MEEKER I Results of the 2015 Colorado TELL Survey, made available last week, show that only 42 percent of teachers and administrators at Meeker High School (MHS) believe that, overall, the school is a good place to work and learn.
That’s a drop of 15 percentage points from 2013. With interviews for the new high school principal having taken place this past Monday, it’s a good time to review the TELL survey for MHS.
Twelve of the 16 high school educators (75 percent) participated in the 2015 survey (compared to 51 percent statewide). Six of the 16 high school staff are new since 2013.
Another big change from 2013 regards community support as 93 percent felt two years ago that the community was supportive while only 8 percent believe that this year, the equivalent of one person out of the 12 high school respondents.
Initiated by the legislature in 2008, the Teaching, Empowering, Leading and Learning (TELL) Survey is sent to school-based teachers and leadership statewide, biennially, to record perceptions of the teaching and learning conditions in their schools.
Participation by educators is voluntary and anonymous. The TELL effort is led by the Colorado Department of Education in partnership with the Colorado Association of School Boards, Colorado Association of School Executives, Colorado Education Association, Colorado League of Charter Schools and the governor’s office.
According to the online fact sheet, TELL surveys take about 20 minutes for educators to complete. The 90 questions focus on time, facilities and resources, community support and involvement, managing student conduct, teacher leadership, school leadership, professional development, instructional practices and support, future employment plans, new teacher support and district support for school leadership.
In 2013, 64 percent agreed that MHS teachers are allowed to focus on educating students with minimal interruptions. This year only 42 percent agree. In contrast, only 31 percent in 2013 believed the non-instructional time provided teachers was sufficient. In 2015, that’s risen to 50 percent.
Whereas in 2013, 93 percent agreed that teachers had sufficient access to instructional technology, including computers, printers, software and the Internet, only 67 percent agreed this year. Whether teachers have sufficient access to a broad range of professional personnel dropped from 54 percent to 25 percent.
Agreement that the school maintains clear, two-way communication with the community dropped from 57 percent to 33 percent. Agreement that community members support teachers, contributing to their success with students dropped from 77 percent to 42 percent.
On student conduct, belief that students understand expectations for their conduct improved from 43 percent to 67 percent, and that the administration supports teacher efforts to maintain discipline in the classroom increased from 36 percent to 58 percent.
Regarding teacher leadership, belief that teachers are recognized as educational experts dropped from 57 to 42 percent, while whether teachers in the school trust each other dropped from 50 to 25 percent agreement.
In contrast, the percentage of agreement that educators in the school take steps to solve problems increased from a very low 21 to 42 percent, and belief that the faculty has an effective process for making group decisions to solve problems increased from an even lower 14 percent to 36 percent. Only half the teachers believed they were trusted to make sound professional decisions about instruction in 2013 and 2015.
On school leadership, 21 percent agreed that there is an atmosphere of trust and mutual respect at the school stayed, and that dropped from 25 percent in 2013. Whether school leadership makes a sustained effort to address teacher concerns about community engagement dropped from 64 percent agreement to 27 percent, and about student learning from 71 percent to 50 percent.
The area of professional development appears to have the most consistent improvement with agreement that professional learning opportunities are aligned with the school’s Unified Improvement Plan, increasing from 42 percent to 73 percent.
That professional development offerings are data driven and enhance teachers’ ability to implement strategies that meet diverse student needs increased from 31 percent to 58 percent.
Belief that assessment (testing) data are used to improve student learning dropped from 64 percent to 36 percent. Agreement, however, that provided supports (instructional coaching, learning communities) translate to improvement in instructional practices increased from 31 to 58 percent, and that teachers are assigned classes that maximize their likelihood of success with students increased 38 percent to 75 percent.
Complete results of the Colorado TELL Survey for all three Meeker schools plus other participating districts are available online at www.tellcolorado.org. The New Teacher Center, a national teacher induction non-profit, administers the survey.