#99- Resources in Demand: A Detailed Analysis of Surveys from Our 18 Charlotte-Area Schools Reveals What Parents/Caretakers Seek for Themselves and Their Children
Written by Sydney Lash, Family Empowerment Data Analyst Fellow
At SchermCo, we believe it is important to hear directly from those we serve and those we seek to serve. To do so, we begin our family empowerment initiatives with our partner schools and organizations by conducting a comprehensive survey to understand the needs and wants of the families at those schools.
To give you some background, the family empowerment program began in 2017 with two schools and has grown over the years. This school year, we are working closely with 19 Title I school partners and one organization:
- 18 schools in Charlotte,
- one organization in Charlotte, and
- one school in Durham, NC.
At the time of publishing, we have collected 2,845 surveys from 18 of our family empowerment cohort for the 2023-2024 school year.
- These 2,845 surveys completed by families (parents/caretakers) represented 3,726 students, accounting for families with multiple students at their school or program.
- Of these 2,845 surveys, 2,641 surveys represented families from our partners in the Charlotte area, representing 3,437 students.
Here is what our families are requesting:
The following resources were most requested by families (adults): physical health and exercise resources, mental health services, financial education programs, housing assistance, generalized job training, and access to technology and computers.
- Physical health and exercise resources have consistently topped the list for the past four years. This suggests a growing awareness and demand for activities and resources that promote better health. Similarly, mental health resources have been a consistent priority for the second consecutive year.
- Research has shown a connection between parents reporting lower levels of physical and mental health and using less effective parenting strategies.¹ From our perspective, we see a relationship between the well-being of parents/caretakers, absenteeism, and overall engagement in education. This highlights the crucial link between family well-being and educational outcomes.
- Additionally, parents/caretakers selected housing assistance, job training, and financial education opportunities as the top resources they’re requesting to support their life situations and needs.
- As reported by sources, the unemployment rate in North Carolina climbed to 3.4% in October 2023. Faculty members at UNC Charlotte anticipate a further increase of 0.6% in North Carolina’s unemployment rate by the close of 2024.² This suggests a shifting landscape toward a more competitive job market, emphasizing the growing necessity for additional skills and training.
- Over the last year, housing costs in Charlotte have seen a 2.6% increase, while in Durham, the rise has been more pronounced at 4.2%.³ Faced with these escalating costs, families are expressing a strong desire to access available housing resources. Additionally, there is a growing emphasis on empowering families with enhanced financial management skills to navigate the challenges posed by these increasing expenses.
The primary requests from families revolve around the need for extra academic support for their children, particularly in science, math, and English, along with overall assistance with homework.
- The challenges of remote learning during the pandemic have resulted in many students falling behind. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, a significant 81% of public schools reported parents expressing concerns about meeting their child’s academic needs. Notably, schools in urban areas, similar to the ones we serve, reported higher percentages of students falling behind grade level in at least one subject.⁴ This displays the urgency of addressing academic gaps and providing additional support to ensure students catch up.
SchermCo is actively engaging educators, school leaders, and parents/caretakers to transform the survey findings into concrete actions. Collaborating closely with our partner schools, we are strategically tailoring initiatives to directly address families’ expressed needs. This includes implementing targeted programs and resources to enhance access to health and wellness services, provide support in navigating financial challenges, and strengthen academic assistance for students. We do this by coming alongside our school partners and hosting three to four family events focused on each sites’ data. By working together with schools, we aim to empower families with the necessary tools and support, fostering a comprehensive approach to well-being and academic success. This collaborative effort marks a pivotal step in our ongoing commitment to making a meaningful impact on the lives of educators, school leaders, and families within our community.
1More than Mental Health: Parent Physical Health and Early Childhood Behavior Problems. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7190438/
2Economic Forecast: Economy Shows Signs of A Mild Slowdown. https://inside.charlotte.edu/news-features/2023-12-14/economic-forecast-economy-shows-signs-mild-slowdown
3Housing Trends. https://www.redfin.com/city/3105/NC/Charlotte/housing-market
4Recovery From the Coronavirus Pandemic in K–12 Education. https://nces.ed.gov/programs/coe/indicator/toa/k-12-covid-recovery?tid=300