Satisfaction surveys show teacher contentment

Talya Lehrich

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In August, classes hadn’t quite begun in full swing yet, but social-emotional learning had. To most, this was seen as an annoyance, a waste of time, or even a joke.

But this was a strategic move on DCPS’ part. In the 2016-17 school year, only 72 percent of students said they felt like their schools were helping them to learn what to do when they were upset. So, DCPS implemented social-emotional learning to help students learn how to better manage their emotions.

This is just one example of how DCPS Satisfaction Surveys use direct student and teacher feedback to alter curricula. A DCPS specialist in research and surveys who is in charge of organizing the data from these surveys said, “we count anyone who has answered ‘somewhat agree,’ ‘agree’ or ‘strongly agree’ on the questions as those who responded positively to the question.”

She also said that survey results can’t be used to benefit or potentially dismiss teachers. “These results are simply for the District to gauge where we are now and to inform supports we provide in the future,” she said.

Results from the DCPS 2017 Stakeholder Survey, which is conducted every year to gather data about schools in the District, indicated that the goal of the Satisfaction Surveys was to “measure DCPS’ progress towards the 4th Capital Commitment goal of ‘90 percent of students will say they like their school.’ ” The District is well on its way to achieving this goal, with a 6 percent increase in student satisfaction from the 2012-13 school year, now reaching an 84 percent satisfaction rate.

The 2017 results from these surveys revealed that 72 percent of DCPS teachers were satisfied with their experience at their school so far that year. The results from these surveys are broken down into subgroups: race, grade levels taught, and ward number. The subgroups Wilson falls under, high school and Ward 3, showed results slightly below the projected goal: 79 percent of high school teachers and 82 percent of ward three teachers were content with their school.

Despite these subgroups, no data about each individual school is available to the public. The Beacon recently conducted a survey, with identical questions to the ones from DCPS, for Wilson teachers. Of the teachers surveyed, 12.5 percent were extremely satisfied with their experience so far this year, and 91.6 percent of teachers said they feel safe in the Wilson environment.

Some statistics suggest there is work that still must be done at Wilson. One-quarter of teachers said they do not feel prepared to handle student behavior in the classroom. Additionally, 39.1 percent of teachers also noted that they do not have the resources they need to build student relationships, and over 50 percent said the school is not clean and well maintained. And 33 percent of teachers said they were unsatisfied with their experience at Wilson this year. However, changes are constantly being made to help everyone have the best experience possible.