Teacher Satisfaction Lags in District Survey

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In June, the South Orange-Maplewood School District released the results of its annual satisfaction survey. The most notable result: teachers are the least satisfied of the bunch.

Teachers reported lower satisfaction in the areas of new initiatives and professional development. The ability to influence decisions in the district also consistently received low ratings from faculty. Teachers reported that the district was highly focused on state assessments and the achievement gap.

Teachers were more satisfied about school climate and collegiality among staff in their departments — in fact, “collegiality among faculty members in your department” consistently received the highest rating the past four years.

Parents were most satisfied with the quality of curriculum in subjects — with high ratings across subjects including art and music (90% very satisfied or satisfied) and social studies, math, English Language Arts and physical education.

Parents and Guardians were less satisfied with communications about level placement and about high stake tests and what they mean.

Somewhat amusingly, CHS students were hardest on themselves/their peers. While  65% of CHS teachers ranked “Students are well behaved and respectful toward students” at very satisfied or satisfied, 55% of students chose very satisfied or satisfied in that category. Likewise students’ rates of very satisfied and satisfied were lower (54%) for “Students are well behaved and respectful toward staff” than CHS faculty (65%).

However, only 39% of CHS faculty found “Students are well behaved and respectful toward school facilities” as compared to 46% of students.

In communications, 91% of parents ranked the e-newsletter as very satisfied or satisfied, while only 40% of faculty were very satisfied or satisfied with communications from/with the Board of Education.

The very good news is that satisfaction with curriculum and instruction is high across all groups, and satisfaction is generally high among the students, parents and guardians who responded.

So what’s next? The district administration says it’s doing the following with this information:

• Building and departmental results will be shared with the principals and supervisors to help them target individual and department goals.

• Survey comments will be read and analyzed in greater detail.

• Recommend using the survey results to inform decisions regarding District Goals.

• Results will be posted on the District website and linked to from E-Newsletter for full  transparency.

Columbia High School students, all district faculty and all district parents were all invited to respond to the survey this past spring. Parents were contacted through direct email, through their PTS and Home-School Associations and through local media. Teachers were contacted through emails to staff, and CHS students filled out the surveys in class.

The response rate for parents and students was up from last year (from 16% to 20% for parents and guardians; from 75% to 77% for students), but down for teachers (from 33% to 20%).

See the full survey results here.

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