- I wanted to get logon information for the parent portal. I called school who told me to call the main office. The main office of JCPS bounced me around to someone who told me to call the school. The school did some research and couldn't get an answer.
- I wanted information on why my daughter's school replaced Spanish with drama class. I was bounced a couple of times from person to person, who finally transferred me to the person that oversaw languages. They said they would investigate and get back to me. This was last year. Still no answer.
- I wanted information on why schools hold registrations during the work day. I called JCPS and was transferred to a person who said he wasn't sure. He recommended I call another number. I told the person that answered that line my issue and they transferred me back to the gentleman who had directed me to them in the first place. Finally I was routed to the newly created Ombudsman who wasn't sure either, but registered my complaint.
- I called to ask about switching my daughter to a school that offers the Advance program . I wound up getting bounced several times. I finally got someone who told me that the school we wanted to transfer my daughter to doesn't offer the Advance program, even though the Choices brochure says it does. When I asked why the booklet had wrong information, I was told that each school provides their own information and is trusted to provide accurate info.
Yet when I look at the JCPS Strategic Plan I don't see anything that addresses the fact that parents have great difficulty navigating a huge system. I'd like to recommend JCPS implement the following:
- The creation of a full time staff of Customer Service Representatives devoted to answering calls and e-mails for parents, researching the answers, documenting those answers, and getting back to the parents.
- The creation of a JCPS customer service and informational database in which these questions and answers can be captured. JCPS staff, parents, and students would all have access to this database to find answers to questions that have already been asked. (Security could be added to protect sensitive issues from being seen by those who are not authorized to do so.)
- Focus groups and town halls with parents to evaluate the level of service provided, the struggles parents have in navigating JCPS, and the types of information that is most helpful to parents entering the system and when their children are moving to middle or high school.
- Evaluating the way in which each school communicates to parents to see which ones are successful and which ones are struggling. JCPS then should work to create a higher level of communication among all schools in the district, as well as ensure that every school is working with JCPS administration to provide a consistent level of service.