In spring 2012, the State’s Bureau of Special Education conducted a statewide survey of parents of students receiving special education services, ages 3 through 21. The survey’s objectives were to provide parents an opportunity to share their perspectives regarding the strengths and needed improvements in their district’s special education programs. Orange was a participant in that survey; and, as a result, our district’s data was recently provided to us.
First of all, the 2011-2012 survey was sent to 138 parents in the Orange School District and 40 surveys were returned. This response rate of 29.0% placed us 3rd in the State, so thank you to all of our parents for their time and input. There were 40 statements with which parents could ‘agree’ or ‘disagree’ along a 6-point spectrum from ‘strongly agree’ to ‘strongly disagree.’ The results of this survey were overwhelmingly positive, with Orange falling above the mean on most of the questions. This is a tribute to both our Special Education teachers and staff and our Orange staff, in general. A good deal of care and concern go into creating a well-respected program.
Our areas of strengths include:
- The opportunity to talk to my child's teachers on a regular basis -- 95% agree
- Children are accepted within the school community -- 97% agree
- General education and special education teachers work together – 89% agree
- Administrators encourage parent participation – 93% agree
- Scheduling convenient meetings and receiving copies of IEP’s within 5 days – 97% agree
- Placement in regular education classes is encouraged – 94% agree
- Special Ed children having the opportunity to participate in field trips and events – 100% agree
Orange’s weakest areas in the survey mirrored the state-wide weakest areas:
- Opportunities are offered for parents to attend training or information sessions that addressed their specific needs -- 42% agree
- I attended parent training or information sessions – 39% agree
- The district offers a support network for parents of students with disabilities – 34% agree
- The parents takes part in a support network – 26% agree
Parents also had the opportunity to write-in comments at the end of the survey. Orange had both positive and negative comments. For example, one parent complimented the district by writing: “Extremely happy with my child's special education program. She has made such amazing progress, I expect her to be exited in the near future!” Another wrote: “Mary L. Tracy School with its amazing educational team has made such a difference in the life of our son. His special education program has been so greatly planned and our son has progressed tremendously…The teachers follow-up lovingly daily through email and the parent communication has helped me as a mother so much. My son's special education program has met all his needs and we are so blessed as a family.”
Examples of a comments expressing dissatisfaction include: “I don't feel the school does a good job with scheduling meetings for my son at convenient times for me. The school should do a better job of scheduling these conferences to meet the needs of us working parents.” And the following comment, “The language used during PPT meetings is impossible for even educated parents to understand. It’s like listening to someone talk in code.”
While the Board of Education, the administration, and the Director of Special Education Services are very proud of the overall deep satisfaction our parents feel with the services, the data will also be used to set goals for improvement.
Click HERE to view the full survey report.