This blog post is a summary of a recent project completed by Research & Marketing Strategies, Inc. (RMS).

Background: In Spring 2015, Baldwinsville Central School District (BCSD) partnered with Research and Marketing Strategies, Inc. (RMS) to conduct a stakeholder community perception study to explore learning concepts and identify the district’s strengths and areas of opportunity.

Approach:  RMS conducted a telephone survey with a random sample of households located in the BCSD, and three focus groups (one group with Board of Education, another with instructors, and the last with parents). To determine perception of the district and identify strengths and areas of opportunity, RMS staff completed 410 telephone surveys with a margin of error of +/-4.8%. Survey and focus group participants were asked questions to determine what the BCSD does best, what makes it unique, how the district compares to other local districts, what influenced the participant’s decision to move to the district, and perception of curriculum concepts.

Results: The RMS team analyzed data from surveys and focus groups to provide the client with a mixed methods picture of community and stakeholder perception of the district. Findings revealed an overall belief that the BCSD is doing well, with 73% of survey respondents stating that the district is better than other area districts. Participants noted the great instructors, quality education, and high performance metrics set BCSD apart from other local districts. There is a perception that the district excels at offering strong special needs and extracurricular programs, encouraging community involvement, keeping parents involved, and providing individual attention to students.

When participants were asked about the perceived value of internships, they suggested that students should be required to complete an internship, but expressed concerns over requiring internships for all students. There was a favorable response to the concept of Pathways and educational program career specialization, but participants also suggested the concept should be optional for students who are not yet ready to make a career decision. Similarly, participants felt students should have more opportunities to earn college credit, but there were mixed reviews of the benefits and drawbacks. Parents were excited about the opportunity for their children to earn college credit in order to reduce college costs, while instructors expressed concern that students would struggle being placed in higher level courses when entering college.

When participants were asked what the BCSD could do to improve, they noted changes to the budget and associated school taxes, eliminating or improving upon the common core, and improving communication. Findings from the market research study provided the BCSD with qualitative and quantitative insight regarding community and stakeholder perception which will be valuable in guiding future strategic decisions.

RMS is a full-service market research firm located in Syracuse, NY. If you are interested in learning more about our services, please contact Sandy Baker, our Senior Director of Business Development & Corporate Strategy at or by calling 1-866-567-5422. Visit our website at