A District-wide survey of parents in the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District elicited a strong response from participants and garnered across-the-board high marks for the District’s performance on a wide range of parent engagement topics. Respondent ratings regarding the quality of education at SMMUSD and its efforts to support, engage and be responsive to parents were among the highlights of the survey.

The interactive Parent Engagement survey, crafted with assistance from the Santa Monica-Malibu PTA Council, is part of an ongoing effort by Santa Monica-Malibu Unified to better serve parents, students and staff by soliciting candid feedback from the District community.

“This survey truly illustrates our goal to better engage our parents and community, which is a priority under our Local Control Accountability Plan,” said Superintendent Sandra Lyon. “We are so pleased with not only the high response rate from our families, but also that they are overwhelmingly pleased with the high-quality education available at Santa Monica-Malibu Unified schools.”

Over 3,000 parents, representing approximately 40 percent of District households, completed the survey — the District’s strongest survey response to date. Parents responded both online and a paper survey that was sent home with students.

Most notably, over 90 percent of participants reported they were satisfied or very satisfied with the quality of education their students are receiving at SMMUSD. Participants also reported that Santa Monica-Malibu schools are family friendly, with over 80 percent of participants feeling very welcome at their respective schools; 75 percent say that they are informed about tutoring, after-school programs, student performances and parent meetings; and 75 percent feeling that staff is readily available to discuss learning needs and answer questions.

Parents were also asked to rate the individual academic and enrichment programs currently being funded by parent and community donations for the Santa Monica-Malibu Education Foundation. Respondents placed high value on such programs or services: professional development for teachers (97 percent felt these are important/extremely important) visual and performing arts (92 percent), additional middle and high school English and math periods (90 percent) and highly trained instructional assistants (92 percent).

Two-thirds of participants believe that their school site has high or very high expectations for parent involvement, and nearly all participants attend official school events such as Back to School Nights, open houses and visual arts performances.

Parents also revealed areas in which they would like to be more informed. Music and arts opportunities, honors programs, summer learning and enrichment programs, Common Core and tutoring and schoolwork assistance were among the topics about which participants would like more information.

In addition, the survey found that Santa Monica-Malibu households have a high proportion of college-educated parents and, across the board, households are equipped with computers, laptops and/or smart phones. Many of the respondents are also involved in their school’s PTA.

In addition to being sent home with all elementary students, the survey was emailed to parents for all grade levels, was also available on the District’s website and presented at English Learner Advisory Committee meetings. All questions were voluntary and answers anonymous, with the survey available in Spanish.

Past surveys have sought feedback on Special Education Satisfaction, homework and the Local and Accountability Plan/Local Control Funding Formula. Upcoming surveys and results of past surveys can be found at www.smmusd.org. They are designed and administered by an independent technology and communications firm.

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