Friday, December 7, 2018

HCS AC Survey Summary

Thanks to each and every one of you who provided direction and feedback in our October survey about the state of HCS in SPS. We greatly appreciate the time you took to express your opinions and support. After reviewing roughly 140 respondents' text comments, the summary breakdown follows (a complete set of responses will be provided upon request). It is worth noting, many respondents shared concerns about the direction of the HC services with the numerous cohort splits and unsupportive administrators. In addition, we have included the summary results from the 239 non-text queries that showed the majority of respondents were not confident that the District is prepared to offer equitable rigorous curriculum,  cohesive cohorts and appropriate building sites and that 44% who contacted the District or Board regarding concerns received no response. Please let us know your thoughts after you've looked over these materials - we would like to include you in upcoming updates and planning efforts for advocacy.
Top-line takeaways

9 Percent of the respondents stated support for continuing the cohort model.
12 Percent of the respondents stated concerns about the disparity of services delivery (especially north versus south of the ship canal).  
17 Percent of the respondents stated concerns about Washington Middle School administration.
25 Percent of the respondents stated concerns about systematic HC services dismantling.

Other common themes were:
Support for single domain “HC” services.
Support for universal testing across all schools.
Concerns about continuing cohort splits.
Need for neighborhood schools to offer meaningful HC services.
Need for more racial diversity.
Concerns about Fairmount Elementary services being discontinued.
Concern that the current Advanced Learning Task Force does not have enough HCC families/staff represented.
Concerns about services being delivered  without necessary rigor and an established curriculum.
Concerns with the lack of District engagement while making wholesale changes.

Notable quotes (extracted and redacted):
My daughter has graduated 201X was not super affected by the changes luckily. She was one of the students from underrepresented  population. I am vocal about more inclusion for sure. I have noticing that SPS has been breaking up the cohorts. The resources do not seem to be the same at north and south. It almost look like they want to dismantle the program.  From my experience, my child needed the academic challenges at HCP. Without it, she would been bored and not been prepared for selective colleges. This is an important program especially for underrepresented students to be more competitive to get into good colleges and receive scholarships/ financial aid from colleges. I am not sure if SPS understands the importance of this program.”

“SPS appears to be slowly dismantling HCC. There is an apparent attitude, that I heard directly from a school board member, that HCC kids don’t have needs beyond the basic education classes. No one would dare say that about any other population, whether it’s a minority population, a Special Ed population, or any other population with exceptional needs. Every kid deserves a classroom environment that meets their needs…”

The changes have been confusing, and as a parent, hard to understand. It seems that the district wants to do away with the HC cohort, but doesn't have a good plan what to do after. Superintendent Juneau needs to get out of the JSCEE bubble/dogma and talk to a diverse range of AL/HC families about how best to meet our kids's needs.  Equity is not just about race. The HCC program at Washington Middle School is seriously comprised this year. I do not think my daughter is receiving anything near acceptable instruction in math and science in particular followed by ElA.”

Happy holidays!
The Highly Capable Services Advisory Committee (HCS AC)

Link to PDF with the data:


Megan Hazen said...

I am really shocked that '9% of the respondents support continuation of the cohort model'. This seems incredibly low to me. So low that I wonder if it is either a mistake, or due to some misleading question??

As a comparison, when a similar question was posed to users on the HCC Middle School facebook group, 82 people supported continuing the cohort, 2 people said they didn't find HCC services useful in middle school, and 0 people said they didn't believe a cohort was necessary.

Obviously, the responding populations are different, but 97% to 9% feels unreasonable to me.

Anonymous said...

Is the HCS-AC going to have some informal meetings of some sort?

Anonymous said...

@ Megan, I was wondering the same. It looks like a typo to me, as it seems to be inconsistent with the other results. It's also unclear if that was based on a specific question (if so, what was the question and what were the answer choices?), or if that was based on the themes that emerged in the open-ended responses (i.e., that 9% of those who provided general feedback specifically noted their support for continuing the cohort model). In the original email of the survey results--before the qualitative analysis--I didn't see anything that looked like such a question, so I suspect this is poor wording re: the open-ended responses. If so, that's very unfortunate.

