Friday, December 03, 1999

Lakota to survey adults on job schools are doing

Enquirer Contributor

        About 400 adults in Union and Liberty townships will be asked in January what they think about Lakota Schools.

        The University of Cincinnati's Institute for Policy Research will develop questions for the survey after consultation with Lakota educators.

        “I am glad we're going to do this,” Superintendent Kathleen Klink said. “We need to get a sense of what kind of job the community thinks we're doing.”

        Researchers will conduct the phone interviews after the winter break, with results available in late February. Adults, those with and without school-age children, will be polled in the survey. It will have a margin of error of plus or minus 4.9 percent.

        Topics to be addressed include perceptions of the schools in the community, citizen attitudes about strengths and weaknesses of the schools, the quality of education and how comfortable people are with visiting the schools. The surveys should take 15-20 minutes to complete and will include four to six open-ended questions for which residents can give their views and 40-45 more specific questions, according to the UC proposal.

        “I thought it was a little lengthy, but then when people start talking, you use up that time very quickly,” said board member Sandy Wheatley.

        “We can look at test scores and know the areas we are strong and weak in,” said Jon Weidlich, director of school and community relations. “But we don't have the kind of data to tell us how we're doing with the community.”

        It will be the third time in the past 10 years that the district has conducted such a survey, Mr. Weidlich said. A similar study was done in 1989 by Miami University and in 1995 by UC, after an operating levy failed.

        “They are taking our ideas and fashioning questions from them,” Mrs. Klink said, adding that the responses will help the district as it prepares state-required continuous improvement plans for each school.

        The cost to the district for the survey is $17,900.


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