County schools calendar survey nears deadline

Staff Reports • Updated Sep 21, 2017 at 8:00 AM

Nearly 7,500 parents and staff completed the Wilson County Schools’ calendar survey, and the deadline for those who wish to provide input is fast approaching. 

Parents have until Friday to complete a survey of the district’s annual calendar. 

Wilson County Schools spokesperson Jennifer Johnson said 7,370 parents and staff completed the survey from Sept. 5 through Wednesday afternoon. She urged those who hadn’t completed a survey to do so by Friday. 

“…Here’s the problem. That’s only a 40-percent participation rate,” Johnson said Wednesday in an email to parents. “I’m confident we can do better. It is my hope that you will encourage your friends and colleagues to complete the survey between now and Friday when the survey window is scheduled to close.”

The survey can be found at k12insight.com/Lets-Talk/embed.aspx?L=PY9Y76Y8G3LT.

Wilson County Director of Schools Donna Wright said last year the district would conduct the community survey to gather parent and community input about the upcoming calendar prior to its mandatory submission to the state in the spring.

The school board approved the current calendar last year, with member Wayne McNeese casting the lone “no” vote.

“I think there’s so many more that’s in favor of a two-week fall break than the one-week fall break and one week at Thanksgiving. If each of us look at our emails and our phone calls, there’s no comparison to how much more we have for the two weeks,” McNeese said at the time.

Others favored a one-week fall break for several reasons, including lost instruction time, number of disadvantaged students and more. They also favored using the results of the survey to make a decision regarding the final calendar for next year.

The district partnered with independent research and communications firm, K12 Insight, to administer the survey and compile the results.

The survey has three calendar options, a one-week fall break, two-week fall break or starting school after Labor Day.

“There’s a lot to consider. Each option has its benefits, but they all come with some features that parents might not necessarily like. My hope is that everyone will take advantage of this opportunity to let their voices be heard. As a leader, my primary goal is to make the best decision for our community, and the one that most benefits our students and provides for their success. At the end of the day, they’re our customers,” Wright said.

K12 Insight previously emailed survey invitations to parents and teachers. Each email contained a unique survey link that participants would use to vote. The invitations should not be forwarded, and the links will only be valid for one vote. Each family will be allowed two votes, and employees will get the opportunity to vote once. 

Democrat staff writer Xavier Smith contributed to this report.

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