Board updated on survey

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— Results from a climate poll conducted in the spring revealed overall satisfaction with the Steamboat Springs School District, but district administrators and two district directors discussed areas that need to be addressed and how they plan to do it during Monday's School Board study session.

Board members heard results from the HarrisInteractive survey several months ago, but they said they wanted to remain updated on issues that were identified as concerns. For example, a percentage of elementary students said school wasn't fun; a percentage of high school students said a wider variety of courses needed to be offered and a percentage of teachers said they didn't feel appreciated.

Superintendent Donna Howell began by updating the board on her efforts to improve communication between herself and staff.

"I've met with staffs at each building after school," Howell said. "The next round is during lunch and then breakfast, or in the morning. I'll rotate to be more available."

Howell said efforts to show staff appreciation are in the works with additional staff picnics and retreats.

The HarrisInteractive Survey was given to district students, parents and staff in the spring. The results were compiled and presented by a company representative several months ago.

At the time, the HarrisInteractive representative reaffirmed the district's position as high achieving and productive based on scores from staff, students and parents, but he advised the School Board and district administrators to be cognizant of areas where a percentage of students, parents and staff said they were dissatisfied.

Strawberry Park Principal Mark MacHale and Soda Creek Elementary Principal Judy Harris addressed the concern that some elementary students didn't think school was fun.

"Our goal is to improve student perception of school being fun," Harris said.

Several board members raised questions about how and when administrators planned to address the issues the HarrisInteractive survey revealed.

"Is there any process to put together an informal survey to see if we are moving in the right direction or at all?" board member John DeVincentis asked.

Steamboat Springs Middle School Principal Tim Bishop said he plans to hand out middle school-specific surveys to students, staff and parents.

Bishop's survey will have more specific questions because he didn't like how broad some of the HarrisInteractive questions were. For example, all middle school students were asked whether they thought they were adequately being prepared for college, an issue that many sixth-graders likely have not thought about, let alone have a preparation plan for.

"When we do it again, I want to add some questions to follow up (on) some of these areas we did not score as well on per se," Bishop said. "We will follow up with perception surveys that we give parents, and I give staff. We will give students another survey. It gives us a place to start."

Steamboat Springs High School Principal Mike Knezevich also addressed the board Monday.

"We identified three or four main items - the whole question of principals helping (students), the variety of courses and AP courses offered, and (student) engagement," Knezevich said. "Honestly, a lot of those things are being addressed in either the principal or assistant principal's goals in our student improvement plan."

District transportation director Ed Dingledine and district nutrition services director Teresa Wise also were in attendance and addressed the board.

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