Lockport High School officials are using the results of a recent student perception survey to come up with ways to help students perform better academically and have a nicer high school experience.
While his students already do very well, Principal Frank Movalli said the school staff conducted the survey in February to see how students view the school and what they feel about the way their courses are delivered and what life is like at Lockport High.
"We gave the kids 98 statements about the school and asked them to measure each one on a one to four scale to give us an indication of what they feel is good or bad about school," Movalli said.
"It contained statements like, 'I know what's expected of me in my classes,' with a ranking of one meaning no and a four meaning absolutely yes," he said. "That was on there because it's a big indicator of achievement. If a kid doesn't know what's expected of him, he doesn't know what he needs to do to do well."
Movalli said the survey posed questions like that "so if we get an average response we feel is bad, we can find ways to improve the situation and help our kids out."
The school fared well on that issue, with an average 3.4 ranking out of a possible four.
Movalli said his staff may find ways to help the 11 percent of the student body that doesn't feel in touch with what's expected of them.
"Maybe we should develop a Web page or give a handout once a month to students to make sure they have their assignments and other information, so they know what's expected of them. Maybe writing assignments on the board in class isn't enough. Maybe students are absent for class and never see the assignment," Movalli said.
He said the staff has to consider these things because it will "give us an idea on how to be consistent in delivering effective instruction," which should improve student performance.
Students didn't respond well to all survey statements and were neutral on many issues.
The survey statement "The restrooms are clean" received a 1.13 ranking, tied for last with the statement, "I would support the idea of a uniform for all LHS students."
In response, Movalli said school staff may try to have workers run through the bathrooms once during each school day to make sure they are clean, in addition to a nightly cleaning.
"We can try to improve student achievement by making the school environment better by cleaning the restrooms more frequently," Movalli said.
"We have the survey results and are starting to look at them as a faculty to develop ways to improve things in different areas," he added. "We've identified 14 key areas -- such as students knowing what's expected of them in class -- that studies have show are related to student performance. It also contains 84 other questions -- like the bathroom issue -- we feel are important to us when it comes to helping our students."
The survey shows many interesting student beliefs about their school situation. Among them, along with the average student score:
* In my classes I have the materials and equipment I need to do my work correctly -- 3.53.
* In my classes my opinions seem to count -- 2.26.
* I believe my teachers are experts in what that teach -- 2.39.
* About every week (regularly) I receive recognition or praise for doing good work from at least one of my teachers -- 2.22.
* There is at least one teacher at school who seems to care about me as a person -- 3.37.
* There is at least one teacher at school who regularly encourages my achievement (development) -- 2.98.
* My teachers regularly inform me how I am doing in my classes -- 2.19.
* Students at LHS take their school work seriously -- 1.65.
* Students treat each other with respect at LHS -- 1.42.
* I have best friends at LHS -- 3.82.
* Students talk to each other using acceptable language -- 1.55.
* LHS teachers respect all students -- 2.07.
* Administrators respect students -- 2.78.
* I can get extra help with my classes when I need it -- 3.08.
* Teachers don't play favorites; they treat all students fairly -- 1.60.
* If an emergency arises, I believe that teachers and administrators at LHS will protect me -- 2.64.
* I feel safe at LHS -- 2.57.
* I am satisfied with the quality of school lunches -- 1.80.
* I know in advance what my homework assignments are (will be) -- 1.91.
* I believe most students do their own work (do not cheat or copy) -- 1.63.
* I feel important at school in my classes, sports, extracurriculars. -- 2.42.
* As a result of going to this school, I believe I am learning and growing in important ways -- 2.67.
* LHS is meeting my expectations -- 2.47.
Movalli said the information is in.
"Now," he said "we are going to start collecting ideas on how to address each one of these things."