Parents express views on student assignment process

More than 1,000 parents have returned their surveys on the student assignment process in the Rockford Public Schools. Others, who recently chose schools for their students, were urged to return their forms. The survey was sent to approximately 6,300 parents and guardians who recently registered their student(s) for grades K, 6 or 9 in the 2005-2006 school year. Parents were urged to mail their forms back no later than June 6 so the analysis of results could begin. The Board believes the views of parents and the public are important factors in deciding what policies should be adopted for assigning students.

The two-page survey seeks to gain the perceptions of parents on many of the important issues related to school assignment. For the first time, parents are being asked what factors were important to them in choosing a school. Responses are anonymous when returned in the business reply envelope provided. The Rockford Public Schools achieved “unitary status” on June 30, 2002, and began to place students under a new student assignment plan for school year 2002-2003. While the plan was to be evaluated regularly, those evaluations did not take place. This is the first parent survey regarding the new process.

Board President Nancy Kalchbrenner and Superintendent Dennis Thompson urged all parents and guardians receiving the survey to complete and return them so the Board and administration could have the benefit of as many parent views as possible.

The Board has contracted with the Health Systems Research office at University of Illinois College of Medicine. The office regularly conducts major surveys in the Rockford area, including the last student assignment survey for District 205 in 2002, which was then used by the Board to shape the current assignment policies. The survey was also mailed out in Spanish. A report of survey results will be available in August to assist the Board and Superintendent in reviewing the student assignment plan and developing future policies.

For more information, contact Superintendent Dr. Dennis L. Thompson, Rockford Public Schools, 965-3101, or Joel B. Cowen, assistant dean for Health Systems Research, University of Illinois College of Medicine at Rockford, 395-5672.

From the June 29-July 5, issue

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