AYERSVILLE — Ayersville Elementary principal Beth Hench shared data from a community survey regarding the COVID-19 shutdown of the school this spring, with the Ayersville Local Board of Education on Monday evening.

The board also hired a new athletic director (see related story, Page B1), and approved pay to participate fees for extra- and co-curricular activities (see related story, Page A1).

After handing out information on the survey to members of the board, Hench shared the survey went out via school Messenger email to 597 recipients, and that 139 responses (23%) were collected. The survey addressed four areas: technology, remote learning assignments, communication and future plans of parents.

“We decided that at the end of our shutdown that we needed feedback, not only from our community, but from our staff as well,” said Hench. “We put together two surveys, and the information we received from the staff survey focused more on professional development and expectations from the administration.

“The survey I’m sharing with you tonight is the community survey,” added Hench. “What you’ll see are a whole lot of numbers, so what we put together is in summary form so that everyone can easily understand the data.”

What the survey found as far as technology, is that 86 respondents used their own personal computers to do their school work, while 64 used a device issued from the school. The majority of homework was submitted using Google Classroom, with a handful submitting work via paper packets.

When asked about time spent doing remote learning assignments, 35% of students in grades K-6 worked from 30-60 minutes, with 35% working one to two hours on assignments. For students in grades 7-12, 39% replied one to two hours, while 34% replied more than two hours. Hench shared the goal was 30 minutes per assignment.

“We feel we have some work to do if we find ourselves in the same situation this year,” said Hench.

In all, 68% said academic expectations were just right, while 52% said the assignments were well organized.

In the communication survey, 44% said the teacher-level communication was good, with 63% saying that staff/teacher communication took place outside of the lesson activities at least once a week. However, 33% said staff/teachers did not communicate outside of the lesson activities at all.

As far as building-level communication, 50% said communication was good, while 40% thought district-level communication was very good. As far as communication style preferences, email was how most communication took place, with respondents saying they preferred email the most as far as communication.

Said Hench: “We feel we can do better, and we as an administrative team will make sure we are clear about expectations.”

Finally, respondents said that as far as the future, 92% would send their child/children to school for face-to-face instruction; 6% said they are not comfortable with sending their kids back to school; and 1% said they will home school their child/children.

In all, 81% was the overall satisfaction score for the remote learning experience provided by the district during the shutdown.

“So what are the takeaways from this?” asked Hench. “We need to be prepared to do this, and do this better, especially if it happens like it did this past spring, which was almost overnight. It’s going to be important to get devices in the hands of students, and we have to have professional development so we are better prepared.”

Said board president Char Ondrus: “Thank you for this information, it was very helpful.”

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