We recently compiled the information from the 2018/2019 All School Year End Evaluation and want to share some of the findings with you. With some of the results, we will also share the plans we are making to help us address some of these concerns while also answering questions that came up regularly in the survey comments. While we cannot address all comments, we do want to take time to address those that came up frequently. There are no names associated with any of the comments, and we tried to keep them as general and anonymous as possible, to protect the privacy of all who completed the survey.
FRCS is a growing and dynamic community. Some of the thoughts we have on how to move forward are not fully fleshed out, and some may change as we continue to pursue God’s will with each of them. We appreciate your patience while we work toward final solutions.
If you participated in this year’s survey, we sincerely thank you for your input and feedback! It’s important to us to know how we’re doing. If you did not participate, please know that we read all responses and prayerfully ask God to show us how He wants the school to move forward in light of the suggestions and comments received, so if you return, we encourage you to complete the survey next year. We cannot always act on all of the comments, but please know that we appreciate them and take all of them to heart.
Two individual survey invitations were sent to all families (parents of all students, FRCS staff, and FRCS’s Board) at Front Range Christian School, which included 848 email addresses. The second was sent only to those who were sent the first email but who had not yet taken the survey. Of the invitations sent, 113 people completed the survey.
This survey has been sent to families at the end of each school year since 2013. It was originally a tool of the FRCS Board to assist in their annual review of the Head of School, but has since become a tool for FRCS Administration to gauge how the school is doing through the eyes of parents. For the most part, the past six years of surveys has not seen sizeable differences in the ratings provided for each area. Modest changes each year are to be expected with changing demographics and varying participation.
Are you returning to FRCS for the 2019/2020 school year?
We added this question last year, and quickly realized it might be nice to see who is not returning because their youngest is class of 2019 and graduated and those who will be attending a different school, so we added another option to the list.
Results and Responses
The results of the survey are shown to provide context for how the school is doing overall. While we appreciate and value individual comments, they do not always paint a complete picture for multiple reasons:
- not all respondents leave a comment (typically less than one-third of respondents leave a comment)
- not all comments include enough specifics to allow the school to act on them (for example, it can be challenging when a parent makes a comment about too much homework or not enough homework when we do not know the grade to which they refer)
- some comments appear to contradict other comments (for example, comments along the lines of “the school sends too many emails” next to a nearly equal number of comments stating “the school should send more emails”) making it difficult to act on either of them
- some comments are very specific to the person leaving the comment and his or her experiences, which may not be widely felt by the FRCS community at large; these comments are often isolated incidents with no other, similar comments being made
For this reason, the overall results are shared to provide context. They are the primary tool for the school’s Administration to gauge how the school is doing. Significant increases or decreases in any given area are noted and researched and acted upon.
Some individual comments, especially when there are similarities or themes from multiple comments, also warrant a response. Responses to some comments follow in the section after the results. While we cannot respond to all comments, please know that we read and prayerfully consider all of them.
“FRCS exists to partner with the Christian home in training children for life and equipping them to impact the world for Christ.” ~ Please rate the school on the implementation of this mission statement in the following areas.
Scale: 1 (very poor) – 10 (excellent); Specific number of responses: 111
Nurturing Students in Their Faith
A significant goal of FRCS is to nurture students in their faith, through programs like GO!, dGroups, chapel, practicums, Mini Me, and through classroom instruction in all subject areas. Please rate the school on how well your student’s faith is nurtured at FRCS.
Scale: 1 (very poorly) – 10 (very well); Specific number of responses: 111
Communication with Parents
Every person involved in the school needs to feel well-informed and that they will find a listening ear when needed. Please rate FRCS in the area of communication.
Scale: 1 (very poor) – 10 (excellent); Specific number of responses: 110
Development of Community
FRCS values relationships because we believe education occurs within a collaborative atmosphere of community among students, teachers, parents, coaches, etc. Please rate FRCS on the development of community.
Scale: 1 (very poor) – 10 (excellent); Specific number of responses: 111
FRCS cares about the growth of your child beyond academics. Rate FRCS’s extracurricular programs. (Please answer this question for arts and sports programs overall. If you have a specific thought on a specific program, list it in the comments box below. If your child is in PreK/K or elementary, feel free to skip this question.)
Scale: 1 (very poor) – 10 (excellent); Specific number of responses: 81
Recommending FRCS to Other Parents
How likely are you to recommend FRCS to other parents who are exploring options for their child’s education?
Scale: 1 (not at all likely) – 10 (very likely/already have); Specific number of responses: 112
Theme: Slow Responses and Last Minute Communications
Several parents expressed concern regarding the fact that some staff respond much more slowly to emails than others, with a couple mentioning they may not have ever received a response. Others expressed concern that some communications were not sent in a timely manner (“last minute” was a phrase common to these comments).
As this is also one of the themes from last year’s survey, we acknowledge that we have not made as much progress in this area as we had hoped. (Though a couple of parents did remark that they had personally experienced minor improvement in this area.)
Please know that “slow responses” are something we as a school are working on. From the number of specific teacher or staff names mentioned this year, it does appear that we’ve made some progress, just not as much as we’d hoped. We will continue to work with the few employees who struggle with timely responses and encourage them to make strides in responding more quickly. Our employee handbook asks staff to respond to emails within one school day (we don’t require our employees to respond to voice or email over the weekend), though we encourage you to allow a couple of days whenever possible. If you do not receive a response in a timely manner, feel free to reach out to that person’s supervisor (normally a Principal or Administrator).
The specific areas that were mentioned by several Jr/Sr High parents (counseling and guidance, J-Term, Practicum, and SLC) are areas in which we are working on growth plans for individuals and procedural solutions to aid progress in this area. These plans and procedures should help to provide structure for more timely communications on several events and activities.
