School survey finds parents pretty satisfied

School survey finds parents pretty satisfied

CUMBERLAND - Parents completing an online survey about Cumberland schools gave the district high grades overall but indicated some dissatisfaction with math and science courses, access to technology and the number of out-of-school learning opportunities.

The March 22 to March 26 survey period attracted 841 responses from among the 4,000 in the Cumberland district's database.

Parents also offered 536 additional comments that the school's communication coordinator, Justin Martin, is still compiling.

Martin said the sample size was well above the threshold of 350 replies needed for a population of roughly 4,000 homes, creating a confidence level of 95 percent and a variable level of .03 percent.

Parents, the survey shows, are generally very satisfied with the quality of teachers and programming, based on the questions asked.

For example, 76 percent are satisfied or very satisfied with the quality of teaching at their child's school.

Sixty-four percent are satisfied or very satisfied with the overall quality of education provided by Cumberland. Another 28.5 percent are somewhat satisfied, while 7.4 percent say they are not satisfied.

Asked about the child's specific school, the satisfaction score rose to 69 percent.

Supt. Phil Thornton said the survey's value is that so many families responded to it offering the department a wide sample of opinion on many topics.

"Sometimes electronic communications - newspaper comments or social media - have smaller sample sizes that tend to seem larger than they actually are," he told The Breeze later.

The survey was developed by Martin as part of his part-time role as the department's communications coordinator.

The 29 questions were split into two parts. Questions one to 11 asked how parents generally valued aspects of an educational system, while the remaining questions asked how Cumberland measures up to those expectations. Gaps in answers between the two are indicators of how well the system is meeting expectations, Martin said.

Some of the largest gaps were:

Question 13 asked about preparing students for future success. While 99 percent rated a school's role in preparing students for future success as important or very important, only 71 percent are satisfied or very satisfied that Cumberland teachers are providing that.

Question 16 asked about STEM curriculum.

Some 97 percent rated science, technology, engineering and math as important or very important, while only 60 percent said they are satisfied or very satisfied with the quality of Cumberland's science and math classes.

On a related question, 58 percent of parents said 24-hour access to laptops or iPads or similar devices was important or very important, with just 33 percent satisfied or very satisfied with their child's access to those devices in Cumberland.

Question 18 asked about a teachers' ability to challenge all learners.

Some 97 percent said that's important or very important, but only 60 percent indicated they are satisfied or very satisfied currently with Cumberland teachers' ability to challenge all students.

Looking at responses to other questions:

* 84 percent are satisfied or very satisfied with the condition of schools.

* 72 percent are happy with the activities or sports programs.

* 50 percent are satisfied or very satisfied with the number of field trip or other out-of-school learning opportunities.

* 86 percent say the school does a good job of communicating with them.

Asked the final question, "The Cumberland schools have problems just like any other school system but the positives outweigh the negatives," 86 percent agreed strongly or somewhat, while 14 percent disagreed strongly or somewhat.

A report on the survey is available online at .

A survey about the high school is planned for this month.


Would the school department’s motive in initiating a satisfaction survey be a financial one? History has shown that change usually comes with an associated cost to the tax payer. When I went to school, grades below 70% were FAILING! Well, aside from all the academic, technology and learning opportunity failures identified in the survey, I’m glad to see that the condition of the school got a passing grade. After all, the MILLIONS spent to chop down all the trees to build the new bathrooms and gym would have been a COMPLETE waste had less than 70% been satisfied. (PHEW!) Evidently the new gymnasium makes parents happy, but, unfortunately it will have little-to-no impact on your child’s quality of education….they’re going to need more money for that. And, unless you hate children, you will give them ALL the money they need to (possibly) insure a higher quality education…or you can expect the same results. It’s your choice.

Stuck in the Valley I find your lack of what's best for Cumberland appalling. Your statement, "After all, the MILLIONS spent to chop down all the trees to build the new bathrooms and gym would have been a COMPLETE waste had less than 70% been satisfied. (PHEW!)". Get your facts straight, thanks to Joseph Rossignoli a former School Committee member and members of the Cumberland EET (like Lisa A. Beaulieu, Chairperson & Linda Teel who are current School Committee members) that building is 5 feet too short to have Interscholastic league indoor track events there. It could have been a source of revenue, but thanks to them it's not today. (Note: due to the delay of CHS Phase 1 to CHS Phase 2 when steel prices went up.) I may be old but I'm not stupid. These 841 responses from among the 4,000 in the Cumberland district's are comparing what to what? I don't know about you but if I moved from Providence to Cumberland I would probably give Cumberland high marks but when I read about the BV Mayoral Academy and how well those students perform, I would probably part of the 7.4 percent saying they are not satisfied. When my kids were in the Cumberland School District I like many had nothing to compare it too, just like here. As an old man maybe it's time to look outside the box.

Silas, Cumberland's test scores are comparable to BVPs.

Could you please list your data? Or the source at least? I believe there are a couple of CPS, in a couple of areas that may be comparable. But to make the blanket statement like yours is misleading.

cumberlandfacts, the data is here:

There are a couple of outliers, but in general, the scores are comparable. I don't think I was misleading.

Gr3: Cumb=83; BVP=81
Gr4: Cumb=84; BVP=85
Gr5: Cumb=80; BVP=66
Gr6: Cumb=84; BVP=81
Gr7: Cumb=78; BVP=74
Gr8: Cumb=82; BVP=80

Gr3: Cumb=70; BVP=80
Gr4: Cumb=75; BVP=72
Gr5: Cumb=72; BVP=55
Gr6: Cumb=76; BVP=78
Gr7: Cumb=75; BVP=74
Gr8: Cumb=70; BVP=94

Looks, good. Just can duplicate the data by going to the website. Year? Type of Data? District or a single school?

CumberlandFacts, yes. You can download the data with:

Year = 2013-2014
District = Cumberland (or BVP)

Then at the bottom, under "District-Level Reports" select "District Summary Report (Teaching Year)." This gives you the data for the whole district (all tested grades).

I re-ran the numbers for teaching year and this is what I got. I think I gave testing year above and teaching year may be a better comparison.

The numbers below are the total "percent proficient" for each district. Basically, I added the percents that received Level 4 and Level 3.

Grade3: Cumb=83; BVP=80
Grade4: Cumb=83; BVP=84
Grade6: Cumb=84; BVP=83
Grade7: Cumb=78; BVP=75
Grade8: Cumb=82; BVP=81

Grade3: Cumb=70; BVP=79
Grade4: Cumb=70; BVP=70
Grade6: Cumb=76; BVP=78
Grade7: Cumb=75; BVP=73
Grade8: Cumb=70; BVP=94

Gee wait until the kids learn better English in BVP they will ace the place .

Since I am mentioned in this post, I feel it necessary to set the record straight. And, I am doing this under my name - not an alias.

I was first elected as a SC rep for the 2004/2006 term. Lisa Beaulieu was elected in 2006.

The design of Wellness Center and specs were decided upon prior to my election and the design is one of the reasons I ran for office as I (and many other parents) were concerned that money was being spent on an athletic facility and not on improving the academic buildings.

A bond was approved for the construction of the Wellness Center before there was a clear understanding of the total cost of building the facility as described to the public. In addition, there was not a sufficiently large enough contingency fund built into the bond for issues that always arise during construction.

The cheapest but not best qualified company was selected to build the WC. A general manager/construction manager was not hired to oversee the construction. Phase 3 construction work was overseen by a qualified manager - the Phase in which I was very much involved. You are correct, the building is too small to hold indoor track meets; and numerous “cost containment decisions” have resulted in a number of other perpetual defects.

Interesting revisionist history.