Tulsa Public Schools released the results of a recent survey of nearly 1,400 teachers, principals and support staff about their perceptions related to school safety and discipline and the potential effect on student achievement in the classroom.
About 76 percent of TPS educators who participated said that most discipline problems in their school are caused by a small number of students. The number of students with serious chronic behavior or conduct problems per class most frequently ranged from two to four students.
Teachers and principals claiming few students with chronic behavior problems most often attributed it to: strong relationships with students (59.6 percent); high expectations (58.2 percent); consistent treatment of students (52.4 percent); classroom rules clearly posted (40.2 percent); and supportive principal and staff (34.5 percent).
"Teacher and leader effectiveness has gone a long way toward ensuring that we have the best teachers in TPS classrooms and the most effective leadership in our schools," said Dr. Keith Ballard, superintendent. "However, we also recognize there are barriers to student success. Anecdotally, teachers know that student misbehavior can be a major distraction in the classroom and take valuable time away from students who are focused on learning. This survey has provided us with valuable feedback on teacher and principal perceptions of the environment in their school and in the classroom. I am encouraged by the fact that our teachers generally feel supported and empowered by the leadership in their buildings. By making some adjustments in how we respond to a handful of students with chronic behavior issues, we have an opportunity to positively impact student achievement."
Other survey findings include:
|Discipline issue/type||Occurs in Own Classroom (percent)||Occurs in School (percent)|
|Dress code violations||37.20||49.5|
|Destruction of school property||12.3||20.5|
"I am quite pleased with the information we collected from nearly 1,400 teachers, principals and support staff in the district," said Dr. Phyllis Lovett, associate superintendent of elementary schools and co-chair of the School Safety & Discipline Committee that commissioned the survey. "We have come up with a preliminary list of recommendations, some which are short-term and others that are more long-term and may require funding. I believe our district has a moral responsibility to remove behavior distractions so all of our children can reach their full potential."
The survey was conducted from Jan. 14-25, 2013. Nearly 1,400 teachers, principals, certified and support staff -- 1,391 respondents in all -- participated in the survey that included 35 questions. About 84 percent of the participants were teachers; 10.6 percent were "other certified staff"; 3 percent were uncertified support staff; and 2.7 percent were principals. There was good representation among all grade levels, both primary and secondary. The majority of respondents had class sizes ranging from 20-24 students (33.5 percent) and 25-29 students (26.0 percent). Thirty-eight percent of respondents have worked 16 years or more in education, 26.3 percent from 5-10 years, 18.8 percent from 11-15 years, 10.6 percent from 2-4 years and six percent were first-year teachers.
Serving on the Safety & Discipline Committee are co-chairs Dr. Phyllis Lovett, associate superintendent for elementary schools; Dr. Oliver Wallace, associate superintendent for secondary schools; and Lynn Stockley, president of the Tulsa Classroom Teachers Association. Other members include Stephanie Andrews, Katrena Blackwood, Ginger Bunnell, Laura Butler, Oliver Crain, Mike Crase, Jessica Criswell, Linda Geier, Jennifer Gripado, Jessica Haight, Tasha Johnson, Christopher Mahnken, Liz Martin, Linda Mix, Elaine Reusser, Gary Rudick, Amanda Shimp, Tanya Smith, Jean Swanson, Angie Teas, Matthew Trosper, Tenna Whitsel and Geoffrey Woodson.