Harford school satisfaction surveys

Harford County students say they work hard in the school system's annual student satisfaction survey. Above, sixth graders at Havre de Grace Middle School. (MATT BUTTON | AEGIS STAFF, The Aegis / November 1, 2013)

Harford County educators reported greater satisfaction in a majority of areas related to their profession, according to the results of a statewide survey, even though fewer teachers and teacher support staffers participated than did two years ago.

Leann Schubert, coordinator of school improvement and intervention for Harford County Public Schools, presented the results of the state's TELL (Teaching, Empowering, Leading and Learning) survey to the members of the Board of Education on Oct. 14.

"Overall, we're thrilled to share with you that in 2013 over 80 percent of the survey respondents to the TELL survey agreed that 'my school is a good place to work and learn,'" Schubert said.

In a separate, school system-based survey, Harford students say they work hard in school but think the temperature inside their school buildings needs adjusting.

Teacher survey

Schubert said 78.8 percent of Harford County's educators responded, compared to 80.38 percent in 2011.

The survey of educators in Maryland's 24 public school districts was created through Gov. Martin O'Malley's office in 2009 and administered that year, as well as in 2011 and 2013.

Schubert said "school-based instructional staff," such as teachers and educational support personnel, participated in the 2013 survey from Feb. 4 to March 1.

She said the survey was "Web-based, completely voluntary and completely anonymous."

Schubert noted 15 of Harford County's 56 schools had a 100 percent response rate, and all but one achieved a response rate of more than 50 percent.

The information was released by the governor's office in May and shared with schools where more than 50 percent responded.

"All Harford County public schools have been asked to review the TELL survey data and consider areas to include in their school year 13-14 school improvement plans," Schubert said.

She said the plans were recently submitted to the school system's central office and are being reviewed.

Schubert said the results of the survey are not shared with schools that had a response rate of less than 50 percent because "it removes the anonymity from the survey."

Instructors and support staff were asked their views on the topics of Time, Facilities and Resources, Community Support and Involvement, Managing Student Conduct, Teacher Leadership, School Leadership, Professional Development, Instructional Practices and Support and Overall satisfaction.

Schubert reported that 68.8 percent of educators said they could "focus on educating students with minimal interruptions, compared to 63.9 percent in 2011.

Nearly 84 percent, 83.7 percent, said the Internet connections in their schools were "sufficient to support instructional practices," compared to 78.5 percent for 2011.

The percentage of educators who felt their schools had a "sufficient number of ESPs [educational support personnel] to operate effectively" dropped from 62.4 percent to 53.3 percent.

Schubert said about two thirds of educators, or 66.6 percent, agreed that "professional development deepens teachers' content knowledge," compared to 60.9 percent in 2011.

She also reported that 58 percent agreed that "professional development is differentiated to meet the needs of individual teachers," compared to 54.9 percent two years ago.