Roaring Fork Valley school district survey sparks lackluster response

John Stroud
Post Independent Staff

GLENWOOD SPRINGS — While participation in a recent online parent and community survey done by the Roaring Fork School District Re-1 was lower than hoped, it still provides a good starting point for a broader visioning process the district has planned.

“We really wanted this to give us some direction as we start our visioning process with the community,” said Re-1 Superintendent Diana Sirko. “Even though the numbers were low, it still gives us what we need to have some discussion points.”

A total of 352 people responded to the survey, which was conducted during May and June as the school year was ending. Just 20 respondents took the survey in Spanish, Sirko said.

The Re-1 school district has an enrollment of around 5,100 students attending public schools in Glenwood Springs, Carbondale and Basalt.

Approximately 55 percent of the Re-1 students are Hispanic, and about 46 percent are considered English Language Learners, according to district statistics.

Individual school affiliations most represented in the survey were Crystal River Elementary School in Carbondale (17.9 percent of the respondents), Basalt Elementary School (14.8 percent) and Glenwood Springs High School (14.2 percent).

Responding to questions related to the general school environment, 65 percent of those who took the survey said they agree or strongly agree that their school has high standards for students’ academic achievement, while 12.3 percent said they disagreed or strongly disagreed, according to the survey results.

Asked if, “as a parent/guardian, I feel welcome at the school,” 76 percent agreed/strongly agreed, while 10 percent disagreed.

Regarding educational programs in Re-1 schools, about 40 percent said their child’s school does a good job of preparing students for college, while 12.4 percent disagreed.

Asked if school tests give an accurate measure of a student’s academic performance and help guide decisions about that student’s individual needs, 42.3 percent indicated they agreed or strongly agreed, while 22.9 percent said they disagreed or strongly disagreed.

Larger percentages of the survey respondents agreed that the local schools are safe, that they provide a caring and nurturing place, that there are adequate opportunities for parent involvement, and that teachers manage their classroom effectively, are knowledgeable and motivate children to learn.

Consistent with past surveys done by Re-1, questions asking whether communication among administrators, parents and the community is adequate suggested that the district and individual schools still have work to do.

Asked if their school’s principal has “excellent” communication skills, 44 percent of respondents said they agreed (24 percent) or strongly agreed (20.4 percent), while 30 percent said they disagreed (15.3 percent) or strongly disagreed (14.7 percent).

Meanwhile, Re-1 has begun a new community visioning project designed to help the district update its educational program goals and strategies over the next several years.

New Re-1 Assistant Superintendent Rob Stein is taking the lead in overseeing the project, which will involve a series of community meetings throughout the district that will be conducted by an outside facilitator.

“As a newcomer, it feels like the district has done pretty well in recent years in preparing students to succeed,” Stein said during a Thursday meeting with local media representatives to explain the visioning process and go over recent student performance data.

“We have a strong starting point … but we want to find out what the community wants for their kids and for their schools,” he said.

The district has hired the Denver consulting firm Civic Canopy to steer the visioning process. Community meetings are expected to begin in September, and the process is expected to continue through November.

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