2019-2020 Calendar Survey
Board of Education Takes Action on Developing a Calendar Survey
On November 14, 2017 the Montgomery County Board of Education (Board) voted unanimously “to request that the school system conduct a comprehensive survey of staff, parents, and the community, regarding their desired operational closures for use in developing the 2019–2020 calendar” (Resolution 463-17).
This resolution was adopted in response to Governor Larry Hogan’s Executive Order of August 31, 2016 (amended October 11, 2016), mandating that public school systems in Maryland must begin instruction after Labor Day and end by June 15. Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) and several other Maryland school districts experienced challenges in developing school year calendars due to the shortened overall time frame for possible instructional programming established by the Executive Order.
One of the major challenges in calendar development under this constraint is balancing the number of instructional days (exceeding the 180-day mandate) with state-mandated closures and non-state-mandated closures—or operational closures—while also considering longstanding traditional programming for elements such as Spring Break.
Follow-up and Approach
Following the Board’s action, an internal team was assembled to guide development of the calendar survey. This team was composed of staff in the following offices:
- Office of the General Counsel;
- Office of the Chief Operating Officer;
- Office of the Chief Technology Officer;
- Office of Shared Accountability; and
- Office of Student and Family Support and Engagement
Early discussions among the members of the internal team determined it would be appropriate for a third-party to design, administer, and analyze the comprehensive calendar survey requested by the Board. To that end, on February 26, 2018, the Board approved a contract extension for Hanover Research to work collaboratively with MCPS on this initiative.
In 2016, Hanover Research partnered with the Howard County Public Schools system in developing the Religious and Cultural Observances—Calendar Impact Survey for staff and parents/guardians to understand the impact of religious and cultural observances on the delivery of its instructional program. The team’s goal was to use this survey as a model with modifications tailored specifically for MCPS. Development of this survey stipulated the following:
- Avoid requiring survey participants from disclosing their religious affiliations;
- Data collection will be anonymous and confidential; and
- Survey participants may complete the survey on a strictly volunteer basis.
Several delivery methods will be used in order to best engage survey participants:
- MCPS staff: Each employee will receive an e-mail invitation from Hanover Research with instructions and a unique hyperlink to the online survey. Surveys may only be completed once.
- Parents/guardians with e-mail addresses: Responsible adults for students will receive an e-mail invitation from MCPS with instructions and a unique hyperlink to an online survey. Surveys may only be completed once.
- Parents/guardians without e-mail addresses: Households for student(s) without an e-mail address associated with a responsible adult will receive a mailed postcard invitation from MCPS with instructions, an anonymous survey hyperlink, and a validation code to access the online survey. Surveys may only be completed once. A limited number of (translated) paper copies will be available at schools.
- Students: Parents/guardians will receive information about how and where to access the student survey in their e-mail or postcard. This will allow the parent/guardian to govern access to the survey for their child(ren).
- Community: Community members also will have the ability to participate in the survey by navigating to a dedicated MCPS web page that will link to an open access survey (see hyperlink below).
The online survey allows parents/guardians to select survey participation in English, Amharic, Chinese, French, Korean, Spanish or Vietnamese.
Data Collection and Privacy
Hanover Research will retain all data collected from survey participants. Data will remain anonymous and confidential. In addition, results will only be presented as overall percentages, but examples of written responses may be used to illustrate certain points. No identifying information will be released with the reporting of results.
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