Student agreement on nearly all the statements — including items about safety, academics, the staff, the school and respect — increased from 2009, when the survey was last given.
“I think this is a very positive survey in terms of how students feel about their school, their teachers,” Hamann said. “They feel like they’re treated with respect; they like their schools. And the fact that 86 percent of the changes (from 2009) were positive speaks highly of the job that people are doing.”
Parents of elementary-schoolers responded more positively to the survey in 2011 than in 2009, reporting higher agreement that their children were treated with respect by school staff. Parents of high-schoolers reported perceiving better safety and supervision in 2011 than in 2009.
But there were not many high points to report in the teacher responses, with agreement declining from 2009 in more than two-thirds of the items. The biggest drops were in the perceived morale of staff, teachers and administrators.
Board members asked Hamann and superintendent Lu Young when the survey was taken and what environmental factors could have affected teacher responses. Young said the survey was given in February, which she said is “always a tough month,” and the superintendent added that preparations for new standards in English and math probably created teacher anxiety not seen since the Kentucky Education Reform Act (KERA) in 1990.
“The standards rollout is really stressful,” Young said. “And I don’t blame (survey results) on that except to say that was a factor that was dramatically different in the 2010-’11 school year ... it was KERA 2.0, and that experience brought its own level of stress.”
A transportation survey component given to parents revealed gains since 2009 in each of six responses. Three food-service items were included on the parent survey for the first time this year.
Hamann said the administration’s goal was not to “explain away” the data but to use it to investigate and solve problems.
“Surveys and data do not give answers; they just create questions,” he said. “For us, that’s what this does; it says, ‘Why? What would cause that?’”