Educator survey points to safe schools

Brandon Paykamian • Aug 21, 2019 at 9:00 PM

Teachers across Tennessee provided their feedback on everything from job satisfaction to school safety in a recent state survey.

The Tennessee Department of Education and Tennessee Education Research Alliance at Vanderbilt University released the results of the 2019 Tennessee Educator Survey Wednesday night, giving education officials across the state insight into schools’ progress and areas in need of improvement.

Amid national discussions about school safety, educators in Johnson City Schools and Washington County Schools overwhelmingly said they believed their schools were safe. Ninety-five percent of Washington County educators reported feeling safe at their schools. In Johnson City, that number was 90%. 

“We are pleased to see that 90% of those who responded to the survey feel their school is a safe place for students,” Debra Bentley, Johnson City Schools director of instruction and communication, said.

Of the 52% of Johnson City Schools teachers who participated in the survey, about 85% also said they were generally satisfied with being a teacher in the district and would recommend their schools to parents. Ninety-two percent said they feel supported by other staff in the district.

However, there were areas in need of some improvement in the city district, based on the survey results.

About 60% of Johnson City Schools educators said they believe school leadership effectively handles student discipline and behavioral problems, compared to 69% statewide. Only 68% of educators said they generally liked the way things were run at their schools, compared to about 76% statewide.

“Based on our own surveys last spring, we were not surprised by some of the areas addressed in the state survey,” Bentley said. “We are already underway with a plan of action with our leadership and school faculties.”

In Washington County Schools, 84% of teachers participated in the survey, and 89% of those respondents said they were satisfied with their jobs in the district and would recommend their district to others. Ninety percent also said they feel supported by staff. Seventy-four percent of county school educators said they believe school leadership effectively handles student discipline, and about 75% of educators said they approved of the way things were run at their schools.

“Our educators appear to share the idea that Washington County is a very good public school system,” Washington County Schools Director Bill Flanary said of the report.

Across the state, urban teachers reported less individual planning time each week compared to rural teachers, and they were also less likely to report that amount of time as sufficient.

Despite this, nearly 75% of Johnson City Schools teachers believed they had ample time for classroom planning, compared to the state average of 59%. In Washington County Schools, that number stood at 60%.

To take a look at the full report, visit educatorsurvey.tnk12.gov.

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