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  • Writer's pictureEmily Berry

"Survey says..." Preview: Aug. 8 Regular Meeting

This post first appeared on my original site Aug. 7, 2017

Unfortunately, I am visiting the Steel City this week and won't be home to attend this one. There is one big item that I think may dominate discussion: The board will hear from its survey vendor about results of its district survey of families and community members, its staff and its students. Because this vendor, School Perceptions, is a popular one, it gave us the advantage of being able to compare ourselves to other districts in an apples-to-apples way. The downside is that we didn't have tailored questions. Bottom line, the results are fascinating, and I encourage everyone to look at them. Most of the results are positive and people are generally happy with the district -- there are few points where I noted we were wildly different than the state average.Early points of interest:

  • Parent and community respondents overwhelmingly favored the district focusing on finding, engaging and retaining "quality staff."

  • Most parents (65%) and non-parents (40%) felt the district provides "opportunities for input/feedback."

  • There are school-specific breakdowns of answers that are pretty interesting -- 80% of parents at Atwater said they were satisfied with the school's efforts to prevent bullying, while just 65% of parents at Lake Bluff said the same, and just 60% of parents with kids at SIS.

  • SIS parents don't seem very impressed with the academic standards there, which is something I heard a lot of during the campaign.

  • When asked about facilities planning, parents were less concerned with creating a "modern learning environment" than with creating safe, ADA-compliant buildings and maintaining the buildings we have.

  • One of the only spots where staff gave the district less-than-stellar marks is in maintaining our facilities -only about 52% agreed that the district does a good job taking care of our buildings.

  • Otherwise, staff had really good things to say about working for the school district in general, although too many did not think their pay was fair in relation to job responsibilities, and said they didn't have time to do their jobs well.

  • Parents and community members said they really valued preparing students tor college or life after high school, but our students' survey responses were lower that state averages when asked about being prepared for life after school.

I hope a few folks do attend Tuesday and listen to what the board thinks about these results. I'm sorry I can't be there! p.s. I didn't forget I never followed up with a full post on the last meeting I had to miss, June 27. It featured some very interesting discussion around on-site counseling services at SHS. I havebeen swamped with my day job, so I am behind on blogging, but I encourage others to watch the video and let me know your thoughts.

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