This appendix summarizes surveys of teachers in the Mt. Pleasant Independent School District (MPISD) during the review, including responses to open-ended questions. The survey results do not necessarily reflect the findings or opinions of the review team or the Comptroller.
During the week beginning October 12, 1998, survey instruments were provided to all MPISD teachers. The surveys were delivered to the principal at each school and either placed in individual teacher boxes or personally distributed to each teacher.
Each of the surveys were self administered and all those surveyed were asked to return their surveys by October 22. The deadline was extended, and all surveys received are included in these results. All survey respondents were provided with a postage-paid reply envelope to provide maximum security and allow for candid, confidential responses.
Information requested from those surveyed included rankings of the various areas covered by the chapters included in this report. Additional space was provided for any other comments that the respondent cared to make. Data included in this appendix includes a portion of the comments and responses to the open-ended questions.
SUMMARY OF DATA
Response to the teacher survey was very good with a 70 percent response rate (Exhibit B-1).
Number of Teacher Respondents by Grade Level
Grade Level Number of
Elementary school 94 Intermediate school 38 Middle school 19 Junior high school 35 High school 42 Other 14 Total 242
Exhibit B-2 presents the actual number of completed surveys by teachers based upon years of experience.
Number of Teacher Respondents by Years of Experience
Years of Experience Number of
1-5 years 125 6-10 years 48 11-15 years 30 16-20 years 18 20+ years 21 Total 242
Significant findings are as follows:
- Teachers said that campus-level administrators and counselors are performing very effectively, with the administrators graded as an "A" or "B" by 79 percent of the respondents and counselors receiving the same grades from 72 percent of the respondents, respectively. Eight-nine percent said that principals and assistant principals actively work to meet students' needs.
- Seventy-eight percent of the teachers said their school is safe and secure, but 62 percent of the high school teachers disagreed.
- Ninety-three percent of the teachers indicated they have the supplies and materials necessary to support the instructional process.
- Over 70 percent of elementary and intermediate school teachers said that parents are involved in school activities and made an effort to assist their children. However, less than 40 percent of the teachers at the junior high school and 50 percent at the high school felt that way.
- Only 35 percent felt that MPISD operations are cost effective, while 38 percent disagreed.
- Communication was an issue: 43 percent of the teachers said that central and campus administrators do not regularly communicate with teachers and one quarter of the teachers said there was not an effective line of communication from the principal.
- Teachers said the needs of college-bound students are being met but not those of average, below average, non-college bound, and at-risk students.
The remainder of this appendix provides the actual survey results by each question for teachers.
Mount Pleasant Independent School District
Management and Performance Review
The Texas State Comptroller's office is conducting a management and performance review of the
Mount Pleasant Independent School District (MPISD). The three main objectives of the performance review are to (1) enhance educational service delivery through better operating efficiency, (2) identify ways to improve management practices, and (3) identify opportunities for cost savings within district operations.
Teacher input is critical to the management review process; therefore, we would like as many teachers as possible to complete and return the survey instrument via the attached postage paid envelope no later than October 22, 1998. You may also put your completed survey in the box provided in the front office of your school.
No names are requested on the survey instrument, so your responses will be treated with strict confidence. There are no right or wrong answers; however, your honest responses will ensure that the performance review team understands teachers' opinions in your district
Please circle the answer that best describes how you feel about the survey question asked. Provide a brief response to questions that require a narrative answer.
- How many years have you been a teacher in the MPISD?
1-5 6-10 11-15 16-20 20+ 52% 20% 12% 7% 9%
- In what campus level do you work?
Elementary Intermediate Junior High Middle High Other/Special 39% 16% 14% 8% 17% 6%
As a teacher you often give your students a grade of A, B, C, D, or F for the quality of their work. What grade would you give MPISD's performance in the following areas?
- MPISD school board
A B C D F Don't Know N/R 12% 48% 19% 8% 1% 11% 1
- Superintendent of MPISD
A B C D F Don't Know N/R 14% 29% 18% 14% 13% 9% 2%
- Counselors at your school
A B C D F Don't Know N/R 45% 26% 12% 8% 5% 3% 1%
- Campus-level administrators in MPISD
A B C D F Don't Know N/R 39% 40% 15% 2% 3% 1% 0%
- Teachers in MPISD
A B C D F Don't Know N/R 38% 50% 8% 0% 1% 2% 0%
Now please indicate if you strongly agree, agree, have no opinion, disagree, or strongly disagree with the following statements.
