Last week John T. Fitzsimons, Interim Superintendent of Schools, announced that the district will be assessing the schools’ climate and culture by surveying faculty, staff and students in grades 3 – 12.
Children in grades K-2 will participate in informal age-appropriate guided conversations about their perceptions of the culture and climate in their school, he said. The survey is being conducted this week.
“Following the lead of neighboring school districts, we are planning to conduct an assessment of our School Climate and Culture,” he said in a letter last Thursday. “Members of our staff have been active participants in the School Support Network of the Youth Empowerment Alliance (YEA) of the United Way of Northern New Jersey” and this will allow the district to provide students with the “best possible educational environment and to create and sustain a positive school climate where students feel safe, supported, academically challenged, and inspired.”
The new Anti-Bullying Bill of Rights requires every school to address issues of culture and climate and this survey is an “important step in this process. United Way of Northern New Jersey in partnership with The College of St. Elizabeth (CSE) will provide, via the YEA/CSE School Culture and Climate Initiative, the culture and climate survey; in-depth data analysis; and three years of support as our school community intentionally focuses on creating the very best environment where all children can thrive.”
Here are some details about the survey:
- The survey will solicit staff and student perceptions of the school’s environment from the standpoint of academic, social, and emotional perspectives.
- Different versions of the survey will be used for the various groups taking the survey.
- Copies of the survey will be available for review.
- The Survey is in support of the District’s Goal # 4 Special Education/Counseling in which all counselors, psychologist and social workers shall be members of the “Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning.”
- Depending on the individual school, students will be taking either a paper and pencil version of the survey using “Scantron” forms or on-line via ‘Survey Monkey’. Faculty and staff members will be taking the survey online via “Survey Monkey.”
- The survey is not long and will take about 20 minutes to complete.
In Fitzsimons’ note, he said that it is important to consider the following points in relation to the survey:
- the survey seeks “perceptions” of the various groups and from these perceptions we will be able to identify strengths as well as possible areas for growth.
- The survey results should not be thought of as “hard data”, but rather as baseline information to be used as a starting point and a guide as each school works to improve their culture and climate.
- The district sees this survey as an important step in providing students with the best possible educational experience in the Parsippany Schools.
Contact Fred Douglas at 973-682-2815 Ext. 2424 if you would like to see a copy of the survey or to ask any questions you may have about this initiative.