Superintendent discusses ThoughtExchange survey

TAYLOR MURCHISON-GALLAGHER

STAFF WRITER

Superintendent Dr. Maureen Brummett shared the results of a community wide survey during the Plainville Board of Education meeting held on Monday, Dec. 10.

In October, Plainville Community Schools launched a ThoughtExchange survey, asking Plainville community members to share their opinions regarding “what is going well and what could be improved,” in the school system.

There were 598 participants in total. Of those, 259 participants (47 percent) were parents or guardians, 158 (29 percent) were PCS staff members, and 115 (21 percent) were Plainville students.

Brummett reminded the board that this survey did not have questions to be answered. The guiding question was, “What do you think our schools are doing well and what can we focus on in order to improve?” Participants would then share their thoughts – 497 thoughts were shared; and those thoughts could be given stars based on participant agreement or disagreement – 7,579 stars were assigned. The more stars a thought received, the more prominent that theme was.

Brummett presented some of the “top, positive thoughts.”

Participants described PCS as having “caring, dedicated and passionate staff,” and “school, district and teacher communication is excellent.” One participant wrote that the district is “preparing students well for post graduation life.”

One participant wrote that the school environment and culture “appears to be positive, nurturing and quite enthusiastic. It provides the setting for effective teaching and learning.”

Another wrote that “professionalism and collegiality are held in high regard and members of this school community work collaboratively to support student achievement.”

A student participant wrote “I believe the school is doing well in preparing us for our future and giving us the tools and skills that we need.”

There were also comments that highlighted areas of improvement, such as the “need to share information about curriculum with parents,” or that parents hope the schools will “continue to communicate and educate parents about Standards Based Grading.” One participant expressed a desire to see “more emphasis on social/emotional learning and training for staff to support students.”

Brummett said the ThoughtExchange was done in order to gain feedback and make appropriate adjustments, while including “all community members, faculty, staff, and students.”

“What we’re going to do next is begin what’s called our ‘vision of the graduate’ work,” said Brummett.

She explained that this would entail “going to every faculty meeting in the district and sharing with all teachers what we’re trying to do.”

“We’re going to open it up to community members to kind of look at what do we want to see our kids have for their skill set upon graduation. And, it’s more than just the academic skills, we’re going to get into critical thinking skills and creativity and innovation,” said Brummett. “We’re going to update and revise the strategic plan based on the vision of the graduate work, and, the ThoughtExchange results will also inform some of the updates to the strategic plan.”

Results of the ThoughtExchange survey are available on the Plainville Community Schools website, www.plainvilleschools.org.

To comment on this story or to contact staff writer Taylor Murchison-Gallagher, email her at TMurchison@BristolObserver.com.