Learning In a Pandemic: Survey Results

The Sanford School Department recently conducted a survey of parents, students and teachers about their experiences with the hybrid instruction model so far this year. Curriculum Director Beth Lambert presented the results to the School Committee at its January 25 meeting.

Parents

38% of Elementary School Parents, 44% of Middle School parents and 63% of High School parents responded.

Overall, parents of elementary school students were the most satisfied with how the school system has handled health and safety issues, and were far happier than middle school and high school parents with the quality of relationships students were able to forge with their teachers. And although 70% of elementary parents agreed that their child’s overall experience this year has been positive, only 44% prefer to continue with the hybrid learning model, while 32% do not (and 24% neutral on the question).

Not surprisingly, high school parents reported the most satisfaction with their children being able to navigate the technology, and supporting them with it.

On nearly every question, middle school parents reported less satisfaction with the current hybrid learning model than the parents of other age groups. Only 55% agreed that their child’s overall experience this year has been positive.

Parents were also able to offer comments. Ms. Lambert said the most common concern was with the students’ social and emotional well-being, due to feelings of isolation.

Teachers

About 75% of teachers from all schools responded.

Most were satisfied with health and safety of themselves and their students. They were less happy with communication from administration.

On the question of relationships with students, there was a noticeable difference among grade levels. 82% of elementary school staff agreed they were able to develop and maintain effective relationships with students, while only 54% of middle school staff, 45% of SHS staff and 62% of SRTC staff felt the same way.

Students’ work completion on remote days was an area where few teachers were satisfied. Only 30.7% of elementary teachers, 12% of middle school teachers, and 27% of SHS teachers said all or most of their students were completing assignments on remote days. SRTC was the exception, where 62% of teachers said all or most students were completing the work on remote days.

Middle and high school teachers were split on whether to continue with the hybrid model, or have students back in school more often/every day. Elementary and SRTC teachers showed a clear preference for continuing the hybrid model.

When questioned about the most common obstacles preventing students from succeeding, teachers at all levels said lack of work completion on remote days was a problem. Absenteeism, lack of work completion in general, and lack of engagement (being present but not participating) were other issues, particularly at the middle and high school levels. Personal barriers outside the students’ control were also cited.

Students

564 High School and 405 Middle School students responded. (There was some question whether all students received the survey.)

Middle schoolers reported greater satisfaction with the hybrid learning model overall, but only 51% prefer to continue with the hybrid model, while 48% would like to spend more time in school. 42% of high school students prefer to continue with hybrid learning, and 42% prefer more in-school instruction.

Interestingly, more than half of both middle and high school students reported being able to complete their assignments on remote days, a stark contrast to their teachers’ response to the same question.

This is only a brief overview of the survey results. The survey also included Calvert/Courseware and K-4 Remote parents, although less than 20% responded.

The full results can be viewed in the School Committee’s agenda packet here (beginning on page 13).

The meeting video can be viewed here.