RPS wants your input

Now it’s the kids’ turn.

Update #1 — February 15, 2016; 1:44 PM

Through Monday, February 29th, Richmond Public School students in grade 6 through 12 are invited to take part in the Student Engagement Survey. This survey follows last month’s Community Perspectives Survey which invited input from parents, guardians, staff, and community members on how RPS is doing as a whole.

Each of these surveys is hosted on the Your Voice section of the RPS website, part of the district’s self-described “Leadership by Listening outreach efforts.”

Students will need their ID numbers to access the survey. English and Spanish versions of the survey are available.

In describing the concept of “student engagement” to this crop of young input-givers, the RPS website states:

“Student engagement is the experience of being connected to your schoolwork, activities and people in your school community. This survey asks how often you feel mentally, emotionally and socially engaged in school.”

OK, kids. They’ve asked. Go tell ’em.

— ∮∮∮ —

Original — December 18, 2015

Through Tuesday, January 19th Richmond Public School parents, guardians, staff, and/or community members are invited to take the Community Perspectives Survey in order to share their thoughts on school quality, student support, safety, and more. K12 Insight, RPS’s independent research partner, is administering the survey which can be accessed online.1 Students in grades 6 through 12 are invited to participate in this survey, too, but they’ll have an additional opportunity to give feedback via the Student Engagement set to go live in the Spring.

As I am both a parent and community member within the Richmond Public School system, I did my part and took the survey–I literally started writing this immediately after clicking “Submit.” The entire process took 15 minutes and provides opportunities to share thoughts on what areas are in most dire need of improvement; assess how you think the district has responded to concerns in the past; and rate how well both the district and your children’s schools are fulfilling RPS’s mission of “leading our students to extraordinary, honorable lives as inspirational global leaders who shape the future with intellect, integrity and compassion.”

This is the second year RPS has made use of the Community Perspectives Survey. This year’s survey begins with a welcome message of sorts from superintendent Dr. Dana T. Bedden. In it he states:

“Everyone has a voice in RPS’ ongoing pursuit of educational excellence. Today, I am asking for candid feedback about our division. We conducted this survey last year and learned that while 70 percent of participating parents rated the overall quality of education provided by their school as Excellent or Good, only 41 [percent] of all survey participants believed that educators had the necessary resources to teach effectively. The division shared survey results with principals, teams in the central office and school board members to increase awareness about how our community perceives the division.

We want to hear your thoughts on critical school issues again so we can follow a similar process of reflection within our broader community.


An ongoing, two-way dialogue among RPS community members is critical to providing our students with the best possible education. After the survey closes, we will share the findings and specific steps we’re taking as a result of your feedback.”

I’ve taken the liberty of pulling some key words and phrases from Dr. Bedden’s message that I think we should all be excited about:

  • voice
  • pursuit of educational excellence
  • candid feedback
  • participating parents
  • increase awareness
  • two-way dialogue
  • specific steps

Now’s the time, folks. Sure, I realize an online, anonymous survey isn’t perfect–and it’s not the same as having a sit-down with those making educational decisions for our children. But it’s a start. Dr. Bedden says they’re listening. Let’s give them something to work with.

  1. You can also access the survey by going to the RPS website and clicking on the YourVoice logo–just scroll down a bit and you’ll find it on the left side of the homepage. 
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Valerie Catrow

Valerie Catrow is editor of RVAFamily, mother to a mop-topped first grader, and always really excited to go to bed.

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