Roaring Fork High ranks low in district staff survey |

Roaring Fork High ranks low in district staff survey

Overall positive view of schools among district staff

Roaring Fork High School
Hal Williams Photography Inc. |

Teachers and staff in the Roaring Fork School District view their schools positively overall, according to a survey conducted in March, with one notable exception.

Roaring Fork High School in Carbondale received the lowest scores of the three area high schools.

Certified staff members (teachers and others whose job in school requires certification) were asked a series of questions to measure their individual school’s culture, strategic initiatives, community partnerships and academic excellence.

In nearly every measure, RFHS ranked below the district average.

Overall results of a staff survey of Roaring Fork School District employees in five categories of questions. ” From spring 2019 RFSD survey.
RFSD overall results

The survey sheds some light on recent discontent at RFHS, where some teachers and Carbondale community members have been critical of the school’s direction.

Current Principal Brett Stringer recently announced that he would step down as principal at the end of the academic year, noting in a letter to parents that his “transition into this community has not been easy.”

Despite low favorability in nearly every category, a majority of RFHS teachers still said they would recommend the school as a good place to work (60 percent), and a good place for students to learn (79 percent).

But, that was below the districtwide averages for the same question.

Throughout the district, 85 percent of staff surveyed said they would recommend their school as a good place to work, and 92 percent would recommend their school as a good place for students to learn.

The lowest ranking category for RFHS was academic excellence, with 21 percent answering survey questions around that category favorably. Only the top two positive responses to a question factored as “favorable” in the survey.

Three survey questions in that category touched on:

• The balance of “instructional, collaborative and preparation time” in the school’s schedule (8 percent favorable);

• How often data is used to improve student learning (23 percent favorable); and,

• How well the school communicates expectations to students and parents (31 percent favorable).

Roaring Fork High School staff responses to survey on “Academic Excellence.” From spring 2019 RFSD survey.
Roaring Fork High School academic excelence survey result

The survey, conducted by Panorama Education in March, includes responses from 80 percent of staff across the district, or 363 employees. A total of 26 teachers and staff at RFHS answered the survey.

Crew less effective in high schools

At all three high schools — Roaring Fork, Glenwood Springs and Basalt — some of the lowest results on the survey had to do with professional development and the benefits of what’s known as Crew.

Crew is a dedicated time of day where students meet in small groups, supervised by an adult, and focus on developing character skills, what the district refers to as “Habits of a Scholar,” and “social-emotional learning and academic goal-setting.”

Throughout all district schools, 53 percent of staff surveyed answered favorably that Crew “(enhanced) academic goal-setting, character development and positive school culture.”

Within high schools, however, teachers appear to have a less favorable opinion of Crew than the districtwide average. At Roaring Fork high school, 24 percent responded favorably. At Basalt High, 19 percent of staff respondents had a positive outlook on Crew, and at Glenwood Springs High, only 13 percent.

In determining the favorability within the survey, the district did not consider neutral responses, like “somewhat well” or “somewhat agree,” as positive.

Editor’s note: This story has been corrected to reflect accurate data on responses to the Crew survey questions and to clarify a “favorable” rating in the survey questions around academic excellence.

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