by Natasha L. Adams, Superintendent and CEO
West Clermont Schools
Top of Mind Winter 2022
In January, West Clermont stakeholders completed a survey and ThoughtExchange that measures the willingness of our school community to recommend our services to others.
We had 1,566 participants and scored -6, down 3 points from the same survey in the fall. The Net Promoter Score or NPS has an index range from -100 to +100. Therefore 0 is a good score.
Since the NPS is meant to gauge stakeholders’ loyalty, satisfaction and enthusiasm with the organization, we created a ThoughtExchange to get a deeper insight into our areas of strength and greatest opportunities.
As we processed the results, we were not surprised to find a dip in perception. The surge of the omicron variant resulted in operational challenges, sub shortages, and special event cancellations/postponements this winter, making it a difficult season for West Clermont. This drop in results illustrates that times have been physically and emotionally tough. We know that the best way to turn things around is to continue to listen to stakeholders, design a path forward, and create hope for the future.
We asked the question, “What are some important things we need to know about your West Clermont experience?” and here’s what we found:
- West Clermont staff were once again positively recognized for their care and connection with students.
- Instructionally, students, staff and families are happy that we have returned to in-person learning and are grateful for the enhancement of our special education continuum of services, and the increased focus on creating a positive learning environment.
- Positive recognition of effective district and school communication.
- There are instructional concerns related to random remote learning days and the resulting gaps in programming opportunities and the need for more intervention for students.
- Student behavior is a challenge including attendance, engagement, respectful behavior, and focus on academics and learning, etc…
- Communication around school closures/bus route closures pose challenges for families and staf
- Financial resources for high school busing and an elementary library are lacking.
- Adequate space in some buildings, including smaller class sizes in some buildings is challenging.
- The safety, well-being and mental health of students and staff. There are continued challenges as a result of living and working through the pandemic.
- Building our substitute workforce pipeline has been challenging.
- Technology platforms can be confusing.
To improve student, staff and family experiences in West Clermont we will use our strengths to grow.
- Communication remains a top priority. We are committed to monthly e-newsletters, weekly principal updates, robust social media content, emergency communications, and we are currently working behind the scenes to improve our website and Wolfpack Hub experience. Stay tuned for the reveal of a new website in the 4th quarter. In February we featured a State of the Schools e-newsletter and blog series, newspaper columns, a State of the Schools virtual address, and a brochure mailed to all families.
- Town Hall listening sessions are scheduled for April 21 and May 3. The feedback from the ThoughtExchange truly reflects ongoing systemic challenges in our school district that need to be addressed together as a community. Some issues have been known for a while, some are new, and some have been amplified because of the pandemic. The Town Hall sessions are designed for listening, understanding, and curating information to guide plans for the district. Topics in the ThoughtExchange will be addressed as part of this work including educational programming, facilities, transportation, and student/staff safety and wellness. We truly hope people take advantage of these opportunities to share their thoughts and ideas. In addition to our REACT survey going out this month, is one more way we are engaging our community in the future of West Clermont.
- Student-centered learning is at the core of what we do. Our main areas of focus this year include improving student engagement, using data to help identify student learning needs, revising the math course of study curriculum, expanding WCYourFuture by offering elementary discovery classes, middle school encore classes, and experiences and internship opportunities for high school students. Additionally, both the middle school and high school teams have made changes to their master schedule to improve our response to student needs and student learning outcomes. Change takes time and we are dedicated to improving the student experience! We are currently piloting ways to measure 21st-century skills and hope and engagement of our students with a cohort of teachers and students throughout the district. This study will help us better understand the impact of our efforts in changing the classroom experience for students to yield higher results.
- Good student behavior is key to a good learning environment. We provide Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS) which means we focus on teaching desired behaviors and rewarding students for positive behavior. Some students are struggling with the return to brick-and-mortar school and higher academic expectations. Overall, we are seeing decreased maturity at every level that requires more time and effort in teaching appropriate behavior. The district is contracting with behavior specialists to help grow our capacity to support students with behavioral challenges. Specifically, we have increased the number of school counselors at the middle and high schools to create a smaller student-to-counselor ratio for more personalized attention and development opportunities. We have also created a Citizens Advisory Commission with the first task of researching the possibility of changing the middle school start time.
- Student and staff wellness is more important now than ever before. We are planning additional professional development opportunities for staff this summer/fall to improve our ability to respond to the diverse needs of students. We’re also increasing the amount of staff focused in this area including two administrative positions dedicated to student services, additional support staff for behavior, and additional special education staff and teachers to serve our English language learners. Additionally, we are meeting with our partners throughout the community to discuss the challenges of our students in accessing learning and how we might partner more effectively to eliminate barriers. This work will result in a strengthened Whole Child Network in West Clermont focused on personal and leadership development, physical and mental wellness, nutrition, school safety, behavior services, physical and health education, and family and community engagement. We have also leveled up our focus on staff wellness with Wellness Champions serving in every school to focus on the physical, mental and financial wellness of our staff. This program is called Wellness Connections and serves to make sure our employees have access to resources that support personal wellness.
- Recognition and Celebration is an important part of any school district. Limited face-to-face events seem to have dampened our efforts in this area. In February we had over 1,000 shoutouts set to our faculty and staff and our spirit week showcased students and staff having fun together enjoying school. We will continue to ramp up our efforts to celebrate the good in West Clermont because we have so much to be grateful for and so much progress has been made!
We appreciate the students, parents and staff who participated in the Net Promoter Score process. Surveys help us uncover answers to important questions, provoke important discussions, and provide information that guides our decisions on where to focus our efforts. Knowing what is top of mind for our stakeholders helps us as we think about our programs, practices and policies. We are grateful for your time and value your partnership.