Distance learning survey gives staff insight into performance

What does the survey mean, how is it used?

A survey was released to the students, parents and teachers of Oak Park Unified School District regarding distance learning. The administration analyzed the data from the responses to a series of questions from the district.

Slide deck showing the amount of hours OPHS students spend online. (Photo courtesy of Jay Greenlinger )

“These survey questions were created in August, when we gave the survey for the first time. School and district administrators wrote the survey,” Director of Curriculum and Instruction Jay Greenlinger wrote to the Talon. 

The survey administrators noticed that there was a lack of student-teacher and student-student connection, something that the OPUSD staff has attempted to combat since the beginning of distance learning.

“What concerns us – though it comes as no surprise – that students in middle and high school grades are not feeling connected to their schools,” Greenlinger wrote. 

Throughout the year, the workload for the students grades six through 12 has varied. In September 2020, many students considered the workload to be “About Right,” with about 54% of Oak Park High School students surveyed selecting this answer. However, by December 2020, “Too Much” dominated the board with an increase from about 1% in September to about 60% in December.

According to Greenlinger, the survey results will ideally be used to solve the problems of connectivity apparent in the survey results. The school is brainstorming and putting into effect activities to help the students feel a stronger connection with their school. 

Slide deck showing the amount of work students report doing. (Photo courtesy of Jay Greenlinger)

“OPHS is going to put on another play, Clue [and] Awareness Week will be held soon; this is typically one way that students feel greatly connected to their school,” Greenlinger wrote. “Most importantly, though, teachers are encouraged to make social emotional wellness at the forefront; something that’s more important than academics.”

Now that Awareness Week has passed, the response was excellent. According to freshman counselor and Advanced Peer Counseling leader Janet Svoboda, Awareness Week was well attended by both the students and staff. 

“The theme of UNITY emphasized the importance of coming together without necessarily sharing a physical space,” Svoboda wrote. 

Many teachers are also attempting to make an effort by allowing the students to have a chance to share what is on their minds. 

“I would say that my main effort to reach out to students has been to create the opportunities for Moments of Genuine Connection. Even though I originally created the program to just simply get to know students since those opportunities are harder to come by in distance learning, students are definitely free to talk about the struggles they’re facing,” English teacher Jennifer Hankins wrote. 

With the idea that there are no extracurriculars like sports, plays, homecoming, rallys or anything that is in person, the OPUSD staff and teachers have made efforts to get that sense of connectedness. With this survey the administration was able to see that there was an effort being made.

“We have seen many examples of teachers who have made huge efforts to give students a forum for sharing their struggles and concerns in a safe and supportive environment,” Greenlinger wrote.