This month, we update the community on the progress of the following initiative: Provide regular opportunities to invite families to share feedback on their experiences at SGS. This initiative falls under the second goal of our strategic plan: SGS will broaden and deepen the partnership between the school and families so that the relationships that support our students are as strong and energetic as the students themselves.
The work on this initiative is being led by Asha Sundae Dean, Director of Enrollment Management, and Snow Christensen, Development Manager. This school year, SGS has executed four separate parent surveys, each touching on a variety of topics and also hitting a variety of demographics within the community. The first survey was completed in November during learning team meetings (LTMs). Signs with QR codes to the survey were set up around the school and parents were directed by staff to take the survey following their meeting. The survey asked parents how they heard about LTMs and asked for their feedback on the conferences themselves. The second survey asked for feedback from families of color about one of their social events on campus in February. The third survey was for parent volunteers and members of the SFA (SGS Family Association) and reviewed their perception of the school, experiences as volunteers and asked how they became involved with SGS. The fourth survey was completed in early April and surveyed all parents on their current perception of SGS, why they joined SGS, their thoughts on communications from SGS and also asked how SGS could better engage with families.
With 95 or more responses for both general family surveys, SGS was able to capture a significant sample of the community for each one. The LTMs survey responses were generally quite positive-parents and guardians felt they were well informed through the student-led conferences. In the spring family survey, SGS was able to get a better sense of all the communications vehicles parents are using and their sense of family engagement opportunities at SGS, which received generally positive responses as well. While the families of color and volunteer surveys were smaller in sample size, the feedback was still important to get. One theme that emerged across all the feedback was the need to vary times for events so that more parents could get involved. Overall it seemed the community and the curriculum were the strengths of SGS according to our families.
Gathering all the responses and parsing the data has proven to be quite fruitful for Asha and Snow this year. “People were ready to give feedback,” said Asha. “It was a bit of a blank slate coming out of Covid, having the new building, and having lots of new folks join the community. It’s definitely an opportunity to review, revise and make our processes better.” Even just working on the initiative itself has been a positive experience for them both. “It’s nice to have dedicated time to prioritize this work,” said Snow. “We probably wouldn’t have these conversations unless we set aside the time to do so, and now we have data to support some of the thoughts we’ve had about improving family engagement at SGS.”
Moving forward, Asha and Snow will categorize the responses they’ve gotten into a few different themes to address with the family engagement team. They are already thinking of ways to improve communications for families around the beginning of the school year, as well as considering ways to have more faculty touchpoints for families—two points of interest that they have already gathered from the survey responses. By continuing to improve processes around events, communications, and other touchpoints, SGS hopes that families will feel an increasing connection to SGS and the community going into the next school year.
Located in the Central District, Seattle Girls' School is an independent school for girls and gender nonconforming students in grades 5-8. Our mission is to inspire and develop courageous leaders who think independently, work collaboratively, learn joyfully, and champion change.