Guest columnist Laura Frogameni: Surveys ... another sign of spring?

Published: 5/23/2022 3:47:06 PM
Modified: 5/23/2022 3:45:12 PM

Have you been asked to fill out an online survey recently? An end-of-program year feedback form, maybe?

They seem to be popping up like tulips these days. Not only have I been asked a couple of times just this week, but I’m also part of a team launching a citywide one. That makes me carefully consider why we are asking for 15 minutes of folks’ time.

I work for the Northampton Public Schools Early Childhood Center. We have a fairly new formal partnership between the public schools and community-based preschools, child care centers, and family child care programs. It’s state-funded through the Department of Early Education and Care (EEC).

After three years, it’s time to assess how it’s going before we get to ask for another round of grant funds. As our 10-person team drafts survey and focus group questions, I keep thinking, “doesn’t everyone already know child care is underfunded?” Haven’t we read enough articles about how teachers of our youngest learners make the very lowest wages? Why are we asking parents if it is hard to find child care and/or pay for it when we know it’s hard?

And here’s the thing, we do need to know more than what we ourselves, who work in the field, notice and think. We need to know if the partnership-funded new services made a difference, such as providing special education services at community-based sites instead of only at the public school.

We need our city’s take on the issues so we can continue to tweak and grow the new partnership programs in ways that make sense for local families. Or perhaps we need to change course with new programmatic solutions to address systemic issues in the early education and child care system. So we craft questions that will gain the families’ and early childhood educators’ insight.

Do you have to assess your work and programs with customer and constituent feedback? Might you be sending a marketing survey, farm pick-up preference feedback form, or maybe just a Doodle poll? I’ll keep an eye on my inbox for surveys and will strive to complete them to provide you with the information you need.

And if you have young children or work with them, please consider completing the Early Childhood Needs Assessment survey at NorthamptonFamilies.com.

Laura Frogameni is a Florence resident and works as the Northampton Public Schools Preschool & Partnership Coordinator. You can reach her at lfrogameni@northampton-k12.us

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