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GHS school-wide survey helps with accreditation process

'The overall results have been positive'

Grangeville High School goals

GHS building goals for 2016-17 include the following:

GHS will exceed state proficiency performance levels on Smart Balance by a 15 percent margin.

GHS will improve performance levels on college entrance exams by 5 percent annually.

GHS will continue to provide instruction, mentoring and learning opportunities for all students to develop positive relationships and improve self-esteem.

GHS will provide, through coursework, the opportunity to develop the academic and social skills necessary to be successful in their chosen career field or institution of higher learning.

— Have you ever felt your opinion didn’t matter? As part of its ongoing accreditation process, Grangeville High School is out to remedy that.

Principal Steve Higgins has been going over the results of a recent all-school survey that has included parents, staff and students.

The on-line survey is one all staff and students have taken, as well as about 100 parents.

“The overall results have been positive,” Higgins said. “We will use this information for continuous improvement of our school in order to offer the best experience possible to our students.”

Questions varied from those focusing on safety and well-explained classroom expectations to activities and resources.

Main categories for the survey questions are: purpose and direction; governance and leadership; teaching and assisting for learning; resources and support systems; and using results for continuous improvement.

On a scale of one to five, with five being highest, parent responses ranged from 3.39 to 3.54. Staff responses ranged from 3.64 to 4.03, while students’ ratings went from 3.38 to 3.56.

“Of course there are areas we continue to strive to do better in, but this is a gauge for us to help reach our goals,” Higgins explained.

One of the lower scoring areas on the survey was under the heading “school climate.” This included questions on class size, provision of sufficient learning material, school rules applying equally across the board and teachers involved in the education decisions.

The highest ranked areas were also under school climate and included questions on teacher, administration, staff and student respect for one another, as well as for school property.

Higgins said although he realizes the survey information is and will be insightful, he especially finds the hands-on part of the accreditation process helpful.

“I have been a part of accreditation teams and it’s very interesting and enlightening to see how other schools function,” he said.

In 2017, a team of principals from the region – as well as local teachers, parents and students – will be part of that process at GHS.

“I look forward to having my colleagues look at our school and make notes and comments on what they see that’s working, as well as get some ideas on areas in which we may need to improve or look at a different way of proceeding,” Higgins said. “These people understand who we are and what we do and are in similar type situations in their own schools as far as funding, facilities and resources, and I trust their opinions.”

One area that has been frustrating on the local level, trickling down from state mandates, is in testing areas. Student achievement testing companies and requirements have changed so much from year to year, data has not been meaningful as far as comparisons.

“I will probably get in trouble for saying this, but I believe the testing needs to change,” Higgins said. “Colleges, the military and other types of post-secondary schooling are looking at the ACTs and SATs. Perhaps that’s what we should be using to test, period, rather than the other standard achievement tests.”


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