Poll underscores teenage angst
Teenage angst, an employeeemployer disconnect and school pride.
Those are some of the topics underlined in an Upper Canada District School Board survey of how parents, students and staff about the board and how it is meeting its strategic goals.
Only half of secondary students are ready to make decisions on their future or know what they will be doing after high school, according to the UCDSB Culture Survey of Students and Staff. Though 76 per cent of secondary students have a positive attitude for overcoming difficult situations, half have a difficult time coping with the stress of school and two in five indicated they have trouble with social anxiety.
The results also show that students, as they move from primary to secondary school, become less positive about their school’s environment, its teachers and the UCDSB in general. Parents’ attitudes towards the UCDSB and its schools do not reflect the same change of attitude, with most parents continuing to be much more positive than their child attending secondary school.
“This survey asked some serious questions and we received honest responses,” said board chair Jeff McMillan. “There are many areas of our work we are very proud of and, like any organization, areas that need improvement. We accept this because for any organization to improve, you need to value, engage and embrace feedback. We will use this data to get better.”
During the process, the board received 1,710 responses from staff, 527 from elementary and secondary students, and 609 from parents.
Other findings show that most parents are confident that teachers are well trained, care about students and believe that staff members help develop strong characters and provide an emotionally safe environment. However, just over half believe the school is doing enough when it comes to student’s mental health or trust the education system to ensure children get enough physical activity (56%).
Two thirds (64%) of parents feel their children are well prepared for the demands of life.
Staff perceptions depended heavily on whether they were discussing the UCDSB or their school specifically. Most often, staff member views felt more negatively towards the board than their specific school. Less than half (46%) agreed that there is good communication within the UCDSB, and only two in five (39%) feel that communication is open and honest.
One quarter (24%) of staff feel it is safe to challenge the board, while three in five (60%) feel they can challenge the way things are done at the school level.
Though most (74%) staff members are proud of working for the UCDSB, many were critical of certain aspects of their work. Less than half (46%) of staff members feel they have the staff and support necessary for student success and engagement. Only two in five (40%) feel valued and recognized by the UCDSB, while only half (49%) believe that within their school, spiritual wellness of staff and students is a priority.