How Chesapeake Public Schools Shapes District Policies Through Community Voices

Capturing every voice within a community is crucial, especially in a district as large as Chesapeake Public Schools in Virginia. Discover how they implemented user-friendly surveys to capture feedback from stakeholders districtwide. 

Chesapeake Public Schools logo

40,000+ students
28 elementary schools
10 middle schools
7 high schools
3 centers

Capturing every voice within a school district is crucial, especially for a district as large as Chesapeake Public Schools (CPS) in Virginia, serving more than 40,000 students. Recognizing this need, CPS sought a user-friendly survey platform to collect feedback from students, staff, families, and community members. Enter Engage — K12 Insight’s cloud-based survey solution tailored for K-12 school districts.

CPS implemented Engage in 2020, drawn by its proven track record of boosting community engagement in schools. Superintendent Dr. Jared Cotton had witnessed the platform’s effectiveness in enhancing communication and collaboration in his previous role as superintendent at Henry County Public Schools, and was a strong advocate for its adoption when he transitioned to CPS.

“Every voice matters, and at Chesapeake Public Schools, we make it a priority to provide accessible platforms for students, families, staff and community members to be involved with critical decisions happening within our community and share their feedback,” said Dr. Cotton. “The Engage survey platform is an effective tool for fostering community engagement and allows us to gather valuable data districtwide to ensure we’re making decisions based on community insights.”

Out with paper surveys for community engagement, in with one cohesive survey platform

Before Engage, CPS grappled with paper surveys and platforms like SurveyMonkey to collect community feedback — which meant sorting through hundreds of surveys by hand and performing tedious manual analysis. With Engage, the district has one platform to distribute surveys and handle survey analysis, resulting in significant time savings and efficiencies.

“Engage allows us to tailor surveys for the needs of our community and the district while making it easy for us to share surveys through different channels, such as social media, emails, and even mobile apps,” said Tee Bunch-Boney, Supervisor of Planning, Policy and Research at CPS.

With more than 50-pre-built survey questions, CPS can easily use Engage’s existing templates for school climate surveys, school district calendar surveys, and feedback on dress code changes.

“When we were looking at updating our student dress code, we really wanted to get input and opinions from our community, especially our students,” said Fallon Graham, Director of Planning, Policy and Research at CPS. “Thanks to Engage, we were able to implement a survey that involved everyone in our community and created buy-in for a school dress code that everyone could agree on.”

Giving all stakeholders a voice — from students to community members

Engage has helped CPS bring its entire community together and ensure stakeholders feel heard. By giving parents, students, and community members a voice through surveys, the district has received valuable feedback that has directly influenced decisions, such as calendar changes.

“Engage has allowed us to foster a sense of ownership and empowerment within our community, reinforcing our commitment to collaborative decision-making and continuous improvement,” said Graham. “What’s great about Engage is it allows us to communicate with our community on an ongoing basis rather than waiting for them to come to us. It makes two-way communication much simpler and more accessible districtwide.”

Efficiency and stakeholder engagement have been further amplified through innovative projects like the Modern Classrooms Project Survey, where students’ voices shaped program development. Modern Classrooms Project is an innovative instructional model piloted at CPS during the 2023-2024 school year. It includes a combination of self-paced learning, blended learning, and mastery-based learning.

“We found that students were actually taking the survey and we’ve collected a lot of great responses,” said Bunch-Boney. “We love that Engage allows us to track school participation rates and makes it easy for us to send reminders to schools that may have lower participation rates.”

Increased efficiency, reduced survey fatigue districtwide

The district has adopted a strategic approach to survey administration by centralizing survey initiatives and aligning them with departmental goals. Instead of each department conducting separate surveys, the district now collaborates to compile relevant questions into a single, comprehensive survey. This approach not only reduces survey fatigue for participants, but also facilitates efficient data collection and analysis.

“One of my favorite Engage features is creating one survey for the entire community,” said Bunch-Boney. “Instead of creating separate surveys for each audience, Engage makes it easy to allow participants to select whether they're a parent, a student, a teacher, or an administrator, allowing us to capture feedback from all stakeholders in one survey versus creating four or five different surveys."

Empowering efficient and convenient reporting

When it comes to reporting, Engage allows departments to create reports based on their specific information needs. This tailored approach ensures each department receives relevant insights. Engage’s streamlined survey process gives critical time back to staff and empowers departments to make data-driven decisions efficiently.

“Engage’s reporting features help us identify key themes, create clear reports, and develop engaging presentations that are easy to digest by staff, administrators, and cabinet members,” said Graham. “Reporting on our survey results and taking data-driven action has never been easier thanks to Engage. This platform has truly transformed how we engage with our community and make informed decisions at Chesapeake Public Schools.”

Interested in learning how Engage can help your school district implement effective, efficient, and powerful surveys? Reach out to our team today for a demo.