New Albany-Plain Local School District officials remain focused and committed to our purpose, which is to create a culture of accountability that achieves the best academic and developmental outcomes for each student.

Accountability requires daily discipline and effort to hold ourselves responsible to achieve and ultimately improve upon measurable outcomes to benefit our students, staff, parents and community.

The school district actively works to utilize data to inform and drive decisions to increase students' achievement, growth and well-being, while also ensuring operational and fiscal responsibilities demanded by our taxpayers.

Survey and participation

How do we know what the community thinks of our school district and why is it important for us to know?

Surveying taxpayers, including parents, within our community is one of the best ways that we pause to listen, understand, learn and identify opportunities for our growth as a school district. Feedback provides valuable information on what members of our community know, understand or believe about our schools.

In May, the district partnered with Saperstein Associates to conduct a random community survey. Phone interviews were conducted via calls to mobile and landline numbers of residents in the district's boundaries.

The phone survey was designed to gauge residents' knowledge of the school district from a number of perspectives, including academic achievement and growth, social-emotional well-being, fiscal responsibility and student safety.

Interviews were conducted with 450 adult residents.

Three hundred of those residents were drawn at random from the most recent list of registered voters available from the Ohio Secretary of State's office. Within this sample, 127 residents, or 42%, were parents of children enrolled in the district.

The remaining 150 interviews were conducted with parents not interviewed previously and selected at random from a list provided by the administration.

This process allowed for two robust analyses of the community at large (300) and of district parents (273).

Findings and areas to improve

What are key survey takeaways and what will the school district do with the information learned?

Nine out of 10 residents believed the schools are excellent or good.

At least as many consider the schools well-maintained, safe for students and committed to creating a culture of accountability that achieves the best academic and developmental outcomes for each student.

More than seven out of 10 residents claimed the district is heading in the right direction.

For a plurality of residents, providing a quality education and a safe environment should be the district's highest priorities.

In the survey, we asked the community to identify the highest-priority issues for our school district. Overwhelmingly, the responses included academic achievement and growth, fiscal responsibility, student safety and support for students' social-emotional well-being and mental health. Clearly, these priorities align and affirm our purpose.

In addition, two out of three parents considered the district to be excellent. Even more considered the district on track and heading in the right direction, and almost all believed the schools are friendly and welcoming, well-maintained, safe for students and committed to meeting the academic and developmental needs of students.

However, some perceptions of those who are not parents and parents of the oldest children tended to be less positive.

Areas where residents perceived the district as less strong include class size (many wanted smaller classes), listening to the concerns of residents (some wanted more opportunities for listening) and fiscal responsibility (many wanted even more transparency, particularly related to athletics).

In addition, most residents said they were unaware of the district's efforts to implement cost-saving measures to extend taxpayer dollars through fiscal 2023.

We thank the randomly selected members of our community for their feedback to our community survey. The school board and administration will incorporate the feedback and data provided into our continuous-improvement planning to prioritize for the future.

To view the presentation and survey results provided to the school board and administration by Saperstein Associates, go to napls.us/2019 community survey.

Michael Sawyers is superintendent of the New Albany-Plain Local School District.