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Earlier this year we shared an article titled ‘Strengthening the Family-School Connection.’ In this article, we identified 3 elements we believe are central to building strong school-family connections. They were communication, education and participation.

Today, as we prepare to share your feedback from the most recent FMS parent survey, we’d like to add an additional element for the ongoing strength of our school-family connection, and that is collaboration.

Collaboration is the part that brings your ideas and ours together.

It not only creates stronger school-family connections, but a stronger school overall. The latest school survey is the next step of enhanced school-family collaboration at FMS.

The survey itself was a vehicle for open communication. We kept it anonymous to give families the confidence to share genuine opinions, whether positive and encouraging, or voicing concerns. This is essential in developing trusting -family connection and we appreciate the openness of all who participated.
Your results highlight areas in which additional education and information for families is needed, again, strengthening our partnership.

Participation is also essential. This year, 49% of the 3-12year community and 80% of toddler families responded. We are grateful to everyone who participated. Your responses are invaluable to school planning and decision-making concerning everything from school and classroom communications to playground equipment and activities.

In a broader application, your responses inform the strategic direction of our school. The results of our 2024 parent/family surveys will be presented to the FMS board at the next Board Meeting for inclusion in ongoing strategic planning.

This is collaboration in practice.

 So, what did you tell us? What will we focus on next?

Here are the highlights, take-aways, and next steps from the FMS Parent Survey, 2024.

We were thrilled by the overwhelming positivity in your responses. FMS families were most satisfied with teaching & curriculum, classroom and school environment, our community and events and student experience. Here is a snapshot of your responses:

100% of FMS families said:

  • FMS meets or exceeds my expectations
  • Our classroom environments are welcoming

97% of our families said:

  • My child/ren feel valued and respected at FMS
  • The Montessori Materials are beautifully presented
  • The physical environment is appealing

>90% of FMS families agree:

  • FMS Prepares my child/ren well for lifelong learning experiences
  • FMS Provides sound teaching of the basics
  • I feel my child/ren is in a well-rounded learning environment
  • Classroom staff are approachable and understanding to my family needs.
  • The school admin team is courteous
  • The principal is approachable
  • The grounds are safe and recent refurbishments added value to the physical environment

>80% of FMS families agree:

  • FMS provides an engaging curriculum
  • FMS provides an effective flow of communication about school activities
  • FMS classes caters to my child/ren’s learning needs
  • I feel part of the FMS community

It’s worth noting that many of these areas were vastly increased from our previous survey, conducted in 2018.  In particular, our communications, community, support for students with learning difficulties and staff management of problems were significantly improved.

Of course, there are areas we need to improve as well…

Behaviour management and supporting an anti-bullying environment were well- improved from our previous survey (at 76% and 79% satisfaction), but we feel there is still some work to do. Our intention is to review current policies with staff and ensure everyone is responding efficiently and consistently according to procedure.

It is also evident that our co-curricular programs require review. We need further exploration of expectations, outcomes and alternatives to our programs and/or delivery of programs. Review will require input from families, teachers and leadership.

You also clearly want better reporting on the progress of your child/ren. This has been fed back to teachers and will be further explored with additional feedback to be requested.

Some concerns were raised regarding the timeliness of invoices and accounts. This area has been in review since the start of the year and new processes are being implemented.  We are committed to improving this.

Your concerns around staff stability were clear, and given changes post COVID, understandable. This said, we feel strongly we have made some excellent appointments, the most recent being our new Assistant Principal, Eric Huber. While there has been change, we have assembled an impressive team of qualified teachers, with AMI training and experience, and an efficient, professional administrative and leadership team. Importantly, there is a strong cohesion between the two and we feel we are in a great position moving forward.

Finally, some of the more practical ideas from the survey included a strong voice against using Brown Street as our main entrance, openness to an all-purpose hall or covered outdoor area, and continued face to face parent education with some online/webinar events.

For us, the best results were your overall satisfaction with our school (100%), that you felt your children feel valued and respected at FMS (97%) and that 96.5% said you would refer FMS to family and friends.  These net promoter scores are incredibly high and testament to the trust and respect you have for our staff and the quality education provided to your children.

This is so encouraging for our team, and with your feedback we hope to continue doing better and better.

We will leave you with some of the wonderful sentiments shared by our FMS community. Thank you for all being a part of it:

We are always open to feedback and welcome you to add your comments or reach out to us here.

Denice Scala

Author Denice Scala

B.A, M.Ed, Dip ED, Dip RSA, Cert. Neuroscience. Principal, Forestville Montessori School. Denice Scala is an executive leader with extensive experience in key strategic roles requiring business transformation and innovation. As a passionate advocate for the power of education to enrich lives, Denice moved from classroom teaching to leadership positions in 1992 and since then has held international in roles in Scotland and Australia as Principal, Head of Junior School, and Head of Learning Support. She has an impressive working knowledge of early learning, primary, middle, and secondary schooling including gifted education and special needs. Her Masters in Gifted Education led her to work extensively to find ways to cater for gifted students. This led to providing professional development opportunities for educators to assist in their understanding of the characteristics of gifted children and the complexities of growing up gifted. Denice’s unparalleled grasp of current educational realities is equally matched by her big picture thinking combined with practical solutions to navigate change. Denice’s passion for Montessori education led her to undertake the AMI Introduction to Adolescents Course, to audit the AMI 6-12 Diploma, and to also currently undertake the AMI School Administration Certificate Course.

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