High-quality schools don’t just teach, they listen, care, reach out and support, which is why Natomas Unified is making additional investment this year in student and family engagement to enhance learning at all grade levels.
We’ve surveyed students at every grade span about how welcome, safe and appreciated they feel at school, we’re listening closely to their views, and we’ve expanded efforts to engage parents and connect students to our schools. This past Wednesday, staff presented to Trustees an update on feedback from students and families and actions under way.
Recently, we’ve created a new Student and Family Engagement Department (SAFE), using new and existing staff to focus, improve and supplement NUSD outreach to families. The team will lead a wide range of projects, from Parent University to TIPS – “Teachers Involving Parents in Schoolwork.”
SAFE’s work in coming months will be guided, in part, by recent results of the Student Social Emotional Climate Culture Survey, encompassing students in grades 4-11, a senior survey, and questions to parents or family members.
Results showed the vast majority of NUSD students and families either have positive feelings or have no strong opinion either way (neutral) about their school’s academics, climate, safety and connectedness. Results predictably varied among grade spans.
When asked if they feel like they’re part of their school, for example, 92% of elementary students gave a positive or neutral response. Seventy-seven percent of 6th– through 11th-graders said the same, with that number rising to 87% among high school seniors.
Parent and family members generally gave NUSD favorable marks. Positive or neutral reactions typically ranged from 85-90% on questions about teachers’ ability to motivate, high-quality instruction, supportive learning environment, classroom technology, school safety and student connectedness.
In these results are many positives to report and opportunities for schools and NUSD to engage their students even more. Student and family engagement is consistent with our Board-approved goals to, “Create safe and welcoming learning environments where students attend and are connected to their schools,” and to, “Engage parents and families to support student success in school.”
Other key actions we’ve taken to enhance climate and supports include:
· Added a campus safety specialist at K-8 schools
· Provided a full-time psychologist and health assistant at every school
· Added a third school resource officer to district resources
· Provided additional counseling resources, and added a Teacher on Special Assignment for social-emotional learning support
· Created a K-12 continuum of social–emotional support
· Expanded Career Technical Education, music, and elementary school athletic opportunities
· Implemented the Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) program, launched the Responsive Classroom program, and we’re piloting Restorative Justice
For more information about the survey, SAFE, or NUSD supports, to check out our staff presentation to the Board of Trustees.