During the Sept. 16 school board meeting, each of the LaRue County Schools’ principals presented their individual TELL Report results for this year.
The TELL Survey (or Teaching, Empowering, Leading and Learning Survey), is offered to “all licensed school-based educators including teachers, administrators, media coordinators, counselors,” according to its website. The Kentucky Department of Education contracted with the New Teacher Center to administer the survey on a state level.
Superintendent Sam Sanders said the survey began in 2008 and began collecting data in the county in 2011.
“Last year all the teachers in the district had the opportunity to fill out an online survey anonymously – all certified staff,” Sanders added.
Questions on the survey deal with use of time, facilities and resources, community support and involvement, managing student conduct, teacher leadership, school leadership, professional development, and instructional practices and support.
Survey results are utilized by the state to help define needed areas of improvement and also the strengths within education by school district.
Percentages provided in the survey results are based on the level of agreement with each statement presented to participants.
Out of 176 educators within the district, 140 completed the survey this year.
Kyle Goodlett, LCHS principal, noted that gains had been made in every area on the TELL between 2011 and 2013.
“Some of our significant gains include an increase in teachers having time to collaborate with colleagues; which has been achieved through the introduction of early release Fridays. We went from an 86 percent in 2011 to a 97 percent this year,” Goodlett said.
Encouraging parent and guardian involvement increased from 68 percent in 2011 to 92 percent this year. Parents and guardians supporting teachers, contributing to their success with students increased from 62 percent to 83 percent. Students at the school follow rules of conduct increased from 62 percent to 94 percent. Teachers having an appropriate level of influence on decision making in the school had also increased from 72 percent to 97 percent.
The most significant increase LCHS personnel reported was in school administrators consistently enforcing rules for student conduct, which increased from 37 percent to 95 percent in 2013.
“I’m very pleased with our results this year. We were also one of four high schools in the state selected as an honorable mention school by the Kentucky Department of Education,” Goodlett said.
Jason Detre, new principal at LaRue County Middle School, said he was fairly pleased with the TELL results.
“We tied in several sub categories,” said Detre.
“In facilities and resources we were 6 percent above the state average; managing student conduct we were 5 percent above the state average; teacher leadership and school leadership we were 12 percent above the state average, and instructional practice and support we were 7.8 percent above the state average.”
The greatest strength for LCMS, according to TELL is the 22 percent above state average in community support and involvement.
“If you pull out the report, we improved in every area,” said Detre. “Our two highlights were in our teacher leadership and school leadership scores, which increased dramatically. Teacher leadership increased by 25 points and school leadership increased by 34.”
Karen Downs, principal for Abraham Lincoln Elementary School, said most of the areas evaluated were at or above the district average.
“Last year was the first year where we had teachers who had some classes that were larger than what they were used to,” said Downs.
“We did well with working through our use of time and figuring out transitions for those students in the larger classrooms,” Downs added.
ALES’s biggest gains were seen in teacher leadership and school leadership.
“We went from being in the 50 percent range to the 70s and 90s on all sub categories for teacher leadership. In school leadership our scores maintained a consistent trend between 80 percent and 97 percent. We saw significant growth in these areas because they were ones that we focused on.”
“ALES did drop some in managing student conduct, so that was our focus on opening day –going over our school wide procedures and things like that, “ said Downs.
Hodgenville Elementary School principal Sue Osborne said the TELL Survey covers a large amount of information, and even though the schools scores were lower in some areas, they have shown improvement in many areas.
“There’s a lot of information here and it all depends on how you look at it. I think what I was most pleased with was the gains we made in school leadership – that was an issue when I came in and we’ve made really nice gains overall in that area,” said Osborne.
HES received 100 percent in teachers receiving feedback to help improve their teaching, and a 96.4 percent in teachers being held to high professional standards for delivering instruction and in school leadership facilitating use of data to improve student learning.
Other improvements include gains in facilities and resources. HES received 92.9 percent in teachers having sufficient access to instructional technology, including computers, printer, software and Internet access.
In community support and involvement the school earned a 96.4 percent in teachers providing parents and guardians with useful information about student learning, and a 92.9 percent in doing a good job encouraging parent and guardian involvement.
“One of the places where I was really disappointed was time; I’ve been trying to figure out how to squeeze in more time for teachers to work on professional development,” said Osborne.
“We are so instructionally focused that we want every minute of every day to focus on instruction. Prior to the start of the year we worked on unit planning and assessment training, which has helped, but I would still like to do more.”