Below is the letter that Sarah sent out after our meeting about the survey’s that we recieved from our families.  It was a such a great way to see how we can improve everyone’s experience at CSWS.  I thought it would be nice to have all of our ideas posted here and then I wanted to express some of the ways that I have come up with to address the issues that came up specifically regarding my class. 

First of all.  Thank you for all the wonderful comments.  It is so nice to feel all the appreciation that came from all of you.  It’s nice to be recognized for what I truly love to do – be with your children!  It is a daily pleasure to be their day-time mama.  We are such a small and close community.  It is with the greatest honor that I get to have these years with your children and I am so grateful that you put your trust in me each day and allow me to learn and teach and read and write and figure and experiment and travel and hug and kiss and love with your kids each and every day. 

The one other thing that came through loud and clear is “we parents want more Michelle time”.  And I so hear that.  I would love to be able to update every parent, every day!  How great would that be.  Unfortunatley I have to prioritize and your children get that priority. But to try and come up with some time for updating, I have decided to have some “office” hours.  Time that I am always available to you – to chat, to laugh, to cry, to question, to give me pie!  So, from now on, I am available Thursdays after school for as long as I’m needed.  I was going to put a sign-up each week but then I thought, if you want a time slot, just send me an email or tell me at drop/off pick-up and we’ll set a time for the up coming Thursday.  I don’t have Autumn on Thursday’s after school, so I will be fully present and you will have my undivided attention.  Your child can go to afterschool while we talk and we’ll take all the time you need.  That starts this Thursday, so clamour away, I’m at your service! 

Something else I heard was that some parents would like a to have more time in the classroom with us.  If you have a special talent or gift, please let me know and I will put you straight to work.  While we don’t really just have parents hanging out with us much, having a specific time/activity to bring to the class is the perfect way to play a part in our day.  We would love to do some cooking.  So do let me know!

And I’m trying my darndest to blog more, more, more.  I know how important those little peaks into our day are.  If you have other “suggestions”, let me know. 

All my love…

(Letter from Sarah below)

Dear Families,
 
I have just spent the most incredible 3 hours with our terrific teaching team working on the feedback from the survey you completed.
 
Can I just say THANK YOU for making this such a powerful opportunity for us to come together to work on this.
We got some very specific feedback that basically came down to 3 areas of focus:
1. Communication
2. Family to Family connection
3. The Big Yard
 
First each team of teachers read every response from their classroom, then they read all the comments from the whole school. We then came together as a group and discussed overriding themes, repeated words, topics etc…and came up with a long list. From that we categorized them into these 3 main areas.
 
Then we wrote ideas of how we can address the area, for example one of the suggestions for communication was a brief weekly email to say what we have been up to and if anything different is happening the next week.
 
Once we had a good list of ideas we made a Plan of Action. We took the most do-able ideas and created exactly what that would look like; for example a newsletter would be once a month, at the start of the month and double-sided. Then we agreed on a timeline for implementation.
 
Some areas of focus overlap in their ideas and implementation; for example for Family to Family connection we talked about having a class parent who welcomes new families and invites them personally to school events etc…but that also supports communication.
 
We also loved the idea of individual class potlucks/meetings which we felt was definitely communication AND parent to parent connection.
 
And for the Big Yard we talked about re-scheduling staff breaks so more lead teachers are available and not having as many kids out there. SOOOOO many ideas…….
 
So posted up in the dining area are all our thoughts and ideas. Our goal is for you to see some immediate response to your feedback. And some we know will take us a while-but we’re working on it!!!
 
Life is a work in progress; as long as we keep moving forward at least we know we’re still breathing!
 
I am genuinely thankful for the time and energy you took to complete this survey and I hope it won’t be too much of a pain for you to do the administrative one that is on its way…..

Always with love,

Sarah

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