TELL Survey results mixed at MES

MEEKER I The state’s Teaching, Empowering, Leading and Learning (TELL) Survey has some telling figures regarding Meeker Elementary School, and the perception is that community support for the schools has slid sharply.

The survey is conducted every odd-numbered year for every school in Colorado. The survey is sent to all the certified educators in each school to be completed in March.
One of the most telling questions it asks is whether the educator believes his/her school is a good place to work and learn. At Meeker Elementary School (MES) this year, 69 percent felt their school was a good place to work and learn. However, this was down a notch from 2013, when 77 percent agreed to that statement.
Interestingly, 100 percent of the participants at Barone Middle School this year believed their school is a good place to work and learn while only 42 percent of the Meeker High School participants agreed regarding their school. The statewide average on this question for elementary schools is 85 percent.
The Herald Times reported the high school TELL results April 30 and the middle school results June 25.
MES had 15 respondents to this year’s survey out of 23 educators for a 65 percent participation rate, compared to 75 percent at the high school and 73 percent at the middle school. The statewide 2015 elementary school participation rate was 54. In 2013, 21 out of 22 MES educators responded for a 95 participation rate.
One of the most interesting sections of the TELL Survey measures community support and involvement. On the question of “does the community support this school?” the MES positive response, 2013 to 2015, fell from 90 percent to 50 percent.
On whether parents or guardians support teachers, contributing to teacher success with their students, agreement fell from 100 to 69 percent. Whether community members support teachers and contribute to their success fell from 90 to 50 percent.
On the other hand, positive agreement on parents and guardians being influential decision-makers in the school increased slightly from 71 to 77 percent. There was an improvement from 60 to 73 percent on the school working directly with parents to improve the educational environment in students’ homes. Numbers went from 76 percent to 87 percent on the school maintaining clear, two-way communication with the community, and from 81 to 93 percent on the school doing a good job of encouraging parent/guardian involvement.
All 2015 respondents indicated their school provides parents with useful information about student learning and that the parents know what’s going on in the school.
Management of student conduct at MES appears to be a very strong parameter. All respondents agreed that students at the school understand what conduct is expected, that policies and procedures about student conduct are clearly understood by faculty, and that the faculty works in a safe environment.
Whether students follow rules of conduct, teachers consistently enforce conduct rules and the administration consistently enforces conduct rules had agreement at 93 percent. The latter significantly improved from 57 percent in 2013.
Perceptions of teacher leadership at MES, however, has significantly declined since 2013.
Only 47 percent of respondents said teachers trust each other and have an appropriate level of influence on decision-making, down from 50 and 60 percent, respectively, in 2013.
Only 53 percent agreed that teachers are provided opportunities to take on formal leadership roles, like being instructional coaches, while 65 percent felt that way in 2013. Only 57 percent felt teachers were recognized as educational experts, down from 80 percent, and down from 90 percent in 2013, 64 percent felt this year that teachers take steps to solve problems and are trusted to make sound professional decisions.
Only 67 percent felt teachers in the school were effective leaders and are relied upon to make educational decisions, down from 70 and 80 percent, respectfully.
The only improvement in this category was on whether the faculty has an effective process for making group problem-solving decisions. The 25 percent agreement on this question in 2013 increased to 36 percent this year.
School leadership (administration and school board) questions showed improved results except in two categories.
Only 33 percent felt faculty members are recognized for their accomplishments and only 47 percent felt comfortable raising issues and concerns that are important to them, unchanged from 2013.
Fifty-three percent felt there is an atmosphere of trust and mutual respect, up from 45 percent, and 60 percent felt the faculty and leadership have a shared vision. Sixty-four percent felt school leadership consistently supports teachers while 67 percent felt leadership works to minimize classroom disruptions, the latter down from 90 percent in 2013.
Using the teacher evaluation process at MES to improve teachers’ instructional strategies was agreed to by 73 percent, up from 47 percent, and 77 percent felt teacher evaluations were fair. Up from 60 percent, 80 percent felt school leadership adequately communicates with faculty.
That school leadership communicates adequately with faculty was agreed to by 80 percent and all respondents agreed leadership communicates clear expectations to students and parents, both up from 60 percent. Agreement that leadership is making a sustained effort to address new teacher support improved from only 25 percent to 69 percent.
Regarding professional development (PD), only 43 percent felt efforts provided ongoing opportunities for teachers to work with colleagues to refine teaching practices. Up from zero in 2013, 46 percent felt PD has been changed to meet the needs of individuals. Only 31 percent felt PD is evaluated and the results communicated with the teachers, however.
Whether follow-up to PD is provided had only 54 percent agreement, a big improvement from 17 percent. And up from 23 percent, 58 percent agreed PD offerings are data driven, and 62 percent agreed an appropriate amount of time is provided for PD, up from 21 percent. Sixty-two percent agreed sufficient PD resources are provided.
Whether teachers work in professional learning communities that allow them to develop and align instructional practices had only 43 percent agreement, down from 68 percent, and only 57 percent agreed that state and local assessment data are used to improve student learning, down from 74 percent.
Down from 70 percent in 2013, 64 percent believe the curriculum taught meets the needs of students, and 69 percent believe teachers had the autonomy to make decisions about instructional delivery, up from 60.
A big jump from 2013 showed on whether teachers were assigned classes that maximized their likelihood of success with students, 24 percent to 75 percent, but whether teachers are encouraged to try new things slipped from 84 percent to 79 percent.
Results on questions about the use of time generally saw declining scores. Fifty-three percent felt they had time available to collaborate with colleagues vs. 67 percent in 2013.
Sixty percent felt they had sufficient instructional time to meet student needs and that they were protected from duties that interfere with their essential role versus 62 percent and 71 percent, respectively, in 2013.
Down from 81 percent, 73 percent felt they were allowed to focus on educating students with minimal interruptions and 80 percent felt they had reasonable class sizes, up from 67 percent.
Whether teachers have sufficient access to appropriate instructional materials and resources had only 53 percent agreement and sufficient access to instructional technology, including computers, printers, software and Internet, had only 67 precent agreement, both down from 81 percent.
Whether teachers have sufficient access to office equipment and supplies was agreed to by only 60 percent, down from 90 percent in 2013.
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 their online Fact Sheet, TELL surveys take about 20 minutes for educators to complete. TELL Survey results are available online at www.tellcolorado.org/ results.