Facilities Operations Fared Worst in Most Recent School Climate Survey

Today is the last day to take the 2015 School Climate Survey. Parents received an email in June from the Department of Research and Evaluation with an invitation to participate in the survey and an individualized survey code. Parents cannot take the survey without the code, but students may use their student identification numbers and access the survey here.

The most recent survey, given in 2013, paints a picture of stakeholders’ satisfaction in several areas (called “subscales” in the analysis) such as relevant curriculum, safety and discipline, effective teaching, and amount of parental involvement that affect their schools’ overall climate. According to the Department of Research and Evaluation, as of 2013 a “substantial majority of the district’s key stakeholder groups has a positive perception of their schools’ climate.”

Source: PGCPS Dept. of Research and Evaluation, 2013

Source: PGCPS Dept. of Research and Evaluation, 2013

For students, “Effective Plant Operations” (i.e. facilities and equipment) was the area that was least favorably perceived, with only about half expressing a positive perception. (For example, at Greenbelt Elementary School, the single survey item that had the smallest percentage of favorable responses at 23.4% was, “The bathroom at my school is clean.”) In contrast, parents in the district, who spend less time in school buildings, had a much more favorable view of facilities, with 83% expressing a positive perception. About 64% of teachers expressed a positive perception.

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Buses Running Up to 40 Minutes Late at Prince George’s County Middle School

A middle school teacher reports that at her school a significant number of school buses have been arriving late for the afternoon pick-up.

busesSince my planning period (preparation period with no students in the classroom) happens to be the last class of the day, I am automatically assigned to afternoon bus duty. For most of the school  year, there were usually only one or two late buses at my school on any given day. On days with bad weather, perhaps that number would jump to four or five buses.

However, in the past few weeks, these numbers have drastically changed. Of the seventeen buses that service my middle school, only four to eight are on time any given day. Some buses consistently arrive at 4:30 pm, a full 40 minutes after school has ended. In fact, one bus’s new schedule is it to arrive at 4:05 pm (already fifteen minutes after school has ended), run its route, and then come back at around 4:30 pm to run another route.

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PARCC Testing in a Prince George’s County High School

We’ve been hearing a lot lately about how today’s standardized testing schedules can impact student morale and classroom instruction. However, the problem goes deeper than just the individual student or even classroom. The following is one teacher’s account of how testing works at her local Prince George’s County High School. Individual schools may vary in how they schedule state-mandated exams.

classroomTeaching schedules can affect many more students than just the ones being tested at any given time. Teachers can be assigned to tasks outside the classroom even while their students are not being tested. And because classrooms at the high school level are not necessarily segregated by grade, some students in a given class may be tested while others aren’t. During that time, a teacher has to determine the best way to make sure all her students are being presented with the same material.

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A Day in the Life of a PARCC Test Administrator

How does a PARCC test session impact the school day? An hour-long test session can result in several hours of lost instructional time.

PARCC Day Blogpost 2For middle school students, the PARCC test consists of nine sessions, which vary in length. Though actual testing time lasts no more than 90 minutes per session, the impact on the day’s schedule is dramatic. One middle school teacher in Prince George’s County has painted a picture of a typical day of PARCC testing.

On the day described in this post, the teacher is assigned to proctor a room full of 8th graders who are taking a 60 minute PARCC session. Note that for each middle school grade level, this scenario is repeated on 27 different days — nine times for each grade level. (In a previous post, we published the testing schedule for the middle school described here.)

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