We recently asked our Pine Village parents to help us gain insight into their experiences as families attending Pine Village by completing a survey through Surveymonkey. The survey was sent to 400 currently enrolled parents and we received nearly 100 responses. A fantastic result!
Before we share the results and offer our response, we would like to first thank each family for taking the time to respond in such a thoughtful way; it was a wonderful experience for us to be able to hear directly from every one who responded. The feedback is priceless and offers us invaluable insight into how things are working in our schools – even negative feedback is important as it helps us understand where we can improve. We take your comments and suggestions very seriously and strive to address and improve on every aspect that has been noted. We very much hope that you’ll contact us directly if you have any additional questions or comments, or would like to talk further about anything.
Here are the overall survey results:
75% scored PV between Extremely Well and Very Good in the area of communication, and 25% scored Moderate.
Did PV challenge your child? 85% scored Above Average through About Right.
85% felt welcomed in the mornings regularly.
85% felt that PV meets the Individual needs of your child. 15% feel we do a moderate job.
75% of parents feel their children made great progress on language acquisition and 15% feel there was moderate progress.
85% see their director as a leader.
The areas survey respondents feel is most important for Pine Village to focus on:
5% Language Acquisition
5% Physical/Gross Motor
80% of parents surveyed feel informed of the daily activities and themes in the classrooms and 10% feel they understand occasionally.
Short Answer Responses:
There were of course occasional constructive responses to some of the questions, and it is important for us to understand why some parents have a negative experience at Pine Village, so that we can assure that every family has a consistently positive Pine Village experience for the years they are with us.
Several themes ran through the short answer questions. Below are the responses that repeated more than twice.
Pine Village Strengths:
· Teachers are beloved
· Directors are friendly
· Warm friendly feeling at the school
· Small environments
· Individualized attention
· Environments are stimulating
· Sense of community
· Spanish aspect
Pine Village Weaknesses:
· Spaces/classrooms are too small; class sizes are too large
· Locations are difficult (those with no outdoor space); want more indoor gym/gross motor space
· Would like bathrooms in all of the classrooms so children do not have to walk to use them
· Do not see the same teachers in the morning as in the afternoon
· Expensive; would like to see us reduce our rates
· Would like more Spanish
· Teacher turnover rate is high
· More books in the classrooms
· More staff available in the morning drop off as well as the afternoon pick up time; you would like early drop off at 7:45 a.m.
· Closed too many days of the year
· Would like more communication
· Would like better cleanliness
· Better security systems
· Would like Pine Village to intellectually challenge your children more
We again would like to thank everyone who responded; we are in the process of responding to those individuals who requested follow-up, but we also thought that our blog provides us with the opportunity to respond to the weaknesses and wishes expressed most frequently in the survey.
- Our spaces/classrooms are too small
- Class sizes are too large
- The locations are difficult (those with no outdoor space)
- You would like bathrooms in all of the classrooms so children do not have to walk to use them
We know. We share the same feelings. As we move forward and eventually open additional locations (that we have the opportunity to design), we will design our spaces with all of the things we have learned over the years. At this point we believe each school should have classrooms designed for 8-10 children, with sinks in each, shared bathrooms, lots of natural light, access to indoor and outdoor gross motor space and plenty of parking. We will be making design changes to those schools where we are able, and to add partitions and separate classes into smaller groups of no more than 10. In the near future we will look for the possibility of adding sinks to classrooms to lessen the transitions.
- You do not see the same teachers in the morning as in the afternoon
- More staff available in the morning drop off as well as the afternoon pick up time
For those of you who drop off at 8 and pick up at 5:30 this is true. We have arranged the staff schedules so that each teacher works 8.5 hours per day with a schedule of either 8-4:30 or 9-5:30. This schedule allows a parent or caregiver to see their teacher every day either at drop off or pick up. In the mornings and afternoons for the first and last hour of the day, the classrooms are combined and the goal is that there is at least one toddler teacher, one preschool teacher and one Prek teacher. Typically there are a minimum of 4 teachers and your director on site for the first and last hours of each day.
- Pine Village is expensive. You would like to see us reduce our rates.
Yes, preschool/child care is very expensive. We would love to be able to reduce our rates. Better yet, we would love to provide you with a Pine Village that was free of costs for everyone! Sadly, that is not possible at this point. We do want you to know that reinvesting every dollar available back into the schools for improvements is our commitment. Here are just a few of the things we have added and improved over the last 12 months:
· We have hired 5 “float teachers” who will be stationed in the schools to provide support to the classroom teachers, be available to substitute in case of teacher absences.
· We have added a monthly book budget for each school to increase each of our libraries, as well as added $500 worth of books to each school to start the year.
· We have added the position of Regional Director (Marina Ituarte, former JP director), who will train and support directors, teachers and serve as a resource for families.
· We are officially launching KAYMBU this September, which will provide all parents greater more detailed communication with your teachers and visibility into the classrooms via daily photos. (More to come soon on this!)
· We have hired a full-time Facilities Manager (Ray Martin) to help each director maintain their school and make physical improvements to the spaces, as well as systemize ordering and manage our subcontractors (cleaners, painters, plumbers…)
· We created a Kiddie Café outside our South End school (a school where we do not have an onsite playground) to provide an extension of the classrooms and a place for the children to eat and/or read outdoors.
