of kids, although some took issue with classroom placements and sizes.
“We have to do some work in understanding what those concerns are, and we’ll do our best to address them,” Godden said.