HPS High School Students Respond to District Survey
Nearly 1,600 HPS high school students have responded to an online survey emailed to them by schools last week. The questions touched on a range of topics about distance learning, from video conferencing to preferences for an alternative graduation. Several students submitted comments and questions for the Superintendent.
Students from 13 HPS schools participated in the survey. As of May 1, seniors were the largest group responding, comprising 28.4% of respondents, but freshman, sophomores and juniors were well represented.
When asked about teachers using Google Hangouts Meet to video conference with students, 59.1% said their teachers had used the platform to see and hear from students. Most agreed that being able to interact with their teachers and classmates in this way was helpful to their learning. But responses were mixed about whether or not students wanted to use Google Hangouts Meet in more of their classes, or if at all if they had not yet experienced it.
A majority of respondents – 56.2% — said yes to the opportunity to have a virtual recognition and celebration if a traditional graduation was not possible due to schools being closed and to rules about social distancing. When asked what a virtual event might include, students offered several ideas, including a video, a slideshow, awards, prom, their caps and gowns, an inspirational message, a famous speaker from Hartford, among others.
But many simply expressed the desire for a real graduation, even if it takes place over the summer or in the fall.
One student had a very specific variation in mind: “I had an idea about graduation along the lines of having the senior class show up for a ceremony, in which only the students show up, while practicing cdc guidelines, to accept their diploma and take videos to send to all of the students and their families in order for us to get the chance to walk the stage and have a semi normal diploma acceptance.”
Several students volunteered to serve on a taskforce to help the high school principals and the district come up with a plan. Such as taskforce is being created to develop ideas.
Dozens of questions were submitted at the end of the survey for the Superintendent. They ranged from the practical (“I have stuff in my locker, how and when will we be able to get our stuff?”) to big-picture questions (“are we having school next year???”).
The bulk of questions were about graduation options. A couple of students also shared the experience of being stressed with coursework, not wanting to be isolated anymore, or wanting more support around mental health.
During a virtual town hall with seniors this week, the Superintendent provided answers, and vowed to work with seniors and staff to give graduates the type of celebration they deserve. You can view the town hall here: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1nw3y7KV37dIGao3HyuUe530GcgYEfS0i/view.
To read the full survey and results, click here: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1yZbihuabm4xYo-GNUy8brfB1C-YOQzb_GMJSIAbp5ps/edit.