For the first time in more than a decade, Fairfield school families will have a chance to sound off through a comprehensive public survey designed to help school leaders make future strategic decisions.
Starting Friday, the week-long, online survey will be made available to everyone in the 10,000-student Butler County school system, including residents without children in the schools, as well as local business owners and their employees.
“We feel it is important to hear from the public how we are doing,” said Gina Gentry-Fletcher, spokeswoman for the district, which is one of the largest in Southwest Ohio.
“In a district our size, we need to ensure that we are meeting the needs of all students, and addressing concerns in a timely manner. This survey will tell us what we are doing well and in what areas we need to improve,” said Gentry-Fletcher.
The feedback will provide a guide for future, and will help district leaders make adjustments in the services they provide, she said.
According to the most recent Ohio Department of Education, annual report cards on the state’s public schools, Fairfield received an overall grade of “C” for a second consecutive year.
The state test results from student exams that form the backbone of the report card have long been closely correlated to wealth and poverty. Schools in higher-income communities generally test well, while those in lower-income areas usually score lower.
In Fairfield Schools, 43 percent come from families poor enough to qualify for federally funded free and reduced school meals.
In Butler County, only Middletown, New Miami and Hamilton Schools have a higher percentage of students from low-income families.
The new survey, which the public can access on Fairfield’s website on Friday, will also allow respondents to include written comments that includes opinions, concerns and other suggestions.
“We believe there is value in hearing responses in the participant’s own words,” she said.
People can access the survey from now until 5 p.m. on Oct. 18, said Gentry-Fletcher.
“This is a good method for their voices to be heard, so we will be encouraging our households to participate,” she said.
“It’s been over a decade since we’ve surveyed our community. I’ve been here since 2011 and we have not done anything this comprehensive.”
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