· We have hired a Senior Director of Communications and Outreach (Jennifer Doyle) — see more about this position below.
- You would like more Spanish
Our goal is to be a Full Spanish Immersion school. We will continue to focus on training teachers to feel comfortable and confident in their Spanish communication and educational goals for the children IN SPANISH. We are adding LOTS of Spanish books, props and music. Thank you!
- Teacher turnover rate is high
Teacher turnover is our greatest challenge. And yes, it feels high when it happens in your school and affects your children. Realistically speaking, our annual turnover rate is approximately 10%. We would love for our teachers to stay with us forever. We work very hard to provide stable employment, excellent salaries and benefits (including PTO) and plenty of training as well as a great work environment. Unfortunately, this does not always ensure that teachers will not leave for various reasons, such as starting a family or changing a career path – or advancing within Pine Village. Over the years we have learned to look at these changes as opportunities to meet new teachers and expand our community. Many of our past teachers have stayed in touch with us, and see their years at Pine Village positively, and many even return to us. We of course want your children to have consistency and quality and have focused on new ways to ensure this. One of these ways is building our “floating teacher” base. These teachers will all be familiar to you and your children and will be trained and ready to step in as the need arises, thus preventing the emotional strain of losing a teacher and struggling to fill a position.
- More books in the classrooms
We allotted $500 for each school to purchase books to open the school year in September 2013 as well as a new monthly budget for each school to purchase books each month.
- Pine Village is closed too many days of the year
- You would like early drop off at 7:45am
We understand that Pine Village has two personalities; an educationally based preschool as well as a child care provider. We aim to be both and we are very aware of the challenges this poses on families. We know our hours are the minimum that a working family can manage. We have and will continue to discuss the option of early drop off; staffing being the greatest challenge. We want to hire and employ educators (as opposed to child care providers) who understand child development and who are committed to implementing our curriculum and the Spanish Immersion component. Therefore we seek educated professionals who demand and deserve higher salaries as well as other benefits, one being vacations and a regular workday. If we did not offer these things and hire qualified teachers, we would not be able to fulfill our mission. We are always trying to find ways to offer more. Last year we gave back one full week of school by adding a week to the school year and closing for one less week in August. We want to meet your needs as working families as well as fulfill our mission. We will always look for ways to better accomplish this.
- You would like more communication
Introducing KAYMBU! You learned about this at your Parent Orientation, and we are confident that it will help our teachers better communicate with you and provide you all with better detail of your child’s day. It’s a very exciting tool for us as a school!
We have also created a new position this year for Senior Director of Communications and Enrollment. Jennifer Doyle, whose blog posts you have been reading over the last several months, began in this new position in July. Our goal is to be communicating with you regularly through various media – newsletters, the website, social media, etc. At the same time, we feel that it is important not to bombard you with so much information that it feels like you are being spammed. We encourage you to follow us on Facebook as that will allow you to see what’s happening on a daily basis; at the same time, please be on the lookout for the eNewsletters that come from Pine Village headquarters, in addition to those that come monthly from your Directors.
- You would like better cleanliness
Currently each school is professionally cleaned three nights during the week. Our goal is to make it five, thus eliminating the need for teachers to share that responsibility two days a week. We hope to be able to do this by the end of this school year. If you feel there are issues of cleanliness or a lack of please voice this to your director or send an email to Emma Lougheed at firstname.lastname@example.org and it will be addressed.
- You want more indoor gym/gross motor space
We understand this challenge. This is a huge issue among city schools. We are taking a very serious look at finding gross motor options for those schools with limited indoor gross motor rooms. We have experimented with organizations such as Tumblebus in the past and promise to continue to look for resources. We also feel that it is very important that the children get outside every day possible. In addition, activities such as yoga and music classes will be implemented in the classrooms to provide physical activity on the days that going outside is not possible.
- Better security
This is something we have been focused on this past year, clearly with all of the school violence and greater security over all in public places it is high on the priority list. Most of our schools have keypad systems installed and in use. Those that do not yet are in progress and plans are in the works to install security systems or have locked doors at all times.
- You would like Pine Village to intellectually challenge your children
Many of you know Jacie Feinberg, our Educational Director, as our classe de musica teacher who comes to visit your children frequently in your school. With the support of the founders and school directors, over the past two years, Jacie has developed an amazing curriculum base and monthly activities inspiration for all of the teachers. In addition she has developed standards and tracking tools so that the teachers can manage and continuously challenge your children in the classroom. Jacie is in each school monthly to evaluate and assure that the teachers are engaging your children all day and that they are constantly inspired to discover their world in their way. Our mission is to inspire children to be excited by school and to instill a love for learning new things every day. We believe this is the goal of an excellent preschool. Yes, your children will explore and learn many things! Their day is full and busy with challenges that cross all areas of development.
There is still time to complete the survey if you have not had the chance to do so. If you still wish to participate we would love your feedback. A reminder email will be sent shortly!
Thank you all again, for taking the time to complete the survey, and for reading our response. Your participation is greatly valued.
If you have any additional comments please feel free to send them along to Emma at email@example.com.