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School Climate Survey results

Filed in Archive by on February 1, 2019

text on blue background "School Climate Survey"A recent survey of students in the Bethlehem Central School District reveals an overwhelming majority of those asked reported feeling both happy and safe at school. Results from the School Climate Survey also show students from the district’s seven schools feel a strong sense of belonging to the school community, are actively involved in extracurricular activities and are supported by faculty and staff with whom they have a positive rapport.

Nearly 2,700 students answered the 72-question survey that included questions about school safety, facilities, peer relations, social and emotional support, alcohol and drug use, and school discipline.

The survey was administered to students on December 13, 2018. In addition to the student survey, parents and staff — both instructional and support staff — answered similar surveys regarding school climate in Bethlehem. A total of 3,784 people completed the survey during a two-week period, Dec. 6-20.


Student and Parent Survey Results by Grade Level:

If you can not access these PDFs, please contact the BCSD Communications Office at 518-439-3650.

    “We were pleased by the response to the School Climate survey and the largely positive results we received,” said Superintendent Jody Monroe. “It was a lengthy survey developed by the U.S. Department of Education in 2016 as part of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). Despite an intimidating number of questions, we believe it has provided us with very useful data.

    Monroe said the decision to use the ESSA survey was two-fold: to provide baseline data for the district’s Strategic Plan and to pre-set the district for gathering school climate data on an annual basis — something that could become a requirement of school districts in New York state under ESSA.

    The district’s five-year Strategic Plan, which is set to be unveiled this month, outlines goals and objectives for the district to help guide decision-making into 2024. It also will include an extensive set of metrics to measure the success of the plan over time. Survey data will be used to establish some of the plan’s metrics and objectives.

    Monroe said the survey data is useful in the short-term as well. She said the district’s leadership team has been reviewing the results in depth, comparing the student data with results gathered from staff and parents as well as analyzing the data by building and grade level.

    “It requires some slicing and dicing but the numbers definitely tell a story,” said Superintendent Monroe. “The student survey, in particular, sheds light on areas where we need to direct greater focus and resources. For instance, the data show students feel supported by faculty and staff but are feeling less confident when it comes to student-to-student relationships.”

    Fifty-five percent of students reported that they do not believe “students talk about the importance of understanding their own feelings and the feelings of others.” Nearly two-thirds of those surveyed — 65 percent — said they do not feel that “students at this school stop and think before doing anything when they get angry.”

    “These were some of the most sizable gaps we saw in the school climate data from students,” said Monroe. “Our conversations now are how do we move the needle and improve student trust in one another within the school setting.”

    Just as important, Superintendent Monroe said, are areas where data gaps were found to be much smaller.

    “While nearly nine out of 10 students, and 96 percent of staff, report feeling safe at school, we want that number to be as close to 100 percent as possible,” said Monroe.

      Students also identified facilities issues, including heating and cooling and bathroom cleanliness, as being most in need of improvement. These issues were also identified in the results of the two staff surveys.

      Nearly half of students — 47 percent — and 51 percent of staff also agreed that cyberbullying is a frequent problem among students.

      Some of the common themes in comments on the surveys of students, staff and parents were concerns regarding favoritism and gender bias, a lack of standard or consistent communication between teachers and parents via Aspen and otherwise, calls for a later start time at the high school and concerns about student vaping (use of e-cigarettes), among others.

      “Having this level of insight allows us to better identify and prioritize the most pressing needs of students, faculty and staff,” said Superintendent Monroe.

      Student Survey Highlights

      • 89% of students say they feel safe at school
      • 82% of students say they are happy to be at school
      • 82% of students say they feel socially accepted
      • 89% say teachers are available when they need to talk to them
      • 94% say there are lots of chances for students to get involved in sports, clubs, and other school activities
      • 92% say they have lots of chances to be part of class discussions or activities
      • 65% say they do not believe the school is comfortable all year round
      • 65% say they do not believe students stop and think about their actions when they get angry
      • 55% say they do not believe students talk about the importance of understanding their own feelings and the feelings of others

      Staff Survey Highlights – Instructional

      • 97% of teachers say they feel safe at school
      • 96% say students are encouraged to get involved in extracurricular activities
      • 95% of teachers say people at this school care about me as a person
      • 95% of teachers say they feel like they belong
      • 94% say the school inspires them to do the very best at their jobs
      • 92% of teachers say they feel responsible to help each other do their best
      • 91% say there are adequate programs and resources to support students with special needs or disabilities
      • 90% say this school places a priority on students’ health needs
      • 51% of teacher say they think that cyberbullying is a frequent problem among students

      Staff Survey Highlights – Support Staff

      • 98% of support staff say students get along with staff
      • 95% say they the school is an inviting work environment
      • 95% of support staff say they feel safe at school
      • 94% of say staff always stop bullying when they see it
      • 91% of support staff say they feel like they belong
      • 73% say school rules are applied equally to all students
      • 26% think bullying is a frequent problem at school

      Parent Survey Highlights

      • 97% of parents say the school looks clean and pleasant
      • 92% say the school notifies parents or guardians effectively in the case of a schoolwide emergency
      • 90% say the school takes effective measures to ensure the safety of students
      • 85% of parents say their child feels safe at school
      • 84% of parents say they feel welcome at school
      • 75% say the school encourages them to be an active partner in educating their child
      • 71% say the school has quality programs for their child’s talents, gifts, or special needs.
      • 64% of parents say staff at the school care about what families think
      • 30% say they hear from the school when their child does something good at school