I concluded last week’s post mentioning that I would go into the three surveys that we administered in this week’s post. So here goes…We developed three surveys to do some deeper digging with our students and families. We had a survey for our grade 1 and 2s, grade 3-8s, and one for our parents. We used Microsoft Forms as our platform as it offered multiple question formats, gathered and organized feedback, and included immersive readers for students who needed help reading questions. I have to say, Microsoft seems to be doing some great things. My experiences with Teams and Forms have been easy and exceptional.
We were very strategic in how we designed the surveys and in the types of questions we used. Our primary kids responded to multiple choice questions. Middle years students and parents had a mix of multiple choice, choose as many answers as apply, and short answer feedback questions. We hit a number of topics including self-concept, relationships, anxiety, depression, stress, safety, learning, talents and skills, and extra-curricular activities.
Our results were quite good in our primary end. They told us they are doing pretty well. The main hot spots, as predicted, were with anxiety, self-regulation, and coping strategies. Our middle years students results gave us some important information to move forward with. Anxiety, depression, and extra-curricular activities stood out from the rest.
Due to a variety of factors – Covid, home life – we have many students feeling like they are experiencing challenges related to anxiety and depression. We have a School Support Specialist who does amazing work and is connecting with many of these students already. She is equipping them with coping strategies and reaching out to their families offering support. We will also focus on some presentations to classrooms to offer coping strategies for students who are not comfortable coming forward individually. This Friday will be a large part of that process as we hold a school wide Wellness Day that will include various presentations on coping.
We had lots of students tell us that they weren’t able to use their skills and strengths in an extra-curricular setting at school. The arts, coding, animation, chess, music were all things many of our students were looking for. We felt the need to address this instantly. This week we began opening our library for students in grades 6-8 at recess. We invited students in to use their skills as an alternative to going outside. After two days, it has been great. We have kids drawing, playing chess, playing board games, learning magic tricks, playing guitars…the best part is they are self sufficient and well-behaved. Our few rules as a staff were to have a plan to know what they were going to do (i.e. no just hanging out), take care of materials, and treat the space respectfully. So far, so good. I am excited to see where some kids take this opportunity – learning new skills, teaching friends new skills. I think this space is giving many kids an opportunity to feel comfortable and is allowing them to find their ‘place’ within the building.
As for the parent survey, we haven’t dove in too far to the results just yet. We wanted to focus on the kids first. It appears that most parents are looking for information and resources on how to support their kids. They see many of the same challenges that their kids told us they had. Many have support systems in place, however many don’t know where to go or how to support their child. We have a couple ideas of how to support and bring info. to our parents. We are going to include some targeted helpful tips in weekly newsletters, explore some parent information nights, and do some advertising for what supports we have at school and what is available in the community.
I feel like our surveys were very useful. More importantly, our great team has already analyzed the results and put into place some tangible solutions. It will be interesting to touch base with the kids in a few weeks to see if they feel these ideas are working.
Thanks for reading and following along on this journey!