Back to School: Top 10 Feedback Trends from Possip Families

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It’s officially back-to-school season!! Many of our school partners at Possip have been in session for a month and are fully back in the swing of it! We are excited to start off the year by sharing insights, feedback, and trends from our school partners across the country during the past six weeks. 

This data represents comments from over 58,000 people who shared through Possip™ over the past month or so. On average, so far, 83% of families said they were happy with their child’s school.

Before we dig into the top trends, what are some differences we see about the feedback between this year and last year?

  • More positive tone: Fortunately, we are hearing from staff and families that things are starting off with a better tone than last year.  Overall happiness is higher by about 7 percentage points – and there is more gratitude and positivity in general.
  • Fewer (almost no) COVID questions: Last year there were still quite a few questions and concerns about COVID protocols, questions, etc. We are seeing almost no COVID related questions or comments.
  • Getting to academics quickly: historically parents don’t start talking and asking about academics until further into the school year.  Parents are immediately advocating for more academic updates and information.

Below are the top 10 feedback trends parents and families shared over the past 6 weeks.

#1: Communication

This is always a top trend – so it’s no surprise that it comes up again early in this school year.

Families discussed wanting more frequent communication from their teachers and shared feedback on desired content they’d want to hear about from the school. Specifically in these areas, families wanted more communication from teachers when students fall behind in class. They want more information on any concerns or praise they had, and consistent responses to emails. Families shared ideas about having weekly newsletters from the teachers about what is being taught and what’s happening in class. Overall, families shared a desire to be more connected to their student’s teachers.

In terms of content, families asked for more communication about events on campus and opportunities to volunteer. They also want streamlined information on one platform instead of going to a variety of places (email, social media, apps, etc.) and missing information when they don’t check them all. 

One sub-trend in this category is around Academic Progress Updates. Families requested direct feedback from teachers on progress academically, socially, and behaviorally. Some comments suggested weekly reports from teachers or sending home work with feedback on it. We heard family members not wanting to wait until report cards come out to see their student’s grades, but to have updated grades online and check-ins from teachers before report card time. 

#2: Carline Logistics

This is historically a big back-to-school trend. We heard feedback about controlling and organizing the parking lot better during arrival and dismissal, concerns about the amount of time carline takes, requests for more traffic guards,  and specific ideas to improve carline such as designated areas for grade-levels during drop off or more signage outside. Families’ main goal in this feedback is keeping everyone safe during drop off, controlling traffic, and increasing efficiency. 

Other notable ideas included having special training for parents on how to effectively go through carline or having teacher support outside during carline. For more on carline, click here.

#3:  Campus Security & Safety

 Families shared questions about the school’s safety precautions currently in place, information on police/security guards on campus, and ideas for improvement on arrival/dismissal safety. Many families also shared campus-specific ideas around doing safety drills, and having more security on campus. People are also seeking ways to prevent weapons on campus, and fixes for facilities to improve safety. Ultimately, families want schools to put their student’s safety first. 

 #4: Extracurricular Activities

There were a lot of questions about when after-school activities would begin, what the list of activity options were for students, and requests for more clubs on campus. Families wanted their students to have social opportunities, be able to join sports teams, and have fun activities on campus to get excited about!

#5: Curriculum Feedback

Families asked for more IB/AP classes for students, more elective options, and more curriculum transparency for parents. Families shared specific feedback with their campus on having more effective language class curriculum, more challenging curriculum, increased collaborative projects, more field trips and outdoor time, and more focus on practice problems or drills. There were also requests for not only academic curriculum to be effective, but also social-emotional and behavioral skill curriculum. 

#6: Cafeteria Feedback

Families had questions about lunch menus and the menus matching what was shared with families. We heard requests for more vegetarian options, more time for students to eat, and more nutritious options for students. In addition to the food quality, we heard families share feedback on the lunch start time being too early to eat, asking for snack times during the day, and requesting that families and parents can come visit during lunch. One final trend is that families were asking about free lunch assistance programs and discounts. 

#7: Transportation Needs

Families shared that their student doesn’t have a regular bus driver or that the bus doesn’t show up on certain days. Also, the bus route has changed to be very long, or the bus routes were canceled for certain areas. Overall, families are not satisfied with the current bus system and feel it negatively impacts their student’s educational experience.

#8: IEP/504 Supports

Families want to get confirmation that their student’s IEP/504 is updated and being implemented with fidelity. In addition, they want all teachers to understand the parts of their individualized plan. Families are requesting that ARDs and IEP/504 meetings are consistent and that they have time to discuss and adapt the plan to best support the student. We also heard many request from families who want to get their student tested for an IEP or 504 this year, like specific dyslexia testing requests. 

#9: Academic Support  

Families want more intervention and tutoring opportunities, increased one-on-one time with teachers, and advanced student support. Overall, families want to ensure that their student is at or above grade level. They want to know they’re going to be prepared for the next grade at the end of the year. 

#10: Bullying

Questions about bullying policies and clarity on how the school resolves bullying concerns have surfaced. In addition, they request more monitoring, awareness, and prevention of bullying behaviors on campus. Families are already also sharing that they are hearing about too much bullying on campus from their students and want actions that resolve bullying.