By Tom Tolen /

The Brighton Area Schools recently sent out a survey developed by newly-hired Superintendent Matthew Outlaw to district parents and other stakeholders to learn more about the district and get feedback from parents and other community members.

In the survey, Outlaw said he was looking for what people appreciate most about the district, areas for improvement, and general comments from the public about anything under the sun that pertains to the Brighton Area Schools. Of the 240 responses, the vast majority - 209 - were by parents. Other groups comprising substantial numbers of respondents included parents of one or more BHS graduates, teachers, alumni, school district support staff, and community members with no students enrolled in the school system.

The survey revealed the factor which those who responded valued most about the Brighton Area Schools was the quality of its individual teachers, with 76 citing that aspect as being paramount in their opinion about the quality of the school district. Second-highest in what the person valued the highest about the school district were its programs and opportunities with 27, followed by school spirit and a sense of community, with 22 citing that factor. The fourth most valued aspect of the school system was the support they received in the community (21), followed by the overall quality of the schools (19). 6th through 10th in the aspects most valued were, in order, individual principals (15), the value of the educational experience (12), high expectations (10), safety (9) and sports (8). Other valued aspects of the Brighton schools not in the top ten included advanced programming, the dog pack, small town feel, the STEAM program, family values, involved parents, kindness and care, the personal touch, facilities, extra-curricular options, specific schools, being less political than some other districts, Brighton’s academic reputation, communication, special education programs, the arts, being inclusive, and finances.

To the question of what did respondents wish to see changed or addressed, respondents cited behavior and bullying more than any other aspect with 16 citing it, followed by political agendas (14), improved honors programming (13), restoring trust and decision making (9), diversity and bias training (9), suicide prevention (8), teacher quality (8), bus suggestions (7), class size (7), and communication/website/calendar (6).

Superintendent Outlaw says he will next “review and discuss the overall feedback with the leadership team,” share feedback with the departments responsible for the categories respondents recommended for improvement, identify any short-term items that should be addressed such as furthering suicide prevention efforts, and finally, develop the next strategic plan to guide the district for the next five years.