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Vance High School's Teacher Working Conditions Survey

Teachers provide their opinion about the conditions surrounding student-learning and faculty collaboration.
by

Tomeka Easter

on 20 October 2012

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Transcript of Vance High School's Teacher Working Conditions Survey

SUMMARY
RESULTS Throughout CMS 68.31% of all teachers responded to the survey. @ Vance High School: 41.4% of all teachers responded to the survey in 2012. Teacher Working Conditions Survey Zebulon B. Vance High School VHS lacked trust and respect from March 2009-June 2012. Teachers often felt their opinions didn’t matter. Others believed they were belittled by leadership. To improve this deficit, the administrative team of 2012 continuously presents team building activities that focus on building trust. School Leadership In my opinion, this data is inconclusive. Of the teachers who took the survey more of them felt there was a definite increase in teacher leadership. However, as implied earlier, that leadership was seemingly forced, due to a lack of consistency among administrators. Nevertheless, the McRel instrument provoked teachers to gain higher level degrees, national board certifications and teach district-level professional development sessions. To continue to improve in this area, teachers should continue to gain degrees, certifications, and district-level teaching engagements that will benefit student-centered learning and academic growth. Teacher Leadership With the numerous changes in leadership, administrative expectations for students- were unknown. Teachers felt that behaviors were tolerated and never handled. Teachers felt unheard and unsupported. Turnover rates increased due to this lack of support. Many teachers were not aware of the tardy policies. Unfortunately, disciplinary referrals were filled out, yet the discipline was either too relaxed or too punitive. Students believed they were the administrators. What the data does not show is how Strategic Staffing fueled this growing problem. Students found staff to be wavering, unsure, lacking consistency, and fearful. (In 2012 this problem was solved with a no-tolerance forefront. Student assemblies were held throughout the first ten days of school to reinforce stakeholder expectations. Staff enrichment was held outside of campus to set the tone of unity, trust and teamwork. Students and staff are celebrated often.) Managing Student Conduct Parent Involvement is a large problem in many urban schools. At VHS approximately 1% of our student population is identified as McKinney-Vento, while more than 70% of the school is considered SED. Parents are faced with maintaining financial security and school involvement. Over the past fours years there is a low, but steady improvement in parental involvement. In 2010 our PTSA became a pillar in our school. Over the years, academic and instructional leaders began to formulate relationships with other schools connected to our campus, becoming the “Governor’s Village” and "Cougar Country." Although stakeholders, parents, complained that they were not made aware [in time] about major decisions. Especially notification of leadership changes and major disciplinary issues. Newsletters, weekly connect-ed messages and parent assistant became consistent ways to keep parents in the know. In the event of a major incident, parents were and are immediately contacted by phone. Community Support and Involvement Teachers found that the lack of technological access was a disadvantage to student learning. As part of the new McRel instrument teachers were required to introduce 21st Century learning skills and global awareness without the accommodation of technology. With various grants and donations from IBM and Wachovia (now Wells Fargo) all teachers received two desktops in their rooms, access to laptop carts, more wireless access, SmartBoards with accessories for all self-contained EC classes, Promethean Boards, virtual learning classes and the permission to have students use their phones to access the internet while in class. Facilities and Resources At the start of the Strategic years most VHS teachers saw their time was being spent unwisely either at duty posts and/or PD courses that were irrelevant to student learning. Over the course of two years, teachers saw that they were spending more time teaching, attending relevant PD courses, and collaborating with peers. PLCs became more than ideas, they were put into place as norms. Weekly staff meetings were turned into bi-weekly on-campus PD courses about student-centered learning. Support-staff were used most often to protect planning time for teacher-collaboration. However, due to continuous budget cuts and decreases in student enrollment, teachers found that class sizes were increasingly large. They also reported that students were not getting the available time necessary to meet those students academic needs. time Over the past four years Vance High School has undergone high turnover rates in leadership and instructional staffing. In the Spring of 2009 the school underwent Strategic Staffing. In the midst of that change more than 80% of the teachers responded to the survey. With rising tensions, lack of trust and numerous insecurities, teachers were seemingly hoping for the best. The results that follow are a comparison of agreement throughout the years of Strategic Staffing. history VHS’s 60.9% rating is an accurate look at the morale of the school throughout the strategic years. The fact that only 41.4% of the 153 teachers shows the indifference among the staff. In my opinion, of the data presented, instructors usually felt overwhelmed, frustrated, and disheartened, while students were often ashamed to be affiliated with their school. As the administrative team and other stakeholders view this data, I believe they are in a better position to support the needs of their staff and students. As input is given and changes are made, students will gain success and teachers will maintain trust, diligence and high morale throughout the year.

After recently sharing the TWCS data with the Student Leadership Team, a member asked was this survey important? The answer from the Assistant Principal was a definitive YES. He made it clear that this survey was a piece of an overall puzzle. "Without this survey it would be difficult to make great what is good. Schools should always look to make things better." In order to accomplish this goal it is necessary to gain feedback from all involved stakeholders on how to increase educational success for our students. Although the information is received later in the year, it is still valuable for improvement.
Overall This school is a good place to work and learn Overall Vance High is a data-driven school. Teachers use the information found in the data to create lessons that are student-centered. As assessments are given the areas that are weakest are re-taught to mastery. In years past teachers were uneasy about taking risks to gain student success. However, PLCs are encouraged to use various research-based methods to gain student success. This is continuing in the 2012-13 school year. Unfortunately, teachers have not always been assigned classes that will guarantee student success. In order to increase student success, teachers must teach classes for which they know, understand, and can present the material. Teachers are asked to teach what they’re passionate about. If assigned to a class that they’re less familiar with, the teachers are placed in PLCs with strong facilitators. Those facilitators are responsible for helping shape stronger teachers, who directly impact and shape stronger students. Instructional Practices and Support Data and supports available to teachers to improve instruction and student learning Instructional Practices and Support VHS is making increasingly strong strides to provide relevant, hands-on, differentiated professional development courses. Teams of Vance teachers are presenting research-based strategies for student-centered learning. To maintain differentiation throughout, this [2012-13] school year administrators, by way of inquiry and observation, are bringing in other urban school leaders/instructors. These PDs will focus on the best practices used to reach the learners who seem reluctant/resistant and unmotivated. More module courses are being utilized so that teachers can attend without the need to drive all over the district. As we are newly Title I, more professional development courses will be utilized to increase graduation rates. Professional Development TOMEKA S. EASTER
SEPTEMBER 2012 VANCE HIGH SCHOOL:
TEACHER WORKING CONDITIONS SURVEY Availability and quality of learning opportunities for educators to enhance their teaching Professional Development The ability of school leadership to create trusting, supportive environments and address teacher concerns School Leadership Teacher involvement in decisions that impact classroom and school practices Teacher Leadership Policies and practices to address student conduct issues and ensure a safe school environment Managing Student Conduct Community and parent/guardian communication and influence in the school Community Support and Involvement Availability of instructional, technology, office, communication, and school resources to teachers Facilities and Resources Available time to plan, collaborate and provide instruction and barriers to maximizing time during the school day Time In 2010 80.89% of all instructors responded to the survey.
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