- Student learning and education are the main priorities in MPISD
Strongly Agree Agree No Opinion Disagree Strongly Disagree N/R 26% 55% 5% 12% 4% 0%
- Emphasis on learning has increased in the district in the past three years
Strongly Agree Agree No Opinion Disagree Strongly Disagree N/R 15% 45% 23% 14% 3% 0%
- The school where I teach is safe from crime and provides a secure learning environment
Strongly Agree Agree No Opinion Disagree Strongly Disagree N/R 27% 50% 2% 13% 7% 0%
- Principals and assistant principals effectively handle behavioral problems and provide proper discipline
Strongly Agree Agree No Opinion Disagree Strongly Disagree N/R 17% 45% 6% 26% 6% 0%
- Supplies and materials are made available to my school to support the instructional process
Strongly Agree Agree No Opinion Disagree Strongly Disagree N/R 40% 54% 2% 5% 0% 0%
- Teachers are knowledgeable in the subject areas they teach
Strongly Agree Agree No Opinion Disagree Strongly Disagree N/R 31% 61% 6% 2% 0% 0%
- Teachers care about the educational needs of the students in MPISD
Strongly Agree Agree No Opinion Disagree Strongly Disagree N/R 40% 54% 2% 5% 0% 0%
- Principals and assistant principals actively work to meet students' needs
Strongly Agree Agree No Opinion Disagree Strongly Disagree N/R 29% 59% 4% 7% 1% 0%
- Parents are involved in school activities
Strongly Agree Agree No Opinion Disagree Strongly Disagree N/R 5% 45% 9% 37% 4% 0%
- Parents make an effort to assist their children in the learning process
Strongly Agree Agree No Opinion Disagree Strongly Disagree N/R 2% 38% 19% 36% 5% 0%
- Parents are satisfied with the education students receive in MPISD
Strongly Agree Agree No Opinion Disagree Strongly Disagree N/R 3% 46% 36% 16% 0% 0%
- District operations are cost-effective and efficient
Strongly Agree Agree No Opinion Disagree Strongly Disagree N/R 3% 32% 27% 32% 7% 0%
- Site-based decision-making is implemented effectively in MPISD
Strongly Agree Agree No Opinion Disagree Strongly Disagree N/R 11% 42% 18% 21% 7% 0%
Going back to the grading scale, A, B, C, D, or F, please rate the effectiveness of the following MPISD programs:
A B C D F Don't Know N/R 21% 42% 17% 4% 0% 16% 0%
A B C D F Don't Know N/R 21% 37% 19% 2% 0% 20% 0%
- English or Language Arts
A B C D F Don't Know N/R 35% 38% 11% 2% 0% 14% 0%
- Computer Instruction
A B C D F Don't Know N/R 26% 39% 15% 4% 2% 15% 0%
- Social Studies
A B C D F Don't Know N/R 16% 44% 17% 2% 0% 21% 0%
- Special Education
A B C D F Don't Know N/R 18% 33% 16% 11% 4% 18% 0%
- Bilingual/English as a Second Language
A B C D F Don't Know N/R 31% 38% 12% 4% 2% 14% 0%
- Fine Arts
A B C D F Don't Know N/R 24% 43% 11% 2% 1% 19% 0%
- Physical Education
A B C D F Don't Know N/R 37% 39% 9% 1% 0% 14% 0%
- Business Education
A B C D F Don't Know N/R 8% 17% 5% 1% 0% 68% 0%
- Vocational (Career and Technology) Education
A B C D F Don't Know N/R 12% 14% 7% 2% 2% 62% 0%
- Foreign Language
A B C D F Don't Know N/R 8% 21% 13% 5% 5% 48% 0%
- Library Services
A B C D F Don't Know N/R 29% 31% 14% 5% 2% 19% 0%
- Honors/Gifted and Talented
A B C D F Don't Know N/R 22% 37% 15% 3% 2% 21% 0%
Now please indicate if you strongly agree, agree, have no opinion, disagree, or strongly disagree with the following statements.
