2017 Parent Survey Results

In April 2017, Casa di Mir’s Board of Directors conducted a survey of parents. The Board’s goal in undertaking the survey was to better understand: what parents value, what is needed to make Casa the most remarkable school for our children, and how to more effectively attract new families.

 

Participation

A high proportion participated in the survey: 73%. The Board received 29 responses from primary, 37 from lower elementary, 22 from upper elementary, and 9 from the middle school. This high participation rate allows the school’s leadership to confidently act on the information received.

The overall takeaway was that parents voiced a resounding satisfaction with and support for Casa di Mir. They also identified areas where they felt the school could improve. On the whole, however, parents were happy with the school. A full 93% said they would be likely or very likely to recommend Casa di Mir to a friend.

 

The Top 3

The survey asked parents to share their top three reasons for choosing Casa di Mir versus other schools. By far the biggest reason was a Montessori education, cited by 79%. Other highly significant factors were Casa’s emphasis on social-emotional development, cited by 51%; and the friendly and respectful learning environment, cited by 47%.

The survey also asked parents what they loved most about Casa di Mir. Here are some excerpts taken from their answers:

 

Write-in Responses

Looking more closely at the themes that emerged from the write-in responses, the top themes were: the teachers and staff, the warm learning environment, the way Casa develops children to be responsible and caring, and the community.

It’s no surprise that Casa di Mir teachers and staff came out on top! Casa di Mir is incredibly lucky to have talented, caring, and dedicated individuals to guide the students in their learning. Casa will continue to invest in teacher training and support, such as the “Teach for Life!” program that Casa teachers participated in over the summer of 2017.

Parents also voiced that the combination of an authentic Montessori education—with emphasis on social-emotional development—and peaceful learning environment sets the school apart from any other school in the South Bay.

This information has been a great help in identifying the top qualities that resonate with, and attract, families to Casa di Mir.

 

Casa Family Community

From survey results, the Board gained an even deeper appreciation that one of Casa di Mir’s greatest assets is its community of families, who collectively create a warm, welcoming, diverse, “homey” feel to the school.

To that end, here are some of the ways the school is working to further develop and strengthen community bonds among families:

  • The creation of an “ambassador” program for new families, to welcome new families and help them connect more easily with the larger family community.
  • Development of the Parent 2 Parent (P2P) group on Facebook and through live in-person activities. P2P is Casa’s parent based group designed specifically to connect families with one another beyond the confines of the campus. Activities include: morning hikes, drum circles, monthly coffee talks, parents night out, camping trips, and more.
  • Development of an alumni program for former students and alumni families. The school launched The Journey, a new alumni newsletter in August 2017, to help keep former students and families connected. The Board is also investigating ways to develop alumni events and other get together activities to keep alumni connected.

 

Areas of Improvement

The survey also asked about areas where the school could improve. The area most mentioned were facilities, communications, and after-school offerings.

Casa’s leadership team, together with the Board, has been actively exploring ways to address these areas of concern. For instance:

  • Facilities Improvements: Facilities improvements are part of Casa’s 2016-17 Strategic Plan and are on-going. Currently, Casa is looking at improvements, such as reconfiguring the front office. In addition, over the summer of 2017, the Latimer parking lot was resurfaced, parts of the school received a fresh coat of paint, and HVAC repairs and upgrades.
  • Communications: Improving communications is also an on-going part of Casa’s Strategic Plan. To date, Casa di Mir teachers have increased communications with parents through a software program called Transparent Classroom, which gives parents a window into their students’ activities at the school. In addition, the weekly Monday newsletter has a new mobile-friendly format for easier access. The school’s social media posts have also increased to keep our larger audience aware of the school’s mission and highlights of the school year.
  • After-School Programs: Offerings have increased in number and diversity. And new programs are continuously under consideration. Current programs include: piano lessons, chess class, Aikido, Lego-Robotics, studio art, and more.

The Board values all of the areas that parents identified for improvement. Changes big and small are being made based on the survey results to further strengthen the school.

 

Conclusion

The Board is deeply grateful for the time and sincerity of the respondents. The feedback received from the survey clarified the picture of what families value about Casa di Mir and which areas needed further attention. The Board thanks all participants and looks forward to reporting the results of future surveys!

To provide feedback on this report, ask questions about the survey or the Board, or for information on joining the Board or a committee, contact Board member Catherine Ambrozewicz.