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The Survey Says!

date 04/07/2020 author Sue Chase category Uncategorized

The Survey Says! 

Results of the Community Surveys and Strategic Planning at ISD 601

Superintendent Sue Chase

 

In October, community members, students at ISD 601, parents of ISD 601 students, and staff were surveyed to learn what is important, what is valued and what is needed, to provide the best possible education for students. 

 

So, what did the surveys tell us?  Students, parents and community members overwhelming felt that the school did a very good job teaching core academic subjects. Other areas that all groups felt were strengths was the creation of a caring environment, offering a variety of activities and preparing students for college success.  Students indicated they valued small class sizes and felt generally safe at school. They also indicated that school prepared them to work well with others. Interestingly enough, other data points, such as state test results, graduation rates and the Minnesota Student Survey results supported these perceptions that students, community and staff have about ISD 601.

 

The surveys and meetings in the communities also provided direction in broad areas for improvement and challenge.  Nearly everyone identified facilities upkeep and improvement as an area that needed focus. All groups surveyed indicated a need for more technical or career oriented courses -- since 80% of the jobs now and in the future do not require a 4 year college degree.  A number of respondents also felt that students need greater exposure to life-skills (“adulting”) activities such as handling finances and credit, cooking, health and nutrition. A number of students and parents indicated a need for support for students who are in a high stress environment.  Finances was another big area of challenge. Most indicated an understanding that revenue has been shrinking, and the need to allocate resources to the priorities of the district. And again, all of these are supported by other data sources (MN Student Survey, district budgets and fund balances, regional employment forecasts).

 

So, the district did the surveys.  So what? What are we doing with those results?   In January, a team of students, staff and board members reviewed the survey results, looking for common themes.  After discussion of the results, the group developed a set of belief statements, core values and broad areas of focus.  These were then distilled into a strategic plan, which the board will review during the March meeting and adopt in the April meeting. Once adopted, the plan will be posted to the website and released to media sources.  This plan will provide direction for the next 5 years; every decision made will be weighed against the plan, meaning we will ask, “How will this help us move forward towards our long range goals?” The plan is a culmination of hours of  work from a number of people throughout the district, and provides a roadmap for the educational journey we are on.


 


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