- MPISD central and campus administrators regularly communicate with teachers
Strongly Agree Agree No Opinion Disagree Strongly Disagree N/R 10% 38% 7% 33% 11% 1%
- An effective line of communication exist between teachers and campus level administrators
Strongly Agree Agree No Opinion Disagree Strongly Disagree N/R 19% 48% 7% 21% 5% 1%
Going back to the A, B, C, D, or F grading scale, please rate the following:
- Teacher salaries
A B C D F Don't Know N/R 1% 12% 27% 28% 32% 0% 0%
- Benefits provided to teachers
A B C D F Don't Know N/R 4% 19% 36% 24% 18% 0% 0%
- Health insurance provided by the district
A B C D F Don't Know N/R 3% 24% 35% 23% 11% 3% 0%
- Quality of food served at my school
A B C D F Don't Know N/R 22% 31% 26% 12% 3% 6% 0%
- Quality of buses used on school trips
A B C D F Don't Know N/R 16% 39% 17% 7% 4% 16% 0%
- Your principal's work as manager of school staff and teachers
A B C D F Don't Know N/R 42% 36% 14% 5% 2% 1% 0%
- Teachers' attitudes about their jobs
A B C D F Don't Know N/R 15% 44% 22% 12% 5% 1% 0%
- Amount of classroom time dedicated to TAAS preparation
A B C D F Don't Know N/R 22% 36% 13% 2% 1% 24% 1%
- Amount of classroom time dedicated to basic educational requirements, such as reading, math, science, and history
A B C D F Don't Know N/R 37% 42% 10% 2% 2% 7% 0%
- The district's response to use of drugs and alcohol at your school
A B C D F Don't Know N/R 35% 33% 12% 7% 5% 8% 0%
- Quality and helpfulness of office support staff at your school
A B C D F Don't Know N/R 52% 38% 7% 3% 1% 0% 0%
- Quality of staff development you are provided
A B C D F Don't Know N/R 22% 38% 26% 10% 4% 0% 0%
- The district's use of technology as an instructional tool on your campus
A B C D F Don't Know N/R 31% 37% 20% 6% 5% 1% 0%
- Cleanliness of your classroom and your school
A B C D F Don't Know N/R 26% 27% 25% 13% 9% 0% 0%
- Curriculum guides
A B C D F Don't Know N/R 18% 33% 27% 9% 5% 8% 0%
- Support from my fellow teachers
A B C D F Don't Know N/R 51% 35% 11% 3% 0% 0% 0%
On a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being least effective and 10 being most effective, please rate how the needs of the following are being met:
- Academically-advanced students
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 N/R 2% 1% 4% 2% 14% 5% 17% 28% 17% 8% 2%
- Average students
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 N/R 2% 0% 4% 4% 18% 12% 16% 18% 14% 10% 2%
- Below average students
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 N/R 4% 4% 8% 6% 12% 7% 16% 16% 17% 8% 2%
- Non-college bound students
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 N/R 6% 6% 5% % 19% 7% 15% 11% 8% 5% 10%
- Students at risk of dropping out of school
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 N/R 5% 5% 8% 7% 17% 9% 14% 13% 9% 6% 7%
- Students with learning disabilities
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 N/R 3% 5% 7% 9% 12% 7% 15% 18% 14% 8% 1%
- Students with physical disabilities
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 N/R 2% 2% 6% 3% 9% 7% 13% 23% 18% 13 3%
Please indicate if you strongly agree, agree, have no opinion, disagree, or strongly disagree with the following statements.
- MPISD fills vacancies and make promotions based on individual qualifications
Strongly Agree Agree No Opinion Disagree Strongly Disagree N/R 6% 29% 28% 26% 11% 0%
- I have sufficient time to plan and deliver curriculum for my classes
Strongly Agree Agree No Opinion Disagree Strongly Disagree N/R 12% 45% 7% 26% 10% 0%
- In what ways could MPISD operate more efficiently? Use additional pages if necessary.
We need to replace some of the negatives with positives. My main negative is with Central Administration. Demands on teachers in this district without compensation has created low morale. We need help with our Special Education students in the inclusion classes.
MPISD could provide more enrichment activities for the average and below average student. This would put more interest in their learning and hopefully break the rut that so many students get into.
We have too many "deputy superintendents" and people in other "central support" positions.
Raise teachers' salaries. Classroom aids. Include dental and vision benefits in the health benefits. Reduce time teachers have to spend in training which takes them away from classroom (we feel very pressed for time).
To have more training for classroom / school teachers' aides.
Communication from the top down needs to improve. When answers are being sought from principals to superintendent or deputies - the top administration doesn't respond. Superintendent is feared. Opinions and concerns cannot be expressed at a Site-Based Decision Making (SBDM) meeting without later reprimands from him.
Too many deputy superintendents. Cost raises are not passed onto teachers. No incentives! Too many programs are signed up for grants and then teachers have to do all of the training and paperwork.
More communication - face to face - not memos.
Provide better communication between administration (central office) and faculty (e.g. computer opportunities, English as a Second Language (ESL) training, etc.) available by district.
Administration is top heavy!! We don't need three assistant superintendents. Money is wasted on half-done jobs by maintenance and when reported one response by administration was "What do you expect?" I expect my tax dollars to be spent more wisely.
Higher teacher salaries. Friendlier assistant superintendent. If so, reward. Assist Superintendent that take action on requests made by teachers - Yes or No.
