Questionnaire -- Page 2
Successor to "Bridge to Understandingtm"
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Here begins Questionnaire 1.1 for schools, programs and related organizations. We promised that it would be “obnoxiously detailed.”  We believe you will agree that we have kept our promise.

At this time this is a "beta test."  This means we want schools, programs and others whose work relates to special needs young people to participate. Share your information, point out our errors, share a point of view that might differ sharply, help us to gain experience.  Help us to upstage the reckless critics who only want to destroy services to the population we all care about.   This is a forum that demands accountability and transparency, but is not bent to irresponsible and destructive attacks on people and institutions that are saving our kids. 

FamilyLight sm has been at work  on developing this expanded website for about a year and a half.  We have taken some strong stands in our guidelines and implied strong stands in the information we seek in our questionnaire. We will publish the views of those who will certainly disagree.   Our goal is to establish a venue for responsible, tough, communication -- not just an outlet for our views.  Welcome to our world!

If you have been working on this, please check our update on Beta Test feedback and corrections.  Some instructions and links have changed since the Beta Test began and might have changed since you got started.  If you are just getting started, you may safely ignore this link now, but you might want to check it periodically as you go forward.  

If you are working on the questionnaire and you have not been getting emails from , please alert us through that address that you are at work on this. We will then add you to our mailing list and alert you to any problems we find.

Let's get started.  We suggest you read this entire page carefully before taking any action. Then follow a series of about a half dozen different web pages that contain all of the instructions and links you will need.   You probably will do better to read through all of that before you start to respond to any questions.

Step 1:  The very first thing you need to do is to create a unique ID.  If you are in the US, your five digit Zip Code will be the first five characters of your unique ID. Ordinarily, the next three characters are the first three letters of the name of the facility, not counting words such as "a," "an," and "the."  We will assign two additional characters when we receive your questionnaire.  Until we do that, please complete your ID with "XX" for the last two characters.  For example, if we at FamilyLightsm (with a zip code of 15601) were to set up an initial unique ID we would choose  "15601famxx."  For details and special situations, click here.

Step 2: We need a submission number. This is very simple.  If this is your (that is, your organization's) first time to submit responses to a questionnaire, your number is 1.  The first time you update it, your number is 2.  When you submit your update with the submission number 2, your ID will be the same as this submission, except that the final two characters assigned by FamilyLight sm will be included replacing the "xx."

Step 3:  Make sure you have the right equipment. You need a computer with good internet access that can open our ".doc" files, open our ".xls" files, permit data entry on them, allow you to email these files to us after you enter your data, and print what you have emailed. The ".doc" files are designed to be opened on a computer with Word for Windows, 1997 version or later.  However it is our understanding that you can open the *.doc Files in Microsoft Works and Word Perfect on Windows based computers.  We are uncertain of the total situation in Mac (Apple) computers, although we believe most late model Mac computers can access .doc files designed for use with Windows.  

Our ".xls" files were created on Excel 2007, but saved in a format to be downward compatible to Excel 1997.  We believe they are accessible on  Macs, but at this  time we have not tested that. We have determined that Microsoft Works Spreadsheet does not support our .xls files and cannot be used. (The files open in Works Spreadsheet but essential features do not work properly and the image is badly distorted) 

We especially invite feedback from Mac users and Works users during Beta Test phases.  Prior to the Beta testing, our programming has not been tested on Mac, and has had only limited testing on Works. 

If you use software other than Excel and Word on a Windows based computer, you are still  responsible for supplying us with computer files that open on our Windows based computers with formatting in place as we have intended. If we need to make adjustments we will charge for processing. We do think Mac Computers and Microsoft Works instead of Word for word processing will produce the desired result, but we have not tested that. You do need Excel for Section 4 of the questionnaire.

There is some advantage if you are able to scan documents into ".pdf" documents (Adobe Acrobat format). However, if do not have this capability but do have the ability to fax standard 8 1/2 x 11 paper documents, you can work around the absence of a scanner.  

You need a computer with sufficient memory to allow you to have at least two web pages and three  Word (.doc) files all open at the same time, so you can move between them easily.   

As you proceed you will encounter a  series of web pages and  will need to download ".doc" files for data entry.  After you enter data on the ".doc" files you will need to email them to us (or send them on CDs) with your responses entered. You will also need to print exactly what you email make notations to be described in detail later, scan them into one ".pdf" file or a series of them, and provide that (or those) ".pdf" file(s) to us. You will also provide supporting documentation related to your answers on scanned.pdf files.  If you don't have a scanner, you may fax the paper version to us, and that will create the necessary ".pdf" file.  These instructions will appear in more detail when you need them. We are giving you a glimpse now only so you know what equipment you need.  Why we need both DOC and PDF.

