• Bob Vlach, Woodford Sun Staff

Teacher survey results discussed by school board

The Woodford County Board of Education reviewed results from the 2017 TELL Survey (Teaching, Empowering, Leading and Learning) of teachers at a work session on Monday night. Areas of concern raised by Woodford County's teachers in the survey included a lack of time to meet the needs of all students, class size, and too much time spent on non-instructional responsibilities, board member Sherri Springate pointed out. A low response rate of teachers at Huntertown Elementary, where only 53.33 percent of them participated in the TELL Survey, was also discussed by board members. Participation rates were much higher in other schools across the district, with the next lowest at Simmons Elementary with a 70.37 percent response rate. "We want 100 percent of the people taking the surveys and telling us their feelings and what their perceptions are because we do want to be the very best school system that we can be," said Springate. "And we want our children going to the best possible school that we can give them. So if we can do things (to improve our schools) that are in-the-box, out-of-the-box, cost money, don't cost money - whatever it takes, we're willing to be supportive of" those efforts. Woodford County Middle School's survey results showed significant improvement in most areas based on teacher feedback. "Students understanding expectations for their conduct" rose from 51.7 percent in 2015 to 100 percent in the 2017 survey. "It's very good information for us in terms of things that we can specifically target," said schools Superintendent Scott Hawkins of the survey. "And so I think we've got to utilize (this data) for that purpose." Hawkins said school staffs are being asked to really focus on developing a master schedule that will give teachers more intervention time with students who have fallen behind rather than having to help them "catch up" during a class. "We must match our minutes to our mission," said Jimmy Brehm, chief academic officer. In addressing issues related to class size and time, Brehm pointed out that students need to be somewhere. If a teacher has more planning time, he said, "then I've taken the same number of kids and divided them amongst fewer teachers." After receiving the TELL Survey results, school principals and teachers met to discuss two areas of the TELL Survey data that they were excited about and one area where they need to improve. School staffs chose "a lynchpin area" that has the potential to improve other areas of concern identified by teachers in the TELL Survey, said Hawkins. One ongoing initiative - Professional Learning Communities - was cited by Brehm as a factor in improving TELL results related to teachers feeling autonomy to make instructional decisions. Complete results of Kentucky's TELL Survey of teachers can be accessed online (tellkentucky.org). Results are available for a Kentucky district as a whole, and individual schools, including results for 2015 and 2017, as well as comparisons with state averages for each question. Teachers were given the entire month of March to respond to questions in the TELL Survey.

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