Town Square

Survey probes school satisfaction levels

Original post made on Jun 15, 2014

Perceptions of fair grading and teacher quality were up among Palo Alto students and parents this year, but there's plenty of room for improvement, according to results of a survey released last week.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Sunday, June 15, 2014, 7:42 AM


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Posted by Old Timer
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jun 15, 2014 at 12:14 pm

To Chris Kenrick - Thank you for this article - as many of us in the community without children in the schools are genuinely interested and supportive of schools, students and parents. However, we would have no way of knowing about these important results if it weren't FIRST for the District surveying (thank you, PAUSD for conducting and analyzing the survey and for sharing results), second, for the participation of the school communities, and third, for this article. Thank you all very much.

Evaluation is so important to quality improvement. And there appears to be some good progress in some key areas. It's terrific that so many students participated this year.

One question I was not able to answer by reading the article or District presentation - was this a survey of all grade levels (elementary, middle and high)? Or just high school? If it included all levels, the results would be even more meaningful if reported by the level of schooling each respondent represents (students, parents, teachers).

Chris K - Might you be able to answer this question? Thanks again for sharing this important work with the community.

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Posted by Chris Kenrick
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jun 15, 2014 at 12:51 pm

Old Timer -- Good question, and Diana Wilmot just supplied the answer: all the student respondents were at the high school level.

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Posted by brilliant!
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jun 16, 2014 at 2:04 am

"Higher numbers than last year also reported satisfaction with the school district's response to incidents of bullying and harassment, although more than a quarter said they were dissatisfied or could not answer the question."

Oh, dear. After the Weekly's tried repeatedly to trash PAUSD without any data, what happens when the data doesn't back them up? Claim the kids couldn't answer the question! Oh, Weekly, what were the positive results?

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Posted by other survey stuff
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 16, 2014 at 5:49 am

Other good stuff buried in this survey relevant to popular Town Square topics:

Bullying: slightly over 3% said that their child had been bullied, few mentioned bullying in their written responses.

Homework: comments varied greatly by school site with many feeling that their children were overwhelmed by homework while others were concerned by a lack of homework.

District and Board Transparency: 83% are satisfied with district and school board communications.

Teaching: 81% agree that teachers use a variety of strategies to actively engage students, emphasize higher order thinking skills, and help students succeed at high levels (don't just teach to the test)

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Posted by Paly Parent
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Jun 16, 2014 at 7:28 am

This survey tells us more about the divergence opinions of what is acceptable rather than anything about how PAUSD is doing.

As an example, some parents want their students to have lots of homework and others want less homework tells me that there is no way of using this survey to quantify the amount of homework assigned. Even back in our elementary days there were parents who were asking teachers to assign more homework so that their children could get ahead with more advanced work.

Some parents accept all sorts of amounts of homework as it tells them their kids are working hard to get into good colleges. They feel that if their kids are up late night after night working it gives them an edge over those who are fast asleep. Whether it is bragging rights or something else, we will never get all the parents agreeing on what is an acceptable amount of homework.

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Posted by Parent
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 16, 2014 at 10:42 am

Question for the Weekly: In the "Satisfaction with the districts response to bullying" question you said more than a quarter were dissatisfied aor could not answer. Is this 28%? Of those, how many were dissatisfied and how many could not answer? Thanks very much.

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Posted by village fool
a resident of another community
on Jun 16, 2014 at 11:29 am

I am sorry, I did not understand. Is it possible to list, simply, for me:

% of parents taking the survey (of PAUSD parents. I understand that many have more than one child in the district)?
% students (of high school students)?
% teachers (of PAUSD teachers)?

And, was there any way to make sure that a teacher filling out the survey really teaches in PAUSD, that a parent is really a parent? Any way to know that no one took the survey more than once? etc.

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Posted by PublicData
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Jun 16, 2014 at 5:27 pm

It would be useful for the school to make the raw survey results public, or for the Weekly to submit FOIA request to get the data in the hands of the public. I find the summaries provided by the district to be incomplete, or tend to overlook issues that show up at a particular school.

For example, much of the data shows about 20% - 30% discontent. Is this at one school? or one grade level?

Also, the comments can be quite revealing, and can be misinterpreted by district staff.

Please provide the public with the data.

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Posted by PAUSD past
a resident of Esther Clark Park
on Jun 17, 2014 at 8:24 am

PAUSD employs a district statistician? Just confirms that teaching and learning have taken a back seat to testing.