While I know that this communication is long, please bear with me. I think it is important to share what we have learned from families and where we are headed with our community.
The PIC Quality Committee has reviewed the responses to the 2016 Family Feedback Survey where 214 PIC parents responded to a 45 question survey!
The Committee, chaired by Nancy Rimmer
and made up of PIC parents and Board members, quickly noted that the responses were overwhelmingly positive, with an increase in the “Highly Satisfied” ratings to many of the questions.
Here is a brief rundown of the results:
96% E-mail communication from teachers (up from 90% last year)
91% Relationship with child’s Lead Teacher (up from 78% last year)
89% Curriculum and activities in child’s classroom (up from 75% last year)
88% Electronic communication from PIC (up from 83% last year)
83% Nature Playground (same as last year)
82% Relationships with child’s Assistant Teacher(s) (up from 75% last year)
81% Ability to work with teachers to meet individual needs (up from 73% last year)
77% Transitions to new classrooms (up from 65% last year)
But, there is still work to be done. On the “Not Satisfied” side of the coin, there was only one question that received over a 5% response of “Not Satisfied” and that related to PIC’s Parent Participation Program (PPP). When it came to PPP, 13% of respondents were “Not Satisfied” and 42% were only “Somewhat Satisfied.”
To address similar concerns regarding PPP that were expressed in the 2015 survey, as well as from focus groups we held last fall, we created a PPP Task Force, co-chaired by parents Erica Zimmer and Surgitha Stathis.
This working group has been charged to re-envision the current PPP system and present the Board of Directors with their suggestions for change. According to the 2016 Family Feedback Survey, we are heading in the right direction.
One of the first actions of the PPP Task Force has been to develop a more extensive survey that will help “tease out” the possibilities and challenges with PPP. Keep an eye out for this survey and please complete it to give the Task Force as detailed a picture as they can have.
No other single area on the survey received more than a 5% rating of “Not Satisfied.”
There were areas that received a higher rate of “Somewhat Satisfied” responses however. Here is how we’re are working on them.
Child Assessments - Many stated that they do not find the checklists helpful in understanding their child’s progress and development. We agree and are looking for ways to combine the checklists, which we are required to use by Keystone STARS, with the portfolios that some classrooms use. We are also looking for additional training opportunities to help us use the tool at an even higher capacity. Stay tuned!
Facilities - While parents have expressed their satisfaction with recent classroom improvements, there are also more to do. It is important to note that while our landlord (Penn) is responsible for improvements to the outside of the buildings and some interior systems, the center is responsible for many/most other improvements. We have established an account designated to support a Systems Replacement Plan, which identifies needed improvements over the next 15 years.
- Renovations of the Sunshines, Peanuts and most recently, the Fireflies classrooms, that included new flooring, cabinetry, countertops and painting.
- Painting the Bumblebees, Caterpillars and Wild Things rooms.
- Renovation of the Stucco Building for the After School Center, including new bathrooms, flooring, countertops, a fresh coat of paint, and enhanced entrance accessibility.
- New roller shades for classroom windows in the Spruce Building.
- Creation of the Magic Circle Nature Playground.
- Renovations of the Tot Lot playground.
- New security cameras installed at each entrance door.
- Moving to a keyless entry system for families (fobs).
Possible upcoming projects under careful review include:
- Carpet removal and the installation of tile and area carpets in the Wild Things room.
- Carpet removal and the installation of VCT tile on the 2nd and 3rd floors of the Spruce Building.
- New windows in all of the classrooms in the Spruce Building.
- Renovation of several bathrooms.
- Renovations of the Small Gym and the Big Gym shared motor spaces.
Any parents with a specific interest in PIC facilities are invited to join the Building and Grounds Committee and can contact me at email@example.com.
Fundraising at PIC - Many parents wrote comments with ideas of new fundraisers at PIC. We have shied away from fundraisers that do not align with our PIC mission or philosophy (ie. candy and wrapping paper sales) and/or that yield low profits for a large investment of time. We do however continue to look for new options and invite anyone with a specific interest in this topic to contact our Development Manager Karen Stachelek at firstname.lastname@example.org to either discuss specific ideas or to join the Development Committee.
Communication - While the surveys showed that we have made significant progress in our communication with families, there are areas that continue to need improvement. Some families expressed frustration in not hearing of changes in classroom staffing with enough advance notice. Others expressed wanting to hear more about any illnesses or viruses that may be affecting a classroom. We will be working to put systems in place to get the information to families sooner.
I would like to leave you with responses that I was very pleased (albeit not entirely surprised) to see. It is very clear from your written comments that our greatest asset at PIC is the classroom teachers. Many comments praised the teachers for their skills and dedication to our program. Many comments were also received in support of current teachers continuing their education levels.
PIC teachers will have the biggest influence on your children’s growth and development. It is for that reason, that I urge you to follow and support the movement to continually professionalize the field of early education, as well as the need to compensate teachers at a level commensurate with the impact they have on our collective futures.
Thank you for entrusting your children in our care.