FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – A survey sent to families in Fort Wayne Community Schools (FWCS) aims to allow families to give the school district feedback on its efforts to be inclusive and diverse.

The survey, sent out in January, is conducted by “Adjusted School Equity Solutions” led by president Dr. Muhammad Khalifa.

The independent equity expert is analyzing the results, the release said, and the survey itself is part of a greater assessment that FWCS hopes will improve its culture.

The survey, which was sent out to middle school, high school students, staff and parents looks at eight topics:

  • Accepting or Marginalizing School Identity and Voice (AMSIV): How students feel their identities, histories and voices affect school policy and practices.
  • Culturally Responsive School Leadership, Teaching and Curriculum (CRSLTC): How diverse backgrounds and experiences are incorporated in classroom content and interactions. 
  • Discriminatory Behaviors and Practices (DBP): Addresses perceptions about discrimination that some students experience.
  • School Culture and Climate (SCC): How respectful adults and students are when speaking to each other; also, the overall positivity of student experiences.  
  • School Community Relationship (SCR): How comfortable families feel attending school events and approaching school staff.
  • Thoughts on Achievement Gap (TAG): How staff, families, students and teachers understand the reasons for achievement gaps.
  • Thoughts on Discipline Gap (TDG): How staff, families, students and teachers understand the reasons for disparities in discipline.
  • Teacher Ratings and Expectations (TRE): Addresses perceptions on how successful students from various backgrounds can be and the expectations that are held for various student groups.  

“Ultimately we’ll gather the results of the survey, there will also be some in-person interviews done. Once we receive the results, we’ll look at the areas where we are good and we will also look at the areas we can improve on, and we’ll work to make changes to make the culture better here at Fort Wayne Community Schools,” said Scott Murray, the district’s communications manager.

Murray also told Wane 15 that FWCS carefully weighed options when choosing Adjusted School Equity Solutions for the assessment.

“During the process, we looked at multiple companies who work at doing surveys like this,” Murray said. “We felt this company had worked with other school districts before and was able to provide good results and good actionable items.”

While FWCS is confident in the assessment, the decision did spark some controversy on Facebook, however, the district says that very few parents have reached out to complain and even suggested that it’s a good opportunity for parents to connect with their students.

“This is a good time to maybe sit down and look at the survey with them and maybe talk to them about how they feel about what’s going on and help them make good answers for the survey,” Murray said.

Murray also noted that if parents feel strongly that they do not want their student to take the survey, they can let the school know and the student will not have to participate.