• Duneland School Corporation Survey Results

    In the spring of 2022, the Duneland School Corporation (DSC) surveyed students, staff, and families to seek feedback in the spirit of continuous improvement to help guide school and district initiatives. The results help schools/corporation identify areas of success and those needing improvement. Over the next several weeks, summaries of the survey results will be shared.

     

    Week of September 5th - Parent Communication Preferences

    Week of September 12th - Parent Survey Top 5

    Week of September 19th - Parent Survey Bottom 5

    Week of September 26th - Student Survey Connections

     

    Parent Communication Preferences

    The parent communication survey focused on school and district communication practices with three key questions directed at the primary sources of communication, and whether or not families felt they were receiving the right amount of communication.

     

    The results of those questions revealed (shown in the graphics below) that over 80% of families believe that they are receiving “just enough” or more communication from both the school and district level.

     

    Over the past school year, DSC has emphasized weekly communication through the district newsletter, DuneNews, and school newsletters (with an option to also receive an automated call). These efforts appear to be reflected in survey results with most families indicating these as the primary sources of getting information about the school and district. While DSC does have a social media presence, its noted that this was not the primary source of communication for most families. Additionally, compared to past survey results, there is a decrease in the use of traditional print newspaper publications for school information and events.

     

    Next Steps

    This past summer, DSC made adjustments to several key pieces of the communication plan so families can tailor their communication preferences. During registration, families were able to select whether they wanted to receive calls, emails, and/or text messages (new feature) to receive the weekly communication. In addition to the regular weekly communication strategies, families should expect to continue receiving real-time automated emails/calls for changes to the daily schedule, safety & security, emergency, etc. reasons. Additionally, the district is working to build a social media presence in all buildings to increase digital communication opportunities to recognize student and staff accomplishments.

     

    Communication Results bar chart

     

    PARENT SURVEY - TOP 5

     

    Families were asked to complete a survey of 42 questions covering a variety of school related topics in order to provide feedback to the district.  The following is a breakdown of these topics and the number of questions asked.

    • Purpose and Direction - 3 questions

    • Governance and Leadership - 6 questions

    • Teaching and Assessing for Learning - 14 questions

    • Resources and Support Systems - 9 questions

    • Using Results for Continuous Improvement - 3 Questions

    • Free Response Questions - 3 questions

    • Communication Preferences - 4 questions (previously shared results)

     

    Most items in the survey were scored on a scale allowing families to choose from Strongly Agree (5), Agree (4), Neutral (3), Disagree (2) and Strongly Disagree (1).  Questions that were unfamiliar to families could be answered as ‘Not Applicable’ (no score).  

     

    This unchanging survey, administered bi-annually since 2017, allows district leaders to view growth and change over time. Survey results continue to reveal that the top 5 highest scoring items have not changed at any time this survey has been used; however, the order and score of the items has changed. Please review the results in the graphic below.

     

    Parent Survey Results Top 5

     

    Next Steps

    The results indicate Duneland School families recognize the district’s efforts to provide a variety of resources to students for learning, and that those resources are up-to-date and in good condition; families recognize the safe learning environment that the district provides for students both physically and emotionally; and that DSC has a consistent pattern of providing quality facilities for learning.

     

    Resources - The school district has an annual process to refresh the primary resources for instruction. Recently, work has been done to expand the district’s digital resources to provide meaningful integration of technology into the classroom to meet 21st century learning needs. Focusing on a district-wide consistent curriculum for students helps to ensure equity of access and resources to learning for all students.  Annual budgets are aligned to help make all of this possible.

     

    School Safety - DSC firmly believes that the safety and security of students, staff and facilities is our top priority. The district has made significant changes to safety and security planning over the past several years to keep in alignment with national best practices. This past month, the DSC and Town of Chesterton formalized an agreement to add a fifth School Resource Officer who will begin working in DSC elementary schools this fall. Significant building enhancements have also taken place in the past several months.  DSC continues to make strides to expand resources in support of student social and emotional health needs. 


    Facilities - A comprehensive long-term capital improvement plan has been designed to provide a roadmap so facilities can provide 21st Century learning environments for students.  New construction and renovations are underway at the Liberty Intermediate/Middle, Westchester Intermediate/Middle, and Yost Elementary campuses.  In the next year, renovation work will begin at Bailly, Brummitt, Jackson and Liberty Elementary Schools. Many of the changes and enhancements are already underway with major projects at Yost, Westchester, and Liberty with more to come for each building within the next two years.

     

    PARENT SURVEY - LOWEST 5

     

    Families were asked to complete a survey of 42 questions covering a variety of school related topics in order to provide feedback to the district.  The following is a breakdown of these topics and the number of questions asked.

    • Purpose and Direction - 3 questions

    • Governance and Leadership - 6 questions

    • Teaching and Assessing for Learning - 14 questions

    • Resources and Support Systems - 9 questions

    • Using Results for Continuous Improvement - 3 Questions

    • Free Response Questions - 3 questions

    • Communication Preferences - 4 questions (previously shared results)

     

    Thirty-five (35) items in the survey were scored on a scale allowing families to choose from Strongly Agree (5), Agree (4), Neutral (3), Disagree (2) and Strongly Disagree (1).  Questions that were unfamiliar to families could be answered as ‘Not Applicable’ (no score).  

