Leadership in Music

IMG_1133The Garretson School Board recognized Mr. Nick Sittig and Ms. Kelby Robinson as our March PRIDE award winners!  Mr. Sittig and Ms. Robinson have an incredible impact on our students through their direction of our music programs.

Recently, both music instructors asked their students to provide some feedback with respect to what the music programs mean to them.  Students were asked to finish the statement “music makes me feel…” and were also asked to write about the pros and cons of being part of the music program.  These are some of the things our students said:

  • Music makes me feel confident, proud of myself, dance and love myself.
  • Music makes me feel like I’m the only one on earth.
  • Music makes me feel happy when I’m down.  It puts my frown the other way around.
  • Music makes me feel understood.
  • To me, band is a way for me to express my creativity and love for music.  I enjoy the music we get to play and the friendships you make with other musicians.  Not only are you making music, you are making good memories.  I wouldn’t change a thing with our band.
  • Things I like about band: The feeling of accomplishment when you play something you never thought you could.
  • I do really enjoy band, I have always loved music and the fact that I get to help create music with my friends from some of my favorite movies and symphonies gives me joy.  Sometimes, when I’ve had a rough day or week, it is relieving to express myself through music.  The kids in band are like a family.  We may pick on each other but we are also protective of one another and its always nice to have somewhere to fit in.  I am overall a reserved person, and being in band has kind of pushed me out of my bubble by giving me the opportunity to step up.  I have also been taught to believe in my abilities considering that I am very critical of myself.

Our music programs make a difference in the lives of our students.  Ms. Robinson and Mr. Sittig both accept kids where they are, and work hard to push them to perform at levels that they may not even realize are possible.  Congratulations, Ms. Robinson and Mr. Sittig! You are part of the PRIDE of Garretson!

Most Staff See Changes as Positive

Earlier in the year, we gathered data from a number different populations in order to use that data to identify areas of strength and opportunities for growth and improvement in the District.  Staff were given the opportunity to share their thoughts through a survey.  The results of the survey were shared with the Board of Education at the Board Retreat on January 25th, 2017.  The Board has continued with work that was started in January by revising the District’s official goals, which will be used as the root of a new strategic plan.  Over the next several weeks, we will share survey data that identifies both areas of strength and possible areas in which we may focus District improvement efforts.

Surveys for staff included a scale where they could select one of four possible answers between “strongly disagree,” and “strongly agree.”  All of the scaled responses are included in the PDF below, but three survey points stood out as areas in which most of the staff either agree or strongly agree.

  • 85% of staff agree or strongly agree with the statement that positive changes are being made in our school.
  • 91% of staff agree or strongly agree with the statement that administrators in our school challenge staff members to be effective.
  • 86% of staff agree or strongly agree with the statement that it’s ok to discuss concerns, frustrations or worries with administration.

Some of those possible areas for improvement include the following:

  • 79.6% of staff agree or strongly agree (20.4% D/SD) with the statement that in our school, professional expectations are clear.
  • 68.2% of staff agree or strongly agree (31.8% D/SD) with the statement that administrators in our school are aware of what goes on in classroom.
  • 64% of staff agree or strongly agree (36% D/SD) with the statement that in our school, all students are held to a high standard of behavior, no matter “who” you are.

One could spend a great deal of time trying to “interpret,” or “guess” what people’s intent is when they answer survey questions.  We choose to take the answers at face-value.  To us, the staff survey yielded the positive information that, in general, staff believes we’re making positive changes in the schoolhouse, and that our administrators are encouraging staff to improve, while maintaining open lines of communication.

Those possible areas for improvement also tell us something important – while the majority of our staff believe that expectations are clear, and students are consistently held to a high standard of behavior, we may have some work to be done regarding communication and consistency of expectations for both students and staff.  Likewise, we know that each of the administrators in the building would like to be out among our students and staff more frequently.

Overall, we appreciate the feedback that our staff has given through the survey, and we look forward to incorporating this data into the strategic plan.  If you’re curious or interested in the list of questions we posed to the staff, and the percentage responses for those questions, click the link to the PDF document below.

Garretson School District Staff Survey 2016-2017