Return to Headlines

Leadership Update - March/April 2022

I can’t believe it’s already April. We are in the midst of testing season and looking to close out another school year. Einstein taught us that time is relative, however, it certainly seems to be moving in fast-forward mode lately. I think back to the spring of 2020 and all the trials we've experienced. Education has been greatly impacted as a result of the pandemic, and our district is no different. I have heard many veteran educators say this has been the most challenging year in their career. Although it has been difficult, I celebrate the devotion our workforce has shown through an organizational character-building opportunity. It’s such a pleasure to work alongside such talented, caring and committed people with a common goal of serving our students.

The Culture and Climate Survey is an annual survey offered to our students, workforce and parents. It’s an opportunity for our organization to elicit important feedback to identify, qualify and quantify the needs of our stakeholders. The challenges of recent times offer a lens on some identifiable needs. This survey opportunity allows for those with a concern or a celebration to share those feelings. I’d like to share with you all a general overview of those results.

This year’s Culture and Climate Survey participation rates:

Workforce: 89.7%
Parents - 77.7%
Elementary Students (Grades 3-5) - 99.1%
Secondary Students (Grades 6-12) - 87.4%

Workforce

Our workforce shared they feel strongly that their campuses and buildings are physically secure, and that they feel safe at school. You told us there are behavioral concerns that cause disruptions to the learning environment, and there is concern for the response protocol to those behaviors. Approximately 50% of workforce members stated they feel strongly supported by their administration. There is also a strong feeling among our workforce that all students are treated equally regardless of income, race, gender or culture. Many concerns were shared in the comment section that offered praise, and also improvement opportunities. The majority of our workforce strongly agree that we encourage parent engagement. The correlation here with our parent response is of interest.

One workforce member stated, "Bennett Ranch really is a great place to work, and everyone works as a team to support each other and the students. There is a real understanding of the stress of this job right now. The building really does work to solve problems that are best, but least impactful to students and teachers. There is a genuine feeling of respect, caring and appreciation from everyone, and it flows out of the building... THIS is truly a great place to work. This building renewed my love for teaching and my faith in my ability. This building makes me feel valued not just because I fill a position, but because I am a veteran teacher, and I am sought out for my perspective, opinion and leadership, which is then actually considered. “

Another workforce member stated, "It is evident in all that is done that every student matters.”

Parents

One parent told us how happy they were with their child’s school and stated, "ALLIES is an amazing place where my student is made to feel that his struggles with dyslexia only add to his strengths and uniqueness. The staff at ALLIES are a BLESSING to my child each and every day.”

Parent responses tell us they generally feel our schools are a safe and nurturing place for children. However, there are some concerns that are taken to heart in response and planning efforts to remain the best choice to learn, work and lead. Approximately 70% of parents who completed the survey strongly agree they would feel comfortable making a report to Safe2Tell if and when a person was involved in an unsafe or dangerous behavior. Only about 40% of parents strongly agree they feel encouraged by the school to be an active partner in their child’s education.

Elementary Students

86% of our elementary students shared they feel safe at school. 95% said adults at their school care for them, while 95% stated their school has clear rules of behaviors. 90% of elementary students stated their teacher encourages them to share their thoughts and ideas. About 10% of students said they do not have a single friend at school.

Elementary student comments:

"When I first came to this school, I was nervous and I made a friend that day and was happy because I was not good at that." 

"Somebody might break in. But I love spending time with my friends."

"Something that makes me happy at school is my teachers because they always make me feel welcome."

"I love my teacher, friends and everything about this school. I never want to leave."

Secondary Students

Our secondary students told us they generally feel safe at school, and about 20% strongly agree the adults at their school treat all students fairly. 79% of students stated they have at least one adult at school they can talk to, where 77% of those identified adults serve as a teacher. 

Secondary student comments about the adult community at their school:

"There will be so many people to help you with stuff like bullying, helping people, and also stopping fights sometimes."

"These adults make me feel safe, and they care."

"They always treat everyone with respect."

"Teachers need to learn that kids have their own lives out of school. They need to realize that we have our own minds and feelings. When we get called out for spacing out in class, they should ask themselves, "Why are they spacing out, what are they thinking about, are they okay?" Instead of embarrassing us. Most of us are coming to school because of our parents. They don't know why I fell asleep. They don't know what is going on in my life. They should start thinking as if they are us. We stress out, we cry, we get mad, but that doesn't mean I'm bad…"

Secondary student comments about what causes the most anxiety or depression:

"All the schoolwork we get and the threats the school receives." 

"An abundance of work/homework."

"Bad home life." 

Thank you for taking time to read our general overview of this year’s Culture and Climate Survey. I wish everyone the best as we start to wrap up the 2021-22 school year!

In service to our D49 community,

Jason White,
Coordinator of Community Care