Richardson Independent School District has set a goal – to provide a world class education.

To reach this goal, Superintendent Vernon Johnson says the district must know where to begin.

To assess the current state of our schools, RISD conducted two surveys earlier this year to measure customer satisfaction and school climate, making this the district’s first effort of this sort.

According to the results, overall parents and faculty are pleased with school performance.

“Unless you survey somebody, you can’t possibly know how well you are doing,” Johnson says. “On the whole, things are going along well.”

The customer satisfaction survey was sent to all families (approximately 20,000) in RISD. The district received 7,000 responses, which equates to 35 percent of RISD families.

On a scale of one to five, with five being the highest, parents rated overall district performance a 4.2.

Parents were asked 25 questions concerning teachers, principals, communication, grades, discipline, safety, homework and school goals.

They also were asked if they feel welcome at their schools and comfortable approaching faculty with their concerns.

On most questions, 70 to 80 percent of parents responded favorably to RISD. Most parents who did not respond favorably were neutral.

“We’ve learned there is a very high degree of parental satisfaction with our schools,” Johnson says. “We’ve also learned there are a number of people out there who are neutral on things that I don’t think they should be neutral about. I want them to be positive. We’ve got work to do.”

The second survey measuring school climate was given to RISD faculty members, and nearly all of the teachers responded.

Teachers were asked 27 questions concerning administrative support, site-based management, school goals, communication, safety, student and parent support of school rules, student eagerness, discipline, school resources, opportunities for professional growth and tension in the work environment.

They were also asked if they felt appreciated and liked working at their schools.

On a scale of one to five, faculty members rated overall school climate a 3.9.

The majority felt supported, safe, valued and well-informed, but 24 percent disagreed with the statements: “students follow school rules” and “students are disciplined fairly and consistently.”

Thirty-six percent also disagreed with the statement: “The environment at this school is far from tension.”

Some tension is expected in the teaching profession and can cause positive results, Johnson says. The district plans to study how tension is affecting our schools, he says.

Results of the surveys were compiled for RISD as a whole and by school. Each school has a copy of its individual results.

Response was consistently positive from school to school and in all four sectors of the district, Johnson says.

Faculty members at each school are meeting to examine the results of the two surveys and will design a plan for improvements, Johnson says.

RISD plans to conduct the surveys on a regular basis. Results will be used in conjunction with student scores on the Texas Assessment Academic Standards test to analyze school performance.

On the next survey, Johnson says he hopes more parents respond. Nevertheless, he says the level of response on the first survey was high in polling standards.

“We think it is very reliable data,” he said. “The results of the survey are representative of our population as a whole. If we got everybody to fill it out, we’d probably come out close to where they are.”

“We were surprised and felt good about the response we got.”

Market Day Raises Money for Moss Haven

Moss Haven Elementary has entered the grocery business.

This year, Moss Haven joined the Market Day food cooperative fund-raising program. The program allows families to buy food each month through Moss Haven, 9202 Moss Farm Lane, and the school receives 10 percent or more of the profits. Food is provided by the Market Day Corporation.

Families receive order sheets, which they return to the school 10 days before they are scheduled to pick up their food.

Neighborhood volunteers Cathy Krumholz and Karen Stuart are organizing the program.

Oct. 11 was the first day families came to pick up food. The school filled 112 orders and sold $4,000 worth of food. Of that money, the school received $477, Stuart says.

More than 130 food products are available to order, and you do not have to have children at Moss Haven to participate. The school has a mailing list and will send order forms to people interested in the program.

The remaining dates set this year for food pick-up are Nov. 8, Dec. 13, Jan. 24, Feb. 21, March 27, April 24, May 22 and June 19.

For order forms, call Moss Haven at 503-2430.

Enterprise City Celebrates 10 Years

For 10 years, RISD has operated a mini-city to teach students about free enterprise.

Enterprise City, a 6,000-square-foot laboratory at 2100 Copper Ridge, provides students in grades four through seven with hands-on study in a simulated town environment. Students work for a day in the city hall, bank, radio station, snack shop or newspaper. They complete job applications, apply for loans, write checks and balance checkbooks.

A total of 72,000 students from throughout Dallas have participated in the program since its inception in 1985, and more than 1,600 volunteers help run the city each year.

In 1989, Enterprise City was named the top economic program in the country by the National Federation of Independent Businesses.

Enterprise City is funded through a combination of community and corporate donations, including contributions from the Hillcrest Foundation, BNR/Northern Telecom and JCPenney. About 80 schools are on the waiting list to participate in the program.

For information, call 238-6716.