#BethlehemCSD #SchoolClimate #DiegoCagara #SpotlightNews
BETHLEHEM — Bethlehem Central School District officials want to know how students, their parents, and its staff feel about its schools’ climate. To do so, they encourage members of these stakeholder groups to voluntarily complete an anonymous, online survey between now and Thursday, Dec. 20.
According to an email Superintendent Jody Monroe sent to Spotlight News, this survey focuses on school climate, and whether students, parents and staff “feel socially connected, emotionally and physically safe in [the] schools.”
She explained that the district “want[s] to ensure that the programs we provide and the environment we foster support the needs of our school community. The survey will hopefully spotlight where our efforts are meeting with success and identify where we need to make improvements.”
Monroe described a positive school climate as a healthy and secure environment where all students and staff feel supported and welcomed. Students, in particular, would ideally be given the chance “to reach their potential, to learn and to grow,” she added.
The student version of the survey includes four demographic questions: grade, gender, race, and ethnicity. District officials expect to use this data to not only better understand how students of different personal backgrounds perceive what the school climate is, but also in the development of its new, five-year strategic plan, which is scheduled for release to the community in February 2019.
While the Strategic Planning Committee has been working since last fall to craft a new mission statement and set goals to guide the district through 2023, Monroe explained that it is doing so with outdated information about school climate metrics.
Data collected through this survey—originally created by the U.S. Department of Education in 2016 as part of the Every Student Succeeds Act—will not be shared with state or federal agencies. However, aggregate information from its results, not individual responses, will be shared with appropriate district staff members as part of the decision making process.
Students in grades five through 12 will have the opportunity to complete their surveys during the school day on Thursday, Dec. 13.
Parents and staff members should have received an email with an online link to their respective versions of the surveys on Thursday, Dec. 6. Parents with multiple children attending district schools should complete the survey with their oldest child in mind.
Parents with questions or concerns about their own or their child’s version of the survey, or who want to see a copy of the student version before their child is asked to complete it, should contact their child’s principal.
Looking ahead, Monroe wrote that she sees this survey as a way of engaging with the district-wide community and valuing the opinions of its students, staff, and parents. She concluded, “We want our students and staff to be happy to come to school and to work, feel comfortable while they’re here, and leave having made the most of their time here.”