Get teacher input before spending money on programs and curriculum. Communicate!!!!
Better communication with administrators and staff is one of the main problems. Also, inconsistent discipline and not following up on discipline problems also causes problems. I think that the principals at the high school are given too many responsibilities and they cannot manage all of them effectively. I think for a school that is this size, there should be more principals and security people to keep the school in good working order where it is also more safe.
Have less administrative staff and more teachers. Have classrooms for all teachers so students would be better served.
Allow teachers to be in the classroom without being sent to workshops which are theory. Teachers should select workshops which would benefit their students.
Reduce class size for K-2 to 18 to 1. Foundations for literacy are set in these grades and students would benefit from more individual attention.
In the school where I teach - Child Development Center - I am either on a "honeymoon period" or everything is great. I am so grateful for all the enrichment provided for teachers - to keep us pumped up and excited about teaching. I would love to see in all Texas schools more help and preventative measures for kids that are "at risk" or can become "at risk" during the teenage years. Discipline and consequences may help - but so does kindness, caring and finding another route to the kid.
Use the site-based management system the way it was designed to work instead of a few hand-chosen people to constantly make all of the decisions. The work should be evenly distributed.
Find one insurance program and stick with it. Changing year after year is not a confidence builder. Let academics drive the school instead of athletics! Find ways to do most, if not all, of the training during inservice rather than after school / Saturdays.
Higher pay. Discipline - stop nurturing the criminals. Have consequences that are feared.
The district needs to do something about the high teacher turnover. Too many new teachers each year - district does not seem to mind this. This is not good for the students. There are no incentives to keep quality teachers.
More pay for teachers - less administrative costs.
Have monthly statements of special accounts for extracurricular teachers.
Do preventive maintenance on buildings - i.e. a/c, plumbing, pests (ants, termites) and spend $ needed to fix problems - not Band-aid.
I feel that "first priority" should be the procurement and in the keeping of the best teachers they can get. Better salaries and working conditions are a way of fulfilling the above mentioned needs of this district. I believe that if this were satisfied we would be well on our way to being a better district and subsequently we would improve our instruction and do better by our students.
They could quit doing things on maintenance on a get-by basis, and then having to redo it the right way. I believe we are a little top heavy at central administration. The superintendent could praise teachers for the strides we have made and not just complain about the things we have not been able to accomplish. The counselors at the high school level could appropriately place incoming freshmen, not just do whatever they feel like. They drive the curriculum. They disregard the input from the junior high.
To give training to hired teachers who are having trouble passing their Excet's so they wouldn't have to move districts.
Our superintendent is a very weak leader. He has very little interest in classroom instruction and teachers. And his weaknesses really hurt the district. Our school board is trying hard to do a good job. They care about the students but some of them are very misinformed by the superintendent.
We have four janitors at our school. It takes two or three to do a one person job. If they worked independently, we could get more work done. The janitor who takes care of the gym quit a couple of weeks ago. No one has been assigned to cover until someone is hired! Floor has not been swept or trash emptied. Whenever you ask "head" janitor to do anything she complains so much..... some teachers just do it themselves.
Get corporate sponsors to help fund technology, offer mentoring, provide list of tutors in each subject who are available for high school students having difficulty.
Better support for teachers when discipline problems arise. Hiring on the basis of qualifications instead of "who someone is." Paid maternity leave or locally added sick leave - 3-5 sick days per year is not adequate if you have an extended illness. Better support between peer teachers.
More communication between administrators and teachers. More instructional staff.
Tries to begin too many new programs at once. Then doesn't stick with any of those programs long enough to see if they work before jumping into something else.
Give us a better prescription plan. It is not conducive to people who take daily maintenance medication.
Too many meetings.
Perhaps have a cleaning service come and clean the school after students leave.
Communications and cooperation between the different campuses and central administration could be improved.
By using instructional aides as a last resort, not a first one. Special Education aides need to be the last to pull instead of the first because of the type of kids the Special Education teacher is dealing with.
Each bus driver and aide need more rewards, incentives, and a salary increase for greater morale and efficiency.
Hire more Special Education teachers. Hire more bilingual teachers. Pay the teachers better to avoid or reduce turnover. Reduce duplication in bus routes. Get rid of some dead wood in upper level administration.
Teachers and teaching are the lowest priority of the district.
Our district spends a great deal of money on problems without providing solutions. Thousands of dollars were spent fixing the roof on the high school academic building last year - the roof still leaks.
One priority of MPISD should be to attract and retain highly qualified and experienced teachers. Although that is an official goal, in practice I have seen too many good teachers leave for higher pay, or better working environments. Keeping trained personnel is one way of becoming more efficient. Secretarial staff needs to be paid more than the pittance they have now, and should have regular promotions.
