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This was the opening line of an email from Superintendent Karen Schulte to the principal, teachers, and staff at Kennedy Elementary School (WI) in response to the results earned on the school’s parent conference survey. Parents rated 3 out of 4 questions on the survey over a 4.5 (out of 5; n>150):

I regularly receive feedback from school staff on how well my child is learning.
I receive positive phone calls or notes about my child from school.
The Principal of this school is approachable and reachable.
The school provides a safe environment for my child to learn.

Principal Allison DeGraaf of Kennedy Elementary School (also featured in posts here and here) used the results as an opportunity to not only reward and recognize the efforts of her colleagues, but also as an opportunity for progress monitoring; each highlighted below using portions of Principal DeGraaf’s email to her colleagues:

Reward and Recognize

Thank you for encouraging parents to complete the feedback for our school. Overall, we had excellent results… We also had some wonderful comments!

We had 3 out of our 4 scores over a 4.5! The feedback from parents indicates that our staff is providing positive feedback on student learning and a safe environment for our children to learn. I appreciate all of your hard work to keep parents informed about their child’s learning and build positive relationships with families. Your work in these areas are so important to increasing  and supporting student achievement through connections with our families. Keep up the great work you are doing each and every day!

Progress Monitoring

The question on positive phone calls or notes about my child is one of our areas to focus on for our March survey.  A score of 4.32 is a very high score but it was the lowest on this survey. Here are some of the action steps we have in place to continue to inform parents: [5 action steps with process listed]. If you have any other ideas or suggestions for our positive parent contacts please feel free to share your idea with the staff.  

In Results that Last Studer urges readers to “Remember: What gets measured gets improved” and to “do frequent measurement [because] it reinforces positive behavior” (pp. 94-95). This is the importance of progress monitoring – it helps change behavior – again, from Results that Last, “The more often we measure the important things, the more we’ll know about where we are making progress and where we are not. And the more we know, the more we can affect behavior” (p. 95).

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Kennedy Elementary School in the School District of Janesville (SDJ), Wisconsin, is a Blue Ribbon Award Winning School. In the last 30 years approximately 6,500 schools have earned this award. The Kennedy Rockets are committed to Respect, Opportunity, Character, Knowledge, Expectations, Teamwork, and Success. Check out Kennedy’s website here.

Studer, Quint. 2008. Results that Last. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc. Available online here.

Our mission at Studer Education is to provide students with a great place to learn, teachers with a great place to teach, and parents with confidence that their children are getting a great education. Visit us online at http://studereducation.com. Studer Education is a division of Studer Group, ranked for the sixth straight year on the Best Small and Medium Workplaces by Great Place to Work® and a recipient of the 2010 Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award.