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Lafayette Parish school surveys show a majority of parents, staff prefer in-person model

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Posted at 3:40 PM, Jul 22, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-27 19:33:36-04

LAFAYETTE, La. — The Lafayette Parish School System sent surveys out to parents and staff over the summer about students returning to school in the fall.

LPSS sent out the survey earlier this month with a July 7 deadline.

The family survey shows that a majority of parents prefer an in-person model as their first choice, a blended model as their second choice and an all virtual learning model as their third choice.

The staff survey also shows that a majority preferred an in-person model as their first choice, a blended model as their second choice and an all virtual learning as their third choice.

When it comes to which resources they used the most since schools closed on March 13, a majority of parents said they utilized the Google Classroom lessons from teachers and online learning resources the most.

Parents also said that the device that their families have the most access to is a cellphone, followed by a laptop, then an iPad or similar device.

Most parents said they would be willing to provide their own transportation to students if restrictions were imposed on bus operations due to group size or social distancing requirements.

A majority of parents responding to the family survey said that their first preference in communicating with LPSS and their schools is still a phone call or text, followed by email then the school website and finally their Facebook pages.

According to the staff survey, teachers said that a blended model where students attend class 2-3 days per week in person with 2-3 days per week online would best support their academic progress instead of having students alternate class one week in person and one week online.

A majority of parents also agreed in the family survey that they preferred students attend part of the week in-person and the rest of the week online if a blended learning model were adopted.

The staff survey also suggests that students' level of engagement with online resources was much was much lower after school closures compared to their engagement before the coronavirus closures.

LPSS announced their Back to School Plan on July 16 that they will delay the start of the school year and are giving the option for students to enroll in 100 percent virtual learning.

The academic year will begin on Monday, Aug. 17, in Phase 2, which will remain in effect through the end of the first nine-weeks on Tuesday, Oct. 13.

On Wednesday, Lafayette Parish school board members will discuss the parish's reopening plans.

You can see a full breakdown of both the family and staff surveys from LPSS below.

Family Survey

The family survey had a total of 10,227 responses asking a range of questions including number of students per household; learning model preference; school resources most used; access to technology at home; and transportation.

According to the survey, nearly 50% of parents favored a face to face or in-person learning model as their first preference, about 74% preferring a blended model as their second preference and nearly 56% preferring an all virtual learning model as their third choice.

Parents were also asked which school resources they used most since schools closed on March 13. According to the survey, more than 57% utilized Google Classroom lessons that were provided by a teacher; more than 56% used online learning resources; nearly 27% used Emergency Meals to You delivered to their homes; 24% used Grab & Go Meals; and 24% utilized printed learning packets.

Parents were also asked to rank their preferred communications methods:

  1. School-District phone call or text - 80%
  2. School-District email - 68.9%
  3. School-District website - 61.8%
  4. Facebook - 64.5%

During the school closures that began on March 13, about 33% of parents said that they felt fully informed; 28.3% said they felt fairly informed; 19.6% said they felt adequately informed; and 17.5% said they felt they only had a limited amount of information.

A majority of parents, or nearly 35%, said that their top challenge during school closures from March 13 - May 28 was keeping a regular school schedule. There was a three-way tie for their second challenge among keeping a regular school schedule, social isolation and too many distractions at home each getting about 21%. Those three categories were also close for their third challenge with a slight majority of 20.5% saying too many distractions at home.

A majority of parents, more than 85%, said their children have been able to access online resources provided by LPSS teachers during the shutdown.

Nearly 90% of parents said that their family had access to a cell phone, about 70% said they had access to a laptop and nearly 60% said they had access to an iPad or similar device.

A majority of parents, or more than 70%, said that their family would be willing to provide their own transportation for students instead of riding the bus if there are restrictions imposed on bus operations due to group sizes or social distancing requirements.

Asked what would work best for their family if schools had to go to a blended learning model, nearly 80% said they preferred students going 2-3 days per week in person with 2-3 days per week online, over 5 days a week with 5 days alternate online.

Staff Survey

LPSS also sent out a survey to staff over the summer, which received 2,412 responses.

Asked how staff felt during school closures, 29.3% said they felt fairly informed, 27.8% said they felt fully informed, 22.7% said they felt adequately informed and 19.6% said they only had a limited amount of information.

About half of LPSS staff said they favored traditional, in-person learning as both their first preference (42.2%) and third preference (42.8%) for schools reopening in the fall, with a majority, or 63.5% favoring a blended model as their second choice.

A majority of LPSS staff, or 70%, said they thought a blended model of 2-3 days per week in person with 2-3 days per week online was best to support students’ academic progress, with 17.8% saying they preferred a model of 5 days a week, alternating with 5 days online.

A majority of staff at 57% said they participated in professional development opportunities offered over the summer by LPSS.

About 42% of staff agreed that professional development offered in the summer helped them become more effective when schools reopened in August.

Of the 2,412 respondents to the survey, a majority of 60.6% were teachers and 24.3% were support staff.

Most of the teachers responding to the survey, or 47%, were teaching elementary school (Pre-K to 5th Grade), 23.3% were teaching high school (Grades 9-12), and 21.1% were teaching middle school (Grades 5-8 or 6-8).

About 30% of respondents said they were somewhat comfortable with meeting the needs of individual students in an online learning environment (i.e. providing accommodations and modifications, co-teaching, IEP meetings, etc.).

Nearly 28% of respondents said they were somewhat comfortable with managing a fully online learning environment.

Another 29% of respondents said they were comfortable developing questions that scaffold and enrich learning in an online learning environment.

Nearly 23% of respondents said they were comfortable developing assessments aligned to LEAP 2025.

Around 30% of respondents said they were somewhat comfortable with pacing/time management in a hybrid environment and balancing quantity of work for students on virtual days.

Another 26% said they were somewhat comfortable with providing students with tech assistance during virtual classes.

Asked what their students’ level of engagement with online resources was compared to their engagement levels prior to the coronavirus closures, a majority of respondents, or 42.2%, said they were much lower, 27.8% said they were not applicable, 14.2% said they were somewhat lower and 9.8% said they were the same.

Asked to rate their students’ competency/comfort and general knowledge of chromebook and its use, the top two responses were not applicable with 22.8% and comfortable with 22.5%. Another 19.5% said they were extremely comfortable and 19% saying they were somewhat comfortable.

Asked to rate their students’ competency/comfort and general ability to engage in online learning or virtual environment, 23.1% said they were somewhat comfortable, 21.4% said not applicable, 19.2% said they were comfortable and 17.4% said they were not at all comfortable.

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