Money is wasted on block scheduling. Coaches teach two classes a day and walk out around noon to play the rest of the day. Block scheduling cuts six weeks of class time. This district is squandering money. The athletic director teaches no classes. A school district of this size does not need an athletic director.
Fewer administrative positions. Too many "special program" officers that are paid high salaries. Count how many program officers are in our administrative office.
More emphasis on the basics and less on technology. Thousands of dollars being spent before thorough understanding of needs takes place.
Support teachers in curriculum, discipline, salary, and materials.
Develop a discipline policy and be able to stay consistent - see that it is enforced. The principals need to be supported by the superintendent and the teachers need to be supported by both the parents and principals. There also needs to be communication between all groups. We are a very fractured school district.
Give teachers what they're due, especially salary if they're certified for something, and give everyone the same opportunity to advance.
Give teachers support they need : a) financial - pay raise or paid insurance for teachers; b) discipline - all students receive same punishment; c) communication - notify of how rules are going to be enforced; d) support - back-up teachers.
Allow teachers and principals to discipline students. Parents should not be allowed to override discipline decisions. Allow teachers and principals to make grading and curriculum decisions. Influential parents should not have gang-like, terroristic power in this - or any - regard. A few "big shots" are holding these kids' futures to stage their huge egos.
Monitoring curriculum in classroom to see that teachers are following through with programs. All of our Special Education students being served by qualified teachers and practices.
By eliminating so many meetings. Teachers here meet constantly. Plus, we have way too much emphasis on computer training. Teachers are snowed under with things that have zero relevance to the education of children.
To actively practice equal rights for all. Use provided funds appropriately. Provide services needed for each child to be successful regardless of economic status, academic learning abilities, or color of skin.
MPISD needs to evaluate salaries versus the amount of time teachers are required to put in. We are tired of working extra hours for no pay. Our administrators at Central Office do not require this of themselves!
MPISD is more concerned about public opinion than the needs of our students. For example, we are short of classrooms and we had to beg for the 3 portables we have! They stated it would look bad; we just want our students to have classrooms!
MPISD needs to look at the structural needs of each campus and create a plan to make repairs.
MPISD has a lot of programs in place, but they are not monitored to ensure effectiveness.
Insurance staff does not solve problems, refuses to answer questions, and does not return phone calls. It is now 10/19/98 and I still do not have an insurance card.
I would like to know why it takes one superintendent and three deputies to run this school district! They continue to get raises and we don't
They don't tell us how much we are going to get paid until our September check is put in our hand!
We used to make $2,000 over base; we now make $500!
We have a decrease in salary, but the requirements have tripled!
High school teachers could use compassion and common sense when dealing with students' needs. Care and consideration for students' individual needs are not being met.
Stay consistent with implemented programs and follow through with new Programs implemented are not evaluated to ensure their effectiveness. Promotion is political. Too many chiefs (not enough Indians) at administrative levels. $$$ go to administration - three raises for them in past 3-5 years. Gifted and Talented program fosters cliques: students are completely ignored - especially in Jr. Hi / HS.
Employing three deputy superintendents at high salaries to do the same job that one person has done until our superintendent took over seems to be a terrible waste of money.
Telling teachers three years ago to "bite the bullet" and lose our stipend and then turning around and asking for and receiving a raise for administrators and the superintendent was a slap in the face and continues to be.
Take care of discipline problems - in the classroom, on the bus, etc. A slap on the hand or a talking to DOES NOT get it. Need security on all campuses. Get those students who have committed crimes OUT of the classroom, if they are not going to suffer consequences!
Spend less money on administration and more on students - too many administrators at the "White House" (central office).
The Texas Assessment Academic Skills (TAAS) shouldn't be the most important thing. Administration should be more positive towards teachers instead of providing low pay and stressing the importance of TAAS scores.
The high school campus is very crowded and space is limited. Discipline on the high school campus is a problem. There are a minority of students that continuously cause problems. These students are threatening the safety of both teachers and students. Our discipline is not consistent and not strict enough. We need more aides to assist the teachers. Teachers need more time to plan and less paper work and extra duty.
Providing the proper professional help to non-English speaking students - a bilingual counselor is needed to help the Hispanic students.
More organized form of parental involvement (schoolwide). This would help with discipline. Better discipline would allow everyone to do their job more efficiently.
I only know about my own responsibilities. I have worked for many years at another school district and this district is far superior in every way to what I am accustomed to. I think we should support our place of employment and those hired to be administrators.
