District survey reveals community concern Students weigh in on issues, give district ratings

Students weigh in on issues, give district ratings

More stories from Ellen Garrett

In January 2018, the USD 373 school board conducted a survey in an attempt to discover the reason that the 2017 school bond failed. The survey was sent out over the phone to 400 random heads of households who voted in the bond election. An additional online survey was made available for community members on the district’s website.

“As the bond was defeated, we wanted to understand the various reasons why. There were many thoughts of what that may or may not be and this was a way to try to accurately gauge the community’s thoughts, not just assumptions,” school board president Carol Sue Stayrook Hobbs said.

The survey had participants rank 15 aspects of the school district with letter grades (A, B, C, D or F). Only four of the 15 aspects were ranked B or above. The overall rank of the district was below a B.

“Communication feels good to me right now. I would say that communication is an asset.”

— Parent Jennifer Chappell Deckert

Many problems around communication and physical infrastructure were shown with the results of the survey, but still mostly received mediocre grades. While the survey showed an overall opinion that communication was poor, however, community member and parent Jennifer Chappell Deckert sees potential for improvement in this area.

“Generally speaking, they’re good at getting back to parents. Communication feels good to me right now. I would say that communication is an asset,” Chappell Deckert said, “Buildings need a lot of work, I would not call buildings an asset. I think that there are some really talented teachers in our district. I’m not saying that everybody is extremely talented, but there are a few teachers that our kids have had that have been really excellent and I’m grateful for that.”

This feedback is consistent with the survey results. Physical Infrastructure was given a C rating, while Performance of District Teachers was given a B along with Quality of Technology and Safety of Students. In a school-wide survey of 154 students, the results mirrored those of the community survey.

Students rated quality of technology a B, along with Performance of District Teachers. However, Safety of Students received a C rating. Class Sizes and College and Career Readiness were also given B ratings. The concerns of students were also shown in the survey results. District Response to Concerns was rated F and Quality of School Buildings was rated D, in the community survey, these were given C and B ratings.

“Our school is falling apart, it needs remodeled. We need better school safety. The fact that students come to school in fear that we will get shot up one day is frightening. We don’t practice anything that involves providing safety if something tragic happened. There’s just a handful of things our school does that don’t make sense,” junior Jillian Kelley said.