On the whole, this year’s Gallup Survey results in Pasco County Schools are slightly better than they were last year.
But, when Dr. Peggy Jones — the school district’s director of the office of accountability, research and measurement — discussed the results, she focused on specific data points within the report.
She detailed survey results at the Pasco County School Board meeting on Dec. 1.
In discussing the survey, she explained why it’s important for the district to collect the information to help improve both student and employee engagement.
“Why does Pasco County put money, time and effort into this process?
“We care about this,” Jones said. When employees are engaged, “productivity increases. Customer services increases,” she explained.
“Things that decrease. Absenteeism. Attrition. Theft,” Jones said.
The district’s mission is to provide a world-class education, and that requires engagement by students and teachers, she continued.
“At the center of engaged students are engaged teachers, so it’s important for us to also know how our teachers feel,” Jones said.
The district has a vested interest in doing what it can to keep teachers engaged because 62% of teachers who are engaged are less likely to leave the district, Jones noted.
“We are so in need of teachers and we want our good teachers to be able to stay, and we want to have those great teachers in front of kids every day in the classroom. These are reasons why this is so important to us, and why we care about this information,” Jones said.
“We want to invest in our employees. We want them to stay, and we need to invest in them, so they will stay. And, that includes their engagement, as well as professional development,” the research expert said.
The survey results also can help guide the district into greater exploration of specific issues, Jones said.
“You can’t just go off the number, and look at the number,” she said. “The next steps after you have your data is to have some conversations with groups of people, including kids.”
For instance, the survey has an item that says: “I have the materials I need to do my work right.”
Thirty-seven percent of employees that responded to the survey strongly agreed with that statement.
In this case, the district may benefit by seeking more information on the topic, she said, noting that having specifics can help the district to better understand why employees feel that way.
Jones also provided context for some responses.
For instance, one item on the employee survey says: “At work, my opinion seems to count.”
Thirty-nine percent of Pasco employees strongly agreed.
Jones said it is not unusual for teachers to respond that way.
“K-12 teachers nationwide are going to be the least likely of any organization in the Gallup database to mark that high.
“That can be for whatever reason. It could be that the federal government is telling people what to do. The state. The district. The school administration. Whatever it may be, that feeling of maybe being less empowered, is going to make you feel like your opinions don’t count as much,” Jones said.
She also shared some student results.
Student surveys explored student engagement, student hope, student belonging and social-emotional learning.
“Belonging and social-emotional learning are new,” Jones said. “We’re really excited about the two new domains because they are really at the heart of (the) work that we are doing. And, of course, we’re glad that student engagement and student hope have been there all along.”
The survey showed that 65% of the student respondents are confident they will graduate from high school; 51% said they believe they have a great future ahead.
But, Jones said, 14% of students strongly disagreed with the statement: “My classmates care about me.
“So, they feel like that their classmates don’t care about them,” Jones said, adding that response provides useful information for the district.
She also cited some results relating to social-emotional learning.
One item said: “When I’m angry or upset, I’m very good at explaining what is bothering me to other people.”
The district’s result showed that 29% of its students strongly disagreed with that, meaning they’re not good at that, Jones said.
“So, on the one hand, you might be concerned. But, on the other hand, what a great self-awareness that students can say that ‘I’m not good at that.’” she said.
On the plus side, students are confident about their listening skills.
Fifty-seven percent of students strongly agreed with the statement: “I’m really good at listening to my friends when they are upset about something.”
Superintendent Kurt Browning said the survey results are encouraging, especially during a pandemic.
But, he noted, “it still gives a lot of opportunity for areas to address,” particularly in social-emotional learning, and in working with students and teachers.
Published January 06, 2021