Survey shows positive growth
by DELANEY WALKER, Banner Staff Writer
May 17, 2013 | 696 views | 0 0 comments | 11 11 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Cleveland City Schools teachers’ responses to TELL Tennessee contributed to Gov. Bill Haslam’s recent announcement of positive educator survey results within the state.

Michael Kahrs, supervisor of data management, presented the survey results at a recent board of education meeting.

“Cleveland City Schools had 95.4 percent of educators complete the survey and that is compared with 82.1 percent statewide,” Kahrs said. “Seven out of eight schools had 100 percent of people submit their opinion.

There are eight schools within the city school system: Yates Primary, E.L. Ross Elementary, Blythe-Bower Elementary, Mayfield Elementary, Stuart Elementary, Arnold Elementary, Cleveland Middle School and Cleveland High School. The Teen Learning Center was not included in the survey.

All teachers within each school were given a random code to fill out an anonymous survey. The 2013 TELL Tennessee survey was the second statewide survey of licensed educators within the state’s school systems. According to research, teaching conditions are positively correlated to improved student achievement and retention.

Survey results allow school administrators and state officials to see where extra support is needed by teachers.

Kahrs said there has been marked improvement in teacher responses over the first survey in 2011.

A comparison of the results showed growth in every area: time, 9.7 percent gain; facilities and resources, 1.4 percent gain; community support and involvement, 1.8 percent gain; managing student conduct, 5.6 percent gain; teacher leadership, .6 percent gain; school leadership, 2.1 percent gain; professional development, 2.6 percent gain; and instructional practices and support, 6 percent gain.

Two areas, managing student conduct and time, received a 100 percent positive response from city educators. Community support and involvement received the lowest positive response with 63 percent.

A city elementary school had a positive distinction Kahrs said he wanted to share with the school board.

“One school, Ross Elementary, had educators agree 100 percent it was a good place to work and that is very rare, so I wanted to point that out,” Kahrs said.

He then showed the comparison between the city school educators’ responses and results from across the state.

“Many areas showed a more positive opinion than other school systems,” Kahrs said. “What we are looking at is our teachers’ opinions of the system versus others in state’s opinion of their systems.”

Responses above average include: facilities and resources, 2.8 percent above; community support and involvement, 2.8 percent above; teacher leadership, .4 percent above; and school leadership .8 percent above.

Survey results below the state average include: time, .5 percent below; managing student conduct, 1.6 percent below; professional development, 3.8 percent below; and instructional practices and support, 2.6 percent.

“Even in the midst of [Common Core changes] we still have growth. This was the teachers’ opinion of our system compared to others. It is hard to compare us because we are all doing different professional development, but what impressed me was we had growth in every area,” Kahrs said. “Even if we are a little below what others in the state think, we are trending positive so we will get there and be better.”

Kahrs studied the 2011 results to discover each area’s growth pattern. According to Kahrs, it will take one year for both managing student conduct and instructional practices and support to be above state average. Professional development should see growth to above state average in three years.

Dr. Martin Ringstaff, city schools director, said constructive action is being take in the light of survey results.

“We challenged our principals to meet with their educators in a very non-threatening matter, to find out where we are missing the mark in some of these areas,” he said.