Parent Engagement Survey Summary

Seac (white -bg)During the 2013–2014 school year parents were invited by the Nipissing-Parry Sound Catholic District School Board’s Special Education Advisory Committee (SEAC) to complete a voluntary and confidential parent engagement survey to provide input on enhancing our programs and services that support our students with special education learning needs. The second stage of this feedback gathering process was our SEAC Parent Roundtable held on April 28, 2014. Both phases of our survey will serve to inform current and future priorities in Special Education Programs and Services.

Our SEAC Parent Engagement Survey asked a total of 20 questions or statements in five areas inclusive of: Identification Placement Review Committee (IPRC) Process, Individual Education Plan (IEP), Communication, Technology and sought input on how to enhance our current Special Education Programs and Services. Our total number of survey responses was 54 which represents an 8–10% response rate.

Please find below an excerpt from a summary of results for each section.

Section I: Identification Placement Review Committee (IPRC) Process:

The following are excerpts from the summary of responses and themes that emerged in the area of the IPRC Process.

When Considering Your Child’s IPRC Process: What Worked Well?

  • Community agency involvement/therapist involvement.
  • IPRC Process allows for a team to get together and plan for student success

When Considering Your Child’s IPRC Process: How Can We Improve?

Since the IPRC involves members from other schools as part of the committee, ensure all parties know the student profile. For some, the IPRC process can be impersonal.

Section II: Individual Education Plan (IEP)

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The following are excerpts from the summary of responses and themes that emerged in the area of the IEP.

When Considering Your Child’s IEP: What is Working Well?

  • Opportunity for parent input including meetings to review implementation, goals and strategies.
  • Communication between teacher, staff and parents is positive and effective.

When Considering Your Child’s IEP: How Can We Improve?

  • Implementation, consistency and application of IEP in the classroom.
  • Use parent friendly language.

Section III: Communication

The following are excerpts from a summary of responses and themes that emerged in the area of communication.

When considering communication between home and school around your child’s special education program: What’s working well?

  • Different forms of regular communication work well for parents.
  • Timely responses and teacher contact regarding special needs.

When considering communication between home and school around your child's special education program: How Can We Improve?

  • Personal contact with and listening to parents.
  • Use different forms of communication.
  • Use parent friendly language.

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Section IV: Technology

The following is a summary of responses and themes that emerged in the area of technology

When considering my child's use of technology at school to support their learning: What is working well?

  • Variety of technology and programs are available: iPAD, iPOD, Laptops, specific software applications, literacy programs (Raz kids) and APPS.
  • Students like to learn with technology and this is available.

When considering my child’s use of technology at school to support their learning: How can we improve?

  • Student training for specific programs and technology.
  • Staff development and training in this area.

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Section V: Enhancing our Programs and Services

Key themes that emerged from this section and from the entire survey included the following:

Staff Professional Development

  • Assist teachers and staff to be familiar with all learning styles

Transitioning

  • Important to consider all transition points based on student need (ie: grade to grade, elementary to secondary, secondary to post-secondary, etc..)

Communication

  • Keep doors of communication open. Continue with an accessible learning environment

Supporting Students and Resources

  • Increase partnership with families. Continue to support students at school

Round Table Summary

Our SEAC Parent Engagement Round Table consisted of three groups of parent volunteers and was held in April 2014.

Parent groups discussed a total of six questions.

The following briefly outlines some common themes among parent group feedback. Our SEAC and staff are utilizing this feedback to inform special education services planning.

Round Table Results

If we were meeting ten years from now and we were looking back on the last 10 years, what would you like to be able to say was beneficial to our students because of the Special Education Programs and Services provided by the Nipissing-Parry Sound Catholic District School Board?

  • Working together to develop skills for a happy and productive life.
  • Working together (Parents /School team) to develop goals for student(s).
  • Opportunity to learn with and from age – appropriate peers is important.
  • Each student is treated individually, as unique with specific strategies. There is not just one way to educate, must educate according to the unique needs of the child.
  • Professional Development: We need to learn from each other and learn about all types of strategies.

When considering our NPSC Special Education Programs and Services that we currently offer, please provide your top priority and an example of what is working well?

  • Strong teacher/parent relationship.
  • Experienced, invested teacher.
  • Inclusion into classrooms and specialized programs remains available.
  • IEP is constantly adapting and team finds new ways to accommodate the student.
  • Connection meetings are valuable and it is good that all the participants are at the table and on the same page.
  • Very beneficial to have all perspectives at the table. (ie: Therapists, Parents, Staff)

When considering our NPSC Special Education Programs and Services that we currently offer, please provide your top priority and an example of how we can improve?

  • Provide ongoing communication not just at reporting periods.
  • Communication around depth & breadth of modifications.
  • Open to listening & incorporating parental feedback around program modifications.
  • Focus on professional development for staff.
  • Focus on building students’ independence. People always want to help, find the balance and we need a gradual release of responsibility.
  • Provide students with voice - ask the children what their needs and interests are.

Regular and on-going communication is essential for your child’s success. From your experience, what do you see as effective and strong communication strategies?

  • Open and welcoming school community.
  • Willing to dialogue and ask “what could I have done differently?”
  • Empower parents; offer workshops for parents on how to advocate for child.
  • Communication book and agenda.
  • Person to person interaction yields the best results.
  • Relationships between parent/teacher/student is critical.

The role of our NPSC Special Education Advisory Committee (SEAC) to is act as an advisory body with respect to the development and delivery of special education programs and services. Please provide your ideas and feedback on how SEAC can further support the education of students with special education needs at NPSC.

  • Promote opportunities for students to be with age appropriate peer group; we need to be mindful about separation from friends/peers.
  • If placements in special education class necessary, make every effort to include in appropriate grade activities.
  • Build ongoing awareness and knowledge around special needs students.
  • We need to use resources in the community to assist, help in the school and at home.
  • Increase focus on awareness, independence and acceptance.
  • Ensure that teachers are provided with continuous training, proactive approach.
  • Promote parent engagement and involvement- it is hard for some parents who have not had a positive experience with school in the past.

Are there any other ideas or comments you would like to add at this time?

  • Important to recognize, listen and incorporate parents’ goals for their children.
  • Goals need to be discussed as a team and school, team and parents needs to be ‘on side’.
  • Important to challenge our students academically regardless of exceptionality.
  • Opportunities for young people are constantly changing.
  • Parents were very appreciative for the opportunity to share their voices and insights with the committee.
  • Parents enjoyed the format and there were many positive comments about having the opportunity to speak with SEAC members, board members and staff in an intimate and relaxed setting.

To date, this information has been shared with our Principals, Classroom Resource Teachers and the Board of Trustees. Our next steps as a SEAC include gaining feedback from our teachers, special education staff and our students.

Our SEAC committee would like to thank all of our parents who responded to our survey and who gave their time to participate in our roundtable event in the Spring of 2014. We welcome your feedback as we continue to develop our SEAC action plan. Should you have any questions regarding any areas of our communique, kindly contact Paula Mann, Superintendent of Education at mannp@npsc.ca.