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Parents Give Hart District Thumbs-Up

Posted: March 3, 2008 2:19 a.m.
Updated: May 4, 2008 5:02 a.m.

A William S. Hart Union High School District survey of student, parent and staff attitudes found that while high school students and their parents consider student achievement the district's main strength, teachers and staff feel that parent and community involvement is the main strength of the district.

"So as far as our core responsibility of providing a quality education, most students and their parents feel like they're getting a good product," said Greg Lee, diversity coordinator for the Santa Clarita Valley's junior- and senior-high school district. Lee's department was responsible for setting up the School Climate Survey, which was sent out to district households in February 2006. Lee presented the survey results to board members at the last meeting of the district's governing board.

"Across the board, parents, teachers and students feel the schools are doing a worthwhile job," Lee said. "At the same time, (the survey) points out areas of concern."

While all of the survey results were in the "satisfactory" range, almost every group surveyed placed environment as the district's weakest area. Nine domains were measured overall, including safety, environment, achievement and community involvement.

Five relationships were also ranked by those surveyed: Peer, parent/school, parent/teacher, student/teacher and leadership.

"All of the responses were in the 'satisfactory' range, but there was a big gap between high satisfaction and low satisfaction," Lee said.

The questions involving "environment" included not only the physical appearance of a school campus, but also whether it is welcoming, comfortable and has up-to-date equipment, Lee said. Lee attributes the low satisfaction in the area of environment to the fact that several campuses were undergoing construction projects at the time of the survey, and the question as to which Hart district schools Castaic students should attend until a high school is built in Castaic was also under intense debate at the time.

"It was pretty politically charged at that time," Lee said.

All Hart district households received the survey, as well as 15 percent of each student body and all classified staff, teachers and administrators. The total number of returned surveys was 8,101.

"The people who did the survey said the parent response was much more than they had ever had from a district our size," Lee said. "A lot of people wanted to weigh in."


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