D233 survey students social-emotional Oct 2020
Local News

H-F High surveys show students, staff adapting to remote learning

The general consensus at Homewood-Flossmoor High School is that remote learning is working for the majority of students.

Administrators reviewed data with District 233 school board members Oct. 20 that was collected through surveys with 1,226 parent responses, 922 student responses and 118 teacher responses.

In going over the survey, Jennifer Hester, H-F director of curriculum, instruction and professional development, said, “The students, parents and teachers all shared something in common in their comments, and I think that was appreciation for each other, the other two groups. It truly shows one of the gifts of the disruption that we are experiencing. That’s students, parents and staff all working together.”

The survey results will be one piece as the administration and school board make a decision on whether students return to H-F in January, said Principal Jerry Anderson. Other factors will be the COVID-19 metrics for the South Suburbs, which now are showing a spike. Anderson said input will also be offered by the teacher’s union, the principal’s advisory council and the e-learning planning committee.

A graph from the survey report shows how students rated their own level of engagement during remote learning this semester. (Provided image)

Anderson said H-F will follow guidelines from the Illinois State Board of Education and the Illinois Department of Public Health.

She pointed out that some students have returned to the building. In the Applied Academics area, 26% of students who require hands-on learning, for example in auto shop or culinary training, have taken the option of coming in on Fridays after the regular school day schedule for a special class with teachers. 

Anderson said 144 students are in driver’s education classes. Fall sports had 244 student athletes and another 650 athletes were part of contact days. She said 100 students are participating in jazz band and 100 in extracurricular activities. In October, a total of 600 students came to campus on various days for the SAT exam.

The principal said: “We have not had (COVID positive) problems with our academic courses.” 

However, since June H-F has had 10 staff members either test positive or quarantining because a family member tested positive, said Superintendent Von Mansfield.

A graph from the report that shows how much time students said they were spending on homework. (Provided image)

When asked if they would feel comfortable returning to school, with appropriate safety measures, 56.3% of students said they would be comfortable returning to H-F, while 22.7% said they were undecided at this time, and 21% said they would not be comfortable coming back.

Students were asked how engaged they are in their online classes. Respondent numbers show 7.5% felt they were engaged 100 percent of the time, with 48.4% saying they were engaged 75% or more in class, and 30.2% were engaged 50% or more.

When asked about homework, 46.2% said they were doing two hours or more of homework each day; 30.2% said homework took one to two hours a day; 16.6 percent said 30 to 60 minutes; and 7% said 30 minutes or less.

Administrators and teachers have voiced concern about students’ social/emotional wellbeing. 

A graph showing teachers’ assessment of how much of their expected work students are getting done during remote learning. (Provided image)

The survey found 83% of students felt they were connecting with their teachers, but trying to build relationships with classmates was more difficult and only 54% felt they had connected with their peers.

One question asked students to answer: “During the past week I felt stressed out…” and 43.8% of students said all of the time, with 31% at most of the time and 21.7% at some of the time.

When asked to answer: “During the past week, I felt optimistic…” 25.6% said most of the time, 52.6% said some of the time, and 16.1% said none of the time.

When asked to answer: “During the past week, I felt happy…” 25.8% said most of the time, 53.8% said some of the time and 15.3% said none of the time.

Overall, students said they are focusing and paying attention, collaborating with classmates, focusing on grades and GPA and engaging in discussions, projects and group work.

Hester said some students like breakout rooms while others don’t. Respondents also split on whether they like or don’t like asynchronous time, learning time away from their teachers.

Hester said students felt their teachers were supportive. They noted that they don’t like lectures that run the entire class period. They do like when teachers use games and projects.

She said student comments note that they don’t like being on screens all day and having their computer cameras on all day. They also want a reduction in homework.

A graph showing students’ assessment of their social and emotional health during remote learning. (Provided image)

Teachers responded that 67.2% of their students were engaged 75% or more of class time, and 12.1% of teachers felt students were engaged in class 50% or more. There were teachers who felt they had students’ attention 100% of the time, but the slice was small.

Teachers were asked how confident they are that students are making progress toward learning goals at this point in the school year: 21% very confident; 39.7 quite confident; 33.6 moderately confident.

Teachers also reported 94.8% of students are completeing work they assign.

Overall, 87% of teachers are confident of their abilities to successfully teach students remotely.  They are asking for more time, technology and professional learning and job-embedded learning from colleagues.

Parents were asked to rate their child’s experience with remote learning on a 1 to 5 scale. The results show 26% gave it the highest rating of 5, with 32.6% at a 4 rating and 25.1% at a 3 rating.

When asked how well the student is handling the amount of screen time during remote learning, 24.3% rated it at 5, with 28.6 % rating it at 4 and 23.6% at 3.

Parents applaud the efforts of teachers. They appreciate that students are working at their own pace, that the school is offering asynchronous time, and that athletics and activities are offered, Hester said. 

Parents were asked how the student is doing emotionally with managing remote learning. Of the respondents, 18.6 percent gave a rating of 5, with 31.4 rating it at 4 and 30.1 percent at 3.

Parents also asked for less homework, a decrease in screen time, suggestions to improve the instruction and the schedule and one-to-one time with teachers. The survey found parents split on students returning to school, Hester said. The numbers were 36.3% for returning to school, 33% undecided and 31% against.

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