Every year in the spring, students are encouraged to take the Climate Survey to help administrators determine what changes, if any, would benefit the school, and also to gauge how students feel at BHS.
This year, while the Spring Survey will still be given, teachers will be required to give each of their students a chance to give feedback regarding anything from the classroom environment to quality of teaching methods.
“Instead of just getting end-of-the-year data, why not do a formative assessment in the classroom setting and ask questions after each class,” said Principal Mark Mischke, “ this way teachers can get feedback on their individual classes. Some of the questions will be the same as the ones on the end of the year survey, some will be departmental, and some will be individual.”
After the surveys are collected teachers will then, according to Mischke, have a chance to look at the results and decide what to do with it for themselves.
“This isn’t going to be Big Brother,” said Mischke, “We’re just going to get data. So the English department [for example] will give surveys in class and then on grading days they’ll meet and look at the data for themselves. The only person who sees the [full] survey is the teacher. They get to keep the actual surveys to themselves.”
While student surveys in the past have shown that most students at Buffalo feel very positively about the environment they are in, Mischke seems to think there is always room to improve.
Students and teachers alike seem open to the idea, but there are also those who have reservations.
“I do think there will be teachers who take what students have to say and use it,” said Senior Katelyn Miller, “but there are some teachers who won’t.”
While some teachers may not use the information they gather, at least one will.
“[The surveys] are really going to depend on students and how they choose to use this opportunity,” said band director Scott Rabehl. “Some students might go ‘That teacher gave me a ‘C’ one time,’ and then put ones down the column.”
Though completely willing to give surveys and use the data gathered, Rabehl hopes they won’t affect his classroom too much during the course of the year.
“I do the best job I can possibly do as a teacher,” said Rabehl. “I try to meet the expectations that students, and parents, and administrators have for me, as well as the standards I set for myself as a teacher and musician. I do my best, so ideally the information I get from the survey won’t have to affect my class at all.”
While the administration hopes other teachers will be willing to use the information they gather, as Rabehl is, in the end, it will lie in the hands of individual teachers to utilize student comments.
“I think it’s a good idea,” said Senior Marissa Meyers. “We are the ones learning, so we should have some say.”
Skeptical or not, students will have a more active role in their classrooms this year.