In the toughest test of them all — the one where parents hand out the grades — the Olathe School District passed with flying colors.
In a survey released at the district’s regular school board meeting May 4, 94 percent of parents gave Olathe an A or B for how well it educates their children.
Parents also think the district is doing a great job keeping their kids safe. Ninety-seven percent of the almost 5,000 parents polled in 2016-17 (up from about 3,000 last school year) said their child feels safe at school.
Those numbers were slightly lower for parents of middle school (94 percent) and elementary school students (90 percent) in the district.
“We have a few pockets to work on, but overall the numbers are very, very positive,” Alison Banikowski, the district’s deputy superintendent, said in her presentation of the survey results. “I think we should feel very proud of these responses.”
Other survey results include:
▪ 91 percent of parents said the district compares well with neighboring districts;
▪ 93 percent said the district maintains its facilities;
▪ 91 percent said it has up-to-date technology;
▪ and 88 percent were pleased with district staff.
In addition to the parent poll, Banikowski also revealed results of the district’s 2016-17 teacher poll.
Ninety-four was the magic number again, in three areas: 94 percent of teachers surveyed said Olathe students are provided a high-quality education, that the Olathe Public Schools help strengthen the community and that they are proud to tell others they work for the district.
Only two numbers fell below the 80 percent threshold Banikowski said the board considers a benchmark for success. Seventy-six percent of teachers said they were satisfied with the learning opportunities the district provided, down from 79 percent in 2015-16; and 60 percent said they were satisfied with the benefits offered by the district, up from 41 percent.
Benefits and professional development are two areas the district will work on in hopes of getting those numbers up next year, Banikowski told board members.
Also at the May 4 meeting, the board unanimously approved an architect to design an elementary school set to open in the 2019-20 school year.
Overland Park-based HTK Architects will design the school, to be located on the Canyon Creek Highlands property in western Lenexa owned by the district, said Travis Palangi, the district’s design and construction manager.
The school will help relieve growth at Cedar Creek Elementary, which could have 710 students by 2020.