By Terry Dean
Oak Park and River Forest High School has officially closed its climate survey after extending the deadline for participation twice late last fall.
The school got just under 200 additional respondents after extending the survey through the end of winter break, Dec. 31. The survey is part of OPRF's ongoing strategic planning process. The final tally of respondents was roughly 2,100. That's slightly up from about 1,900 who took the survey following the Nov. 16 deadline extension. Those results were released in early December.
The addition of 188 participations, however, did not dramatically change the results.
The respondents still gave the school high marks for its overall academic program, co-curricular activities and college-preparedness for students. Respondents also gave the school high marks for offering a "challenging" academic program. Seventy percent of students said they are challenged at the high school while 57 percent of parents made the same declaration about their children.
OPRF's performing arts program received high marks amongst all participants, especially parents.
Concerning homework, 62 percent of parents versus 51 percent of the students said the amount was "just right." Among those feeling there's too much homework, 25 percent of parents said that was the case compared to 45 percent of students.
Sixty-three percent of the students said they were "satisfied" with how the high school communicates information. Roughly the same percentage of staff, 64 percent, said they were satisfied. The satisfaction level was slightly lower among parents at 59 percent, and much lower among non-parents at just 25 percent.
The survey was first extended following its Nov. 12, 2012 deadline in order to get a broader representation of people, as the initial respondents did not reflect the demographics of the student body. The latest survey results were released over the weekend. The vast majority of respondents were Oak Park residents. A total of 346 students participated, along with 228 staff, 648 non-parents and 900 parents.
Karin Sullivan, OPRF's director of communications and community relations, says the school did a lot of one-on-one outreach to get more people to participate. She noted that the survey is just of many important pieces of data the school is using, including input from focus groups and the work of the steering committee.