I very much appreciate James River parents responding to the two surveys recently sent. I know most people are likely inundated with these things in their daily lives, and the fact that so many of you have taken the time to respond to ours indicates your understanding of their importance to the school.
The first survey was part of our accreditation process with the Virginia Association of Independent Schools (VAIS). Surveys were sent to multiple constituencies of the school--parents, past parents, Board members, faculty, students, and alumni. This collective batch of data provides those of us at school with important feedback on a wide range of topics--adherence to mission, programs, school culture, and communication, to name a few. The surveys will also be quite important to the visiting team of education professionals who will visit us next April. They are tasked with becoming familiar with James River in a very short period of time, and these surveys are a large part of that familiarization process.
The second survey is the Educational Equity Audit, which you should have received yesterday. This is part of a Board-level initiative examining equity at James River. Working towards a fair and just society is an important and lofty goal, requiring our community to look at ourselves honestly and answer some tough questions. The survey results we receive from students, parents, faculty, and staff will fuel many discussions and help guide us forward.
What do we do with the information we receive? I read the responses to each question submitted in each survey. Most responses are overwhelmingly positive, which confirms that we are doing a good job in that area. Other responses may provide an opportunity for improvement. For example, in the survey question, “How good a job does the school do in providing a physically safe environment for your child?” Ninety percent of our parents indicated the school does a good or excellent job. That’s great in itself, but I ask myself what can we do to help the other 10% of our community to feel safer?
The survey results provide valuable information to the school now and to the visiting team next spring, but perhaps most importantly they will be extremely helpful to the incoming Head, Jenn Lindsay, as she makes her plans and sets the future direction for the school.