(Posted Aug. 16, 2017)
By Sandi Latimer, Staff Writer
Jonathan Alder Local Schools’ satisfaction rating is improving.
Survey results shared with the school board on Aug. 14 show that students, staff and parents rated the district higher on 37 of 43 questions than they did in 2013, the last time the survey was taken. However, only 2,274 people responded to the survey, down from the 2,734 the last time.
Small improvements were noted in the survey’s environmental section regarding school conditions and safety. A big jump came in people’s perception of the food quality in the lunch program. On a scale of 1 to 4, the food rating went from 2.83 in the last survey to 3.14.
Under student learning, a 29-point jump was recorded regarding technology use—that in a district where 91.5 percent of the respondents said they had high-speed Internet service at home. Respondents also gave higher marks for teachers varying activities to keep students interested (3.16 to 3.30) and for teachers making assignments that are easy to follow (3.12 to 3.25).
Survey takers also gave higher ratings for school counselors’ provision of social, emotional and academic support (3.25 to 3.48).
Principals, the superintendent and school board members received better marks this time around, as well. Survey respondents also expressed pride in the schools, said they are safe places for staff and students, and appreciate that student learning is a high priority and staff prepare students to be successful in life.
Superintendent Gary Chapman said he is pleased with the survey results, but said there is room for improvement in areas such as students treating each other with respect and dignity regardless of differences and staffers making discipline firm but fair.
The district is making progress in expanding its Advanced Placement course offerings and increasing the number of students participating in the program.
Misty Swanger, director of curriculum and instruction, said that in 2015 only 19 students took AP courses. This past year, 89 students participated and two new courses were added, music theory and government and politics.
The district also offers AP classes in language and composition, literature and composition, U.S. history, calculus AB, and Spanish language and culture.
Swanger said a work session with AP teachers produced several goals, among which are to increase participation and to increase the passing rate. One way to find more students who should take AP classes is to administer the PSAT (pre-SAT) to freshmen, she said.
In other business, the school board set the pay rate for substitute teachers at $105 per day. Chapman said that in 2015, the rate went from $92 to $97.
The board’s next meeting is at 6:30 p.m. Sept. 11.