Parent Calls for Improvement Plan Instead of $120k Survey

Lori Morrow presented a version of this testimony during the public comment portion of the May 12th Board of Education Meeting. The views expressed are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Prince George’s County Advocates for Better Schools.

by Lori Morrow

A few weeks ago, I watched the April 28th Board of Education meeting at home and
was surprised to hear about a $120,000 survey to determine community
perceptions of PGCPS. I agree with comments made by some board members that
night: We already know many of the negative perceptions that persist from existing surveys.

IMG_0510A few months ago, I noticed each of the school pages on the PGCPS website includes a link to the 2013 School Climate Survey, as well as a note indicating the next biannual survey would be published in Fall 2015. I recall getting an email to fill out the survey last June, and know that my son participated in a survey this school year.

I’ve been attempting to get a copy of this climate survey report and, after more than two months and many emails, I was finally able to access a copy of the report this very morning from a helpful staff member in the Research and Evaluation Department. I was particularly interested in the report for my son’s middle school because of comments I regularly hear from him. While a quick comparison with the 2013 report does show some improvement for the school, a number of areas are rather disappointing.

For example:

  •  31% of Parents disagree with the statement that they are proud to send their
    child to this school
  • 31% of Parents do not believe that teachers will provide students individual
    attention if needed.
  • 44% of Students disagree with the statement that they feel safe in school.
  • 61% of Students do not believe that students respect the authority of
    teachers at this school.
  • 54% of Students do not feel like they are an important part of their school
    community.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading