NHPS CONTINUES FOCUS ON IMPROVING SCHOOL CLIMATE WITH RELEASE OF FIFTH ANNUAL LEARNING ENVIRONMENT SURVEYS

 
·         92% of K-8 parents and 87% of HS parents say they are satisfied with school.
·         Survey continues its purpose to encourage school level improvement, including actions some schools underwent to increase student engagement
 
New Haven Public Schools continued its focus on strengthening school climate with the release today of the fifth annual School Learning Environment Survey. The surveys show positive climate and strong student and parent engagement at many schools, with ongoing work to improve climate a continued priority both at specific schools and across the district. 
 
The Learning Environment Survey (also referred to as the climate survey) gathers feedback from students, parents, teachers and school staff on a variety of measures grouped into five categories: academic expectations, communication, collaboration, engagement, and safety and respect. The results have been posted at www.nhps.net. Or click this direct link to the school-by-school results. The Learning Environment Survey is a key component of New Haven School Change and was developed collaboratively by school leaders, teachers, and parents to support school improvement efforts.
 
For the second year, results of the survey are presented in a web-based system that allows users to view reports broken down by school, stakeholder and question. The school-level reports show change from the year before. The survey was scored using the "Percent Favorable" metric, which describes the percent of parents who chose the two most favorable options on a question. For most questions, the favorable options are "Agree" and "Strongly Agree." For the first time this year, the student reports allow users to break down data by grade level, gender, race/ethnicity or course grades – all self-reported by students.
 
Results from the climate surveys are meant to give schools information to help improve school climate in the coming year, which the district believes is a key step toward academic and instructional gains. Several schools used data from last year’s survey to focus efforts this year on increasing student engagement.
 
“Our climate surveys play a critical role in reflecting back to school communities their perceptions of themselves, so the school communities can build stronger connections among leadership, parents, students, teachers and staff. I’m pleased by the overall results and happy that many schools have taken concrete actions to improve their environments, but I know that none of us are satisfied yet,” said Superintendent of Schools Garth Harries.
 
“I am most excited by the specific actions schools have taken in response to last year’s survey, and to see the results of those actions in surveys this year.  For example, when some schools saw a need for more student engagement reflected in the survey results last year, they took action this year by creating middle school student councils or finding new ways to engage students in their own learning.  And the results show that difference,” said the Superintendent.
 
Based on last year’s results, Brennan-Rogers School this year implemented a number of student engagement initiatives including: creation of a middle school Student Council to foster student voice and leadership; development of a Student Mediation program to help students find ways to constructively communicate and work out disputes, and reinvention of the hallway for 7th and 8th graders to give it more of a middle school feel. This year’s survey results showed that more students at Brennan-Rogers felt good about their school, were inspired to learn and felt that they were treated fairly, although Principal Gail DeBlasio said she knows the school still has work to do. Next year, the school plans to institute more time for their special morning “Crew” meeting with teachers, that focuses on teaching students the skills of communication and mediation and provide a forum for having courageous conversations about important issues.
 
“During our reflection days at the end of last year, we analyzed the 2013 climate survey results and determined that we needed to work on student engagement.  Task groups were created and a focused effort was placed on increasing the use of technology in the classroom as well as providing opportunities for hands-on, real life application of concepts being studied in class,” said Principal DeBlasio. “The teachers here are really latching on to the Common Core philosophy of going ‘an inch wide and a mile deep.’ We believe that if we increase analytical skills and the ability to use critical thinking as we engage students in learning activities, it will increase academic achievement.”
 
This year two schools, MicroSociety and Wilbur Cross High School, saw increased satisfaction across all stakeholder groups – students, parents, teachers and staff. Many schools saw increases in specific stakeholder groups.
 
Student Satisfaction
Almost two-thirds of schools showed positive increases in student satisfaction ranging from 1% to 17%.
·         Barnard (17%), MicroSociety (14%) and Bishop Woods (13%) showed double digits gains in favorably student responses.
·         Bishop Woods showed double digit gains across all student key questions.
·         Fair Haven had 99% and Dixwell New Light had 94% of students respond favorably to the statement, “Overall, I feel good about this school.”
Parent Satisfaction
Overall parent satisfaction remains steady and high with 92% of K-8 and 87% of high school parents respectively responding, “Overall, I am satisfied with my child’s education at this school.”
 
Three schools had over 50% parent participation and over 85% of parent satisfaction:
 
·         Benjamin Jepson, 52% participation, 97% “Overall I would recommend this school,” 93% “Overall, I am satisfied with my child’s education at this school.” 
·         Columbus, 57% participation, 96% “Overall I would recommend this school,” 91% “Overall, I am satisfied with my child’s education at this school.” 
·         Domus, 95% participation, 96% “Overall I would recommend this school,” 87% “Overall, I am satisfied with my child’s education at this school.” 
 
Teacher Satisfaction
Five schools saw dramatic increases in overall teacher satisfaction of 10% or more. Hill Central increased to 80% favorable, Wilbur Cross to 70%, Truman to 68%, James Hillhouse to 55%, and New Horizons to 78%.
More than half of the schools had a majority of teachers respond favorably to recommending the school to friends or colleagues.
·         Nathan Hale had 93% teacher participation and 100% agree to the statement, I would recommend this school to friends and colleagues.
·         Worthington Hooker had 97% teacher participation and 97% agree to the statement, I would recommend this school to friends and colleagues.
·         Columbus had 90% teacher participation and 93% agree to the statement, I would recommend this school to friends and colleagues.
·         Conte West Hills and Fair Haven also had more than 93% of teachers respond favorably.
Survey results are shared with school communities and have been used over the past four years to improve learning and educational practices from the student level through to school administration. The surveys are administered by New Haven-based Panorama Education, which is headed by three Yale University graduates.