When it comes to the public perception of Eastern Pulaski Schools, the corporation scores high for safety, security, and school-community connections, but there are some issues with shared decision-making, communication, and trust. That was the overall finding of a recent climate audit conducted by Sycamore Educational Consulting.
The process involved an online survey of students, parents, community members, and various categories of school employees, along with focus group sessions. Consultant Dr. Brad Balch discussed the results with the Eastern Pulaski School Board Monday.
He said the corporation’s perceived strengths are safety, security, and the quality of its facilities. “Now given the trauma that so many of our students are dealing with and the issues that come out of our homes, not only across the great Hoosier State but across this country, this is an enormous thing to serve for a point of pride,” Balch said, “because we have a lot of children and families who don’t feel safe in many, many schools and districts.” But he said a feeling of privilege permeates the district’s culture, specifically the feeling that how students are treated depends on who they are or who they know.
Balch recommended a few areas for potential improvement: He suggested reviewing all levels of communication, including face-to-face. School officials should also try to be more consistent in how they apply rules and practices. Balch also recommended that the school corporation try to boost morale and look at ways to improve trust and professional relationships. Finally, the school board might also consider sharing knowledge and decision-making with other stakeholders.
Superintendent Dan Foster felt that all of Balch’s recommendations were accomplishable. “Yes, some of the things, not going to happen overnight,” he said. “We know that. But if we can start funneling that together to create a plan and let people feel like they’ve been part of it, that’s where these guys come in.”
Board members discussed the possibility of putting together a nonvoting committee of various stakeholders that would help put together a three-to-five-year strategic plan.