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TELL survey just one of many tools for EIS

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Results to be combined with other data for improvements

By Phyllis McLaughlin

For Eminence High School, results of the TELL Survey  – Teaching, Empowering, Leading and Learning, administered in the spring by the Kentucky School Board Association – is only one tool to be used when working to make improvements, according to Principal Steve Frommeyer.

“We are very conscious about constantly trying to improve, regardless of the survey,” he said. “We have had a number of initiatives put in place this year for our school improvement plan,” and none of them were based squarely on the TELL results.

The response rate seems low – 24 (67 percent) of the 36 certified teachers participated, compared with a response rate of 100 percent among teachers at Henry County High School. It falls toward the low side of participation in the five surrounding counties: Carroll County had 54 percent participation; Owen 41 percent; and Trimble, 76 percent.

But Frommeyer wasn’t concerned. “The problem with small sample sizes is that one or two people can make a difference on the percentages,” he said.

Information from the TELL survey will be used in conjunction with other data to determine if any changes are made. Frommeyer said his staff practices “triangulation,” meaning any decision regarding changes or improvements in instruction are based on three separate data sources.

TELL “is a good single source [for information], but it is just one source,” he said.

But, what you can tell from the numbers is that teachers there are happy.

“We have small class sizes and (teacher positions) don’t turn over often,” he said. “People want to work here. It’s a great atmosphere to work in, and that’s been true for a long time.”

That was supported by the teachers: 96 percent said that, overall, they feel the school is a good place to work and learn. On top of that, nearly 88 percent felt that class sizes are reasonable — a question that consistently got much lower marks in other districts.

The school also got high ratings for its facilities and resources, community and parent support, management of student conduct, and the leadership of its teachers and administration.

Nearly 92 percent of respondents said they believe the faculty and administration have a shared vision for what the school should be; that same number also feels there is an atmosphere of trust and mutual respect at EHS. Teachers feel comfortable raising concerns (100 percent) and, feel they are evaluated objectively and fairly and are recognized for their achievements.

They also believe the Site Based Decision Making Council is representative of the teachers and of the parents within the district, and that it has a positive influence on instruction at the school.
Facilities rated the lowest, with just 71 percent of the respondents saying that the classrooms support teaching and learning and 58 percent saying the building is clean and well maintained.

The teachers also seem to want more resources for professional development (58 percent said they were sufficient), but 100 percent said that what opportunities do exist are aligned with the school improvement plan.