By Julie Omer, CFO, MSBO Board Member, Chief Financial Officer, Owosso Public Schools
Does it feel like we are in the hot seat on the “Family Feud” game show right now? Not only do we have to guess the results of the surveys, but we have to take surveys all of the time. There certainly are enough professional surveys that come across our desks and indeed many similarities to the infamous game show, especially with the requirement for a survey to be conducted for the ESSER III funds in order to “win” the jackpot money for your school family. Perhaps you have already administered your ESSER III survey, engaged in meaningful consultation with your stakeholders, and found the survey results were what you thought or found something surprising, again, just like the families on Family Feud. Did you feel like the results matched up with the District’s number one answer or did that answer not even make the “board?”
How many times have you been asked to take a survey, and you have ignored it? Or rushed through it with little thought, casually wondering whether your answers really mean anything to the survey recipient? Although I am a little survey weary (if that is a “thing.”) I don’t bring this topic up to knock surveys. I bring this up to remind us of how vital surveys are to so many things that we do professionally and sometimes personally.
I’m not talking about a survey that asks your M&M candy color preference since I doubt that will change the outcome of life as we know it, even though it may make a difference to the production people at Mars, Inc. I’m talking about surveys that are sent out: 1) On the listserv by your colleagues on a range of topics from budget to salaries; 2) By MSBO on what professional development delivery method works best for you; 3) From MDE on whether the challenges with the Nexsys fund request system is causing a cash flow issue for your district…just to name a few. I know for a fact that, at least with these few cited examples, there are people on the other end that are paying close attention and acting upon what you communicate through your survey answers.
Maybe you have been the one that sent out a survey and relied on the survey results, even for something as simple as what is the best time for your team to meet. It may seem inconsequential, but we certainly have learned the hard way that the ability to come together to meet, albeit in person or virtually, is meaningful. At the end of the day, we need to sift through the importance of taking a survey (or not), conducting one, or analyzing the survey results that have been supplied to you. The choice, as always, is yours.
One final survey question: “What organization has always been there to gather information, listen carefully to what is being said, frame meaningful answers, and offer support where needed”? If you answered “MSBO”, good answer, my MSBO family member, good answer! You are starting the new year off as a “winner!”