Building Stronger Relationships

Youth View™ Survey initiates better staff-student relations

When partners within Summit County act on data to help us move the needle toward widespread student success, we can’t help but share their stories.

“Student success is more than test scores and grades,” says Dr. Matthew Deevers, senior research associate at Summit Education Initiative (SEI). “The Youth View™ Survey helps remind us of that.”

The Youth View™ is a validated social emotional survey SEI developed in 2012. It measures student achievement motivations, aspirations and school climate perceptions.

Because strong staff-student relationships positively contribute to the success of students, one of the non-academic indicators SEI measures on the Youth View™ is the quality of relationships students have with the adults in their school.

youth view surveyIn December 2014, survey results from Stow-Munroe Falls High School indicated students felt they had weak relationships with adults. That’s when Principal Jeffrey Hartmann and Assistant Principals Evelyn Haught, Amanda Murray and Mark Treen challenged staff to improve their relations with students moving forward.

“We printed the entire school roster and posted it on a wall in the staff room,” Hartmann explains. “Then, we asked staff members to mark their initials next to the names of students with whom they had good relationships.”

Although not all staff participated, Hartmann and his staff captured some insight about the students who already had good relationships with adults at the high school. In December 2015, however, they decided to target students with low-scoring adult relationships in a new way.

“We digitized the process this time,” Hartmann says. “In a Google Doc, we asked staff members to type their initials next to names of students they typically see in the hallways between classes, in class or at after school activities and sporting events.”

Hartmann then encouraged staff to reach out to the students they see on a regular basis. Nearly every staff member participated.

“We were able to reduce the number of weak adult relationships on our spring 2016 Youth View™ results,” Hartmann says. “We made sure we were clear we wanted students’ honest feedback.”

Most recently, in November 2016, Stow-Munroe Falls High School began administering the Youth View™ during fourth period classes – when most students are inside the building and more likely to know their teacher – versus asking other teachers to administer the survey during homeroom.

stow-munroe falls schools

Stow-Munroe Falls City Schools

“Because homeroom is such a short period of time, there is little to no skin in the game on either end of the staff-student relationship,” Hartmann says, adding approximately 1,800 students participated in the Youth View™ in fall 2016. “Although it’s likely there will always be a certain percentage of students for which we can’t move the needle, that doesn’t stop us from finding a better way to analyze the information we receive from the survey.”

In addition to encouraging staff members to direct special attention to individual students, Stow-Munroe Falls High School administrators also created “student focus” groups in which teachers, administrators and counselors gather to focus on students who are struggling in school.

“We prefer to focus on the interplay of relationships, academic success and safety – all of which are really important to student success,” Hartmann says. “Youth View™ is a fantastic tool that demonstrates the linkage among all of those factors.”

Hartmann adds, “There are many good things about Youth View™. We just have to find a way to use it consistently.”

In fall 2016, more than 15,000 students – record-high participation – took the Youth View™ Survey for Schools, which SEI updated this year. We appreciate the Margaret Clark Morgan Foundation for funding the expansion of Youth View™ across Summit County after we initially introduced it to Akron Public Schools and a few suburban districts.

For more information about Youth View™, visit www.youthview.org.