Surveying Parents About Their School

One Essential high school designed a yearly parent survey to help its faculty monitor and improve their work with students. The results inform the teachers’ summer planning for the next year’s program, and also form the basis for parent forums at which families help sort out school priorities for hiring, resource needs, and areas that require special attention.


  • How well informed are you about your child’s academic experiences?
  • How much is your child’s experience at school contributing to increased skills in the following areas? [Lists areas of school’s academic emphasis]
  • How engaged is your child by the following academic experiences? [Lists “in-class discussions; hands-on classroom activities; laboratory experiments; research projects; field trips; reading assignments; homework assignments; self-assessment and compiling portfolios.”]
  • Has the school provided an appropriate level of challenge to your child in the following areas? [Lists areas of school’s academic emphasis.]
  • How much does your child use the following school resources and materials to support his or her academic work? [Lists items like “science lab equipment,” “library materials,” “music materials,” etc.]
  • How much priority should the school place on providing, improving or acquiring the following resources? [Same list follows.]


  • How familiar are you with the work your child is doing?
  • Is your child being asked to do meaningful and worthwhile work?
  • How able is your child to explain to you the concepts he or she is exploring through school work?
  • Does the work reinforce your child’s individual strengths while providing opportunities for him or her to work on relative weaknesses?
  • Are the parent-teacher-student conferences effective in establishing and reviewing goals for your child’s learning?


  • Is coursework well structured and paced to support your child’s learning? (Answer choices are presented by academic area and grade level.)
  • Does your child’s school work encourage him or her to take an active role in his or her learning?
  • Is the school work prompting your child to explore new areas of learning?
  • Does your child receive thoughtful coaching and instruction in the classroom?
  • Does your child receive prompt and thoughtful feedback from teachers about his or her work?
  • Is your child well known by at least one of his or her teachers or advisers?
  • Has your child developed a positive and caring relationship with one or more teachers?


  • To what extent have you as a parent participated in the life of the school this year?
  • Which of the following describes your participation? [List follows.]
  • What else did you do or might you want to do?
  • Has anything hindered or discouraged your involvement as a parent at the school? If so, please describe.
  • In general, are you satisfied with the quality of your interactions with the following members of school staff? [Lists “teachers, principal, nurse,” etc.]
  • Have any of your interactions with the school staff been particularly negative?
  • Has your child developed new positive relationships with peers in the last year?
  • Which of the following school practices foster a sense of safety, trust and decency, and mutual respect among students? [Lists advisory groups; disciplinary procedures; student participation in governance; class discussion guidelines, etc.]


  • Do you get the Announcements sent home with students weekly?
  • Do you read the Announcements sent home with students weekly?


  • How well does the school communicate with you about your child’s work? [Choices are broken down by conferences, telephone contact, assessments, etc.]
  • How well does the school communicate with you about school decisions, news, and educational issues?
  • How well does the current daily school schedule meet your child’s needs? [Lists “core academic blocks; choice blocks; tutorials; physical activities; non-academic activities; hours of school day,” etc.]
  • How well does the school calendar meet your family’s needs?
  • Are you aware of the following opportunities for input into school decisions that affect you and your child? [Lists “parent forums; task forces; board meetings; conferences.”]
  • How often have you taken advantage of these opportunities?
  • Which of these opportunities have been most satisfying and useful?
  • How many opportunities have you had to give feedback to the faculty on their work?
  • What else would you like us to know about your own or your child’s experience at the school?

(Answers are on a five-point scale from “Not at all” to “Very [much, well, etc.], as well as “not applicable/don’t know.”)