More bilingual teachers - bilingual special education.
MPISD could strive to put programs in place to help students and eliminate massive "training" (of teachers) to justify certain administrative jobs. We need time to actually teach and plan, not just learn things we never have time to implement.
Less paperwork; better in-service training; wider knowledge given concerning budget.
Instead of patchwork jobs, knowledgeable people should be hired to do the job right at the start.
Get a new superintendent and do away with the three deputy superintendents.
If the goals of our school system were made more clearly from the top, then the lower echelons could either democratically agree or disagree. Instead we have a semi-dictatorship which is sometimes on the wrong side of an issue. The "good ol' boy" network lives on in Mt. Pleasant.
Too many teacher requirements. I feel time is taken away from lesson preparation.
More money spent on supplies for teachers and students.
We need to put more support in the MALL area. This area is less effective than it should be due to lack of resources. There are not enough teachers available when students need assistance.
Restructure upper management in MPISD.
Eliminate at least two of the unnecessary positions of deputy superintendents.
Raise base pay for teachers as an incentive to attract and keep quality teachers.
Department heads should assist with adequate training for new teachers.
Discriminatory practices in receiving disciplinary practices for example; if your parents are aristocrats in the community, their child may be exempt from the rules stated in the handbook. If you don't fit into that category, all the rules are applied.
Classrooms are too crowded.
Too much emphasis on sports.
Enforce more vocational programs.
Behavioral problems have skyrocketed, and are out of control.
Stiffer actions of punishment need to be enforced.
PPCD class in special education could be formatted into two half-day sessions to meet the increase in enrollment. Most of the afternoon session is devoted to non-academics such as nap time. The constant attention needed by these special needs children on a complete day schedule precludes any planning time for the teacher.
Eliminate administrators that are "hanging on" until retirement and not being effective.
Better communication at all levels.
Allow teachers to collaborate on a regular basis on school time like inservice for a half-day more often.
MPISD should immediately focus on alleviating time required of teachers outside of class time for training (i.e. Saturdays, after school) and also focus on programs to assist teachers in discipline procedures that take an awesome amount of classroom time. Students need to be instructed and led. Someone else needs to discipline.
Hire more speech therapists. Our caseloads are too large to service the students we see fairly.
We have a 50 percent Hispanic student body - bilingual needs are not met; gifted and talented, special education - we need a bilingual administrator that knows what bilingual is.
I believe that if salaries were more on line with other districts we would get the professionals that we need in certain areas - bilingual, special education.
There is not enough instructional staff to meet the needs of the students on my campus. Aides and resource teachers are being pulled to fulfill other duties, and students who are needing extra help are not being served.
More buses so that not everyone has to quit learning early because of away games.
Over the years teacher stipends have decreased. When I started here, Mt. Pleasant paid $2,400 over base. Every time the state gives us a raise, our district takes off more of the stipend so that basically we really don't get a raise. Teachers do need a raise from the state without the district taking it.
We have no personnel services. We need people who know policies and procedures and can implement them and answer questions. Our health insurance is awful. We were switched without regard to our personal needs (doctors).
There needs to be more campus-level decision-making. A bilingual supervisor would be beneficial because of the rapid growth of our second language students. This would help the consistency of the bilingual program throughout the district.
Less requirements outside of classroom - i.e. inservice, meetings, technology hours, site-based and district site-based meetings; too often we have late meetings.
Better computer management.
Better teacher salaries and teacher support by administration.
One of the most important things MPISD could do is to stop promoting people based on who they are related to or how big a favor an administrator owes someone and start promoting people based on their knowledge and experience! We could also stop losing good teachers if we recognized their innovative ideas and learned from them. Instead they leave our district due to low pay and most often because they are sabotaged by people who are intimidated and are afraid of anyone who knows anything!
Anyone who was honest wouldn't dream of putting this (survey) in the office for fear of what they would have to fight as a consequence!
