City schools to poll students on substance abuse, bullying

Posted by Dan Whisenhunt October 17, 2013

Icon_SchoolsThis month City Schools of Decatur is surveying students at Renfroe Middle and Decatur High about the school’s social climate, asking questions about drug and alcohol use, as well as school safety.

It’s part of a statewide program that measures “school climate” as a component of the College and Career Ready Performance Index.

Here are examples of questions students will be asked to answer:

I think alcohol is harmful.  Answer yes or no

I think marijuana is harmful. Answer yes or no

I have participated in illegal gang activities in the past 30 days. Answer yes or no

(Editor’s note: It’s amazing how much these questions remind me of the psychological surveys you take when you apply for jobs at big retail chains, like Walmart.)

Superintendent Phyllis A. Edwards sent a letter to parents about the Georgia Student Health Survey that students will be receiving.

“The administration window for these surveys will be available starting in late October and will remain open until January 31st,” Edwards writes. “Specific instructions for taking the Georgia Parent Survey will be sent to families in the near future.

“City Schools of Decatur district leaders will be collaborating with school level leaders to ensure that these surveys are administered in ways that are least intrusive to the instructional day.”

I looked up Decatur’s survey results from 2012-2013, but funny story there. Even though there are results on the state website, Curriculum Director Joe Austin says the school system didn’t administer this survey last year. He said he would make an inquiry to the state Education Department about why it would publish survey results that the school system says it didn’t provide. To see the highly suspect 2012-2013 results, click here.

I also found a survey from 2010-2011 that appears to have sampled more students. To see that survey, click here.

Also, see this Power Point about how schools use these scores in their planning process.

Austin said the state BOE this year has mandated that all schools administer the student health survey. He said last year the school system measured climate using a Gallup survey.

Here’s the superintendent’s full letter to parents:

Dear Families,

In 2011, Georgia was the first state in the nation to include school climate as an early indicator in its accountability system the College and Career Ready Performance Index (CCRPI). The School Climate Star Rating will be officially reported in the CCRPI in December 2013 and will be used as a diagnostic tool within the CCRPI to determine if a school is on the right path to school improvement.

The three surveys that will be used in the calculation of the School Climate Star Rating include~the Georgia Student Health Survey II (GSHS II), the Georgia School Personnel Survey (GSPS), and the Georgia Parent Survey. In order to be eligible for the School Climate Star Rating, a mandatory participation rate of 75% is required for the GSHS II and the GSPS, which will be in effect for the 2013-2014 school year and all subsequent years . The Georgia Parent Survey has no mandatory participation rate at this time, but we welcome the valuable data that parents can provide through this survey.

Students in Grades 6-12 will take the GSHS II, K-12 staff will take the GSPS, and the Georgia Parent Survey is open to all K-12 parents. The administration window for these surveys will be available starting in late October and will remain open until January 31st. Specific instructions for taking the Georgia Parent Survey will be sent to families in the near future.

City Schools of Decatur district leaders will be collaborating with school level leaders to ensure that these surveys are administered in ways that are least intrusive to the instructional day. If you have questions regarding these surveys, please contact PreK-12 Curriculum Director, Joe Austin, by phone at 404-370-4400 ext. 918 or email jaustin@csdecatur.net .

Sincerely,

Dr. Phyllis A. Edwards

Superintendent

About Dan Whisenhunt

Dan Whisenhunt is editor and publisher of Decaturish.com. https://www.linkedin.com/in/danwhisenhunt

View all posts by Dan Whisenhunt

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