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At the board meeting on Wednesday, February 22, representatives from Y2 Analytics presented to the school board. They shared the results of a scientific survey completed to inform the school board as they run the process of hiring a new superintendent. The presentation is included in this post for anyone interested to view.
Sampling, Mode and Margin of Error
- A total of 1,599 respondents participated in this online survey. Respondents included 602 District residents and 997 PCSD staff.
- Interviews were collected from January 19th to February 2nd, 2023
- Residents’ data were weighted to reflect population statistics from the U.S. Census to ensure that their responses are representative of Provo City at large, specifically regarding sex, age, and race.
- Margin of error: +/-4.0 percentage points
- While many are satisfied with the district’s overall performance, a large share (particularly among district residents) are unsure of how the District is performing, indicating opportunity for greater public outreach and communication.
- Half of district residents indicate that they do not know whether the district is headed in a positive or negative direction and 1-in-5 indicate that they don’t know if the District is accomplishing its vision. District staff are far more likely than residents to provide positive evaluations and are also less likely to indicate that they lack information about the district’s performance.
- Supporting teachers and bolstering student success are the top two highest priorities for both residents and staff.
- When asked about their concerns for the district, the majority of respondents select teacher and staff compensation as one of their top three concerns, followed by student preparation for future success. Similarly, when asked to rate District values by level of importance, student growth and development, student academic achievement, and teacher support rise to the top of the list, both for district staff and residents.
- Staff and residents alike also indicate that having a superintendent who works with teachers to ensure student success, understands teacher needs, and prioritizes student achievement are among their most important priorities to superintendent-staff interactions.
- The most important superintendent qualities are moral character, leadership skills, and effective communication.
- Both residents and staff rate moral character, leadership, and understanding the community among the most important qualities they hope to see in a new superintendent. In addition, residents prioritize having someone who respects parents and uses evidence-based methods. Staff, on the other hand, prioritize someone who respects different points of view.
- Residents and staff desire transparency from the district and community involvement–both in hiring process and future decision-making.
- The majority of respondents say that staying up-to-date on the hiring process is important to them, and most staff indicate that this is very important. When asked about aspects of community interactions that are important to them, transparency rises to the top of the list–both in terms of general policy and decision-making, and budget decisions. Respondents similarly report that they would like the superintendent to communicate honestly with the community and listen.
Vision for the District
Many Unsure of the Direction the District is Going
Nearly half of residents say they “don’t know” enough to say whether the District is headed in the right or wrong direction, indicating opportunity for greater public outreach and communication. Among those who do express an opinion, the majority say the District is headed in the right direction. This is true for District staff as well. When asked about the most important issues facing the district, respondents cite lack of teachers, teacher training and pay, and quality of education.”
Most Say District is Achieving Its Vision, Some Unsure
Among District staff, just over half (56%) say the district is doing good or better at achieving its vision. Residents are less likely to say the same, with 35% rating the district’s performance as good or excellent. A significant proportion (18%) of residents indicate that they do not know enough about the District to make an evaluation.
Compensation Top Concern for Staff & Residents
The majority of respondents (57%) select teacher and staff compensation as one of their top three concerns, followed by student preparation for future success. Compared to staff, residents are slightly less likely to select compensation as a top concern.
Student Success & Teacher Support Most Important
Of the district values posed to respondents, student growth and development, student academic achievement, and teacher support are ranked among the top three priorities by at least 2 in 3 of respondents each.
District Performs Average or Better on Its Values
Respondents say the district is performing average or better on its values, with the highest marks given to student academic achievement (48% good or excellent). The value with the poorest performance rating is teacher support (31% good or excellent), followed by transparency, and parental involvement.
Residents are far more likely than district staff to say they “don’t know” how the District is performing on these values. Parental involvement, student growth and development, student academic achievement are rated lower by residents in Provo HS boundaries. Residents in Timpview HS boundaries are more likely to give below-average ratings for transparency.
