Through surveys and focus groups, you can gain valuable data and feedback from your staff, parents, students, and community members. They also allow you to engage in a two-way conversation about a wide variety of challenges or opportunities facing your schools.
We are so appreciative of the work the Donovan Group has done in administering a staff survey over the past two years. The Donovan Group team, and particularly Perry Hibner, did a great job, and we can't thank them enough. The data they compiled, along with their analysis, was fantastic. The presentation to our School Board was well-received. We're excited to share the information with our team, especially so we can further try and develop meaningful professional development.'
- Dr. Jim Brewer, Clinton Community (Wisconsin) School District Superintendent
The Donovan Group’s team has conducted hundreds of online surveys for public schools, school districts, and educational organizations across the United States. We use sound research methodologies that emphasize engaging the entire community and disaggregate data in a way that separates the signal from the noise.
Through this approach, we have become the "go-to" firm for robust, methodologically appropriate online survey research for public schools nationwide.
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If surveys offer the “what,” focus groups allow us to explore the “why” behind the responses community and staff members provide. We facilitate focus groups on a wide range of topics. In addition to the experience that comes from more than two decades of focus group experience, we have also become leaders at conducting focus virtual focus groups for social distancing or stakeholder convenience purposes.
Our team has collected input from school communities across the United States to build stakeholder relationships and improve students’ educational experience. Through best practices and emerging technology, we generate custom polling questions that give you insights into the perspectives of your key stakeholders.
The Donovan Group helps you derive meaning from survey results with industry-leading data dashboards that highlight trends among various stakeholder groups. We use this information to outline the appropriate next steps for your district, whether it’s adjusting your communication efforts or proposing new policies.
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Middleton-Cross Plains Area School District
The Middleton-Cross Plains Area School District wanted to engage stakeholders in advance of a survey about a potential operational referendum question on the November 2022 ballot. The Donovan Group facilitated three virtual and two in-person engagement sessions in which more than 120 community members participated. The Donovan Group also facilitated two engagement sessions for staff. Information gathered from those sessions helped inform the survey, which was completed by more than 1,800 residents later in the spring of 2022. Finally, we provided support at close to 60 informational sessions for community members, parents, and staff. The operational question passed with more than 63 percent support.
Ripon Area School District
The Donovan Group administered more than 40 community and staff surveys for districts in Wisconsin, Illinois, Minnesota, and North Dakota in 2022. We administered three surveys – a staff climate, parent satisfaction, and community survey in advance of a possible operational referendum question – for the Ripon Area School District, which is about 90 miles northwest of Milwaukee. The community survey was developed in less than a week, including the production of a postcard to encourage residents to take the survey, so that results and analysis can be shared with School Board members in early August. An operational referendum question was placed on the November ballot and passed with nearly 60 percent support, very similar to what the survey results showed.
Grand Forks (N.D.)
Grand Forks Public Schools wanted to survey residents about potential facility solutions in advance of a capital referendum question on the May 2023 ballot. The Donovan Group administered a community-wide survey in November 2022 that more than 1,200 residents completed. The results suggested the community would support demolishing Valley Middle School and building a new one, while also supporting safety needs and roofing improvements. The referendum question passed with about 65 percent support. A super-majority of 60 percent was required for the measure to pass.
Wausau School District
The Wausau School District asked the Donovan Group to administer a facilities survey of community members in the fall 2021 after an unsuccessful capital referendum in April 2021. More than 2,500 residents completed the survey. The results indicated that any solution that included an increase in property taxes might pass but the support for such a measure was significantly less than an option that was mill rate neutral or one that resulted in a drop in the mill rate. The District eventually decided to put a referendum question of nearly $120 million on the April 2022 ballot and 59.5 percent of residents voted in favor of the solution.
The Dublin Unified School District is dealing with capacity challenges at three of its elementary schools and one of its middle schools. The Donovan Group administered a survey of District families with children in kindergarten through eighth grade in March 2023 that nearly 1,800 individuals completed. Through analysis of the quantitative and qualitative data, eight recommendations were provided to the District, including keeping the current grade configuration of K-5 for elementary schools, 6-8 for middle schools, and the K-8 grade configuration for Cottonwood Creek School, while also making no changes to internal boundaries. Rather, focus on educating the community on the enrollment challenges DUSD faces as a growing district while also expanding space at Fallon Middle School until another K-8 school can come online.
Get in touch to learn more about our school survey, focus group, and school communication services.