Back to School Family Trends 2021 – 2022

Feedback, For Parents, For Schools, Trends / /
family of 3 reading together in the child's school book

Possip Reporting Team Lead, Amanda Richards, writes about back to school family trends in Pulse Checks.

The start of the school year always brings a wide range of emotions for families, students, and teachers. Excitement, nerves, stress, happiness, fear–just to name a few. All of those emotions make sense, especially given the “back to school” context we’re living in during a pandemic. 

Families and staff have responded to Possip Pulse Checks and shared needs, feedback, and praise about this atypical return to school. 

About 23,000 parents, family members, and caregivers have responded since the first week of August. The Possip team reads through every comment submitted by Possip participants, and we use this data to strengthen schools and communities. 

Here is a quick summary of back to school trends since the beginning of the school year:

Since the beginning of the school year, 76% of family or parent respondents said they were happy with their child’s school, with the remaining saying they were mostly happy or not happy with their child’s school.

FAMILY TRENDS

We saw a few positive back to school trends from families across the country:

A graph that displays trends and percentages from parent praises.

Engaging and Supportive Teachers: 

  • “We have been very pleased with our 1st grader’s experience thus far, and last year as a Kindergartener. We have and have had wonderful teachers who engage our student and others.”
  • “Teachers and faculty are doing a great job with the tools and instructions they are given.”

General School Satisfaction:

  • “ I love everything about this school.”
  • “[School name] is doing a great job. This is a tough time for many people for all different reasons. Keep up the great work!”

Here is the most frequently discussed feedback from families across the country:

A graph that displays trends and percentages from parent feedback.

Over 12% of all Possip recommendations to schools this week related to COVID safety measures on campus.

Families want more (or streamlined) communication about COVID cases, information about COVID protocols, requests for virtual learning options, and contact tracing communication. Families asked questions about mask mandates most frequently. Masks were mentioned over 700 times by families. Here are a few representative quotes from families on this topic:

  • “What protocols will change as a result of the Delta Variant? Do you think it would be helpful to get an idea of what parents are vaccinated given the current situation?”
  • “No me gusta tanto muchas padres no usan mascarilla! TRANSLATION: I do not like that so many parents do not use a mask”
  • “I would love to see more specific information about covid close contacts.”
  • “Please pass on the request for UNIVERSAL MASKING to the school board.”
  • “We need masks, distancing, and a plan for virtual work. Using inclement weather days is unacceptable. I understand that these decisions are made at the district level but we are extremely disappointed that the delta variant – which is impacting kids – was not taken seriously from the start.” 
  • “Mask mandate.
  • “In addition to what I have previously stated. I would ask that online learning should begin as an emergency measure.”

About 12% of all Possip recommendations to schools this week related to bus transportation and carline.

Families discussed wanting more consistent bus routes, bus driver shortages, lack of transportation options, concern for student behavior on busses, and feedback around carline drop-off and pick-up. Here are a few representative quotes from families on this topic:

  • “Bus schedule issue. Hopefully better next week”
  • “Do you have bus monitors?”
  • “The morning car rider line is a huge issue.”
  • “I don’t like how there is no consistent bus schedule and more times than not my 5-year-old is left outside confused on where to go. I can understand being a few minutes early or late but that has not been the case.”

Another 12% of all Possip recommendations to schools referred to academic topics like requests for academic support, curriculum feedback, and requests for grade updates.

Families are asking to receive more communication from the school and information from teachers on day-to-day happenings with their students. There were trends around families being more satisfied with teacher communication last school year and wanting more communication from school during quarantine situations. Here are a few representative quotes from families on this topic:

  • “There is no communication on my child’s progress.”
  • “en el caso de mi hijo que ocupa aprender mejor a leer y escribir, tienen un taller extra clase o para la casa, para poder ayudar? Gracias TRANSLATION: In the case of my son who is working to learn to read and write better, do you have an extra class or home workshop to help? Thank you”
  • “​We would like more information about what our kindergartener does all day. It’s been a little bit of a hard transition and he’s not able to tell us a lot about his day. It’s hard that we can’t see what’s going on.”
  • “I am concerned about my child’s readiness for [the standardized test].”
  • “Programs to address the learning loss of students due to COVID”

About 8% of all Possip recommendations to schools revolved around increasing communication with families.

Families are asking to receive more communication from the school and information from teachers on day-to-day happenings with their students. There were trends around families being more satisfied with teacher communication last school year and wanting more communication from school during quarantine situations. Here are a few representative quotes from families on this topic:

  • “As long as teachers communicate with students and work with everyone when they’re out due to being sick or quarantining then everything will work out during all this.”
  • “There was more engagement last year when my daughter was on virtual. It seems when you don’t have a virtual option then the teachers are not as engaged with the parents.”
  • “Is there a newsletter or can the Facebook page be updated more frequently?”

Additional topics families commented on this week include:

  • Academic support needs for students with an IEP or 504 plan
  • Attendance questions, especially around sick days and quarantine attendance
  • Mental health support for students 
  • Bullying concerns and commenting on negative student interactions
  • Concerns about student safety in regards to fighting on campus

Check out this video with Possip’s CEO and Founder, Shani Dowell, and Possip’s Reporting Team Lead and former principal, Amanda Richards, discussing the early trends they are beginning to see within both staff and parent feedback.

Look back next week for another trends blog! To read all Possip trends blogs, click here.