K12 Insight’s standard survey calendar is based on the idea that there is an appropriate season for conducting each type of survey.
Some of the seasons are obvious, such as launching an Opening of the Schools Survey — you guessed it — right after the opening of schools. That’s the best time to ask principals about any beginning-of-the-year hitches which can then be avoided the following year.
Similarly, a Professional Development Needs Assessment is scheduled in the early spring, after all district and school level Professional Development courses have been completed for the year. Teachers can reflect on how the courses they took impacted their teaching, and that feedback can then be used when planning Professional Development opportunities for the following year.
Some seasonal pairings, however, are not as obvious. For instance, while K12 Insight recommends conducting a Climate Survey on School Site Issues in November — so that the data gathered can be used during the school year — many districts don’t get around to this survey until the end of the school year, and the data isn’t shared until the following school year.
Recognizing the seasonality of surveys requires that school districts take a systemic approach to planning and conducting them. The timing of surveys will vary from district to district, depending upon each district’s calendar, standardized testing and other specific initiatives.
However, spending some time planning your survey calendar at the beginning of the school year can give you a much different picture than if surveys happen “by accident” throughout the course of the year. Now is the best time for school districts to create a plan to determine the appropriate surveys for each season.