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FWCS seeks input on school choice

Survey aims to determine factors that sway parents

– Fort Wayne Community Schools has launched a survey in hopes of getting a better idea of why parents and community members choose, or don’t choose, its schools.

The district is inviting parents and community members to participate in the survey, launched Wednesday and available on the district’s website through a link in the “Your Voice” section.

Questions are aimed at gathering feedback on a number of factors including awareness of options, priority given to school environment, school success and availability of student support services.

“We understand that parents have many choices – both within Fort Wayne Community Schools and outside of the District – when deciding where to send their children to school,” Superintendent Wendy Robinson in a written statement.

“We also recognize and appreciate that parents know their children’s educational needs best and put much thought into their final decision. This survey will help us better understand the factors that lead to those decisions.”

The survey is part of ongoing conversations by the district and the FWCS board on how the district can continue to attract students and families in the face of fierce competition from area charter schools and the availability of state-funded vouchers for former public school students to attend private schools.

Despite competition, Fort Wayne Community Schools enrollment has held steady over the past several years. It is now the state’s largest school district, surpassing Indianapolis Public Schools this year.

The district is working with K12 Insight, an independent research and communication firm, to complete the survey. The district has worked with the company previously on its facilities survey and FWCS Foundation funding direction survey.

The facilities survey, taken in November 2011, garnered just 2,269 responses from across the district, mostly from district employees, but the goal of the school choice survey is to ensure communitywide participation and feedback, district officials said.

Parents who have provided the district with their email addresses will receive an electronic invitation to fill out the survey, and participation will be encouraged during parent-teacher conferences going on in schools this week.

Parents without computer or Internet access can use computers at their child’s school or visit a branch of the Allen County Public Library. A paper copy of the survey can be requested by calling 467-2020.

The deadline to complete the survey is Nov. 30. Results will be used in continued board discussions about choice and competition. Those interested in participating in future surveys can provide an email address through the “Your Voice” portal on the district’s website at www.fortwayneschools.org.

sarah.janssen@jg.net

Details

Taking the school choice survey
•Go to Fort Wayne Community Schools’ website at www.fortwayneschools.org and click on the “Your Voice” portal (left of center in orange column); the direct address is fwcs.k12.in.us/admin/yourvoice.php
•Parents can complete the survey at parent-teacher conferences this week
•Parents without computer and Internet access can visit their child’s school at other times to complete the survey; others can visit the Allen County Public Library
•A paper copy of the survey can be requested by calling 467-2020

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