As part of its $22 million Communities of Excellence federal Charter School Program (CSP) grant, Bluum promised to engage parents and stakeholders through focus groups and surveys over the 5-year grant term.
To lead this work we contracted with the highly-respected FDR Group to give “voice to the stakeholders and communities where charter schools have opened or expanded under the CSP grant.” We wanted to know things like how did the school leaders hold up according to teachers? Will parents be bringing their kids back next year? Have teachers been so overwhelmed that they’re leaving the profession? Are kids learning?
Between March 31 and May 4, 2021, the FDR Group surveyed 322 teachers and 1,489 parents across 12 CSP funded public charter schools in Idaho. Collectively, these schools enrolled 6,177 students in 2021, and they are located across the state in rural, suburban and urban communities.
As both the 2019-20 and 2020-21 school years were impacted by COVID-19, and subsequent school closures, the finding for this period include questions around COVID-19 and the response of the schools to it.
Join us for an in-depth look at the findings from the FDR Group, some of which include:
- About a quarter of parents think the pandemic has had a major impact on their child’s emotional well-being and most think there would be at least a moderate benefit to some counseling.
- 75% of parents report that “My child is far more likely to lose focus when learning virtually.”
- 61% of parents say that when COVID-19 subsides, “it would be best for schools to restore the policies and teaching methods of the past as quickly as possible;” only 26% say “it would be best for schools to keep many of the new policies and teaching methods they adopted during the pandemic.”
- Among those who taught virtually this year, 49% described the professional development that was provided by their school on teaching in a virtual environment as a “crash course,” 36% described it as “thorough, with ongoing support and resources throughout the school year.”
- About one in three teachers think a summer school program to help students who need to catch up on lost learning due to COVID-19 is “critically needed” (35%); 45% say “it would be nice to offer,” but not “critical,” and 13% say “it would be nice to offer, but not critical,” and 13% say “it is unnecessary.”
- Just 42% of teachers agree with the statement, “Too many of my students will have a hard time catching up when things get back to normal” (10% agree strongly, 32% agree somewhat).
ABOUT FDR GROUP
Over the last seven years the FDR Group has conducted more than 15 focus groups with parents and community members, as well as dozens of individual interviews with charter school leaders and other community leaders across Idaho. Their work extends beyond Bluum in Idaho to include working with Idaho Ed News on their “People’s Perspective” and the “Parents Perspective.” The FDR Group has also worked with the J.A. and Kathryn Albertson Family Foundation on a variety of projects.