Recognition of Available Services to the School Community

Many bilingual students at West Roxbury High, particularly those that have been with us for only 1-2 years, have been inquiring about different programs and services available to them after school. It was interesting to learn that the students were unaware of the extra curricular programs and services already in existence at our school. Information was not getting to our students and their families. We needed to address this issue. After discussions with both teachers and students it became obvious that some of our bilingual students were not well informed regarding the opportunities and services available to them during the school year.

Discussions begun in an ESL 4 class and it was decided to create a survey to find out what kind of information was available as well as needed by the community. This idea was discussed and evaluated both from an operational perspective but also from a potential benefits perspective. In other words, should we do it? If yes, how and what would we?, what would the students gain from it?

This idea was discussed with other ESL and regular education teachers. They decided to join this effort and asked their respective students to complete the survey. During these discussions, the same student issues were identified as well as the potential benefits of the survey and potential follow up work. However, one other interesting aspect of this issue was also identified How much did parents know about opportunities available to their children? The decision was made to develop surveys for the students as well as the parents to assess the current level of knowledge, identify opportunities to improve involvement, and find perhaps ways/methods for implementation of new proposals.

There were two clear objectives; a) to find out what the students knew and how they learned about the programs and opportunities available at West Roxbury High; b) to find out how parents can learn the same information and support their students in taking advantage of these opportunities?

Mrs. Stavrianidis' ESL 4 classes undertook the challenge to talk with fellow students and teachers about the development of the survey. Logistics on how to proceed were then established. How to develop a survey, where can they obtain information about surveys, what type of questions and how they should be worded, what might be the potential disadvantages of a long survey, how many questions should be asked, etc. The students actively sought information from their teachers, the internet, and guest speakers with expertise and experience in survey development. The process took about a month and two surveys were created.

Student Data Collection from Surveys
120 student surveys were distributed and 82% were returned. The findings are as follows:

Student Survey Questions and Responses:

  1. Do you feel welcome at West Roxbury High School?
    94 said YES: 4 said NO
  2. What did you think of American schools when you lived in Haiti? Have your perceptions changed or remained the same?
    98 said their perceptions have changed
  3. Do you feel comfortable at West Roxbury High?
    96 said YES; 2 said NO
  4. Do have any problems fitting in?
    96 said NO; 2 said YES
  5. Are you having difficulties learning English?
    62 said NO; 36 said YES
  6. Do you think education is important for success in the USA
    98 said YES
  7. Do you need help learning English?
    62 said YES; 36 said NO
  8. Do you know about after school help at West Roxbury High?
    71 said NO;
  9. Do you know what West Roxbury High staff/groups offer emotional and/or physical help?
    98 said NO
  10. List some skills you need to enjoy school success.
    Focused, be attentive in class, do homework, study, read books, be active in school activities, practice English, be respectful, ask for help, know how to manage your time, don't study the last minute, have good attendance and participate in class.

Parent Survey Results

A total of 120 surveys were given to parents of which 67 were returned. The parent survey questions and responses were:

  1. How much time does your child spend in front of the TV?
    The range was from 3 to 6 hours per day. However, 52 respondents said they did not know how much time.
  2. Do you ask your child about his/her progress in school?
    60 said YES
  3. Do you see his/her homework or tests each week?
    62 said NO
  4. Do you know all the activities and help that exist after school for your child?
    58 said NO
  5. Do you know if your child is involved in any activities or classes after school?
    30 said YES, 27 were not sure
  6. How often do you come to school to ask about your child's progress? (circle one)
    1. 10 said once a month
    2. No one said never
    3. 28 said during open house
    4. 29 said when school calls me
  7. Do you feel comfortable visiting the school?
    All 67 respondents said YES
  8. Do you think visiting the school is important?
    60 said YES
  9. Are you satisfied with the effort your child puts in his/her school work?
    48 said YES
  10. What are some of the concerns you have about your child's education?
    Two major concerns:
    a) what support was in place to help the students pass the MCAS;
    b) what support exists for getting the students ready for college?

Survey results clearly identified one area of significant concern for the school community. Based on the responses to specific questions on both surveys, students, as well as parents, are not aware of after school programs available to students for both educational and emotional support. As a result, student participants have decided to create a handbook of after school services and activities for students and parents at West Roxbury High.

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