California school districts know the Local Control and Accountability Plan (LCAP) process can be time-consuming.
From asking questions that ignite responses to ensuring you reach every member of your school community, this critical process needs to be done right to ensure your district can set priorities that best support positive student outcomes.
As you plan for your next LCAP, it’s important to consider how to solicit recommendations and comments from every member of your district community. Here are three best practices.
1. Ensure access for every member of your community — including those who are hardest to reach.
For districts with multilingual families or those with limited access to technology, equitable access is a challenge. Nearly 20% of California students are English Language Learners and over 1.5 million households can’t afford WiFi.
At K12 Insight, we help districts translate surveys into any language necessary, guarantee surveys are ADA compliant, and even provide paper surveys to ensure every member of the community has the opportunity to participate.
2. Ask the right questions.
A well–written survey can help you collect actionable data for your LCAP.
Our expert research team has been helping districts across California plan, execute, and analyze LCAP surveys for years, and we’ve found a few tried-and-true examples of questions every district can benefit from asking.
Most often, districts ask rating scale questions to gain insight on attitudes, behaviors, and feelings surrounding topics. This often means phrasing a question like “On a scale from 1 to 5, how accurate are the following statements?”
Here are statements we recommend asking each audience to rate on a scale:
- I am learning new things in my class/classes.
- My school expects very good work from me.
- I am given opportunities to use technology such as computers/Chromebooks/iPads, interactive whiteboards, Google classroom, etc.
Parents and families
- Classroom instruction prepares my child for the next grade level.
- The school’s testing and grading practices are fair.
- I feel connected to my child’s school.
- Our staff encourages students to meet their highest potential.
- The current evaluation process provides me with pertinent feedback regarding my performance.
- In the last six months, I have received some form of recognition for doing good work.
- Standards are communicated effectively for learning.
- I believe that I can impact student learning and close achievement gaps regardless of the student’s home life, language ability, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, etc.
- At my site, shared-decision making is valued.
By asking your stakeholders to rate these statements, you can better understand their perspectives and, in turn, prepare practical goals and action plans for your LCAP.
3. Make your community’s feedback matter.
Making decisions in the best interest of your community starts by understanding your school community’s perceptions, experiences, and needs.
Our Head of Research Operations, Dr. Jennifer Coisson, says: “Data is your friend — even if it’s telling you something you don’t want to hear.”
Whether or not you are already aware of certain issues, you can use surveys to help reveal the root causes and drive meaningful improvements. Because not everyone has the same experience, be sure to ask the same questions across multiple stakeholder groups. This can help you see where perceptions align or differ.
Analyzing the results and finding actionable insights that can be placed into LCAP submissions can be a challenge — especially if you don’t have a background in quantitative and qualitative research. At K12 Insight, our Managed Research team is part of our decade-long, ongoing commitment to engaging in deep listening with parents and families. We help school districts validate what they know and uncover concerns they might have never expected.