In the Fall of 2021, the Gilroy Unified School District (GUSD) sent out a survey to all Power School families resulting in 207 responses from parents. Presented in both English and Spanish, this survey focused on program quality, safety, efficacy, and parent engagement. This narrative serves as an evaluation of the results therein.
An overwhelming majority of parents surveyed expressed a high level of overall satisfaction with Power School. 93% of families shared that their child enjoys attending the after school program and 94% of the group favored the program schedule and activities. Staff communication garnered high results and 99% of parents felt that Power School did an ample job providing a safe space for their children after school.
While the greater part of the group polled positively, we approached this process with the mindset of identifying areas we can improve on; even in areas of strength. When asked if Power School has a positive impact on their child’s desires to participate in school or school-based activities, 15% of parents responded indifferently or negatively. We have identified this as an area of opportunity; moreover what can we provide to improve the quality of life for students and their families?
In an effort to make learning more fun, exploratory, and hands-on, we are ramping up to pilot 3 new STEAM focused curricula from STEMscopes, STEMfinity, and Mystery Science into our Summer Learning Program. All three explore science and the scientific method through project-based activities that make learning interactive and fun. Furthermore, we will be implementing the zSpace 3D learning platform which merges self-guided curriculum with cutting edge technology that allows students to manipulate virtual objects (human anatomy, microcosms, mechanics, etc.) in a three-dimensional space. We believe these solutions lend themselves to more innovative methods of learning that reframe the academic space for students and parents alike.
While roughly half (47%) of parents surveyed expressed interest in attending 2-hour listening sessions, we still believe parent engagement is a major opportunity that demands further exploration and action. We are in talks with local CBO Carry the Vision who have guided the formation of community groups in communities of need throughout Gilroy. This partnership would bring their bi-lingual community liaisons into Power School to establish parent groups that would inform and collaborate with Power School to bridge the gap between parents, schools, and students. These groups would collaborate with Power School staff to address areas of need, host community events, and fortify the bond between campus and community. This project is in the planning stages with hopes to take flight in the first semester of the 2023-2024 school year.
The transition back to campus post-pandemic has been a difficult one for students. In the past two years we have seen an increase in social-emotional issues across all grade levels and even more so at the elementary level. During the Fall/Winter of 2021, a Panaroma survey of all elementary school students confirmed this is a widespread issue.
Elementary students were surveyed across four primary categories:
- Grit - how well students are able to persevere through setbacks to achieve important long-term goals. 56%
- Growth Mindset - Student perceptions of whether they have the potential to change those factors that are central to their performance in school. 54%
- Self-Management - How well students manage their emotions, thoughts, and behaviors in different situations. 67%
- Supportive Relationships - How supported students feel through their relationships with friends, family, and adults at school. 87%
From the data gathered and responses to the questions asked we see that students feel supported in their school-based relationships although they are struggling with coping strategies, adversity, and academic performance. In response to this, we will also consult with Carry the Vision to implement Restorative Circles across all levels of our program (from the administrators to the students).
Through Restorative Circles students can leverage the supportive relationships they have with their peers and Power School staff to strengthen their bonds and discuss the challenges they face through shared experiences. Learning new coping strategies and understanding they are not alone in their reality can be an empowering feeling. Students can then move forward to rebuild community on school campuses to help regain a sense of belonging that many lost over the past three years and even more never had the chance to experience in the first place.
For more information on the results of these surveys and the methodology behind them, please feel free to reach out to us at (669) 205-4047 or Amanda.Reedy@gilroyunified.org.