While I completely understand that it's nearly impossible to do a good HC survey since there's no district-wide HC mailing list and neither the district nor schools will do much to help reach parents of HCC or HC-eligible students, it appears this survey was only completed by a pretty small, involved (on the HCS mailing list and/or reading the blogs) group of parents, so it isn't necessarily all that representative. Also, because HC services vary sooo much from school to school and grade to grade, it's that much harder to interpret the results when things aren't broken out by group.

I think the "common themes" that emerged largely mirror many of the conversations here on the blogs, so no real surprises there. The only thing that stood out to me was that surveys like this MIGHT be a good way to periodically get a sense of any new or emerging concerns or successes. For example, I thought it interesting that both the WMS and Fairmount Elementary came up as themes. Since most of us are more aware of things happening in our own schools, I wonder if more frequent min-surveys might be a way to help spotlight some of the concerns about specific issues as they come up? That could help provide some real-time data for use in advocacy and conversations with Board members, staff, schools, etc.

At the same time, I would also urge anyone putting survey results out there to be a little more thorough and careful in how they present the data. You should specify who the survey was sent to (e.g., everyone on the HCS AC mailing list; public link shared on certain blogs; etc.), how many people responded, and if possible, the response rate (although that may be challenging if it's just a public link, if it was sent only via the HCS AC mailing list you should be able to find out how many people are on the list). It would also be good to collect demographic data, such as school, grade level, HCC or opt-out, etc. It's incredibly hard to interpret the data without understanding this aspect of who responded. In the absence of solid date, It's easy to dismiss surveys like this--I know I did, and I love data. And then when the presentation of the data is unclear or potentially incorrect, it increases the likelihood that the survey results will do more harm than good.

Anonymous said...

First, anything can always be said in a more clear and concise matter but the comments above seemed to miss that these were text responses.

Here was the text question:

Q9 Please offer any thoughts or concerns you would like to share regarding AL/HC services at SPS and the role you and the Advisory Committee can play to advocate for advanced learning.

That fact that 9% keyed on cohorts -when that is current best practices- should be jaw dropping and not minimized. That means a high percentage of those involved in the program want to insure the basic elements are maintained.

With that in mind one out of four respondents said they feel the District is dismantling the program. I am still looking into Fairmount park and yet I am well informed on what is going on at WMS.

Benjamin any way to include the summary results to the non text question that were attached?


Benjamin Leis said...

I'm not party to any inside information in this case but if someone provides more data I will certainly publish it.

Anonymous said...

It was attached to email number 10 from the HCS AC that you have to start the thread. It is a summary data from the same survey it shows concern from the HCS community in the direction it is currently being led by administrative staff

Megan Hazen said...

So, it sounds like 9% of people supported cohorts WITHOUT prompting, which may make more sense. I'd be wary of presenting the data that 9% support the cohort, because it seems to imply that 91% support removing the cohort. If the survey administrators understand that data, that's great, but now it also needs to be communicated correctly.

(Which, thanks, survey administrators for all of your work, and considering this feedback! I know just how hard it is to get this type of information out into the world in a clear way.)

Anonymous said...

Yeah thanks Megan, very constructive review. I know we are due for another survey to drill down into the results that we received; any help on that would be much appreciated. In addition, we are also going to be recruiting for individuals who want to represent their schools on the AC. There are serious concerns at many of the schools which is reflected in the survey results as well as the communities desire for more advocacy. We hope to have a strong push into 2019 but that can only happen with much more volunteer support.


Benjamin Leis said...

Thanks I didn't notice the attachment originally. I've added a link to it at the bottom of the post for those who are interested.

Anonymous said...

Thank you!

Megan Hazen said...

@robert - I may be able to help with one or both, or at least make some connections for you. I don't want to publish my email address here, but, I'm on the HCCAC mailing list so you may be able to get a hold of me that way.