An alternative: You may download and print the ".doc" files and enter all the data by hand, still following most of the instructions on the web pages -- which you will still need to access.  You then send all of the paper to us and we will convert the information for use on the web.  We will charge for converting the information, however. 

Step 4:  We strongly suggest that you create a new directory or folder on your computer to store the files that you will be downloading to complete and return to us. Whether or not you do that, it is essential that you keep the filenames consistent with our naming system.  You may have other naming requirements  to comply with your needs. What we require is that the end of the name follow our system.  You may put characters to the left of the required naming pattern to suit your convenience.  If you create a folder or directory just for the files we seek from you, you should be able to use our filenames exactly as we suggest. 

Step 5:  Complete the first three sections of the questionnaire and as much as you can of Section 4, based on the information you generate in Sections 1, 2, and 3.  (There are a some entries in Section 4 that will need to wait until you complete the remaining sections)  This is where you sort out which  of the questions in the remaining sections -- which are really what the questionnaire is about -- are applicable to you.  After reading this entire paragraph and the next,  Download Section 1.  This gives you Section 1, View 1.1, "Type of Organization" in a Word (.doc) file.  Please save it on your computer, then open it from where you saved it. It is important that you not attempt to work with the *.doc and *.xls files while appearing in an internet browser.  Make sure you do not save the file as "read only" as you will be entering information into that file.  Opening the file that as we suggest will allow you to go back and forth between this web page and the *.doc file, entering information on the *.doc file and saving it. 

Note:   It is ok to add characters to the left of our filename if you choose to do so. However, if you have created a special directory/folder in your computer for the questionnaire, that should not be necessary.  When we get these files back for processing onto the internet, the filenames must end with the exact content as we request or we will not know what we have and were to post it. 

Notice the word "View."  We have chosen to use that word arbitrarily to apply to the different question sets within each section that differ greatly from one kind of organization responding to another.

Now, while keeping this web page readily available, enter the correct responses to questions and requests saving the information as you add it. By time you complete your responses to Section 1, you know what your "A numbers" are.         

Caution:  Any time you are asked for an email address we encourage you to defend against spammers by substituting the word "dot" for any actual dot and the word "at" for any at sign or "@."  (Example: "" becomes  "FamilyLightResponse  at yahoo dot com."  If you enter the email address with dots and ats in place, we will likely turn it into a link that will make it easier for web viewers to access that email address but also make it easier for spammers to do so.  If you enter with the words "dot" and "at" substituted, you are creating an extra step for our viewers who might want to reach out to the address you publish, but you are also blocking most spammers who crawl the Internet looking for Internet addresses.

Step 6:  After reading this entire step, click on whichever one of the following three choices applies to you:  

You have an A number of 1.   

You have an A number of 2.

You do not have an A number of either 1 or 2. 

Following the above links takes you to your next set of questions.

Keep this page open for reference and read the rest of it, but from this point on you need to follow the instructions that arise from the link that you select above. 

Note: On Step 5, everyone downloads the same thing, but beginning with Step 6, we begin to have many diverse possibilities. Which apply to you depends upon the individual circumstances as recorded in your response to the questions in the download in step 5.  We suggest you keep this window available for reference as you follow the further instructions you will find as a result of acting on those links. If you want to explore the diversity of the questionnaire, you are welcome to experiment with following links that do not apply to you, just to see what happens.  (When you do that, you will understand why assembling the questionnaire took so long. What you need to complete for your situation is bad enough; assembling questions to cover every possible situation was a truly daunting task we did not estimate correctly in advance).

We do expect an answer to every question that is informative and non-evasive.  There is a procedure to follow if you have compelling reason not to disclose what we are asking about.

Anything you see on the .doc files you download that is in a red font is a note to our editor for final corrections. We hope you won't find anything in a red font. If you did, we missed it, and we welcome a reminder.

Step 7:  Follow the chain of instructions that you see as you move from one web page to another.  Please take all instructions literally. If doing so runs into problems, please look at FAQ, but if you don't see an answer to your problem, please call those problems to our attention.  You will discover that there are eight sections to the questionnaire.  Sections 2 and 7 apply only to direct service providers.  So, who else would be involved? Holding companies, contract management companies, etc.  This brings us to another matter.  Each questionnaire response should come from one school, one program, one provider, one organization.   If more than one organization is involved with your work, we need separate submissions from each.

All responders, please consider this example: If your school is a not-for-profit corporation operated by a for-profit contract management company, on real estate owned by yet another person or organization, that is at least two questionnaire completions and in the future might be three.  If the make-up of your governing board is controlled by a not-for-profit foundation, that is yet another submission.  The school itself reports  one questionnaire that includes Sections 2 and 7.  In order to have a complete entry for that school, we need a separate questionnaire response from the contract management company that will not include Sections 2 and 7. In the future we my ask for an entry from the owner of the real estate.  Please do not try to fudge these kinds of situations into a single response blanketing the school and the management company and parent organization.  We believe that understanding a school requires understanding who is influencing it, and this kind of detail is necessary for that purpose.  If you have separate programs operated by the same parent company or holding company, that is not one questionnaire. That will be one questionnaire per program and one more for the holding company. 

