KIPP, the Knowledge Is Power Program, is a national network of free, open-enrollment, college-preparatory public schools with a track record of preparing students in under-served communities for success in college and in life. There are currently 99 KIPP schools in 20 states and the District of Columbia serving more than 27,000 students. KIPP was recently featured in the documentary film, “Waiting for Superman,” and is an organization we here at SurveyMonkey are big fans of (our Bay Area team recently toured KIPP Heartwood in San Jose, CA and loved the experience).
KIPP Houston college acceptance letters, posters, and campus photos courtesy of Gaurav Oberoi (founder of Precision Polling)
One of the fundamental principles of KIPP is to build a partnership among parents, students, and teachers that puts learning first. An important part of forming the partnership with parents is to gather feedback on an on-going basis.
Recently, three schools in the KIPP Houston region used Precision Polling to quickly create a parent feedback phone survey to gather input on how well informed parents felt, how openly the schools communicated with parents, and other critical topics key to building a strong relationship between the schools and parents.
KIPP Houston’s Director of PR, Chris Gonzales, and Assistant Principal, Janet Bonner, led the effort. They were looking for a fast, effective, and affordable program that could scale to all eighteen schools in the region. They also needed a solution that could reach parents without regular access to the Internet and reach a segment of parents who were more comfortable responding to surveys in a second language.
Using Precision Polling, Chris and Janet were able to design, record, and launch surveys for three schools serving over 600 families in less than two weeks. We spoke with Chris and Janet to learn more about their experience.
SM: Can you share some tips and ideas for what worked well for you?
Chris & Janet: Sure! Here are some of the Best Practices we developed for setting up, running, and analyzing our parent phone surveys…
- Set-up: Since we have a database of parent phone numbers, our primary means of gathering feedback was through outbound phone surveys. Through Precision Polling, we were able to customize the phone number to be the school’s number, so through caller-id, parents would recognize who was calling.
- Response rates: We were able to set the calls up to automatically re-dial a second time if there was no answer on the first call. This helped increase our ability to reach busy parents and ultimately increase our responses rates to the survey.
- Back-up: In case parents missed the automated calls, we also set up a dial-in number so parents could call and participate in the survey when it was most convenient for them. We were able to set up a local, easy-to-remember dial-in number.
- Survey questions: We kept the surveys focused, with no more than twelve questions (including two follow-up questions using skip logic), and let parents know right up front how long the survey would take. We also recorded a short, “you’re almost done!” message when there were three questions left in the survey.
- Accessibility: We recorded our survey in both English and Spanish and gave parents the option at the beginning of the survey to choose the language they were most comfortable responding in.
- Marketing: We sent notes home with our students letting parents know the phone surveys were coming, so they knew in advance that they could either answer when they received the call or dial-in later to the number we had set up.
- Analysis: We could see responses as they came in and listen to messages parents had left us, directly in the system. Aggregated responses were easy to download, so we could compare similarities and differences between the schools as well as between different parent segments to identify our key areas for improvement.
- Scaling: With Precision Polling, we were able to easily copy and paste the surveys we created. This enabled us to quickly replicate our parent survey across three schools. In the future, we can use the same survey to measure any improvements we’ve made in the three schools where we’ve already gathered feedback. And, we’re planning to roll the survey out to three additional schools this month.
SM: Thanks for the great tips! Since Precision Polling is new to the SurveyMonkey family of products, is there anything else that you think would help customers who are considering trying it out?
Chris & Janet: We really appreciated not only how easy the product was to use, but the great and personal service the team provided. They helped us make this a successful tool for reaching and engaging our parents, who can be challenging to reach sometimes. We’re now armed with data and insights on what we need to do to improve. And we’re already off and running with an action plan!
SM: Thanks Chris and Janet! It’s no surprise to us that you’re already working on improvements as that’s very much the KIPP way. We’re thrilled to be part of KIPP’s on-going efforts to gather feedback to continue to improve their schools and programs, and ultimately, provide a path for their students to get to, and through, college. We are also inspired by KIPP’s motto: Work Hard. Be Nice. A mantra that serves well not just in schools, but in all aspects of life.