Goals and Guardrails – monitoring system-wide trends
Responses to the school climate, instruction, and parent/guardian-community ties topics provide important data points for assessing our progress towards Guardrail 1 (Safe, and Welcoming Schools) and Guardrail 3 (Partnering with Parents and Family Members) of the Board of Education’s 5-year Goals and Guardrails plan.
School Progress Report on Education and Equity (SPREE) – incorporating stakeholder voice in annual school review
DWS metrics are part of the School Progress Report on Education and Equity (SPREE), a tool which shows each school’s progress on the Goals and Guardrails and other important measures. In alignment with the Goals and Guardrails indicators, there are three DWS metrics on the SPREE: the School Climate Score, School Instruction Score, and School Relationship Score. For more information on how DWS and other indicators are used in the SPREE, see the SPREE resources page.
PBIS – targeting supports, progress monitoring, evaluation
The Office of Climate and Safety uses the results of the District-wide survey to support schools implementing Positive Behavioral Intervention and Supports (PBIS). PBIS coaches are particularly interested in responses to questions about behavior, school discipline, and trusting relationships. Questions on the Teacher Survey like, “I have been adequately trained to manage student behavior effectively” and “My school does a good job of addressing disciplinary challenges proactively,” help PBIS coaches identify which schools need more training/support, and within schools, whether certain grade-level teachers feel more confident than others. PBIS coaches can use this information to support networks/schools/grade-level teams that need additional support and also to build off of successes that already exist in a school community. Similarly, questions on the Student Survey like, “I am treated with respect by other students,” and “I feel safe in the hallways and bathrooms,” help PBIS coaches and schools understand the success of their efforts in implementing PBIS from the student perspective, and can identify a clear place to focus next steps when the survey results do not reflect school or district expectations or goals. The Office of Research and Evaluation (ORE) uses responses as a source of information about the success of the implementation of PBIS in different types of schools and school settings. Survey results are incorporated into any analyses of changes in school-wide climate measures.
Teacher Professional Development – identifying needs, monitoring progress
The Office of Teaching and Learning (OTL) uses responses to the professional capacity construct on the teacher survey to monitor and adapt their approach to district-offered professional development. The professional capacity construct includes questions about innovation (“I am encouraged to try new teaching approaches in my classroom”), peer collaboration (“How often do you observe other teachers’ classrooms?”), quality of professional development (“Teacher input is taking into consideration when planning district-level/school-level professional development), consistency (“My PD activities are integrated/linked with my daily lessons), content (“What topic areas have you/ would you like to receive?), and delivery (“My PD activities and periodic follow-up throughout the year). District-level, network-level, school-level, and grade-level teacher responses are used to track the success of PD approaches and to inform planning, policies, and supports each year.
Supporting English Learners – identifying needs, providing supports
The Office of Multilingual Curriculum and Programs (OMCP) works with more than 15,000 English Learners (ELs) who represent more than 130 countries and speak more than 100 home languages. OMCP staff review the responses of English Learners in the areas of school climate and instruction to better understand the networks/schools where they work and to have conversations with principals and other staff about supporting English learners. Questions on the Student Survey like “I believe I can learn whatever is taught in my classes,” and “I can do even the hardest homework if I try” provide information to teachers, principals, and central office staff about EL student experiences and perceptions. OMCP staff also review the teacher responses related to English learners in the areas of instruction, professional capacity, and parent-community ties to identify areas of need and customize supports for schools.
Health and Wellness – examining trends, targeting supports, evaluation
One goal of the Eat Right Philly program is to encourage students and schools to make healthy choices. The Eat Right Philly team uses questions on the student survey like, “During the past 7 days, how many days were you physically active for at least 60 minutes?” and “Yesterday, how many times did you drink any soda, punch, fruit-flavored drinks…,” to examine trends in healthy behaviors over time as well as to identify which schools and areas could use additional support. The Office of Research and Evaluation partners with Eat Right Philly to produce “School Health Snapshots” for each school that summarize available information about health and wellness, including responses to relevant District-Wide Survey questions. School staff and external partners use the information in these snapshots to prioritize health and wellness strategies and to monitor progress.
The parent/guardian survey also includes a set of questions on food insecurity, which are used to determine an overall rate of food insecurity for each school with sufficient responses. The Office of Research and Evaluation publishes regular reports analyzing trends in food insecurity at District schools. Food insecurity datasets are also available separately on the Open Data website.
Food Services – customer satisfaction
The Division of Food Services is responsible for providing daily meals to all students in SDP. Each year, staff review results from the student survey to track trends in customer satisfaction and identify areas for additional support and improvement. Questions on the student survey that help inform these decisions include “When I eat school lunch, the food tastes good,” “When I eat school lunches, the menu provides healthy choices,” and “When I eat school lunches, the food is cooked to the right temperature.” Food services also use data from three questions on the student survey as a set of Key Performance Indicators that are reported on their Annual Report.
School Improvement Planning Process – identifying needs, monitoring progress, incorporating parent feedback
Staff from the Planning and Evidence-based-Support Office review survey data as part of the continuous improvement planning process conducted in partnership with school leaders. Results from student, teacher, and parent surveys are used to identify needs for new programming or areas of focus for improvement or celebration. Parent/guardian survey responses are also used in accordance with Pennsylvania’s Title I funding requirements. In order to use Title I funds for school improvement, schools must report on parent feedback relative to school mission/vision, quality of instruction, and community engagement. Responses to questions like “Teachers at my child’s school give helpful comments on homework, classwork, and tests,” “My child’s school provides me with regular feedback about my child’s progress,” and “My child’s school provides help applying for social or medical services” are incorporated into the needs assessment portion of the school planning process.
Research and Evaluation – incorporating multiple stakeholder perspectives into research studies
Internal and external researchers rely on school-level District-wide survey results from parent/guardians, teachers, and students to inform progress on measures of climate, instruction, professional capacity, parent-guardian community ties, school leadership, healthy food access, technology access and use, attendance challenges, community services, and more. Reports and briefs produced by SDP’s Office of Research and Evaluation regularly incorporate District-wide survey results. External researchers are encouraged to use survey responses available on our Open Data website (under the “School Information” category) rather than creating/administering new surveys of parent/guardians, students, and teachers that can detract from instructional time and goals. Occasionally, additional questions have been added to the District-wide surveys as a way to measure large-scale initiatives (e.g. questions added for Safe Routes Philly in 2021-22).