Sun, Mar 22, 2015
Dear Students, Parents/Guardians, and Friends of Herron High School,
In the spring of each school year, researchers for the Office of the Mayor administer anonymous parent satisfaction surveys to families of students enrolled in Mayor-sponsored charter schools. In previous years, these surveys were distributed by the charter schools. This year, the Mayor’s team will be distributing the surveys directly to parents by mail. The survey only takes a few minutes to complete. The survey letter will also offer a convenient option to complete it online.
Your participation is very important to the school. The survey data provides school leadership with important feedback about our educational programming. Just as important, the Mayor’s office uses this data in our annual performance report. The surveys are part of our overall accountability program.
We are pleased with our track record for a high level of parent satisfaction to date: In our charter renewal report from the Office of the Mayor, it was reported that: “Controlling for the number of respondents each year, the weighted average over the last six years is 92.6%. This is a very high parent satisfaction rate and is significantly over the Mayor’s standard of 80%.” We hope you will take the time to complete this important survey. Please watch for it in your mail in the coming week and complete the survey by the deadline.
On the subject of accountability, I listened to a call-in program on the radio about the school funding issues that are currently being addressed by our legislators. During the program, a caller stated two of the most prevalent misperceptions about charter schools. First, he said, “Charter schools are not held accountable to the state.” This is so untrue; public charter schools are evaluated on exactly the same rubrics and given an annual letter grade in the same manner as traditional public schools.
In fact, in addition to the yearly state accountability program, charter schools are given very rigorous annual performance reviews by their authorizers. I often think if district schools were evaluated and measured by the type of intensive performance framework to which charter schools are held accountable, the educational landscape of our city would look much different. (To learn about the full scope of performance standards in our evaluation from the Mayor’s office, visit http://oei.indy.gov/herron-high-school to read our recently completed 2013/2014 report.)
The caller also said, “Charter schools are taking money away from public schools.” I want to state this loud and clear: Charter schools ARE public schools. We serve the same populations, face the same challenges, and are held accountable to the same academic standards and performance evaluations as traditional schools. Furthermore, due to the state funding inequity that results in over $1,000,000.00 LESS each year, we deliver our educational programming on a far tighter budget than traditional public schools.
Without Herron High School as a tuition-free public school option, approximately 2/3rds of our students would be assigned to attend a failing school in their home district. As a recipient of a free, high-quality public education for your child, I hope you will share this kind of information with your friends and associates. It is important that we all work to dispel destructive myths about public charter schools.
Thank you for entrusting Herron High School to provide an exemplary high school experience for your student.
All my best,
Janet H. McNeal, Head of School
Complete newsletter here: 3.21.2015 HHS