School district posts satisfaction survey online (5/20/10)

May 20, 2010

By Greg Duggan

Observer staff

It’s that time of the year again, when parents of Williston students can fill out an annual survey that asks about satisfaction with the town’s school district.

This year, the questions touch upon everything from school climate to curriculum to school communication. The questions are similar to those from last year’s survey.

District Principal Walter Nardelli said the survey has been offered for years, since before he joined the school system five years ago.

Nardelli noted that house-specific questions may not be overly helpful for modifying practices next school year, as the district is reorganizing its classroom structures for the fall. Still, he said the administration uses the results of the survey to analyze the entire school.

“We (the administration) look at it, teachers look at it. Everybody sees it through a different lens, has a different take on it,” Nardelli said.

Parents have until May 28 to fill out the survey, which is available online at

The survey has 12 sections. The first three ask about a child’s grade level, which academic house he or she belongs to and the number of years a parent has had a child in the house.

Subsequent sections include questions about parent satisfaction with teachers, academic development, curriculum and school communication. The multiple choice format for responses ranges from “Very satisfied” to “Very dissatisfied” with an option for “Don’t know or N/A.”

The survey includes two open-ended questions: “What would be the one area you would change if you could” and “Additional comments.”

The practice of releasing an annual survey to gain parent feedback is spreading across all of Chittenden South Supervisory Union. Cindy Koenemann-Warren, director of human resources in CSSU, said the supervisory union is adopting Williston’s survey model for other schools.

Hinesburg and Shelburne are likely to launch a survey this spring, Cindy Koenemann-Warren said. Surveys for Charlotte Central School and Champlain Valley Union High School are expected to take longer to unveil.

The surveys will follow a format similar to Williston’s, though individual schools may tweak aspects of the survey to fit their own needs and academic structures.

“We’re relying heavily on their expertise and experience,” Koenemann-Warren said of Williston.

She said the surveys will help evaluate teachers as well as schools, and will also help gauge trends taking place across the supervisory union.