     

    This unchanging survey, administered bi-annually since 2017, allows district leaders to view growth and change over time. Results demonstrate that DSC’s lowest 5 scoring items have remained relatively unchanged at any time this survey has been used; however, the order and score of the items has changed. Please review the results in the graphic below.

     

    Parent Survey Results - Lowest 5



    Next Steps

    A score of 3 on this survey indicates a middle or average response. A score above 3 is considered favorable and below 3 unfavorable.  It is important to note that all of the lowest items are scoring above 3. This indicates that while there is work to do in these areas, the overall perception of these items is still generally favorable.  Key trends still emerge however in these items.

     

    Grading - Knowing and understanding student performance and grades is key for parents.  DSC recognizes that in recent years multiple platforms have been used for instruction and grade reporting.  DSC has been working to direct that focus to one location (Canvas). This allows students and families to review up-to-date progress (after overnight sync) and the related work attached to those grades.  

     

    Purpose Statement - In the Spring of 2020, a team of over 50 staff members, parents, students, community members, and board members created a new Strategic Plan for the district.  As part of that process, mission and vision statements were updated. During the 2021-2022 school year, each school developed mission and vision statements. Both processes required significant stakeholder input. In the Spring of 2023, DSC will engage in an accreditation review by a group of external stakeholders followed by an update to the Strategic Plan in the Fall of 2023.  Both initiatives will require parent and community input.  

     

    Data Driven Culture - DSC has made a commitment to putting real-time data in the hands of teachers to allow them to make informed instructional decisions.  Teachers and staff have often found themselves in data overload. Continued training on leveraging technology and data usage and analytics will allow teachers, principals, and staff to better serve individual student needs.

     

    Real Life Applications - The COVID-19 pandemic restricted project-based, and off-site learning opportunities that help to build connections to traditional classroom curriculum.  During this time, DSC teachers leveraged available technology to make these important connections to people and places at the local, state, and national level.  Moving forward, DSC will continue using strategies developed during the pandemic and also return to some of the traditional strategies that both students and parents have come to expect.  Emphasis on the development of College & Career Readiness skills will remain the primary focus.  

     

     

     

    STUDENT SURVEY CONNECTIONS

    Families were asked to complete an inventory of 20 questions covering a variety of school related topics in order to provide feedback to the district. While similar, two sets of inventories were issued with one being given to students in grades 3-5 and the other to students in grades 6-12.

     

    Two rating scales are used depending on the question. Five questions have a four point scale allowing students to choose from Six or more times a year (4), Three to five times a year (3), One or two times a year (2), and Never (1). The remaining fifteen questions using a four point scale of In all my classes (4), In at least half of my classes (3), In at least one of my classes (2) and In none of my classes (1).

     

    This unchanging survey, administered bi-annually since 2017, allows district leaders to view growth and change over time. Similar to the Parent Surveys, ranks of these surveys have remained relatively unchanged over time. We can compare these student surveys to each other and to our previously shared parent results to see trends.

     

    Student Survey Top 5

     

    What was the same?

    Parent and student surveys had two key items that were the same.

     

    Resources: All groups recognized the resources that are available to students to use. This includes both technology and traditional classroom materials. Student surveys are also able to highlight the role that digital tools play in deeper levels of engagement in the classroom.

     

    Safety: Similar to the parent surveys, students also recognized that they feel safe at school. Student’s feeling of safety at school allows learning to occur. DSC is encouraged that all groups recognize these efforts.

     

    What was different?

    There are several questions that rise to the top that are only offered to the students and not in the parent surveys.

     

    Engagement: Results indicate students denote they are actively engaged in the classroom. As DSC continues work on development of a consistent curriculum across schools and grade-levels it is important for to include a breadth of activities to engage students. Engagement in 2022 is likely to look a bit different than it did just several years ago with new technology and resources to support learning. DSC will always continue seeking research-based, best practices to make learning come alive for students.

     

    High Expectations: DSC's work to develop a consistent, district-wide curriculum has a focus on raising the bar for ALL students. Survey results indicate students feel they are challenged. Teachers and staff work collaboratively to ensure the right questions are being asked that challenge students to think critically and deeply about what they are learning on a regular basis.

     

    Facilities: Parents may recall that their survey asked a question about facility improvements. A similar question is not offered to students and thus the topic does not make their Top 5.

     

    Future Skills: 6-12th grade students brought into the Top 5 this time a question related to the length of time needed to complete an assignment. As DSC works to develop engaging and challenging work for students, it is reasonable to think that students will work at different speeds to complete the work. Deeper thinking can take more time. It is likely that future curriculum development will involve more project-based learning that allows for extended time to meet expectations.

     

    Next Steps

    The comparison of results of all DSC surveys helps to develop themes for perceived strengths and weaknesses at both the district and school level. During the month of October, individual schools will also be sharing survey results with parents. These results will continue to highlight similarities and differences with overall district results.