2019 District-Wide Survey Questions

This page displays the questions that are asked on each survey according to the five Essential Topics (Climate, Instruction, Leadership, Parent/Guardian Community Ties, Professional Capacity). All questions that are not aligned to one of the five Topics are grouped under “Other.” You can also see all of the surveys in .pdf form here.

Climate Questions

Questions that fall under the “Climate” topic ask about the school environment and relationships, including feelings of safety, support, and respect. There are also questions about the types of challenges teachers and principals face in their school communities.  Click on the + to see and compare the questions asked of each group.

Students
  • I am bullied at school.
  • Students are bullied at my school.
  • I am treated badly at school because of:
    • my race or background; my religion; my gender identity; my sexual orientation; I am learning to speak English; I am dealing with a disability; for some other reason.
  • Students are treated badly in school because of:
    • their race or background; their religion; their gender identity; their sexual orientation; they are learning to speak English; they are dealing with a disability; for some other reason.
  • I feel safe in the neighborhood surrounding my school.
  • I feel safe going to and from school.
  • I feel safe in the hallways.
  • I feel safe in my classes.
  • I feel safe in the bathrooms.
  • The school building is in good condition.
  • My school is clean.
  • I am treated with respect by other students.
  • I feel welcome in my school.
  • I enjoy being in school.
  • I have good friends at my school.
  • When I am in school, I feel like I belong.
  • I trust the school police officer.
  • I feel respected by the school police officer.
  • The school police officer helps students calm down when they are having trouble.
Teachers
  • Bullying: extent of school-level challenge.
  • Neighborhood crime/safety: extent of external challenge.
  • School crime/safety: extent of school-level challenge.
  • I feel respected by:
    • the School Reform Commission/School Board
    • District/Charter Operator administrators
    • my principal
    • teachers in my school
    • other school staff
    • parents/guardians; students.
  • My students treat me with respect.
  • My students treat each other with respect.
  • The following is/are challenges:
    • Frequent changes in district initiatives; Students have inadequate basic skills or prior preparation; Lack of support from parents and guardians; Cultural differences between home and school; Insufficient class time to cover all of the curriculum; Wide range of student abilities in class; Student behavior; Inadequate textbooks, materials, or other non-technological instructional resources; Lack of computers or other technological resources; Student absenteeism; Students reporting being hungry; My class is interrupted by announcements or messages from the office or colleagues; Frequent changes in school priorities; Principal turnover; Teacher turnover; Shortage of highly qualified teachers; Teachers teaching a subject or grade outside of their certification; Lack of high-quality professional development opportunities for teachers; Shortage of instructional support staff (e.g., teacher aides and reading specialists); Shortage of other support staff (e.g., nurses, counselors, and security); Students transferring in or out of the school; Student tardiness; Lack of teacher planning time built into the school day; Pressure to perform well on the state standardized tests; Lack of support for teaching special education students (i.e., students with IEPs); Lack of support for teaching English Language Learners; Lack of school resources to provide the extra help for students who need it; Problems with student transportation; Lack of computers or other technological resources
  • My school has clear strategies for improving instruction.
  • My school adheres to a no-excuses approach for student learning.
  • My school has a culture of using data to drive student-level interventions.
  • Many new programs come and go in my school.
  • There is consistency in curriculum, instruction, and learning materials among teachers in the same grade level at my school.
  • Curriculum, instruction, and learning materials are well coordinated across different grade levels at my school.
  • Teacher morale is high.
  • Teachers at my school have high expectations for students.
  • Teachers at my school support the idea that all students can learn.
  • Teachers feel responsible when students in my school fail academically.
  • Most of my colleagues share my beliefs and values about what the central mission of the school should be.
  • My school or District/CMO recognizes or rewards me based on my teaching and/or student achievement.
  • My school or District/CMO penalizes me based on my teaching and/or student achievement.
  • My school emphasizes the importance of student attendance.
  • My school consistently uses positive behavior supports to encourage responsible behavior.
  • My school does a good job of addressing disciplinary challenges proactively.
  • My school’s response to student misbehavior is trauma-informed.
  • At my school, there is zero tolerance for behavioral infractions.
  • I know what is expected of me regarding student discipline.
  • I have been adequately trained to manage student behavior effectively.
  • My administration supports my decisions regarding school discipline.
  • My administration blames me when my students misbehave.
  • My opinions about discipline are valued.
  • There are people in my school who are available to handle student discipline.
Parents and Guardians
  • My child is bullied at school.
  • My child is discriminated against (treated badly because of a personal characteristic).
  • My child feels safe going to and from school.
  • My child feels safe at school.
  • My child’s school is clean.
  • Adults at my child’s school treat my child with respect.
Principals
  • Bullying: extent of school-level challenge.
  • Neighborhood crime/safety: extent of external challenge.
  • School crime/safety: extent of external challenge.
  • I feel respected by:
    • the School Reform Commission/School Board.
    • District/Charter Operator administrators.
    • Assistant Superintendents.
    • teachers in my school.
    • other school staff.
    •  parents/guardians.
    •  students.
  • The following is/are challenges:
    • Frequent changes in district initiatives; Lack of adequate funding; Students have inadequate basic skills or prior preparation; Lack of support from parents and guardians; Cultural differences between home and school; Student behavior; Inadequate textbooks, materials, or other non-technological instructional resources; Lack of computers or other technological resources; Student absenteeism; Student food insecurity; Frequent changes in district leadership; Teacher turnover; Shortage of highly qualified teachers; Teacher absences; Teachers teaching a subject or grade outside of their certification; Lack of high-quality professional development opportunities for teachers; Lack of high-quality professional development opportunities for principals; Shortage of instructional support staff (e.g., teacher aides and reading specialists); Shortage of other support staff (e.g., nurses, counselors, and security); Teacher absences; Students transferring in or out of the school; Student tardiness; Lack of teacher planning time built into the school day; Pressure to perform well on the state standardized tests; Lack of support for teaching special education students (i.e., students with IEPs); Lack of support for teaching English Language Learners; Lack of school resources to provide the extra help for students who need it; Problems with student transportation; Lack of computers or other technological resources; Student mental health; Student chronic illness
  • My school emphasizes high expectations for students.
  • My school emphasizes a no excuses culture for student learning.
  • My school emphasizes the idea that all students can learn.
  • Teachers are responsible for student failure.
  • Teachers are responsible for student success.
  • The importance of student attendance is a focus at my school.
  • Out-of-school suspension helps ensure a safe school environment.
  • Suspending a misbehaving student encourages other students to follow the rules.
  • Out-of-school suspension is useful for sending a message to parents about the seriousness of an infraction.
  • The negative impacts of out-of-school suspension on students outweigh any possible benefits.

