Wolf Creek Public School Division has been looking to the very students it educates to learn a little about itself. The division recently compiled results from the Student Voice Engagement survey administered to 700 of its Grade 9 and 12 students.
— Wolf Creek Schools (@WCPS72) June 16, 2017
“The board and trustees, for a number of years, have really tried to find opportunities to hear from students in a way they can reflect on the experiences students have in Wolf Creek public schools,” said Superintendent Jayson Lovell in an interview with the Eckville Echo.
“This survey gives us feedback, advice and information that the board and division will find helpful to guide us, as we work in our schools with students.”
This year’s survey first reached out to 460 Grade 9s and 275 Grade 12s.
The approach was called a Thought Exchange Survey – it utilized an online interface to gather answers to three simple questions for students.
Those questions asked students to focus on three main categories: what the vision can do, in its schools, to improve; student experiences and what the best experiences for them were, while attending schools in the division and ideas for what can make school even better for them.
“We gave them three questions to think about, and they gave us their feedback over a period of time,” said Lovell. “Then, we closed the first part of the survey. The first part is referred to as the sharing stage,” said Lovell. “They get to see all the thoughts and ideas from all the other students who put in their ideas – and then they assigned stars to the ideas they liked.”
Lovell says students were given the option to assign virtual stars, to put priority on peer-provided answers – called thoughts – to show which ones respondents considered the most important. This was also done to “emphasize which thoughts sit with them the most, and which they like,” added Lovell.
In total, students participating in the survey shared 1,407 thoughts and just shy of 41,000 stars.
The final stage of the survey was entitled “Discover,” and it entailed a broader sharing of results, based on what the students who assigned stars to answers deemed most important. It broke down the top thoughts, and ranked them based on the number of stars assigned to them, said Lovell.
“We’re very pleased with the participation of the Grade 9s and 12s – more importantly, we were really impressed with the depth of the thoughts they shared with us,” said Lovell.
Lovell said the survey is “new territory” for Wolf Creek, since nothing like it has been done before. The division now has a tremendous amount of information on student perspectives – information intended to be used to improve what is offered in Wolf Creek, and “a reason to celebrate the work we’re doing in Wolf Creek Public Schools,” Lovell added.
The next step, Lovell noted, will be to analyze results, share them with principals and “work with them in a way they can ensure they get that to their staff.”
“As far as planning for next year and what schools need to consider, those will play out over the course of next year,” said Lovell. “It will be a great resource and the data, we can reflect on and use to guide us, using its insights to inform the work we do.”