State officials gather at NSES to launch SurveyWorks, celebrate school’s high participation

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Members of the School Committee gathered with students and administrators at North Smithfield Elementary School to promote the survey and celebrate the school community's high participation rate/. Credit: RIDE

NORTH SMITHFIELD – Rhode Island Department of Education Commissioner Angélica Infante-Green and North Smithfield Elementary School Principal Jennifer Daigneault joined North Smithfield school officials, administrators, educators, and students this week at the school to launch the 2024 administration of SurveyWorks.

The annual statewide education survey is available for students, families and educators to complete, and collects feedback and data on how to improve the state’s education system. Individuals can take the survey on a computer, laptop, or mobile device. Responses are completely anonymous and confidential and are being accepted until March 31.  

In 2023, North Smithfield Elementary saw an increase in response rates from all groups, with 88 percent of students, 70 percent of families, and 100 percent of staff completing the survey.

SurveyWorks covers a range of important topics, including levels of respect between students, teachers and administrators; school inclusivity and sense of community; and school safety. In 2023, the survey had over 122,000 responses across Rhode Island with the highest response rates ever from three key audiences: administrators, educators and families, while the student response rate returned to pre-pandemic levels. In addition to Spanish and Portuguese, this year, the family survey is also available in Khmer/Cambodian, Swahili, Creole/Haitian, Pashto, Arabic and Quiche thanks to a partnership with Providence Public Schools.

“The town of North Smithfield is very appreciative and proud of the efforts students, family members, school staff and Rhode Island Department of Education contribute to our education system,” said Town Administrator Paul Zwolenski. “SurveyWorks will continue to assist the School Department in efforts to improve the educational experience here in North Smithfield.”

Gov. Dan McKee noted that each year, SurveyWorks helps the state improve educational opportunities for children statewide.

“As we work towards year-round learning and improving academic achievement, it is important that we hear about the needs and priorities of our school communities,” said Mckee. “We encourage all students, families, and school staff to complete SurveyWorks and let their voice be heard.”  

To reach stakeholders and improve participation, North Smithfield Elementary set aside time for students to take SurveyWorks during their library period with support from the school’s Library/Media Specialist. The school provides staff time to complete the survey during their faculty meetings. School leaders also set targets for responses with families and offer frequent communication and reminders about the school’s progress, celebrating increased response rates along the way. 

During in-school community events, the school provides access and support to complete the survey with school-provided Chromebooks.

Supt. Michael St. Jean said the SurveyWorks data has proved invaluable to him over the years.

“I have used the SurveyWorks parent, student, and staff responses to prioritize initiatives, programming, professional development, communication, and budgeting,” said St. Jean. “The most recent data set served as the cornerstone of North Smithfield Public Schools’ five-year strategic plan.”

Rhode Island Department of Education Commissioner Angélica Infante-Green speaks at NSES. Credit: RIDE

“When we look to the future for our students, their families, and educators, we must make sure we are listening to their insight to ensure the most welcoming and supportive learning environments possible,” said Chair of the Council on Elementary and Secondary Education Patti DiCenso. “Thank you to the school leaders who went above and beyond last year to generate over 122,000 responses. This year we are aiming to reach even more people to help create a stronger state education system.” 

Daigneault said the SurveyWorks data to guides the school’s priorities to implement initiatives and support around academics, social and emotional learning.

“The data we have received has helped inform and inspire our School Improvement Plan, Family Engagement opportunities, and Professional Learning for our staff. It has been an invaluable part of our plan for continuous improvement,” she said. 

SurveyWorks data is incorporated into the state’s Report Card platform as a key measure of school performance that families can view to better understand the strength and challenges of their school. The results can also help inform programmatic decisions that support strong student, family, and educator engagement.  

In addition to administering the survey, 2024 is the second year in a row that educators in each local education agency (LEA) can access the free tool Playbook, which allows them to create educator-reviewed lesson plans based on their school’s results based on Multi-Tiered System of Support (MTSS) tiers.  

To learn more, view last year’s results or access resources to promote the survey, visit ride.ri.gov/surveyworks. Families are encouraged to contact their school(s) with any questions or for more information. School communities are also encouraged to use the hashtag #SurveyWorks to join the conversation.  

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