Again, using the grading system, please rate the efficiency and effectiveness of each of the following MPISD services:
- Instructional services
A B C D F Don't Know N/R 18% 52% 20% 4% 0% 5% 1%
- Maintenance services
A B C D F Don't Know N/R 11% 31% 31% 17% 8% 3% 0%
- Custodial services
A B C D F Don't Know N/R 21% 34% 25% 14% 5% 0% 0%
- Transportation services
A B C D F Don't Know N/R 12% 40% 23% 8% 2% 14% 0%
- Personnel services
A B C D F Don't Know N/R 14% 48% 23% 7% 1% 7% 0%
- Food services
A B C D F Don't Know N/R 24% 38% 25% 5% 2% 5% 0%
- Financial services
A B C D F Don't Know N/R 10% 29% 24% 10% 2% 24% 1%
- Staff development
A B C D F Don't Know N/R 17% 48% 20% 10% 3% 1% 0%
- Management Information/Computer Services
A B C D F Don't Know N/R 18% 36% 24% 10% 5% 7% 1%
A B C D F Don't Know N/R 12% 29% 27% 9% 3% 19% 1%
- Planning and Budgeting
A B C D F Don't Know N/R 9% 31% 26% 10% 5% 18% 1%
- Overall operations of MPISD
A B C D F Don't Know N/R 11% 42% 29% 9% 4% 6% 0%
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We put our kids first, which is the motto of this system. Yes, we are tired from all of the added pressures; the extra time needed to complete district requirements. There have been many mistakes made with the communication between central administration and teachers. It has left us with the feeling that we will do it our way and if you don't agree leave. Many good teachers have left. We need to be able to trust our administration and school board members. We are a team and if we all work together with faith and reachable goals we will achieve our goal. Thank you.
I enjoy teaching in MPISD and feel that we are treated fairly and democratically at most times. Our administrators for the most part are receptive to our needs. I strongly feel that we are underpaid. I would like to teach for the remainder of my working career, and would like to benefit monetarily from doing so.
The morale at our school is so low because our principal has taken on the attitude of our superintendent - "don't bring me a problem unless you have a solution." Sometimes I feel like I'm wading in quick sand trying to do my job. I see other campuses doing really neat innovative things. But when we bring it up at our meetings, the attitude is "we don't want to copy them." Well, why not, if it's a good idea? I love teaching kids, but the bureaucracy and politics that come into the picture take the joy out of it.
If the district is going to require all hires to obtain bilingual or ESL certification, then they should be allowed to receive stipends for passing the test and meeting qualifications. The courses and expenses are out-of-pocket expenses. If these people do not pass, then they are reprimanded, reassigned, and/or fired.
I am having to be out of the classroom too much. The district is requiring a lot of training. MPISD needs to be more honest with their teachers. We need a pay raise.
The upper administration plans for programs to be implemented. They leave the teachers to do the training and planning themselves. Too much is scheduled for the teachers, plus trying to teach the kids.
As a Pre-K teacher, I am concerned about the bilingual issues of my students. I wish this district would provide more ESL training to prepare the teachers to become ESL certified. Our campus could certainly benefit from this training. Possibly future inservice days could be used for this training.
I believe most of our problems are the result of an influx of Hispanics. This has brought many gang and drug related problems to our school that were not here before.
The alternative school needs to be allowed to develop a work program for the students. If we are going to recover drop-outs, we need to be able to assist with the opportunity to work - not deny them the opportunity.
We have site-based decision making, but if our choices are not what administration thinks they should be - so what!
Our counselor is excellent.
Salaries are low; no incentive to want to stay employed at MPISD.
We have to earn money to pay to use school buses and hire drivers to make field trips.
Discipline is not consistent; the district rewards bad behavior by letting "bad" students be office assistants, etc.
Teachers are asked for their opinion, but if they do not agree with administrators they are labeled as negative people. Administration uses an abundance of paper to issue memos, etc., but constantly complains about the teachers' use of too much paper. More emphasis is put on TAAS than on learning is a complaint I hear from other teachers.
We have had a big influx of Hispanics to our area, and we are not prepared for this.
This is the first year that I have had major problems with the Hispanics. I have several who skip class frequently.
We have several gangs in our school, one of which has tried to establish the upstairs boys' restroom as their territory. It is known they are dealing drugs and causing problems, yet they are still in school. We should be allowed to get rid of this type of student because it has caused our school to be a volatile, dangerous place to work.
I have been very happy at my job and I am pleased that my job is evolving. I have met with optimistic administrators when sharing ideas. I believe that the staff is always trying to raise productivity and teaching skills. The lower grades seem to have a greater grasp on achievement-oriented approaches to teaching, while the higher grades seem to be more geared toward structure and rules.
With respect to change, I would like to see more shared teaching and letting students excel in areas that they like and enjoy. Students who are "good" at math should be allowed to go to higher levels - like at high school. Younger students who are culturally, environmentally or linguistically deprived should get special expenses, trips, and visits.
I feel I spend more time on paperwork and meetings than I do planning and teaching.
It's too early in the year for this much burnout!
I do have a say in curriculum and what I teach, but I'm having to write much of it myself.
The district does not even provide basic supplies.
There are too many people afraid of losing their jobs if they talk.
Campus-level administrators do not follow through on punishment to students, too much movement in halls all day. No discipline at all by assistant principals.
