TURNER — Maine School Administrative District 52 survey data reflects growth in the school climate compared to the first survey issued in March 2022, Superintendent Cari Medd told the School Board last week.

The most recent survey was conducted last December.

The district conducted the first survey in the spring of 2022 and issues one annually to monitor school climate, according to Medd at the Feb. 8 meeting. School personnel, families and students in grades 3 to 12 are surveyed. The data is used for creating and monitoring school goals.

Overall, staff thinks peer/adult relations have increased in many schools compared to the 2022 poll. Middle and high school students overall rated adult social support higher during this school year’s survey compared to the 2022 survey. Overall, families rated the schools’ climates higher during this school year’s survey compared to the 2022 survey.

However, the data suggests that the perception of school safety has decreased among families in some schools, Medd said. She said it is an area identified as needing improvement. More parents participated in the survey this time and overall the results show universal growth in all schools.

Board member Anthony Shostak opposed the ethnicity section of the survey, which asked people if they were Hispanic. He called it an unconscionable way to ask that question and asked why it did not ask for other ethnicities, such as Wabanaki. He said that section should have a comprehensive list of ethnicities or be a write-in only section. He asked if there was a way to let the Center on Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports know about his suggestion.

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The ethnicity question is on the survey because it is a subgroup that might have a different experience than other groups in the district, Medd said. It is similar to asking parents if their child has in Individualized Education Program (IEP plan) or disability, because those groups might be experiencing education in the district differently. Having that information might help identify patterns among different groups.

Chairman Joseph McLean said the survey was drafted and processed by the Center on Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports. It crafts questions in a certain way to ensure that useful data is gathered.

Board member Peter Ricker asked if there was a change in any of the identified subgroups compared to the last survey results.

Medd said she did notice some changes in that data but did not have that information in front of her to speak further.

Ricker also requested a copy of the survey questions.

Earlier in the meeting, board members approved the second reading of changes to the Harassment and Sexual Harassment of Students and Regulations, Student Discrimination/Harassment and Title IX Sexual Harassment Complaint Procedures. The revisions are not substantial, Medd said. The Policy Committee recommended the changes 2-1, with Shostak voting against the changes.

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Most of the policy is dictated by federal government guidelines and procedures laid out that schools must follow when a student reports harassment or discrimination, she said. There are many places in the policy that require communication with families regarding a claim or allegation and Medd went through the policy at the meeting highlighting those areas.

There are very few instances in which the school district would not tell a parent that a report has been made to the Department of Health and Human Services regarding their child, she said. Exceptions may include if the parent or guardian is the person being reported.

“These rules are, I will say, excessively explicit,” she said. “… And these are all federal government requirements.”

In other business, board members unanimously approved the first reading of a new policy, Distribution of Non-School Materials, which outlines what types of materials that can be sent home with students.

Materials allowed include communication from district and school staff, notices for school-sponsored activities and programs for students and parents, notices about activities and programs offered by affiliates of MSAD 52 and notices from town, state or federal agencies regarding programs for students.

Building principals can designate a bulletin board where notices can be posted for nonprofit community activities or events that students or parents may be interested in.

Board member Jaime Johnson said the policy was referenced in the Staff Participation in Politics policy, so the Curriculum/Policy Committee decided to pull it out for discussion and consideration as a policy. There were administrators at the committee meeting when it was discussed and they supported it and stated that nonschool materials were already being handled that way in schools.

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