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Parent Survey: High Satisfaction With Schools

Nearly 17,000 parents of Long Beach Unified School District students responded to a recent survey with expressions of strong support for their schools and school leaders. When asked to agree or disagree with the statement "Overall, I am satisfied with my child’s school," 93 percent of those responding either agreed or strongly agreed. Parents responded with marks for school leadership that were even higher. When asked to assess the statement, "The administration is effective at running this school," 95 percent agreed or strongly agreed. "We're thrilled and encouraged that such large numbers of parents appreciate their local schools and the leaders of those schools," said Christopher J. Steinhauser, superintendent of schools. "Parents’ high level of satisfaction inspires us to do even better." The survey of parents who have children at elementary and middle schools was administered in May as part of the Baldrige continuous improvement effort now used to improve district schools and offices. The Baldrige effort is named for Malcolm Baldrige, U.S. Secretary of Commerce from 1981 to 1987. He developed quality improvement strategies and criteria used by the nation’s leading corporations. His successful efforts have helped many companies to satisfy customers by providing higher quality and more cost-effective products and services. Baldrige’s contributions were recognized by Congress in 1987. The results of the recent parent survey here have been provided by the Research Office to local schools as valuable feedback for principals and teachers to use as they continue to work together to improve their schools. Other questions on the survey revealed parent satisfaction with many specific areas including academics, homework, school maintenance, classroom environment, safety, communication, respect among students and teachers, and administrator responsiveness. Baldrige strategies are used by some of the most successful businesses in the nation. The Baldrige approach is based on seven criteria: leadership, strategic planning, student and stakeholder focus, measurement and analysis, faculty/staff focus, process management and results. Employees identify and prioritize areas of need, describe obstacles to achieving goals, identify solutions and develop plans to implement these solutions. Data-driven monitoring confirms whether actions are working. Organizations that fully implement Baldrige criteria now outperform the S&P 500 companies by 6.5 to 1 in terms of financial indicators and employee and customer satisfaction. Of the 46,733 questionnaires sent home with students, 16,981 were returned, a response rate of 36 percent.