By Lyah Fitzpatrick,
Clicking on the link her teacher shared during advisory period, senior Jairi Diaz finds an online page labeled “Youth Truth Survey.” Like the rest of Davis High, she answers over 100 multiple choice questions ranging from mental health to academics, and submits.
But where does that information go? According to Tom Adams, trustee for the Davis Joint Unified School District School Board, survey summaries are presented at board meetings and made public. DJUSD school climate coordinator Kate Snow says the results are also directly released to school principals.
“What’s really important about surveys is they aren’t always your answers, they really are a place to come up with the right questions for answering,” Snow said.
This year, a new section of the survey focused on distance learning. “Definitely we want to understand what will be the needs of students as we come out of distance learning and return to campus,” Adams said.
In the past, Youth Truth Survey results have inspired a number of initiatives. For one, Adams claims, social-emotional results have helped counselors target student needs. More specifically, the survey revealed that students in transitional grade levels such as seventh and tenth grade experience the most social trouble.
Adams also claims that “many students were wanting more and more research resources,” which led to an advance in career technical education.
As a climate committee member, Snow has also noticed some effects of the survey.
She says that seven years ago, survey results showed that individuals whose sexual orientation differed from their biological sex felt less safe on campus. In response, the climate committee invited DHS’s Gay Straight Alliance club to a meeting.
“That was a significant part of the push to really change the health curriculum,” Snow said. GSA discussed expanding the curriculum to include more discussion on gender. The climate committee invited the curriculum director to enact their ideas.
In the survey, there are multiple questions regarding teacher involvement and relationships to students. Snow says that in 2017, the compassion of teachers was directly correlated with student academic achievement.
The climate committee asked themselves, “Is there something we can encourage teachers to do?” A few years ago, Diaz saw a shift in teacher attitude. “I think maybe once that they got feedback that teachers weren’t super involved, and I think some of my teachers started talking to the class more,” Diaz said.
To access survey results, contact Snow through email at email@example.com.