Community Responds Favorably to Survey
Parents andcommunity are very satisfied with the job Alleghany County PublicSchools are doing on behalf of the children. Fifteen percent gave theschools an "A" grade while only 5.3% gave an "A" grade to the rest ofthe nation's schools. Forty-four percent gave ACPS a "B" grade comparedto only 28.5% who gave a "B" to the rest of the nation's schools. Almost81% reported that they believed that the overall quality of the schoolswas "good" or "excellent." High percentages of respondents alsoreported that Alleghany County Public Schools were "good" or "excellent"in the areas of safety and security (81%), preparing students forcollege (78%), career and technical education (70%), and preparingstudents for careers (65%). Almost 80% of respondents said the schooldivision was "headed in the right direction."
During its February 20 meeting, the Alleghany County School Boardreceived a report from Susan Willis-Walton, Director of the VirginiaTech Center for Survey Research. At the request of the School Board, theCenter conducted a telephone survey of Alleghany County parents andother adult citizens during December and early January. Over 1900 phonecalls were placed with 738 completed interviews. The survey had a 3.58%margin of error and reflected the Alleghany County 2000 census in areassuch as age, educational attainment, and household income.
Respondents reported that they felt great pride in their schools. Over92% reported that Alleghany County Public Schools were either a "good"or an "excellent" source for civic pride. Ms. Walton reported that anyrating of 90% or greater is considered quite high. Seventy-four percentsaid the school division was either a "good" or an "excellent"contributing factor to economic development. Seventy-two percent ofparents said they felt "very welcome" at their child's school andanother 25% reported that they felt "somewhat welcome." "One of the mostgratifying responses to me was the fact that 92% of our citizensbelieve that our school division serves as an important source of civicpride," said Dr. Robert P. Grimesey, Jr., Alleghany County PublicSchools Superintendent. "That confirms that our public schools remainone of ourcommunity's most important sources of good news. It alsoconfirms the value of our schools with regard to economic development."
Community and parent members reported high levels of willingness tosupport theCounty's public schools. Over 93% reported that teachers'salaries should be competitive with other school divisions in the area,and 92% added that those same salaries should be competitive whencompared to the Virginia state average. Just over 55% reported that theythink taxes should be increased to help fund improvements in bothprograms and salaries. Moreover, fifty percent reported that they'd bewilling to support a tax increase to help fund renovation orreconstruction of Alleghany High School. Fifty percent of parentsreported that they had volunteered at least once at their child's schoolduring the past year.
National studies have shown that the more parents and other citizens arefamiliar with their public schools, the more likely they will be tosupport those same schools. To test that assertion, the Virginia Techresearchers asked parents to report on their primary sources ofinformation about their children's schools. Fifty-three percent said aprimary source of information was direct written communications fromtheir child's school, 51% said their child's teacher was a primaryinformation source, and 48% reported that their children were a primarysource. Only 28% said they relied on the news media. Finally, 81% ofparent respondents reported that the schools did a "good" or "excellent"job of communicating with parents.
School officials plan to continue analysis of the data and commentsgenerated by the survey. Ms. Walton noted that she found three generalthemes associated with respondent surveys when asked the most importantissues facing Alleghany County Public Schools. They includeconsolidation, capital improvements, and a continued investment in theteachers of the division. "While the survey did not seek specifics, itis clear that the citizens of Alleghany County support some level ofconsolidation of school operations," commented Grimesey. "Again, theresult is gratifying. As everyone knows, the school boards of AlleghanyCounty and Covington City have worked very hard during this past year togather facts related to all options associated with the possible mergerof school operations."
"Ifound the survey results to be very rewarding," continued Grimesey."They have helped us to identify a few areas that we need to address.For the most part, however, they showed that Alleghany County's adultcitizens, parents and non-parents alike, appreciate and support the jobwe are doing." Copies of Virginia Tech's Center for Survey Researchslide presentation and survey are available on this web site by clickingthe links below and at the main office of each school.
Alleghany County Public Schools Community Survey Documents
Open-ended Responses Document (PDF File)
Summary Document (PDF File)
Survey Document (PDF File)