Stanly School Board hears results of teacher survey

Published 11:36 am Wednesday, September 2, 2020

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A survey of teachers employed by Stanly County Schools brought about instructional and technical questions and comments at Tuesday’s meeting of the county’s Board of Education.

With a number of the surveys containing suggestions by teachers on improvements, the board decided to schedule a special meeting to discuss suggestions. A date was not set at the meeting.

Of the 609 teachers employed by SCS, Interim Superintendent Vicki Calvert said 81 percent responded to the survey, which is approximately 493 teachers.

Teachers were asked about their comfort levels regarding the learning management system (LMS) used by the system, Canvas. According to the survey, 85 percent of elementary teachers, 70 percent of fifth grade, 74 percent of middle school and 76 percent of high school teachers were either somewhat comfortable or comfortable with using it.

In terms of useable planning time, teachers were asked to respond to how much they had between choices of zero, 30 minutes, one hour or more than an hour. Eighty-six percent of elementary, 93 percent of fifth grade, 79 percent of middle school and 87 percent of high school teachers reported having at least 30 minutes, one hour or more of planning time per day.

Those teaching both face-to-face and remote students would traditionally have around 75 to 80 students each day. The class sizes were reassessed and staff adjustments were made to address the large class sizes, along with additional hires.

Teachers were also asked about the typical technology response time by the SCS technical staff. The responses indicated teachers got responses in 12 hours or less from 85 percent in elementary school, 83 percent in fifth grade, 94 percent in middle school and 85 percent in high school.

Surveys also asked about the technological needs of teachers, with Calvert saying most were asking for document cameras, computer speakers and video cameras. According to Calvert, SCS head of technology Shawn Britt is coming up with a wish list for principals to submit requests. Some of those needs will be met with COVID money earmarked for personal devices, she added.

One of the biggest questions for teachers was the communication from the central office in terms of COVID-19 updates. Calvert said 62 percent of elementary teachers said communication was good or fair, while 80 percent of fifth-grade teachers answered the same way. The number was 44 percent for middle school teachers and 64 percent for high school.

Calvert said “there is a need to balance transparency with what is permissible to share,” Calvert said, noting privacy laws “restrict what we can share.” She shared a hypothetical example of a student or staff member being ordered to quarantine and the information was released, a person could be positively identified without releasing the person’s name.

“In many of our cases, our sample size is so low, it could become identifiable information,” Calvert said.

She added those directly exposed to a COVID case are contacted by school and healthcare officials.

According to Calvert, if five people or more, students and staff, are in one classroom and have confirmed cases, the classroom would be closed and the students of that class quarantined. If five or more students and staff throughout a school test positive, the school would be closed for a period of time. Both come from the state’s Department of Health and Human Services.

Calvert also said SCS has agreed to be part of a COVID Scientific Advisory Board, adding “being a part of the program will offer additional support to our district in collecting and reporting aggregate data.”

About Charles Curcio

Charles Curcio has served as the sports editor of the Stanly News & Press for more than 16 years and has written numerous news and feature storeis as well. He was awarded the NCHSAA Tim Stevens Media Representative of the Year and named CNHI Sports Editor of the Year in 2014. He has also won an award from Boone Newspapers, and has won four North Carolina Press Association awards.

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