Youth Truth Survey Informs Strategic Plan

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With our new Strategic Plan in place, principals and administrators are now using the data from the 2018 Youth Truth survey to help guide their work.

The survey, which was taken by more than 17,000 students, staff and parents, allows administrators to integrate data into the Strategic Plan so they can develop a baseline assessment of where we are, and where we need to go. This will help them to create action plans for struggling areas so we can continue to grow as a district.

“There’s a lot of data, and a lot to work through in the coming months,” said Dr. Jennifer Bethman, Assistant Superintendent of Secondary Schools. “But it is the beginning of some very exciting work, and will help us target areas for improvement.”

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“What I love most is seeing how everything we’re doing in the building, what I’m doing in the classroom, and what the district’s focusing on, it’s all starting to align,” said Spanaway Middle School teacher Sharon Coward, who also served on the Strategic Planning team. “I believe that we’re moving in a great direction and I’m excited to see where we’re going.”

Administrators will be able to use the Youth Truth survey data in many ways. They can look at it at a district level, or focus more specifically school by school, where they can then separate it by grade level. Bethman expects that the data will become a powerful discussion topic for staff and students in the fall, especially when it comes to issues like the use of technology in the classroom, and bullying.

With more than 11,800 students participating in the survey, student voice is a huge part of the conversation, and that was something the School Board was happy to see more of. Superintendent Tom Seigel agreed, saying “These students are essentially our customers. Their perception is significant.”

A school environment that students can feel safe and productive in has a lot to do with the positive relationships between students and staff. The more crowded a school gets, the harder it is to foster those one-on-one relationships. As the student population in our district continues to grow, and construction bonds are rejected by voters, overcrowding will continue to play a negative role in our students’ education.

This is the first of three Youth Truth surveys that the district will do. Two more are planned for March of the next two years.

Helping kids learn is the driving force behind all we do in the Bethel School District.

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