2015-16 Focus Group Highlights
During the 2015-16 school year, Big Valley Christian School parents were invited to participate in one of 11 different focus group meetings with Superintendent Bobby Kirchner to discuss their experiences at BVCS. Each meeting followed a similar outline discussing what things the participants felt were going well or working well, and what things they felt needed attention. We wanted to share with our school families the summary results of those meetings.
Under the category of what is working well at BVCS, two themes were expressed in multiple ways at every meeting.
- Communication – parents are generally pleased with the communication they receive from teachers whether through newsletters, personal emails, Remind 101, Haiku, Fab 5 and other methods.
- Teachers & Staff – parents are very appreciative of the way BVCS teachers show that they really care for their students, they are accessible, they lead by example, they send personal notes/emails, they modify classwork when needed, and are excellent in what they do everyday.
Other themes that were mentioned on more than once occasion included an appreciation for our safe school environment, the recent growth and expansion of our College-prep department, the way the preschool staff is so welcoming and passionate about what they do, the healthy balance of academics, physical education, music, athletics and other opportunities, and the spiritual focus and Bible teaching that are integrated into every subject area.
Under the category of things the parents felt needed attention, there were not as many common themes. However the following items were mentioned at more than one meeting. In many cases, we have been able to make changes to address the concerns that were mentioned.
- Communication, especially in the area of athletics and from coaches to parents, needed improvement. We have added a part-time Administrative Assistant to the athletic department this year to improve this area, and the athletic department has recently completed a survey of their fall athletes and families to evaluate if they are more effectively communicating.
- Curriculum concerns included assigning too much homework or projects, a desire for more Advanced Placement courses, and improved continuity across grade levels in some subjects. The faculty and administration regularly evaluate homework policies to promote retention without unduly burdening the student and family. The faculty is always seeking to improve continuity between grade levels through collaboration and evaluation. This year the high school curriculum added AP biology to the list of eight AP courses offered.
- Technology – some frustrations with RenWeb and re-enrollment were voiced. We are hopeful that our 2nd year of using RenWeb will be a little easier for everyone as we become more familiar and comfortable with its features.
- Schedules – start times are not consistent (preschool – high school), and after school options for JH/HS are limited. In order to manage traffic flow, we have determined that it makes the most sense to have staggered start times. The Lions Lair at the JH/HS campus is open every morning from 7:30-8:00 a.m. and in the afternoon from 3:00-4:00 p.m. without charge for students to do homework.
- Transition to 7th grade can be difficult, and students transferring to BVCS from other schools can also face challenges. In an effort to address these concerns, every junior high and high school teacher has posted office hours this year when they are available to help a student that may be struggling. The teachers have also arranged for several group meetings with a parent whose child may be struggling in multiple subject areas to determine an intervention plan.
We are thankful for the honest and open communication with our parents to help us evaluate our program and to constantly be working toward making Big Valley Christian School the best Christ-centered, college prep education available. If you have questions or concerns, our doors are open to you.