Community Provides Feedback to BSCO

The community survey this winter has been a huge success. A huge thank you is due to the 150 community members who took the time to provide valuable feedback to your BSCO leadership. While opinions varied, clear trends became apparent and several misconceptions were revealed.

Clear Trends

1. The majority of the BSE community believe that three Community Meetings in a year is sufficient.  The most popular “other” answer was adding a fourth meeting to the schedule.

2.  Parents prefer our BSCO newsletter over any other method of communication.  Emails sent directly from the school were also popular.

3.  Student Enrichment should be BSCO’s primary goal in fundraising.  Other responses included a combination of the given choices, a crosswalk on McDaniel, more specific goals, creative help for teachers with growing class sizes, and activities & projects as needed.

4.  Our community is interested in adding more STEM programs/events over any other option. Other answers included Art Fair, cheap/free after school events, visiting historians/storytellers, more field trips, or a combination of the given choices. 

Of the respondents that chose STEM activities, they are nearly split on what time of STEM addition they’d like to see. Other answers included hosting a Math Night.

5.  While over one third of respondents are happy with aspects of BSCO, more work is always needed. Other answers included more outreach, moving meeting days, recruiting more volunteers, more education enhancement programs, and engaging working parents.

More Inclusiveness (14.8%)
Respondents who chose “More inclusiveness” suggested several ideas, such as targeting working parents and families with a different backgrounds and languages, amping up our community outreach for those in need and encouraging more diversity on the Board.  Other suggestions included:

“Perhaps have International Night/event to encourage diverse groups to step up and into event planning and community building.”

“A lot of descriptions of events are aimed at people who already know what they are. New parents (families that have moved into the district or with Kindergarten students) have no idea what they are. It's frustrating not knowing what events are geared towards which kids (for instance, is the science night for all families, or just 5th graders?)”

Revised Programs (16.8%)
Respondents who chose “Revised Programs” were asked what they’d like to see changed.  Answers included adding a “Watching D.O.G.S (Dads of Great Students) program, more language, sports, more STEM, more outreach (a sister school), and increased lower grade involvement.  Changing up awards and dropping Outdoor School were also suggested, as well as reevaluating the end of year events schedule and field trips.  One more possibility was given:

“Keep up all the programs happening in class and at assemblies. Mad Science, Young Audience etc. Would love to see Tears of Joy puppet theater. Authors and guest speakers.”

Better Budget Transparency (18.8%)
Of those respondents who chose “Better budget transparency,” the feedback gained ranged from confusion over where to find the budget and how much is in the reserve, adding turf to the field, seeking more communication and recommendations from parents, and including the budget report in the newsletter.  Other suggestions included:  

“There should be a vote similar to this survey or be fundraised for specifically. When our family gives to the jog-a-thon and/or auction we assume our money is going to the general programs listed on the fundraising materials.  Anything raised above and beyond the needs of the annual budget should have input by the families at Bonny Slope.”

“If fundraising efforts exceed the budget needs, there should be a special session/communication about what to do with this money.”

No Changes Needed (36.9%)
While BSCO is always striving to improve, an acknowledgment that we’re all volunteers is always appreciated.  

“This volunteer work takes a lot of time. Thanks to everyone on BSCO for all that you do, including sending out this survey. Our family appreciates the time and effort you put in, to benefit BSE kids. THANK YOU!!

 

Popular Misconceptions

Here is more information to clear up some confusion.

1.  BSCO does not set the party schedule at BSE. While BSCO funds & organizes  the class parties and helps schedule volunteers, the party schedule is handed down from BSD.  Each elementary school is allotted three parties in a school year.  School administrators usually schedule evenly over the year-- once in fall/winter, once at Valentine’s Day (prior to testing cycle) and end-of year.

2.  BSCO does not have the power to hire additional staff such as teacher aides.  Unlike Portland Public Schools, Beaverton School District does not allow parent organizations to fund additional staff.  Money contributed to the Principal’s Fund can buy school-wide programs, supplies and events, but not people.

3.  Beaverton School District does not currently guarantee Outdoor School for every 6th grader.  Unfortunately, the availability and unreliability of Outdoor School in the 6th grade year has created uneven opportunities in the Beaverton School District.  Many options schools don’t participate, and Cedar Park has not consistently offered it (as was the case last school year).  The state of Oregon recently mandated Outdoor School for every 6th grader, but did not provide additional funding.  Until the time arises that every 6th grader in Oregon can reliably and confidently participate, BSE will continue to offer Outdoor School for it’s fifth grade class.

4.  BSCO does not decide what after school clubs are offered.  All decisions and scheduling of after school clubs go through the administration at BSE.  While BSCO does have a liaison position that provides feedback and helps market the clubs, the selection and final decision remain with our principal and vice principal.  All vendor insurance verification goes through BSE’s front office as well.  If you have ideas for an after school club, please contact Janet Maza.

5.  BSCO cannot donate extra funds at the end of the year to another school.  Our community’s generosity and compassion is clearly evident in the many comments asking for extra money to be given to a sister school.  However, our Board Handbook states that “All BSCO money shall be used for the direct benefit of BSCO,” and money that is raised through our official BSCO fundraisers leave the donor with the impression that it will benefit the BSE community and our students.

However, both BSE and BSCO recognize the need for more outreach. There are many creative ways to raise money to benefit struggling schools, with the clear understanding of the fundraiser’s intention and destination communicated at the point of sale.  We will continue to review and explore these possibilities together with the counselors and administrators at Bonny Slope Elementary.

 

Common Threads

Here is a listing of themes/ideas that came up in three or more feedback comments. 

  • Re-thinking JAT prizes (unintended consequences)
  • Improve BSCO’s targeting of working parents
  • More outreach and awareness of struggling communities/populations
  • Rethinking community input and procedure for large expenditures
  • Continuing to add diverse and enriching programs to assemblies
  • Increased school safety (such as: secured entrance, lockdown procedures, McDaniel crosswalk, more crossing guards, awareness for drivers)
  • Reassess charging for Monster Mash & Carnival
  • Being mindful of quality of programs versus quantity
  • Appreciation for all our volunteers