LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Jefferson County Public Schools will soon conduct its annual Comprehensive School Survey among staff, parents and students in an effort to collect data as it relates to academics, school community, environment, safety and employee job satisfaction. 

The survey, which will run from Feb. 1 through March 24, has been used by JCPS since 1996 as a way to gauge input from students, staff and parents.

“The CSS is a valuable resource to gather insight, identify specific needs and craft strategies to help us ensure student success,” said JCPS Superintendent Donna Hargens said in a press release. “I encourage all parents and employees to complete the survey so we have their feedback as we continue to improve the learning environment for our students.”

Last year's results showed that district employees were less confident in the leadership of Hargens and in the district’s ability to manage money efficiently, among other things. 

The results of the 2016 Comprehensive Survey showed a sharp drop in employees’ opinions of district leadership. For example, 51 percent of “certified employees” such as teachers and principals said Hargens and her central-office staff “provide effective leadership for schools,” according to the survey.

That’s down from 75 percent in 2015 and more than 80 percent from 2012 -- the year Hargens started -- through 2014.

And only 40 percent of teachers and principals said the district “manages funding in an efficient and responsible manner” – down from 58 percent in 2015 and from about 65 percent during the previous three years.

Hargens came to Louisville in 2011 from North Carolina’s Wake County school district.

The Jefferson County Board of Education will begin the process of crafting its annual evaluation of Hargens next month. The comprehensive survey is one of several tools it uses to rate her performance, identify areas of improvement and develop a professional growth plan.

Besides leadership and financial management, the 2016 results also showed a drop in overall parent and employee satisfaction with JCPS.

District officials say the 2017 survey will be given to students during the school day. 

Parents who have registered for the district's parent portal will receive an email with a link directing them to an online survey; parents who do not have computer access or an email account will be provided with a paper-and-pencil survey.

According to a district press release, schools are being asked to provide parents with access to the school’s computer lab to complete their survey online. Parents are encouraged to complete the survey to ensure that their feedback is part of the district’s decision-making process. 

"JCPS employees with district email accounts will receive an email that contains a link to the staff CSS online," the press release states. "Employees who do not have a district email account and/or a computer will be provided access to the staff CSS online. Using the CSS online will allow parents and staff to complete their surveys in a faster, more efficient manner. The surveys are completely anonymous."

The district’s data management and research division encourages employees to be candid in their answers. 

However, union leaders have told WDRB News that many teachers and other employees are hesitant to respond because the district asks their race, sex and other things such as what grade and subject they teach.

The previous year’s survey results can be found here on the district's website.


Reporter Antoinette Konz can be reached at 502-585-0838 or @tkonz on Twitter.

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