A lot has improved in terms of climate in Wilton’s public schools, but there’s still a lot of work to be done, Safe School Climate Coordinator Kim Zemo told the Board of Education during its June 23 meeting, when she presented the results of the district’s school climate surveys.

The results of the 2015 and 2016 student, faculty and parent surveys have been summarized in a report, which highlights items with increases in positive responses, as well as areas in need of improvement.

Miller-Driscoll


At Miller-Driscoll, the item with the greatest increase in positive response between 2015 and 2016 was in the percent of students who agreed that “in my class, we meet together to do activities and talk about our day.” In 2015, 55% of students agreed with this statement. In 2016, 81% agreed.

The second greatest increase in positive response was in the percent of first graders who reported that they enjoy being in the lunchroom. In 2015, the percent was 33%. In 2016, it was 78%.

Miller-Driscoll’s third-greatest increase in positive response was in the percent of faculty who agreed that “students are invited to offer ideas and suggestions for improving the school.” In 2015, the percent was 33%. In 2016, it was 67%.

Some other positive findings from Miller-Driscoll’s 2016 school climate survey include:


  • 96% of students and 99% of faculty agreed that teachers use Smartboards, online resources, and other learning technologist to help students learn.

  • 92% of students and 79% of faculty agreed that students get to create works of art at school.

  • 84% of students and 95% of faculty agreed that students are able to get extra help from their teachers if they need it.


One of the areas in need of improvement at Miller-Driscoll, according to the report, pertains to actions taken by adults to stop students from being mean to each other.

Cider Mill


Three school climate items at Cider Mill saw 21% increases between 2015 and 2016.

The first item was the percent of teachers who agreed that “students are invited to offer ideas and suggestions for improving Cider Mill.” In 2015, 64% of teachers agreed with this statement. In 2016, 85% agreed.

The second was the percent of respondents who agreed that there was “a written plan to make [the] school’s vision and mission a reality.” In 2015, the percent was 37%. In 2016, it was 58% — with 30-49% of respondents replying “not sure.”

The third was the percent of faculty who agreed that “Cider Mill has developed a vision or mission statement that describes what the school stands for and believes in.” In 2015, the percent was 55%. In 2016, it was 76%.

Other positive findings from Cider Mill’s 2016 school climate survey include:


  • 98% of students and 99% of faculty agreed that teachers use computers or Smartboards to help students learn.

  • 81% of students, 97% of faculty and 86% of parents said they feel that “they, or their child/children, are safe at Cider Mill.”

  • 87% of students, 95% of faculty and 89% of parents said they feel that teachers and Cider Mill help students learn how to improve their work.

  • 86% of students and 92% of faculty agreed that adults at Cider Mill teach students that they should treat all people with respect.


An area in need of improvement at Cider Mill, according to the report, deals with the “significant gaps” in students’ positive responses across grade levels, with fifth graders giving “considerably less positive” responses than students in third and fourth grade.

The report also identified a 21% gap between teacher and parent perceptions of whether teachers differentiate the ways they teach based on their students’ personal strengths, interests and needs. Eighty-two percent of faculty agreed with this statement, while only 61% of parents did.

Middlebrook


At Middlebrook School, one of the two items with the greatest increase in positive responses was the percent of students who agreed that they are invited to offer ideas and suggestions for improving the school. In 2015, 50% of students agreed with this statement. In 2016, 63% agreed.

The other item was the percent of students without plans for post-secondary education who agreed that “that things they are learning in school will help them reach future career and/or college goals.” In 2015, 41% agreed. In 2016, 54% agreed.

Middlebrook’s third-greatest increase in positive response was in the percent of students reporting that they “not very often or never see students saying mean or hurtful things online about peers.” In 2015, the percent was 54%. In 2016, it was 64%.

Some other positive findings from Middlebrook’s 2016 school climate survey include:


  • 92% of students and 78% of parents agreed that the school has developed a vision or mission statement that describes “what the school stands for, believes in and is striving to achieve.”

  • 91% of students, 99% of faculty and 83% of parents agreed that students are able to get extra help from teachers when they need it.

  • 87% of students, 96% of faculty and 92% of parents agreed that they “feel safe, or feel their children are safe” at Middlebrook.


According to the report, one of the areas in need of improvement at Middlebrook is the 22% gap between student and faculty perceptions regarding the statement that “students have at least one adult in the school that really cares about them and their education.” Compared to the 88% of faculty who agreed with this statement, only 66% of students agreed.

Another gap identified in the report was between faculty and students’ responses to the statement that “teachers take time to ask about students’ talents, interests, career and life goals, etc.” While 93% of faculty agreed with this, only 47% of students did — a 46% gap.

Wilton High School


At the high school, one of the two items with the greatest increase in positive responses was the percent of faculty who agreed that there is a written plan to make the school’s mission and vision a reality. In 2015, 47% of agreed with this statement. In 2016, 69% agreed.

The other item was the percent of faculty who agreed that “teachers and staff are invited to participate in decision-making about professional development opportunities.” In 2015, 17% agreed. In 2016, 38% agreed.

Wilton High School’s second-greatest increase in positive response was in the percent of faculty who said that they “support many of the new initiatives that [the school] has adopted over the past few years.” In 2015, the percent was 54%. In 2016, it was 65%.

Other positive findings from Wilton High School’s 2016 school climate survey include:


  • 84% of students, 98% of parents and 79% of parents agreed that students are able to get extra help from teachers when they need it.

  • 92% of students agreed that they school uses Smartboards, online resources, and other learning technologist to help students learn.


The report concluded that “stress among both students and teachers remains a problem” at the high school, with:

  • 44% of students agreeing that stress was a problem for them “always or almost always” at school.

  • 25% of students agreeing that stress was “often” a problem.



  • 17% of students agreeing that stress was “sometimes” a problem.


According to the report, female high school students reported higher levels of stress than male students by 15% overall.

The results of the high school parent survey revealed that only 19% agreed that stress was “always or almost always” a problem for their high school student, while 26% agreed that it was “often” a problem, and 36% agreed that it was “sometimes” a problem.

When it comes to high school faculty stress, 32% reported its being a problem “always or almost always,” 38% said “often,” and 20% said “sometimes.”

Click here to view the full survey report.