Superintendent Search Criteria
Character & Leadership Most Important Traits
When asked to select which qualities they think are important for the superintendent to have, the vast majority of respondents –both among residents and staff— select moral character. Leadership and communication skills and respecting different points of view are also selected as important qualities.
Residents in Provo HS boundaries are more likely to prioritize qualities such as moral character (27%), understanding the community (16%), and sharing their values (12%) as most important while those in Timpview HS boundaries are more likely to say that using evidence-based methods (16%) is most important.
Student and Teacher Success Highest Priorities
Nearly all survey respondents consider it very important for the superintendent to stay informed about the issues facing teachers and staff and working with them to improve student success. Improving student success is selected as the most important quality by over 1 in 3 respondents.
Residents and Staff Share Top Priority
When asked about the qualities they consider to be most important, both residents and staff select working with teachers to ensure student success as their top priority. As a secondary priority, staff are significantly more likely than residents to say that staying informed on teacher needs is most important to them and residents are more likely to prioritize student achievement.
Residents in Provo HS boundaries are more likely to identify working with teachers to improve student success as a top priority. (44%) Those in Timpview HS boundaries are more likely to prioritize accepting criticism and feedback (16%) and having equal consideration for all schools (12%).
Visibility to Staff Seen as Important
When asked about qualities they would like to see in superintendent-staff relations, many staff request that the superintendent visibly and regularly interact with teachers. Along with a desire for more frequent interactions, staff mentioned a need for leadership, respect, empathy, collaboration, and communication.
Search Process & Community Involvement
Staff Highly Invested in Hiring Updates
Nearly all respondents say receiving updates on the hiring process is at least somewhat important, but staff are more likely to say it’s very important to them. Email is the most preferred source of information, both for staff and residents. In addition to email, staff express interest in receiving updates via the district website and newsletter.
Community Wants Someone Who is Transparent & Listens
When asked about qualities they would like to see in superintendent-community interactions, respondents cite transparency, honesty, as well as visibility and accessibility to the community. In addition, respondents cite the need for a superintendent who listens and makes decisions in the best interest of the students.
Transparency Most Important for Community
When asked about priorities for interacting with the community, respondents are most likely to select answers relating to transparency as being “very important.” In addition, transparency about the district’s decision-making process is selected as the most important quality by nearly 40% of respondents. Other common responses include transparency about district finances and regular communication form the district.
Parents and Staff Differ in Priorities
When asked about the qualities they consider to be most important, staff are significantly more likely than residents to say that transparency in the district’s decision-making process and regular updates from the district are most important to them. By comparison, residents are more likely to prioritize transparency about finances and collaboration with parents.
- Male 43%
- Female 57%
- White 90%
- Black 1%
- Asian 1%
- Pacific Islander 1%
- Other 3%
- 18-24 27%
- 25-34 22%
- 35-44 13%
- 45-54 14%
- 55-64 11%
- 65+ 13%
- Some high school or less <1%
- Some College 17%
- College graduate 34%
- Vocation school or technical school 2%
- Married 77%
- Single 13%
- Divorced 6%
- Widowed 2%
- Living with partner 1%
- Under $35,000 6%
- $35,000-49,999 8%
- $50,000-74,999 12%
- $75,000-99,999 17%
- $100,000-124,999 15%
- $125,000-149,999 8%
- $150,000-199,999 9%
- $200,000 or more 8%
- Prefer not to answer 17%
Number of Kids at Home
- None 46%
- 1 9%
- 2 16%
- 3 16%
- 4 9%
- 5 or more 5%
School District Relationship
- Respondent has children/grandchildren in school district
- Yes 87%
- No 13%
- Type of school children/grandchildren attend
- Provo City school District school 86%
- Charter school 11%
- Home school 6%
- Private school 4%
- Children/grandchildren grade level
- Elementary school 70%
- High School 46%
- Junior High 39%
- PTA/community council member or district volunteer
- No 80%
- Yes 20%
- District Employee Status
- District employee 2%
- Member of household employee 5%
- Friend employee 24%
- Not employee 70%