It is important that you give some non-evasive response to every question. If you believe it is not appropriate for you to give an answer to any specific question, in the space to provided for an answer, state that you are not providing the information sought and tell us why. If you believe our question is either inappropriate or poorly worded, email us. In any case we will treat questions left blank and questions answered evasively as incomplete.  We will treat questions answered as we suggested in the second sentence of this paragraph as non-evasive complete responses.  For more information on this topic, click on this sentence.

Many of the instructions you need to follow appear on  the .doc files you will download onto your computer.  (That was one of our discoveries that slowed us down.  We intended to have all instructions on-line, but it wasn't practical when we tried to program it that way).  If you have questions see our FAQ. If you don't get your answer there, email us

Step 8:  Your completed questionnaire consists of up to eight sections as follows:

  • Section 1: Looks at the type of organization responding, i.e. direct service provider, holding company, independent organization, etc. Everyone responds to the same version of this. It won't take long.

  • Section 2: Looks at the kind of services provided.  If you are not a direct service organization, you skip this.  If you need to do it, you can do it quickly.

  • Section 3:  Looks at your form of governance and ownership:  Trust, business corporation, proprietorship, not-for-profit, etc. Everyone responds. It won't take you long.

  • Section 4: Here is where you assemble the list of documents you will be using.  This will take a bit longer and be a boring task. Sorry.  When it is done, it gives a checklist for exactly what documents you need to submit and what we need to expect.  We can covert that into  a site map for your submissions, a glossary, and/or a table of contents to help make it accessible to the viewing public.  This and Section 9 will be the last to be readied  for a Beta test.

  • Section 5:  This section serves two purposes.  One View in this Section will become your face sheet for the viewing public.  Normally it will be the first thing they will see when they look at you questionnaire response.  We give you an opportunity to use that space to describe your organization in an attractive light. The other purpose is to describe your governance and internal business structure.  In this section and Section 6 taken together we look at your stability as a company.

  • Section 6: This section looks at your location(s) and your association with other organizations. Are you independent, controlled by others, or affiliated with others. We return to the question of stability.

  • Section 7:  Only direct service providers need to complete this. It is only one section out of eight, but it is the most intense and will take the longest time to complete for those with direct services.  It is the heart and soul of the questionnaire.

  • Section 8:  There is no section 8.  This is reserved for future use.

  • Section 9:  This will be the last to be readied for use. This includes final steps for submission of your response, a place for a signature from the preparer documenting that this information is certified by the organization submitting. 

When you have completed all sections of the questionnaire, and you will be making no further changes in your .doc files, print all of your .doc files and put the printouts in the following order (more detailed instructions will be available at Section 9):

  • Numerical order by section

  • Within each section, numerical order by View

  • Within each view, numerical order by page number showing in lower left.

Any attached documents should be attached at the end of the View to which they are attached, noting the place in the view where they are referenced.  Where indicated in the footer section of each page, number the pages once the correct order is established. 


Make sure that you are using versions of the questions that are current. Any "View" that you downloaded within thirty days of the date on which we receive your submission will be considered current, even if the View was updated during that 30 day period.  Once we receive your submission we consider it current for a year from the date received (if you worked from current questions), although you have the option of updating at any time.


Then you need to send to us in electronic media (email or a CD or 3.5 inch floppies):

  • The collected .doc files. with our questions and your answers.

  • A .pdf file by scanning of each supporting document that is otherwise available only on paper and is not itself computer file.  The .pdf file should include an indication, perhaps on a cover sheet of the exact location where it should attach to your responses to questions. If supporting document is available electronically, it should be converted to a .doc (or .docx) file or an .xls file.

  • One or more .pdf files by scanning of the entire assembled paper version of the questionnaire and your responses.  This can be a single file or a series of files in order to keep file size down.

To pay the voluntary processing fee, please either mail a check or complete the credit card authorization form and fax it to 775-890-0597.  (The requested amount is $50)  In either case, put your Organization name, Unique ID, and information on how to contact you on or with your check or authorization form. If you use a check, make sure your Unique ID is on the check itself.  We will process your questionnaire whether or not you pay the fee, but we will put those who pay the fee at the top of the list to process.


You need not submit any paper in responding to the questionnaire.  These instructions will be explained in more detail when you get to the point where you are assembling your responses and submitting them.


This gives you an overview of the process and gets you started.  You will find more detailed instructions at each step.  We always welcome feedback at


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Last updated  April 20, 2009






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