Our school district has a bold mission for all students: “To inspire and prepare all students with the confidence, courage and competence to achieve their dreams; contribute to community; and engage in a lifetime of learning.” In order to measure our progress in helping students achieve that mission, Osseo Area Schools staff gathers information in a variety of ways.
One of the most significant efforts so far is the Stakeholder Survey through which students, staff and parents/guardians provide feedback on several key mission-related areas. The results from the 2016 survey provide evidence of growth to celebrate as well as some areas in which we can improve.
- More than 12,000 students in grades 3-12 took the survey during the 2015-16 school year.
- Parent/guardian participants were selected by random sample to ensure that respondents were representative of the parent/guardian population in Osseo Area Schools (over 1,000 parent/guardian participants in 2016). Surveys were administered in English, Hmong, Spanish, Vietnamese and Somali.
- All employees were invited to take the survey in 2016; 1,323 participated.
What we learned
The stakeholder survey is designed to help administrators measure how we’re doing to help students meet the three strategic objectives found in the district’s mission: achieving dreams, contributing to community, and engaging in lifelong learning. We found the following trends from the Spring 2014 to the Spring 2016 surveys:
- More students reported that “someone who works at my school has helped me set goals so I can get closer to achieving my dreams.” This increased from 51% in 2014 to 58% in 2016.
- Parents were also more likely to say that someone at school helped their son or daughter set goals. This increased from 47% to 54%.
- In both years, over 80% of teachers agreed with the statement: “I am able to help students identify and work toward their dreams.”
- One challenge in this area is that perceptions of students having a vision or dream for the future has not increased for students (74% both years) and has slightly decreased for parents (from 75% to 72%). Teachers were only slightly more likely to indicate that “most students I have gotten to know this year have talked with me about their dreams for the future (from 63% in 2014 to 64% in 2016.
Contributing to Community
- More students say that in their school, students are treated with respect. This increased from 50% in 2014 to 67% in 2016.
- In both years, more than four out of five parents indicated that their son or daughter is treated with respect at school.
- Also in both years, more than four out of five teachers indicate that students are treated with respect at school.”
- One area for growth regarding community contribution is around perceptions that students have “helped meet the needs of others through leadership, service, or some other way.” Although students indicate an increase in this area (from 58% to 68%), this is the question with the lowest percent agreement and there were slight decreases for parents (69% to 68%) and teachers (46% to 43%).
Engaging in Lifelong Learning Skills
- More students are saying “Once I have decided I'm going to do something that's hard to do, I always follow through and do it.” This percentage increased from 60% in 2014 to 74% in 2016.
- In both years, two thirds or more of parents said “Once he/she has decided he/she's going to do something that's hard to do, he/she always follows through and does it.
- In contrast, 36% of teachers agreed with the statement: “Most students I have gotten to know demonstrate a lot of persistence and follow-through.”
- For lifelong learning, time management is an area for growth. Although students perceived an increase in this area (from 63% to 70%), there was lower agreement and a decrease perceived by parents (from 64% to 62%) and teachers (from 39% to 32%).
Another part of the survey measured how we’re doing in helping students and families feel welcome at school and respected and trusted by school staff.
- More students are saying that they feel they belong at school, increasing from 62% to 75%.
- More parents are saying that school as a whole is welcoming to their family, increasing from 83% to 86%.
- Although there have been increases over time, in 2016, less than two thirds of students (64%) agreed with these questions: “I am comfortable sharing my thoughts and ideas at school” and “Students are treated fairly at school.”
- For parents, there is room for growth on the question: “I feel that staff at my son/daughter's school care about me.” This increased slightly from 70% to 71%.
- More students are saying that adults treat them with respect, increasing from 74% to 83%.
- In both years, almost all parents (92% to 93%) reported that their son or daughter’s school treats them with respect.
- Student perceptions that “Adults at school act on my concerns when possible.” have increased four percent, but are still only at 70%.
- There was a lower perception and a slight decrease (from 80% to 78%) in parent perceptions that “school staff follow through on their promises.”
- More students are saying that adults at school trust them, increasing from 72% to 81%.
- In both years, nine out of 10 parents indicated that school staff trusts them.
* For districtwide results, the margin for error is +/- 2% at the 95% confidence level.
School and district leaders will continue to use these results and other data for improvement planning. The survey will continue to be administered to students and staff every year, and parents/guardians every other year.