We are also considering tiered email communications to satisfy concerns about not enough emails being sent without inundating those who are either happy with the number sent or who think we already send too many emails. These efforts we hope will show a decrease in “last-minute” communications on events. As we progress in this plan over the summer, we will share details with you so that you know what to expect and how to set your email frequency options.
We also encourage parents to read the FRCS Times each Friday when it is sent. We are working to ensure that all important information is included in a brief format, with links to more details on our website and the online calendar when appropriate. The Friday newsletter is one of the most important communications we send, as it is the one communication that contains nearly everything related to the community at the school.
For parents who are active on social media, we also encourage you to follow our accounts (we are currently on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter). We have greatly improved communication on our social media accounts, to help keep parents informed.
In contrast to last year, where many parents raved about chapel, this year there were mixed feelings about chapel. Several parents commented on how much their children get out of chapel and that they have seen their child’s faith grow, while several others expressed concerns about chapel citing a perceived lack of planning and concerns about speakers (a couple of parents complained that staff should not speak in chapel while a couple of others complained that there were too many outside speakers).
We are already in a lot of conversation and have been spending a lot of time in prayer regarding chapel. We will continue over the summer. Sam Butler and Dan Sarian are working on plans to potentially rework parts of this program, but they are not at a point where we can share those plans as they are in the very early stages. Please rest assured, however, that we are working on this area. For those who are happy with chapel, we believe that you will continue to see your children grown through the experiences. For those who expressed concerns, we are looking at changes that may show a turn for the better in your child’s experiences.
Theme: GO! Outings, dGroups, and Practicum
Once again there were mixed responses regarding GO! Outings and dGroups, and Practicum made a stronger appearance in comments this year, too. A handful of parents expressed satisfaction with the programs, even citing the impact they’ve had on their students. Others expressed concern that the programs are not doing what they need to do. Several parents remarked disappointment in the GO! Program — that some were canceled leaving too few experiences, and the goal of matching students with their passions didn’t pan out as parents had hoped. A few parents expressed concern that dGroups are perceived to be more “social” groups than actual discipleship groups. The concerns about Practicum ranged from not all being missions-focused to some being perceived as being more of a vacation than a learning or serving experience. There were a few parents, however, expressed great satisfaction with Practicum for their students.
We are constantly evaluating programs like dGroups, GO!, and Practicum. Sometimes the changes we make do not have the impact we thought they might have, and other times we find that the change was exactly what the program needed. We are seeking God’s will for each of these programs. We ask that you join us in praying for these programs — that God will make His desire for them clear.
To the specific concerns about GO!, we acknowledge that we did not come through with the structure we promised in terms of number of outings, meaningful engagement, and consistent pairing of students with service in the area of passion/interest. There are several reasons for this, from weather cancellations and partner organization cancellations to changing dates at the last minute and our own lack of contingency plans. We learned a lot from our failures this year and we are actively looking to once again structure GO! to allow it to be effective for students and those we serve. Earlier this spring, we began the process of developing a new plan, and we will be sharing details about the revised GO! program over the summer.
Theme: Student Faith
A small number of parents were very vocal about their concerns regarding students not living out of faith at the junior/senior high. A couple of them reported that this view is based on what their student sees the others were not specific about their reasons for this concern. While most parents expressed satisfaction with their own student’s faith and the growth of that faith at FRCS, the few who mentioned this were vocal enough that it seemed worthy of mention here.
We ask that parents remember that our God is a God of grace, love, and forgiveness. FRCS does not set out to be a bubble that shelters our students from the world, and we have no delusions that anyone in our community is perfect. We attempt to come alongside students to prepare them for life ahead, but there is only so much we can do. It is up to the Spirit to change hearts — we humbly acknowledge that while we would like to play a role in every child’s growth in God, the real work is not up to us. We ask that parents and students remember this simple fact: God alone is the one who saves. FRCS cannot. Parents cannot. All we can do is partner together to provide the information, support, and loving environment that God commands us to provide. We are deliberate about cultivating relationships with kids — even more so with those we know or perceive to be struggling. For us, it is a balance between mentoring, discipling, correction, and accountability. The rest is up to the individual and the Spirit at work in them.
If you have concerns or compliments, we invite you to share them with FRCS employees directly. We appreciate your desire to help us, and our students, grow.
Theme: School Safety
Several parents expressed pleasure at the strides the school is making in keeping students safe while others expressed frustration with specific lockout procedures and communications or concerns when their child suffers minor injury on campus.
As communicated in a recent letter from Mr. Cooper, FRCS is working hard to make our school as safe as it can be. For more specifics on the improvements being made, please refer to that letter. If you did not receive it, or if you no longer have a copy of it, please feel free to request another from our Communications Office at email@example.com.
As we look back on the past year, we acknowledge that we should have communicated more to parents when we had a lockdown or lockout at the school. In light of this, we are creating a new policy that will obligate FRCS Administration to send an email to all parents explaining specifics when a lockdown or lockout occurs. The letter might include details such as what transpired to cause the lockdown/out, the time the lockdown/out began, how or if students and staff were impacted, what caused the lift of the lockout/down and what time that occurred, and any other relevant information that you as a parent need to know. Over the summer, we will iron out the specifics of the new policy and will include it in the Family Handbook.
Most parents who commented on community expressed their pleasure with the community at FRCS. Many parents stated that the community is the reason they (and their children) stay at FRCS.
We are thankful for this community and that so many of our families appreciate it. It is not perfect, but we thank God for each and every student, parent, volunteer, and staff member at this school.