2006-05-11 / News

School survey now out to parents

By Donna K. Drago

The School Committee unveiled its school survey at its May 4 workshop.

School Superintendent Kathy Sipala congratulated the committee, and especially members Julia Held and Julie Kallfelz, who cochaired the effort to create a survey to solicit input from parents and the community on what to do with the Lawn Avenue School building in light of declining enrollment. Sipala also credited secretary Isabel Jepson with her major cleanup effort of the schools' database, which will be used to send out the surveys.

The survey was e-mailed Monday to parents of students in both the elementary and middle schools and mailed to parents of high schoolers and to those parents who do not have an e-mail address on file.

Among the questions, the simple survey asks parents to choose which of the following factors they would consider most when forming a preference for "the future location of Jamestown's 6th, 7th and 8th grades."

The choices include: academics, athletics, connection to community, cost, other extracurricular activities, and social issues.

Parents are asked to choose between three answers for whether they would "prefer" the island's middle school children to remain in Jamestown, move offisland, or if they have no preference.

Spaces are available for parents to give personal comments related to the future of the middle school.

Sipala said that she would be sending parents two reminder emails to make sure that as many people as possible receive and return the survey quickly.

The members of the school board decided that they would like to hear about preliminary findings of the survey at their June 1 workshop.

Another survey, which asks similar but different questions will be inserted in an upcoming edition of the Press to solicit input from the community at large on how people feel about moving the island's middle school students.

Teachers and students will also be surveyed, with students participating in an interactive session with the school board before the end of this school year. The School Committee discussed ways to get information from teachers, which School Committee Chairwoman Cathy Kaiser, a teacher herself, called "the front line and the ones who will do the job" of transitioning students to a new or different school setup.

"We want them to know that the School Committee wants to work with them," Kaiser said about teacher input.

If anyone does not receive the school survey this week, they should call the Lawn school at 423-7010.

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