Instruction Questions

Survey questions in the “Instruction” topic ask about attitudes and beliefs that are key factors for student learning. This topic also includes questions about student engagement and what parent/guardians think about the quality of their child’s education. Click on the + to see and compare the questions asked of each group.

Students
  • My school meets my learning needs.
  • My teachers have high expectations for me in school.
  • My teachers encourage me to work hard.
  • My teachers treat me with respect.
  • My teachers want me to succeed.
  • My teachers really listen to what I have to say.
  • My teachers really care about me.
  • My teachers are willing to provide me with extra help if I need it.
  • My teachers explain information in a way I understand.
  • I can talk with teachers or other school staff about problems.
  • There is at least one adult at school I trust.
  • In my classes we stay busy and do not waste time.
  • In my classes we learn a lot.
  • I learn interesting things in my classes.
  • My teachers make sure I understand lessons before teaching something new.
Teachers
  • Students work hard in my classes.
  • My students complete their assigned work.
  • My students explain material to their classmates.
  • My students reflect back on what they have learned.
  • My students tell me their work is too easy.
  • My students are motivated to learn.
  • My students are interested in what we do in class.
  • My students are competitive with one another about their grades.
  • My students influence decisions regarding learning activities.
  • Students misbehave in my classroom: extent of challenge.
  • I call on all of my students, even if they don’t volunteer to answer questions.
  • My students consistently attend my class(es).
  • My students ask me questions when they need help.
  • My students are good at using their time effectively in class.
  • My students are more focused on grades than learning.
  • My students are aware of different strategies for learning.
  • If my students find their schoolwork challenging, they give up.
Parents and Guardians
  • My child’s school meets the specific academic needs of my child.
  • My child’s school meets the specific non-academic needs of my child (for example, behavioral and social-emotional needs).
  • Teachers at my child’s school encourage my child to work hard.
  • Teachers at my child’s school give helpful comments on homework, classwork, and tests.
  • I am pleased with the quality of education my child’s school is providing for my child.
  • I am pleased with the before- and after-school programs/activities my child’s school offers.
  • The school provides enough opportunities for my child to get exercise (for example, gym class, sports teams or clubs, dance class).
Principals
  • I use data when:
    • making changes to the school’s curriculum and/or instructional materials.
    • developing a school improvement plan.
    • making decisions regarding student promotion or retention.
    • identifying students who need additional instructional support.
    • identifying school-level or individual-level problems with attendance, tardiness, and/or behavior.
    • making decisions about how much time to spend on each academic subject.
    • assigning teachers to students.
    • evaluating teacher performance.
    • focusing teacher professional development.
    • recognizing students for achievement.
  • The District/Charter operator:
    • communicates a clear academic vision for schools.
    • provides appropriate support to enable principals to act as instructional leaders.
    • provides appropriate instructional support for teachers.
    • provides support for teaching grade-level standards to special education students (i.e., students with IEPs).
    • provides support for teaching grade-level standards to English Language Learners.
    • provides appropriate support to enable principals to act as talent managers.

