Over the past couple of weeks, we’ve asked you, our Petra families, for feedback as to how you think we’re doing. If you’ve been at Petra for multiple years, you’ve seen a version of the survey questions before:
1. Based on your experience with Petra Academy during the current school year, how likely are you to recommend Petra to a friend or associate?
3. Please describe two or three things you like most about your experience at Petra this year.
4. Please describe two or three things you would like to see improved or enhanced at Petra.
5. What suggestions would you offer to teachers, administration, and board to improve the Petra community and experience for your family?
As we begin our second semester this week, I’d like to share some of your feedback, as well as write the first of a few posts in response to aspects of it. To be clear, my intent is not to define or defend anything, but to reassure you that we are reading what you have taken time to share and appreciate your participation in the conversation.
A couple of quick observations pertaining to the first two questions:
On a scale of 1 to 10 (with 10 being the highest likelihood of “always” being willing to recommend Petra to others), our average score from 28 responses was a solid 9. This is significant in two ways: first, positive word-of-mouth is the proven way that our school has grown by a steady 10% each year over the past five years, so it’s good to see that this trend might continue; second, while parents offered suggestions, you verbalized that you generally thought of such desired enhancements as small (rather than big) things that did not cause a general reluctance to promote the school.
Additionally, of the 28 responses, we had at least two responses from every Petra grade, so no grade was without a baseline representation in the survey (kudos to our pre-Polly grades – K4, Kindergarten, Afternoon Enrichment, and 1st – for their combined total of 15 responses, our largest).
In the rest of this post, I’ll focus on your answers to question #3 and the two or three things you said you liked most about your experience at Petra this year.
Several parents noted a genuine concern for “each student as an individual,” as well as the “kind and helpful” teachers and the “close communication between the teacher, parents, and students.” “Small class size” was mentioned several times, along with the fact that parents were glad that “our children are not just another name or grade.”
Multiple parents expressed their appreciation for “the details of the school regularly outlined in The Griffin Gazette,” as well as “the increased activity on social media (Facebook, Twitter) and website.” One parent also communicated her appreciation for “the intimate classroom environment and newsletters via email,” while another mentioned that he “enjoyed receiving and reading the magazine about classical schools – a wonderful surprise.”
We were glad to hear one parent’s appreciation for “the Trivium pedagogy of grammar, logic, and rhetoric,” and another’s praise for our “demanding but do-able curriculum.” One parent mentioned our “strong curriculum and the results of the whole class progressing together,” while one Afternoon Enrichment parent stated that she was simply encouraged with her student’s “progress in writing cursive.”
One parent spoke for several when she spoke of the “loving, appropriate and effective discipline for our kids when needed.” Another parent mentioned that she was glad for a school where “everyday I can drop off my son where he is challenged, but also safe, physically, emotionally, and spiritually.”
Several parents communicated the sentiment that “the Feasts are a wonderful addition,” as well as that their students have “really enjoyed the increased physical education opportunities and options for electives this year.” Another parent mentioned her appreciation for our “multi-grade events such as Great Assembly, ornament exchange, and recitations,” the last of which she shared was “our favorite day of the month.” Finally, a parent said that she “loved” that our athletic offerings are expanding, while another voiced that the “student choir is wonderful and definitely a thing to look forward to for our 3rd grader.”
Even the “uniform for younger students and the Rhetoric dress code for oldest students” made it on the list of positives!
Other comments we were especially excited to read:
“Our student is LEARNING, and we like the very cheerful presence that we feel at Petra these days.”
“The teachers are excellent and give so much to the kids every day. The facility is reasonably secure (compared to other schools) and professionally run by a staff of trustworthy and dedicated people.”
“We are so thankful for the obvious care and concern for our children from all of their teachers. They are each challenged and encouraged in ways that are unique to their personalities. A heartfelt thank you to the wonderful Petra teachers!”
“We love the Christ-centered curriculum, and our children are really blossoming under the instruction of their teachers, who are fantastic. We love the community at the school. It is also very nice to be greeted by both Mr. Dunham and/or Mr. C. The kids enjoy getting to interact and say, ‘Good morning.'”
Next week, I’ll respond to your ideas for what might be improved or enhanced for our Petra community. Stay tuned, and if you haven’t yet, please take the survey!