Montclair SuperintendentThis just in from Montclair Superintendent Dr. MacCormack in regards to the Tripod Project student survey:

Dear Parents,

In the past week, we’ve heard many, varied opinions about the Tripod Student Survey that was administered to Montclair Public School students in grades 3 – 12. While many members of the community have welcomed such a survey, others expressed concerns. I hope that this additional information will provide some clarification.

The survey was implemented to collect data that can inform us about school climate and students’ perceptions of the learning environment which would in turn be part of the district’s comprehensive effort to continuously improve. To assuage some of the concerns expressed about the survey, be assured that no student names/identifiers/identity codes will be returned to the district in the reports from Cambridge Education. Also, teacher names or other identifying information will not be included on any data returned to the district.

The district’s process for announcing and administering the survey included an announcement at the February 25, 2013 public Board of Education Meeting, a letter emailed to parents/guardians last week, and internal communications to school administration. Students were to be informed by staff administering the surveys that it was not a test and they were free to skip any question that they did not feel comfortable answering. Children did not complete more than one survey in any one school day.

The survey itself was created by Dr. Ron Ferguson and is supported by over a decade of research. It is designed to provide data regarding the Seven Cs: caring about students, controlling behavior, clarifying lessons, challenging students, captivating students, conferring with students, and consolidating knowledge. If you would like to see actual survey questions, please contact my Executive Assistant, Mrs. Nina DeRosa, at 973-509-4010 or, and she can arrange for you to view them at the Board of Education Office at 22 Valley Road. We cannot distribute or post copies of the survey due to copyright laws and a proprietary contract with Cambridge Education.

Thank you for sharing your concerns. Like many of you, I strongly believe in the value of student voice to inform our teaching and learning practice. Please know I am listening and respect your opinions.

Penny MacCormack