CADDO PARISH, La. (KSLA) - The Caddo School District has released its findings in a community survey the district sent out in early 2021.
The district says through the community input process, it received over 2,200 responses, or more than 80% of the district’s parents.
Caddo Superintendent Dr. Goree says the district also hosted several small group settings
“At the end of the last school year, we completed a 5 year strategic plan that we were very excited about,” Dr. Goree said. “We thought it was a plan we completed with success. Many of the goals we made 7 years ago and back at the beginning of that we recognized and appreciated that it’s important that the community has a voice in the development of a strategic plan. People tend to support things they feel they have a voice in and because of that with this strategic plan we knew it was very important to find a way to bring the community voice into the plan as we developed it. Just so we know those things that are most needed in our community and the areas we need to spend that quality time and make sure that we are meeting those goals.”
Overall, the district officials say they’re moving in the right direction and there is renewed trust in the superintendent, school board, and the administration.
“We are very excited, especially after you complete a 5-year strategic plan that, there is an overwhelming belief that we are progressing in the right direction for our children,” Dr. Goree said. “At the same time, I think there is a voice that shows us those areas where there still are concerns and give us an opportunity to stretch ourselves to develop initiatives and action steps around those district priorities that lead to greater success when we complete this plan.”
Community members, when responding to the survey, said their main concerns are academics, student mental health, parental involvement, and equity.
Issues that were commonly brought up were learning gaps among the students and students behind in the curriculum, burnout, and morale of teachers and principals, as well as the mental health of students and staff and the curriculum.
“I do believe things like access to a Chromebook, laptop, iPad, whatever that device may be has become critical,” Dr. Goree said. “I think that access to high speed internet has become the new clean water, it’s something that has to become a right to everyone and we have to treat it as such. Early on in the pandemic, we quickly recognized the need to expand upon our mental health support. We really partnered with the community foundation to bring in mental health counselors so that we could set up telemedicine-type setting that we were using a lot in the beginning so we could provide that support to our staff. We also have an employee assistance program that has been very busy helping our employees deal with issues that have come to surface because of the pandemic and the stress that it has put so many people under. We also have the same extended services to our students on campus.”
Dr. Goree says they have seen an increase in staff utilizing the telehealth provided by the district.
Other issues include parent and student accountability, equity among schools, and teacher absenteeism, retention and coverage.
The district says with these survey results, its next steps will be working with departments to create initiatives and action steps incorporating the community’s feedback, assessing the budget implications of potential new initiatives and actions, completing a 2021-2024 District Strategic Plan and then submitting it to CPSB for approval in May.