Leadership Questions

Survey questions in the “Leadership” topic ask about how leaders communicate and implement their school vision, how they manage their responsibilities, and how they perceive their level of autonomy. Click on the + to see and compare the questions asked of each group.

Students

Students are not asked questions on this topic.

Teachers
  • The principal communicates a clear mission for our school.
  • The principal sets high standards for student learning.
  • The principal sets high standards for teachers.
  • The principal sets clear expectations for teachers.
  • The principal provides me with constructive feedback based on formal or informal observation(s) of my teaching.
  • The principal actively participates in school-based professional development.
  • The principal at this school is committed to shared decision-making.
  • The principal at this school works to create a sense of community in this school.
  • The principal at this school promotes parent, guardian, and community involvement in the school.
  • The principal at this school creates buy-in among faculty.
  • The principal at this school encourages students to be involved in the school community.
  • Determining course objectives (amount of control over).
  • Choosing books and other instructional materials (amount of control over).
  • Selecting content, topics, and skills to be taught (amount of control over).
  • Selecting the sequence in which topics are covered (amount of control over).
  • Setting the pace for covering topics (amount of control over).
  • Determining how classroom space is used (amount of control over).
  • Setting standards of behavior in my classroom (amount of control over).
  • Choosing the teaching methods and strategies I use with my students (amount of control over).
  • Determining the amount of homework to be assigned (amount of control over).
  • Choosing criteria for grading students (amount of control over).
  • Choosing the evaluation and assessment activities used in my class (amount of control over).
Parents and Guardians
  • The principal or school leader is accessible to me.
  • The principal or school leader has a clear mission for the school.
  • The principal or school leader works to create a sense of community in the school.
  • The principal or school leader promotes parent/guardian engagement.
  • The principal or school leader has high standards for student learning.
Principals
  • Hiring teachers (amount of control over).
  • Firing teachers (amount of control over).
  • Choosing how to allocate school funds (amount of control over).
  • Choosing school goals and objectives (amount of control over).
  • Choosing professional development (amount of control over).
  • Choosing curriculum/curriculum materials (amount of control over).
  • Enforcing the school discipline policy (amount of control over).
  • Scheduling non-state testing (amount of control over).
  • Scheduling state test preparation (amount of control over).

Professional Capacity Questions

Survey questions in the “Professional Capacity” topic ask how well teachers and school leaders feel supported. Questions ask about the types of professional development teachers receive, and if teachers and leaders feel supported in growing and innovating in their classrooms. Click on the + to see and compare the questions asked of each group.

Students

Students are not asked questions on this topic.

Teachers
  • I am encouraged to try new teaching approaches in my classrooms.
  • I am encouraged to innovate to improve my teaching.
  • I am willing to question others’ views on issues of teaching and learning.
  • I am expected to continually learn and seek out new ideas.
  • I am free to be creative in the teaching methods and strategies I use in the classroom.
  • I collaborate with other teachers around the following:
    • Classroom management strategies/interventions
    • Identifying, developing, or revising curricular materials
    • Effective instructional strategies
    • Meeting the individual learning needs of students
    • Coordinating instruction within grade levels
    • Coordinating instruction across grade levels
    • Coordinating instruction for a particular student
  • My professional development (PD) activities:
    • offer opportunities to interact/work with teachers from my school, department, or grade.
    • provide opportunities for analyzing student work.
    • provide opportunities for me to be observed teaching and receive feedback.
    • use a lecture or stand-and-deliver format.
    • use a small group discussion/problem-solving format.
    • have periodic follow-up throughout the school year.
    • are consistent with my school’s mission.
    • are integrated/linked with my daily lessons/curricula.
    • are isolated and/or unconnected to other PD.
    • are explicitly supported and/or encouraged by my principal or other school leaders.
    • are consistent with school and district policies (such as state standardized testing and standards).
  • PD is available to me at various times, such as job-embedded experiences, before or after-school hours, and summer experiences.
  • Teachers’ backgrounds, experience levels, and learning needs are considered when PD is planned and designed.
  • Various data, such as teacher performance data, individual professional learning goals, and teachers’ perception data, are used to plan PD.
  • Teacher input is taken into consideration when planning district-level PD.
  • Teacher input is taken into consideration when planning school-level PD.
  • In my school, time is available for teachers during the school day for PD.
  • In my school, teachers use what they learn from PD to adjust and inform teaching practices.
Parents and Guardians

