Archived Story

Survey to begin this week on proposed Albert Lea school calendar

Published 9:28am Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Phone calls will begin this week on a needs assessment survey to discern what the public thinks about the proposed calendar, Albert Lea Area Schools Superintendent Mike Funk said Monday.

At a special workshop of the school board, Funk explained that the Springsted Inc., the entity giving the survey, will begin calling people in their targeted demographic within the week.

Springsted Inc. has gathered demographic information for the school district and will attempt to match that demographic as it delivers its surveys.

There will only be two questions related to the proposed calendar in the survey. The survey operator will ask if the survey taker favors or opposes the proposed calendar. Then, the operator will give some facts and ask the taker if, after knowing some of the facts, they favor, oppose or have no opinion on the proposed calendar.

This survey will take about 10 minutes, Funk said.

The other questions in the survey will ask about district interaction, what people think is important in the schools and if the high school is doing a good job preparing students, among others.

Funk said the survey will do a good job in getting a handle of what people think of the district.

Springsted Inc. will take about eight to 10 days to get the information processed, but it all depends on how long it takes to gather the surveys.

Funk said someone from Springsted Inc. could be at the regular August meeting or the September workshop to go over the results.

Many of the school board members were surprised at how quickly the results would be returned.

The same firm completed a survey of the community in 2007 and 2002, so Funk said they will be able to see certain trends and how the district has changed or not.

In other business, the school board:

• Discussed a YouthTrust student survey. Funk gave an overview of the YouthTrust student survey and how it can be used to evaluate teachers.

Thirty-five percent of a teacher’s evaluation must be data, and the Minnesota Department of Education approved YouthTrust surveys as part of that data. The survey will focus on how engaged students are in their classes at school.

After students take a 15- to 20-minute survey, data is gathered and summarized by subject, teacher, grade level and race or ethnicity. This survey can be given once a year for $2,500 per building or once a semester — twice a year — for $6,200 per building. Funk said the school district would start with just the high and middle schools.

Funk said he is meeting with the Albert Lea Education Association today to discuss the survey and possible implementation for next school year.

• Approved a resolution to create an ad hoc committee for the purpose of negotiating contracts for superintendent and independent directors.

• Appointed Bill Leland as the ad hoc committee chairman and Julie Johnson as an ad hoc committee member.