FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 30, 2014
CONTACT: Valerie Martinez (562) 789-4047, (909) 917-3368

Santa Monica, Calif. – A District-wide survey released by the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District is reporting that parents of students participating in Special Education programs are pleased with ongoing student improvement, teacher relationships and parent involvement opportunities.

As part of the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District’s goal to better communicate with its community and increase parent, staff and student engagement through an ongoing series of interactive surveys, the District has released results of a first-of-its-kind special education satisfaction survey. The survey, conducted May 20 through June 3, was designed in conjunction with the Special Education District Advisory Council (SEDAC), which provides recommendations and advice regarding research, program development and evaluation in California special education.

“Evaluating the effectiveness of our special education programs and services is vital in ensuring our special needs learners thrive socially, emotionally and physically within a nurturing learning environment that empowers them for the future,” Superintendent Sandra Lyon said. “This survey marks our ongoing commitment to partner with SEDAC, as well as with community members and organizations, to provide the necessary resources for successful special education teaching and learning.”

In addition to overall approval of the program, survey participants also expressed satisfaction with the level of communication between parents and teachers and staff, as more than half of participants indicated the quality of the program falls between an 8, 9 or 10 on a scale of 1-10. More than 60 percent of parent participants reported that they would recommend SMMUSD to a friend or family member. Survey topics included parent involvement and relationships; communication; instruction, expectation and access; processes and procedures; quality of customer service; and program quality.

A significant number of parents felt their child is making annual progress in school alongside clear and high academic expectations set by their teachers. The survey also demonstrated that most participants are satisfied with the quality and courteousness of the teaching staff, current process and procedures and the level of customer service.

Next steps for the District include sharing results with principals, teachers and staff, special education administrators, and paraprofessional staff, among others, to thoroughly facilitate program improvement efforts. As stakeholder feedback is essential to improving special education programs and services, District staff will also work to increase participation, polish survey questions and add new survey items to the 2014-2015 Special Education Satisfaction Survey.

The survey was emailed to parents and was also available on the District’s website. All questions were voluntary and answers anonymous, with the survey also available in Spanish. Past surveys include a homework survey, the Local and Accountability Plan/Local Control Funding Formula survey and a parent engagement survey. Upcoming surveys and results of past surveys can be found at