Questions & Answers About the Survey

How many times should I take the survey, if I have more than one child at the school?
We ask that you take the survey one time per school, per family. We measure our response rate based on the number of families at the school (not the number of students). If you have children at two or more different schools, please take the survey for each school, if you have time. In the “About your Child & Family” section, we recommend that you answer with your oldest child in mind.

Will the school find out what I said in response to the questions?
The survey will ask about your experience as a CPS parent, guardian, or caregiver – but your answers will be completely anonymous. There is no way for us to know who provided which answers. Schools will learn a lot from the opinions expressed on surveys – for instance, your ideas for ways the school could help your family support student learning, and whether you think the school is welcoming to all families.

How will this survey be used by CPS?
Like the District Planning process as a whole, the family survey is part of an ongoing cycle of learning, experimenting, refining, and building towards better outcomes for students.

Examples of ways that CPS might learn from, and respond to what we learn include:

  • Directing more resources to solve a particular challenge described by families taking the survey
  • Prioritizing training and professional learning around a particular topic that is raised by the survey
  • Creating new parent education materials or workshops
  • Developing focus group questions to further explore initial findings from the survey

Why do you ask questions about my child and family’s background?
Cambridge Public Schools is committed to ensuring that all students and families have positive experiences in our schools. By providing information about your background, we are able to see whether a student’s race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, home language or Free/Reduced lunch status seems to have any impact on how positive their experience is in CPS.

Past surveys have uncovered that families of students who identify as non-binary or transgender report more negative experiences in our schools. In response to this information, CPS created a new training program designed to improve schools’ responses to these students and families. We take these kinds of disparities very seriously, and work to take actions that will build greater equity and inclusion for all families.

In technical terms, Panorama provides us with the ability to view data in the aggregate (as a whole) or dis-aggregated into distinct groups (gender, race/ethnicity, grade level, etc.) in order to help us understand how equity issues may be affecting school climate and student experiences.

How can you protect my anonymity?
The survey is administered by an outside company, Panorama Education. Families are not asked to share any identifying information, and Panorama will only allow us to view information about different demographic groups if 10 or more individuals from that group responded to the survey. What Panorama shows to us will be the combined answers of all members of the particular demographic group we are interested in. This allows us to consider patterns in experiences without giving us any information about what any individual family has reported on the survey.

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