Parents are not asked questions on this topic.

Principals
  • I receive formal or informal coaching or mentoring (frequency).
  • I participate in an informal or formal support network (frequency).
  • I visit other schools within and/or outside my district (frequency).
  • I collaborate with one or more other principals (frequency).
  • BAM PD:
    • Focused on real problems of practice.
    • Allowed enough time for understanding.
    • Allowed opportunities for building data analysis skills.
    • Provided opportunities to practice data analysis.
    • Offered information about what to do once challenges were identified (how to identify and choose interventions).
    • Is aligned with district initiatives.
    • Provided opportunities to collaborate with colleagues.

Parent/Guardian-Community Ties Questions

Survey questions in the “Parent/Guardian-Community Ties” topic ask about how schools reach out to and communicate with parents/guardians, what parents/guardians think about these efforts, and how schools are engaging parents and guardians with their child’s education. Click on the + to see and compare the questions asked of each group.

Students

Students are not asked questions on this topic.

Teachers
  • For a “typical” student:
    • I suggest activities that his or her parents and guardians can do to complement activities in the classroom.
    • I contact his or her parents and guardians about his or her behavior problems or when he or she breaks school rules.
    • I contact his or her parents and guardians when he or she was struggling academically.
    • I contact his or her parents and guardians about his or her achievements and successes.
    • I have a conference with his or her parents and guardians.
    • I invite his or her parents and guardians to be involved in class (e.g., attend special events, volunteer in the classroom, chaperone field trips).
    • I send emails, newsletters, or notes home telling parents and guardians what he or she has been learning and doing in class.
    • I suggest activities that his or her parents and guardians can do to support student literacy.
Parents and Guardians
  • This year, an adult in my child’s household has:
    • been invited to be part of a parent/guardian group at my child’s school.
    • attended a parent/guardian group meeting at my child’s school.
    • attended a school-sponsored event at my child’s school, such as a play, sports game, art show, or science fair.
    • has served as a volunteer in my child’s school.
  • Parent activities at my child’s school are scheduled at times that I can attend.
  • I know how to contact my child’s teacher(s).
  • I am treated with respect in my child’s school.
  • I am satisfied with the response I get when I contact my child’s school with questions or concerns.
  • I feel welcome in my child’s school.
  • My child’s school communicates with me in a language I understand.
  • My child’s school communicates with me in a manner that is clear and timely.
  • My child’s school gives me information about how I can help my child be successful in school.
  • My child’s school gives me information about what my child is expected to learn.
  • My child’s school does a good job of letting me know about school rules and policies.
  • My child’s school lets me know about meetings, special school events, and Family Education opportunities.
  • My child’s school invites me to be included in decisions that affect my child’s education.
  • My child’s school sends home documents in the language I selected.
  • My child’s school values my feedback.
Principals
  • Parents and guardians treat me with respect.
  • I treat parents and guardians with respect.
  • I actively engage parents and guardians in their child’s education.
  • The parents and guardians of my students are actively involved in their child’s education.

Other Questions

In addition to the five main topics above, we also ask survey questions about school lunch, health and nutrition, internet access, student transportation, and college and career readiness. Click on the + to see and compare the questions asked of each group.

