New Haven Public Schools Releases School by School Learning Environment Survey Results
(7/19/2010) (NEW HAVEN)— Via a cyber-launch, New Haven Public Schools announced school-by-school results today of its district-wide Learning Environment Surveys. Results were posted on-line on the District’s website (www.nhps.net) while simultaneous Twitter, Facebook, E-mail and Blog-post messages were disseminated. The results were disseminated electronically using a host of social-web tools in an effort to increase access and interactivity for parents and other stakeholders.
The surveys, administered between April 26 and May 28 of this year, demonstrate the opinions of teachers, students and parents as they relate to: academic expectations, collaboration, communication, engagement as well as safety and respect in each school. The Survey Reports are designed to give school leaders and members of school communities constructive information they can use to improve programming, attitudes, engagement, communication, safety, and respect at their schools.
Prior to release, principals and their leadership teams had an opportunity to review data pertaining to their school and to develop an inclusive process for addressing results. Prior to the beginning of the school year, principals will assemble a team of teachers, parents and other school leaders to revise their school improvement plans, incorporating feedback received through the surveys. Survey Reports will also be used as a significant factor in the tiering of the schools each fall. Going forward, each school’s annual review of its school improvement plan will take into account how well schools use their survey results to make improvements.
“Successful School Change is an absolute priority in New Haven,” said Mayor John DeStefano, Jr. “We will only accomplish our goals by working closely with our teachers, students and parents and applying their feedback to our school and district planning. This is one in a series of major steps the City is taking to ensure that New Haven becomes among the most successful urban school districts in the nation. We are determined to give our students the preparation they need to be successful in college and in life and this data positions us to make important advancements in that direction.”
While District level results indicate that 81% of parents and 55% of teachers would recommend their school, school-by-school results show that there is significant variation between schools. While 95% or more parents and 90% or more teachers at ESUMS, Worthington Hooker, and Edgewood said that they would recommend their school, fewer than 60% of parents and 20% of teachers at Wexler-Grant, and Celentano would do the same.
“Just as we saw with CMT results last week, we have some excellent victories but this learning environment data shows us exactly where we need to focus additional energy, resources and time,” said Superintendent Dr. Reginald Mayo. “We truly value the voices and opinion of parents, teachers and students; this is why we are taking this data and ensuring that all of this feedback is considered when we tier schools this fall. This information will also have a very significant impact on individual school planning so that we can improve satisfaction in areas of concern but also reinforce the things that are schools are doing right.”
Each survey consisted of 50-80 questions measuring satisfaction of teacher quality, principal quality, safety, academic expectations, collaboration, engagement and communication. The complete school by school survey results are available at www.nhps.net.
In its inaugural year, the survey achieved a 23 percent response rate from parents, 82 percent from teachers and 88 percent from 5th through 12th grade students throughout the district. A total of 13,631 surveys were completed. District-wide results were released in June with the following:
Key findings from the parent surveys:
• Overall, parents are satisfied or very satisfied with important aspects of their child’s education including the child’s teacher (86.1 percent) and the education their child is receiving (82.9).
• When asked if they would recommend their school to other parents 80.7 percent agreed or strongly agreed that they would.
• While 78.3 percent of parents report being satisfied or very satisfied with opportunities for involvement in their child’s education, the majority of parents indicate that they rarely or never participate in key school-based activities
Key findings from the teacher surveys:
• There is significant variation in teachers’ opinions about their schools. For instance, in 10 Elementary/Middle schools and 5 High Schools, 75 percent or more teachers strongly agreed or agreed that they would recommend their school while in 11 other Elementary/Middle schools, 34 percent or fewer teachers strongly agreed or agreed that they would recommend their school.
• Overall, teachers feel professionally supported by and work collaboratively with their colleagues. 80.1 percent of teachers in the district strongly agreed or agreed that teachers learn from each other in their school and 87.1 reported that they agreed or strongly agreed that they felt supported by other teachers. Teachers also highlighted a need to continue to build a collaborative culture among teachers and administrators (with 29.2% of teacher respondents reporting that they do not feel they are invited to play a meaningful role in school-level goal-setting and decision-making).
Key findings from the student surveys
• Students generally feel connected, challenged and cared about at school. (90.1 percent of students in the district strongly agree or agree that their teachers believe they are capable of learning and 76.2 percent agreeing or strongly agreeing that “there is at least one adult who knows me well.”
• While parents and teachers believe schools set high expectations for students, student results show a need to improve student culture around academic performance (with only 46.1 percent of students indicating that students who get good grades in their school are respected by other students.)
Teachers and students completed surveys online, while parents had the option of filling them out online or completing a hard copy that was mailed to them in both English and Spanish. To increase parent participation, multiple strategies and outreach efforts were employed, including engagement of CT Parent Power, a non-profit organization specializing in parent engagement to work with schools and PTOs ,training and technical assistance provided by the Citywide PTO to PTO leaders, and an advertising campaign which included ads in local newspapers and on the back of CT Transit Buses. Parents also received a reminder post card, multiple reminder phone calls, and most schools held survey events to make sure that all parents had the opportunity to let their voice be heard.
To carry out this survey and analyze results, the District engaged the services of an independent survey firm, The Children’s Institute of Rochester, NY to administer the survey and report the results. Costs associated with the surveys were paid for through contributions from the local philanthropic community and the New Haven Federation of Teachers.
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