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Community Research Overview and Key Questions

On July 19, 2016, the Douglas County School District (DCSD) Board of Education approved a proposal by Denver-based research firm, Corona Insights, to implement a district-wide community survey. Below is an overview of this research, as well as key questions.






Understand the opinions, priorities, and perceptions of constituency groups regarding public education in Douglas County

Use this data to inform and develop future priorities and direction



1.Design Phase

a.Town hall meetings

b.Interviews with local and non-local higher education officials

c.Interviews with school board members

d.Cognitive testing of pilot surveys

2.Measurement Phase

a.Community survey (parents of young students, parents of older students, non-parents)

b.Student Surveys (high school students and “senior exit survey”)

c.DCSD Employee survey

3.Understanding and Next Steps Phase

a.Interviews with local employers

b.Interviews with older students

c.Interviews with parents

d.Interviews with DCSD employees


Approximately 7 months


Key Questions About the Community Research Project

1. Who is leading the community research effort?

Corona Insights, a Denver-based research and strategy firm, will conduct all elements of the research.

2. What is the overall goal of this research?

The overall goal of the research is to understand the opinions, priorities, and perceptions of constituency groups regarding public education in Douglas County.  The key constituency groups include: students, parents, non-student households in Douglas County, DCSD employees, community employers, and higher education officials.

Our goal is to gather data that is actionable and can be used to inform future priorities and direction for DCSD into the future.

3. How will you determine what questions will be included on the survey?

We are gathering input from many sources, including input from Town Hall meetings, feedback submitted via the “Let’s Talk” online system, interviews with School Board members, and interviews with higher education officials to understand the unique situation of education in the Douglas County School District.  This input, combined with Corona’s internal research experience, will inform the survey design.

As we have already been receiving lots of great input from these various sources, we will ultimately need to prioritize questions and make some tough cuts of good suggestions for questions to ensure the survey is a reasonable length to encourage participation.  However, please know that we are carefully considering all suggestions, and appreciate all the feedback we are receiving.

After designing an initial draft of the survey, we will use a process called cognitive testing to review the survey instruments, where we will invite randomly selected people from each of the groups being surveyed to give use feedback on a confidential draft version of the survey in a controlled environment.  The goals of this will be to ensure the questions are worded in a clear, relevant and unbiased manner, and make sure there’s nothing glaringly missing or irrelevant.

We have been told that the District wants to be completely hands-off in the survey process, so Corona Insights will be the final arbiter of survey content.

4. Who will be surveyed?

Based on the feedback from the town halls and the extensive email lists that DCSD has for various populations, Corona is hoping to implement a full census online survey of parents in the district and of DCSD employees. This means that all parents and employees with correct email contact information with the district will be invited to participate in the survey. This hopefully larger dataset will allow Corona to delve deeper into analyses based on different demographic factors.

Because we do not have a comprehensive email list of community residents without children in the school district, we will send a mail survey to a random sample of households in the community.

For the student survey, we are also considering sending the online survey to not just seniors, but to all high schoolers with consent from their parents.  This process is still being reviewed to assess the best approach in comparison to our original high-engagement research plan with a sample of students.

5. Will I receive a survey or be asked to participate in an interview?

Maybe. If you are a parents or an employee, you will receive a survey if you have a valid e-mail address on file. If you are a community member without children in the district, you might receive a survey.

On the various surveys, we are working to offer an opportunity for a full census survey in cases where we have identified comprehensive email lists.  However, this comprehensive data is not available or feasible for all audiences, so in some cases we will identify a random sample of people to receive surveys.   From a statistical perspective, we can develop strong survey estimates cost-effectively while surveying only a sample of people. 

On the various interviews, we can also develop a good understanding with a relatively small number of interviews.  Interviews with students and parents will be follow-ups with a selected sample of people who completed surveys. 

So if you’re one of the lucky people who gets a survey or interview request, recognize that your input will be very important!

6. Do I have to complete the survey or do the interview if I’m invited?

No.  We want and value your input, but participation in any research is optional and solely at your discretion.  However, we really hope you’ll take this opportunity to share your thoughts and opinions.

7. Will my answers be treated as confidential?

Absolutely.  While the research team at Corona Insights will necessarily know your answers, all data will be aggregated in our office and the results will be reported without identifying any individuals who participate.  (The only minor exception is our initial interviews with the School Board – obviously people know who they are - but their answers will still be held confidential.)

For the online surveys, Corona will use our own online survey software. This software allows us to create a secure survey that can only be accessed with a unique login and password. Additionally, the survey can only be completed once for each login. All data from the survey will remain on our servers.

8. I want to complete a survey or participate in an interview.  Can I volunteer?

Unfortunately, no.  This is a research project, not a public input process.  Volunteers may hold different opinions than the collective population, so we will randomly select potential participants.  The town hall meetings are the only part of the process that is public input, so we welcome everyone’s participation in that phase.

9. How do I find out the results of the research?

We’ll hold a series of public presentations when we’re done, and you are cordially invited to attend.  Dates and locations will be announced early next year on the DCSD web site and social media.

10. Can I ask questions about the research?

We’ll have a Q&A period during the town hall meetings.  You can also click here to our "Let's Talk" form about the Community Survey.  Any communications will go directly to Kevin Raines, the Corona Insights project manager.


For more information on the community survey and research, click here.

August 31, 2016 | By CSilberman | Category: Parent Liaison, Board of Education, Communications

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