Develop a sustainability strategy for Yellowknife Education District Number 1

Regions: North Slave Region

Tags: satisfaction survey, aboriginal community, education

Principal Investigator: Spence, Duff (1)
Licence Number: 15590
Organization: Self
Licensed Year(s): 2015
Issued: Feb 02, 2015

Objective(s): To provide the Yellowknife Education District No. 1 board information on parents’ selection criteria with respect to school district for their children.

Project Description: The objective of the research is to provide the Yellowknife Education District No. 1 (YK1) board information on parents’ selection criteria with respect to school district for their children. This information then could be used to by the district to change existing program or service to have more parents selecting the YK1 district in the future. This increased enrolment will increase future funding for the district and provide the district the ability to implement new programs in the area of aboriginal education, fine arts and sports.

The research approach for this project will be carried out in two phases. The first phase will focus on completing secondary research in the areas of education best practices, strategy and governance. The second phase will focus on completing primary research through online surveys and focus groups of Yellowknife parents that have enrolled their children in either YK1 or Yellowknife Catholic Schools (YCS) school systems.

Secondary Research
Secondary research through academic online sources, course textbooks, and non-academic sources will be conducted on the following topics: best practices for increasing enrolment, parents’ criteria on selecting a school district, research methodology to survey parents’ satisfaction level, and the role the Board and staff have in the parents’ selection of a school district. Online academic searches will be completed using the ERIC database for specific education related journal articles and books. Information will also be gathered from the Government of the NWT websites for information specific to the NWT as well as the website of YK1 and their competitors. Information gathered will include the Education Act of the NWT, directives and policies governance documents of the territorial government, as well as board policies and procedures of YK1. Additional material in the area of change management, business strategy, and creating customer value will also be gathered through this process. A non-academic environmental scan will be completed to identify possible trends in education that could affect YK1 in the next three to five years.

Primary Research
Primary research will be conducted through a confidential online survey with parents of both YK1 and YCS school systems to understand their motivation in selecting a school district, current satisfaction levels, and intentions for migration between school districts. Two groups of parents will be surveyed: parents that have selected YK1 for primary or elementary schooling and parents that have selected YCS in the last three years. This timeframe will be used to maintain relevance of comments to current staff, administration, and Board of Trustee of YK1.

Through the development of a survey to collect parents’ opinions, interviews will be completed with a small number of parents to validate that it will provide the required quantitative data. Interviews will be conducted to validate all questions and possible responses to survey questions. Five parents will be asked to complete the survey and provide comments on the clarity of questions, their ability and desire to answer each question, and provide comments and concerns with the survey.

The survey will be administered using an online survey tool. Results will be collected and summarized in the standard formats provided and analysis will be limited to quantitative analysis only. Survey results will also be compared between YK1 parents and YCS parents to identify similarities and differences in motivation in choice of parents in each district.

Forty-five parents who currently have their children enrolled in YK1 schools will be selected randomly and emailed a request to complete the online survey by YK1. A list of 45 parents that currently have their children enrolled in YCS will be gathered using a seed and snowball approach. Surveys will contain questions collecting parents’ opinions and attitudes towards the following areas: class sizes, age of facilities, required engagement of parents, perceived quality of education, and the availability of extra-curricular activities.

At the completion of the online surveys, separate focus groups will be conducted with selected parents from each school system to gain a deeper understanding of their opinions and perceptions. Discussion will be in the areas of strengths and weaknesses of current district practices, areas of improvement, the effectiveness of the implementation of current Board priorities and their value to parents, and the ability of the district to improve their profile or brand within the community. Focus groups will be scheduled at a City of Yellowknife public boardroom. All questions have been provided and are designed to be open-ended to provide opportunities for open and honest feedback from Yellowknife parents. All primary research activities and information will be gathered and stored in compliance with any all laws and regulations of Royal Roads University and the Government of the NWT.

Primary research will be used to identify gaps in service where YK1 is not meeting the requirements of Yellowknife parents and information that could be used to remove these gaps in service. Through an online survey parents will be asked to provide information on their method of selecting a school district, the ability of the districts to provide information from the initial investigation, through the selection and finally through the life-cycle of their children school. The level of engagement of the district in the child and parents lives and the parents opinion on the role of the employees of the district and Board of Trustees in the improvement of YK1 brand in Yellowknife.

A final report will be produced for Royal Roads University. A PowerPoint presentation will be presented at a public meeting for the YK1 District.

Presentation will be provided at public meeting of the school district as well as provide copy of report to the CEO of the district.

The fieldwork for this study will be conducted from January 30, 2015 to December 31, 2015.