WAPS survey on inclusion, school culture | News

by ALEXANDRA RETTER

In a recent survey of students, staff and families about the welcoming of its environment, Winona Area Public Schools (WAPS) received generally positive responses. The survey – which does not break down responses by race – is part of a three-year effort to promote equity and inclusion for minority and underrepresented students. The district is still working to get more answers and its goal is to implement data-driven changes by fall 2022.

The district is working with a Regional Center of Excellence (RCE) and the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) on this three-year process, called the Climate Cohort. WAPS is now in the second year of the process.

The survey data is a starting point, but it’s impossible to draw full conclusions, director of learning and teaching Karla Winter said at the school board meeting on 3 March. Further analysis of the data and collection of responses are needed, she added. In terms of survey response rates, 74% of elementary students, 50% of secondary students, 13% of families and 62% of staff participated in the survey. The primary students surveyed were in grades three and four, and secondary students included students in grades five through 12. A link to the survey was provided to families and students completed the survey during the school day, if they wished, she said.

Of those who responded, about 75% identified as white, 5% as black, 3% as Hispanic, 3% as Asian/Pacific Islander, and 2% as Native American. “We haven’t had turnout like we’d like to see with our underrepresented groups based on the data we’ve gathered,” Winter said. “So this is something that our individual schools at the school level are working on, how can we attract and get more responses from all of our student population.”

In similar previous WAPS surveys, data was not disaggregated by race, making it impossible to tell how minorities responded. When asked if the survey results would be broken down by race, Winter said in an interview, “We will definitely be looking at our underrepresented groups who participated in the survey or did not participate in the survey. ‘investigation and try to…reach out to those families for additional feedback and information. She said outreach may be different at each school, such as asking families questions at school events, holding small focus groups with families, and asking middle and high school students additional questions.

Respondents to the most recent survey answered questions on a scale of one to five, with one being “strongly disagree” and five being “strongly agree”. Responses up to 2.5 were considered negative, neutral from 2.5 to 3.5, and positive from 3.5 to 5.

The survey covered several areas. A field focused on diversity. On the theme of respect for diversity, the majority of participants had a positive perception of the district—83% of elementary students, 55% of secondary students, 60% of families, and 74% of staff. At the same time, 4% of primary students, 7% of secondary students, 12% of families and 3% of staff had a negative perception. The remaining responses came from people with neutral perceptions.

Some questions were related to security. The topic of rules and standards was about rules regarding violence and harassment being communicated and enforced. In the area of ​​rules and standards, most respondents had a positive perception, with 84% of primary students, 61% of secondary students, 57% of families and 79% of staff responding positively. Participants could also give neutral responses, and 10% of primary students, 29% of secondary students, 26% of families and 16% of staff did so. Meanwhile, 5% of primary students, 10% of secondary students, 17% of families and 5% of staff had a negative perception.

Regarding the feeling of physical safety at school, about half of the participants had a positive perception, the other half being split between neutral and negative perceptions. (See data table below.)

Other questions related to student services at school. Regarding feelings of social and emotional safety at school, many students had a neutral perception and responses were split between families and staff. (See data table below.)

In the area of ​​support for students by adults in school, most participants had a positive perception — 82% of elementary students, 58% of secondary students, 60% of families, and 89% of staff. Some also had neutral or negative responses. Neutral responses came from 14% of primary students, 35% of secondary students, 28% of families and 10% of staff. Negative perceptions were reported by 5% of elementary students, 6% of secondary students, 12% of families and 1% of staff.

Prior to sending out the survey, district staff and an RCE representative spent the first year of the three-year process discussing what climate is and how it affects students and staff, a Winter said. Staff involved in the work, including principals, social workers and counsellors, shared stories about the climate in their buildings. Then, this year, they focused on how the social and emotional states of staff members affect school climate. Now staff will work to gain additional information about the investigation and create plans to address the climate, Winter said. The goal is to implement the plans next school year and spend the third year of the climate cohort determining their sustainability. “I’ve just been really encouraged by the group of our stakeholders who have stepped up and volunteered,” Winter said of the staff who are part of the climate cohort.

Diversity

Positive perception of the neighborhood:

-83% of primary school students

-55% of secondary school students

-60% of families

-74% of staff

Negative perception of the neighborhood:

-4% of primary school students

-7% of secondary school students

-12% of families

-3% of staff

Rules and standards

Positive perception of the neighborhood:

-84% of primary school students

-61% of secondary school students

-57% of families

-79% of staff

Negative perception of the neighborhood:

-5% of primary school students

-10% of secondary school students

-17% of families

-5% of staff

Physical security

Positive perception of the neighborhood:

– 50% of primary school students

– 50% of secondary school students

– 56% of families

– 40% of staff

Negative perception of the neighborhood:

– 16% of primary school students

– 13% of secondary school students

– 18% of families

– 20% of staff

Social and emotional security

Positive perception of the neighborhood:

-38% of primary school students

-22% of secondary school students

-31% of families

-35% of staff

Negative perception of the neighborhood:

– 13 percent of primary school students

– 27% of secondary school students

– 33 percent of families

– 23 percent of staff

Supporting pedagogical practices

Positive perception of the neighborhood

– 83 percent of primary school students

– 33% of secondary school students

– 51% of families

– 83 percent of staff

Negative perception of the neighborhood

– 6% of primary school students

– 17% of secondary school students

– 18% of families

– 2% of staff

Student support

adults at school

Positive perception of the neighborhood:

-82% of primary school students

-58% of secondary school students

-60% of families

-89% of staff

Negative perception of the neighborhood:

-5% of primary school students

-6% of secondary school students

-12% of families

-1% of staff

Student support

classmates

Positive perception of the neighborhood:

– 71% of primary school students

– 58% of secondary school students

– 71% of families

– 77% of staff

Negative perception of the neighborhood:

– 6% of primary school students

– 8% of secondary school students

– 18% of families

– 2% of staff

Link and commitment with the school

Positive perception of the neighborhood:

-79% of primary school students

-49% of secondary school students

-55% of families

-67% of staff

Negative perception of the neighborhood:

-4% of primary school students

-9% of secondary school students

-18% of families

-5% of staff

Student safety online and with social media

Positive perception of the neighborhood:

-43% of primary school students

-32% of secondary school students

-28% of families

-24 people of staff

Negative perception of the neighborhood:

-9% of primary school students

-14% of secondary school students

-19% of families

-34% of staff

Support for social and civic learning

Positive perception of the neighborhood:

– 83 percent of primary school students

– 33% of secondary school students

– 51% of families

– 74% of staff

Negative perception of the neighborhood:

– 4% of primary school students

– 17% of secondary school students

– 18% of families

– 3% of staff

Education@winonapost.com

Carol C. Reed