Culture survey shows strengths, areas to improve for Grand County schools
by Rose Egelhoff
The Times-Independent
Nov 16, 2017 | 1691 views | 0 0 comments | 69 69 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Grand County High School scored high approval ratings from parents for the facility, safety and school pride in a recent survey, but fell short in the area of behavior including drugs, bullying and disrespect. 
						      Photo by Rose Egelhoff
Grand County High School scored high approval ratings from parents for the facility, safety and school pride in a recent survey, but fell short in the area of behavior including drugs, bullying and disrespect. Photo by Rose Egelhoff

The results of a survey of Grand County parents have come out, showing what parents think of the school district. The surveys, which began in September, were open for a month and a half, said Grand County School Superintendent J.T. Stroder. The surveys garnered 80 responses from Helen M. Knight Elementary School (HMK) parents, 40 responses from Grand County Middle School parents and 80 responses from Grand County High School (GCHS) parents.

The high school scored high approval ratings for the facility, safety and school pride, but fell short in the area of behavior including drugs, bullying and disrespect. Some parents said that the school did not set high standards; parental involvement and consistency of discipline also received lower marks from parents.

GCHS Principal Dr. Stephen Hren said the assessment seemed accurate to him.

“Across the board when you look at the bar graph data, the majority of people were pleased with almost every category. There was one or two in each category that were not and then in one category, which would be more the behavior one, I think there was 10 to 14 [parents who were not pleased] in one of those categories,” Hren said.

The school has a professional development committee looking at bullying and similar behavior issues, Hren told The Times-Independent. The school is surveying staff and students to see what qualities they would like to see students have when they graduate from high school.

“Not only academic, but soft skills … empathy and so forth,” Hren said. “They’ll take that information back from each of the schools to the professional development committee to create a direction for what type of services and professional development along those lines would be beneficial for the teachers to help.”

The parent surveys rated middle school academics, trust in teachers and academic expectations as “high,” but indicated that the facility and safety in regards to bullying, the facility and discipline needed work, as did the learning environment.

At HMK, the facility and communications between the school and parents were highly rated and survey responses indicated that the school sets high standards for students.

“I noted that as a strength, discipline seems fairly consistent and strong at the elementary school,” Stroder said of the surveys.

Elementary school parents, however, remain concerned about safety of students coming and going from school. Several parents indicated that they would like to see the elementary school provide more extracurricular activities.

“I thought the survey was great … it was a pretty representative turnout of respondents and by far most of the responses on everything were really positive,” said Taryn Kay, the principal at HMK. “The one that was probably the most concern was just people talking about kids moving to and from school, when they’re standing at the bus stop or walking on a road that has a lot of traffic or those kinds of concerns.”

“I think it’s great that those are the concerns because that means that we’re doing a good job. Some of our strengths, setting high standards and discipline, those are things you want to be really good at. If the concern is that we don’t have enough extracurricular activity that shows that academically at least we’re on the right track,” Kay said.

Stroder said that the surveys were meant to give administrators a read on perceptions of the school.

“Being a new administrator in Grand County, I’m just trying to get a feel for what are students’ perceptions of the school, what are parents perceptions of the school, what are staff perceptions,” Stroder said.

The results of the surveys were discussed at the Nov. 8 school board workshop.

“Some things are already in progress like a lot of our policies that we’re working on and how our policies relate to some of these things,” Stroder said. “We’re currently working on the middle school facility and what we want to do with that facility in terms of building a new building, or how we’re going to tackle that. So there’s some of this stuff we’re already in progress and some things like setting high standards and more parental involvement. That will take a little more time but that’s something that wasn’t on our radar.”

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