Students
  • I don’t go on the internet.
  • I access the internet:
    • at a library; at my school; at a community center; at a local computer lab; at an after school program; from a computer at home; from a smartphone or tablet; in another way.
  • I use the internet (frequency).
  • About how many times a week do you eat school lunches?
  • When I eat school lunches:
    • the food tastes good; the food looks good; the food smells good, the food is fresh; the food is cooked to the right temperature (for example, hot food is not served cold); the menu provides healthy choices; I know what is on the menu before I get to the cafeteria; the cafeteria staff is nice; there are enough seats in the cafeteria; the cafeteria is clean; I have enough time to eat; I get enough food to fill me up.
  • On most school days, the way I get to and from school is:
  • On a regular school day, about how much time do you spend after school watching TV, playing video games, or on a computer, tablet, or cell phone?
  • During a regular school week (Monday to Friday), how many days do you buy food or drinks from a corner store on your way to school?
  • During the past 7 days, how many days were you physically active for a total of at least 60 minutes?
  • Think about yesterday or, if today is Monday, think about last Friday. Yesterday, how many times did you drink water? For example, from a glass, a cup, a bottle, or a water fountain.
  • Yesterday, how many times did you drink any soda, punch, fruit-flavored drinks, sweet iced tea, lemonade, sports drinks, or energy drinks?
  • Yesterday, how many times did you eat fruit? Count fresh, frozen, canned, and dried fruit. DO NOT count fruit juice.
  • Yesterday, how many times did you eat vegetables? Count cooked and raw vegetables, salad, and boiled, baked, or mashed potatoes?
  • In general, my health is….
  • On a regular school day, I eat breakfast.
  • My school has a school police officer.
  • My family has high expectations for me in school.
  • I believe I can learn whatever is taught in my classes.
  • Everyone can get smarter.
  • My family encourages me to work hard.
  • I can’t change how smart I am.
  • I work hard at school.
  • I concentrate on my schoolwork.
  • I am a responsible student.
  • I usually complete my schoolwork.
  • I can figure out difficult homework.
  • I can learn the things taught in school.
  • I can do even the hardest homework if I try.
  • In school I learn about a lot of different careers.
  • I know what I plan to do when I graduate from high school.
  • I know what I have to do to get the career I want.
  • I am learning skills in school that will help me when I am older.
  • My school is helping to prepare me for college.
  • I am learning skills in school that can help me make my community better.
  • At my school, students have chances to join sports teams.
  • At my school, students have chances to join clubs or groups outside of class.
  • At my school, students have a chance to join a GSA (Gay-Straight Alliance or Genders and Sexualities Alliance) or similar club.
Teachers

Teachers are not asked questions on this topic.

Parents and Guardians
  • My child reads by him or herself outside of school (for example, at home or on the bus).
  • My child reads with me or another adult outside of school.
  • My child likes to read.
  • Teachers at my child’s school encourage my child to read outside of school.
  • The following is/are challenges to my child’s attendance:
    • Transportation provided by the School District (school bus, yellow bus)
    • Public transportation (for example, SEPTA)
    • Family responsibilities (for example, taking care of a family member)
    • Unsafe walking route to school
    • My child does not feel safe at school (for example, is bullied or harassed)
    • My child has chronic or ongoing medical issues (for example, asthma)
  • My child’s school provides:
    • help getting healthy food.
    • help finding and/or applying for jobs.
    • help getting medical care (for example, making a doctor’s appointment).
    • provides help getting mental health services (for example, making an appointment with a counselor or social worker).
    • provides help learning English.
    • provides help getting a GED (high school diploma).
    • provides help applying for social services (for example, welfare or food stamps).
  • How often do you buy or choose healthy food for you and your family?
  • Healthy food is available in my neighborhood.
  • I have enough time to shop for healthy foods.
  • My family likes healthy foods.
  • My family can afford to eat balanced meals.
  • In the past 30 days, have you worried about having enough food for you and your family?
  • Do you have internet at home?
Principals
  • I am satisfied with the following:
    • The extent to which drivers follow procedures; Drivers’ student management techniques; Attendants’ student management techniques; Drivers’ responsiveness to complaints/issues; Attendants’ responsiveness to complaints/issues; The Transportation Department’s responsiveness to complaints/issues; The timeliness of AM bus arrivals; The timeliness of PM bus arrivals; Appearance of buses; Professional appearance of the drivers; Professional appearance of the attendants; Courtesy of the drivers; Courtesy of the attendants
  • The following is/are challenges to using data:
    • Data sits in different systems (i.e., Qlik, SchoolNet, Infinite Campus etc.)
    • Lack of assistance in understanding the data
    • Lack of technical support for how to use the data systems
    • Accuracy of data in data systems
    • Lack of opportunities to discuss data with school leadership teams
    • The data available is not what is needed for school improvement
    • Lack of support in identifying solutions after data analysis is complete

To explore the answers to these questions, visit www.philasd.org/dwsresults