Incentives considered by committee to solve parental apathy

Feb. 08, 2014 @ 06:29 PM

Vance County Schools might offer incentives for parents to respond to its annual survey, which has not received many responses in past years.

The survey will be conducted during the first two weeks of March and asks parents five yes or no questions.

At the school board’s community relations committee, Public Information Officer Terri Hedrick solicited tips from committee members on ways to increase participation.

“Parent involvement has always been, of course, a concern and an issue in our schools — and not just here — and it continues to be,” Hedrick said at the meeting this past week. “It’s not easy to get people involved and there are no easy answers.”

Hedrick said the school district has moved away from producing hundreds of paper copies, and now uses its Connect 5 telephone notification system.

“We used to print parent surveys, and it was a good $2,000,” she said. “And we are paying quite a bit of money for that call system, and it has the capability to do these surveys that we need to use.”

Assistant Superintendent Trixie Brooks suggested the district offer parents an incentive for responding or provide a treat to the school with the highest participation.

School board member Darlynn Oxendine said she thought incentives would be a great idea.

“You could say, ‘We are fixing to come through with a survey of five questions, and if you do the survey your telephone number would be put in a drawing,’” Oxendine said. “We could get somebody to donate something, even if it’s free pizza from Papa John’s, but they will give away something somewhere for free.”

Last year, the school system received 210 responses from more than 7,000 telephone numbers dialed by the district’s system.

The survey asks if the school has a supportive learning environment, provides a quality educational program and enforces discipline. It also has questions on whether they feel welcome to visit the school at any time and if their views are seriously considered when school decisions are made.

The survey responses from last year shows about 82 percent said their children were provided a quality education. About 69 percent said their schools enforce discipline, and about 58 percent said their views were considered in school decisions.

Hedrick also proposed establishing a speaker’s bureau for classrooms in Vance County Schools where members of the community would volunteer to talk with students about educational and career opportunities.

“These would be people from the community: business owners, elected officials, church leaders, it could be a variety of people we have come into the schools,” Hedrick said. “We would like to get it going pretty soon, within the next few weeks, get some letters out so we can get it started before school ends this year.”

In other business:

• Vance-Granville Community College will hold College for a Day events on March 7 and 14 for middle and high school students.

• An “Audio Body” concert performance at Vance-Granville’s civic center is scheduled March 21 for all fifth-graders.

• A performance by the N.C. Symphony for all fourth-graders at the college is scheduled April 9.

Contact the writer at smansur@hendersondispatch.com.