Kanawha schools survey finds need for improved communications

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Kanawha schools survey finds need for improved communications
By Laura Haight, Daily Mail Staff

Kanawha County teachers, parents, community members and high school students are calling for better communication throughout the school district, a recent survey has found.

The results from the Kanawha County Schools Management Retreat Survey Analysis presented at a special session of the board Monday reiterated the need for improvement. About 150 were invited to the retreat, with 91 in attendance, including teachers, parents, community members and high school students. Communication was their biggest concern, with 32 percent saying they saw some progress but there could have been more. Keeping social media and school apps updated were discussed as ways to enhance interaction between the district and the public. One-third of those responding said they believed a communications director would be an efficient means of facilitating positive, improved contact with the media.

Board President Robin Rector also spoke of the need for updating individual school websites. Technology Director Leah Sparks said the system will be moving to a new platform that she hoped would be easier to use. However, she said, “time is probably the biggest barrier.” In a data survey of students in grades 3 to 12, 86 percent of Kanawha students said they use computers daily in the classroom as opposed to 46 percent at the beginning of the school year. The national average is only 53 percent.

“They’re really starting to use it and honestly, that’s thanks to the teachers,” Sparks said. “They really have jumped on and worked hard to create those activities and help our students use the technology.”

In other business, the board approved out-of-state travel for all teachers but two from Nitro High School. The two would be traveling to the Academy of Scholastic Broadcast in Springfield, Mo., which would include a workshop for journalism and teaching digital media in the classroom. Although the out-of-state travel for the two teachers is fully covered by project funds, Pete Thaw requested more information on the travels since the academy may not be directly related to a specific class taught at Nitro High School.

 “It’s not confederate money that’s paying; it’s United States currency that’s paying,” Thaw said. “Why do we let things like this go?”

The board will vote again on the two teachers after they gather more information about the trip. The board approved an easement for a sanitary sewer line, pump station control panel and emergency generator for temporary construction within the Greater St. Albans Public Service District. The board also approved Monika Jaensson and Cheryl Morgan for a six-year term as directors of the Kanawha County Public Library.