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Hearing from Students: When’s the Last Time You Asked?

Author: Marc William
by Marc William
Posted: Mar 17, 2019

Students are in your buildings every day experiencing the culture and environment of your school system. Is it possible they might have valuable insight on how to improve their educational experience? Have you asked them lately?

There’s no doubt that staff, parents and the community have opinions about how you’re doing, but student perspective shouldn’t be overlooked. After all, they are the ones living your delivery system and experiencing it first-hand. When it comes to hearing what they have to say there are numerous ways to find out, but few that allow all students to be involved in a non-threatening, open, and honest manner.

Schools have an important role in building resilient youth. Throughout the last two decades, educators, researchers and politicians have focused on the fundamental purpose of education as teaching and learning. The recent research and evidence surrounding social and emotional learning (SEL) substantiates the value of not only focusing on students’ cognitive and academic skills but also their social and emotional development (Durlak et al, 2011).

A student that is engaged in both their school work and school community experiences greater success both in and out of the classroom as well as upon graduation from high school. Understanding how a student spends their free time, their perceptions of the rigor and relevance of their school work, how they utilize various support systems and the planning they have done for life after high school is critical for a school system to best meet each student’s individual needs. "If we want to build resilience in our students both in and out of the classroom, we must first look critically at what factors impact their engagement," shares Bill Foster, the President of School Perceptions, a firm that conducts student engagement surveys for school districts in Wisconsin and throughout the country.

School Perceptions has been supporting school districts in gathering culture and climate data for over a decade. The School Perceptions Student Engagement Survey offers schools a way to measure how students perceive their learning as well as examine the factors that impact student engagement. The Survey examines seven indicators of student engagement: connectedness, drive, citizenship, preparation, social and emotional aptitude, wellness and academic and career planning. School Perceptions’ software allows a district to look at student engagement through the various lenses of your student population (e.g. ethnicity, gender, etc.). Customization of survey questions is also possible so that school initiatives or issues of immediate concern can be addressed.

For more information contact: Jerry Kember, 262.644.4300

Jerry Kember has served public schools in New York and Wisconsin since 1970. He retired as Superintendent of Schools after 22 years as an administrator in the School District of La Crosse. Throughout his tenure Kember was committed to regularly connecting with the community to share the "good news" of the District and gather feedback from residents.

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Author: Marc William

Marc William

United States

Member since: Dec 07, 2017
Published articles: 5

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