MPISD needs to do many things to attract and retain teachers. We have had a very high turnover rate and lack of continuity for our students.
They also need a superintendent who will stand behind his principals and open his eyes to the problems we have. Our schools are very unsafe. We need help!
We also need to prioritize our educating of children. We have high school kids who read only on a kindergarten level. Help.
We also have many problems in the area of special education. Counselors have moved children from one course to another without having ARDS. IEP's for resource classes are not approved in ARDs. As teachers we are told by one director and diagnostician to just put one in the child's file. IEPs for our children are not appropriate to their abilities.
Technology constantly has us jumping through hoops to "justify their grant." I believe their technology trainers are under-qualified for their position and technology installers haven't got a clue. Planning ahead is not in their vocabulary. They install wires where they are not needed or are inconvenient. Teachers are treated like second-class citizens.
Pay for our own buses! Students are required to pay $1 per mile to use buses for field trips! Is this a statewide requirement? There has got to be a better way!
Although we are elementary teachers, our concern is that the high school has problems with teacher morale, student self-esteem, poor attitudes of teachers. A few make an attempt to use strategies to teach all kids, but the majority just show up and lay out the material - test it and go on, whether kids get the concept or not. Look at the failure rates.
Elementary teachers do a wonderful job with most of these areas - high school level is lacking in many, if not most, of the areas.
It can be said that in MPISD "the left hand doesn't know what the right hand is doing" - poor communication.
Our chief administrator does not want to hear about "problems"; therefore, problems continue and are not solved. A good rule of thumb to go by in this district is if you want to keep your job - "don't rock the superintendent's boat." Some very good campus administrators have had to seek positions elsewhere because they refused to be puppets to the chief administrator.
I believe that Elementary teachers are very dedicated and work hard to meet the needs of their students. High school teachers need to devote more time to teaching the students and preparing them for graduation - college or workforce.
Spanish students need more ESL before entering regular classes.
We are required to use technology (computers) in the classroom, but we don't have enough equipment. Everyone has only one computer. Our computer lab is awful. Something is wrong with over half of the computers and no one is in the lab to help.
Keep roping troubled, at-risk kids in - every time they stray - keep pulling them back - don't make them have "eternal consequences" when they are still kids.
This is a tough socio-economic and ethnic community to serve with much "small town" politics at play. It is by far the most difficult place that I have worked. Surprisingly enough, the teachers and administrators for the most part work hard at trying to produce educated, motivated students.
I have only been here three months and cannot make a judgment about most of this.
Comments from administrators that "there was a teacher in your job before you got here and there'll be one when you leave" shows where their loyalty lies. A $5 million surplus in the budget this year and absolutely no talk of raising salaries says a lot. This added to the increasing requirements for additional hours from each teacher for technology, G/T training, one to two hour staff meetings and various committees let us know our time is not valued. That is a big part of the reason for the large turnover in teachers here!
My biggest complaint is the continued unconcern by the district in keeping and attracting quality teachers. All raises have been given to administration, while teacher supplements have been cut, this is not conducive to high teacher morale. In the past few years, many good teachers have left this district for those that pay better and appreciate teachers. The ultimate losers are our students. This district has too many high paid administrative positions that have no direct impact on the education of our children --CUT SOME OF THE FAT! Departmental budgets are extremely poor.
Teacher morale is low because of technology training being required after hours. Our personal time is not valued as such.
Fine arts are used to fill out schedules. More electives need to be offered so that students who want a program are not robbed by the students that are "dumped" in the programs.
MPISD is doing a lot of good in education. We are truly striving to put children first. We have a lot of areas to be fine tuned, but we are headed in the right direction.
We need a specific process for screening dyslexic/learning disabled students. I feel we have many of these types of students who are not being served. Research says that there are as many dyslexics as true G/T students, yet we have very few, if any, students in remediation classes for reading difficulties and over 30 G/T in one grade alone. I think this is true throughout the district.
I feel that some students should be sent to alternative school quicker. The students are often left on campus too long! Often these same students return and cause another student to get in trouble. Drug dogs need to be brought without warning during school hours. Administration tends to ignore the gang issue. "If you don't acknowledge it, it doesn't exist."
Teachers are penalized by central administration if we have an opinion that is different from the administration's. School buses are not state inspected, but inspection stickers are bought many at a time.
Maintenance: We are required to turn in any maintenance requests (in writing) to our assistant principal. I turned in a request in 1995 for repair of rotten wood on gym floor. This has not been repaired. It is now a "hole" in the gym floor where several rotten boards are missing. I have written this up at least five times over the past three years. It is now dangerous to students! I have been given many excuses, but it is still not repaired.
Our district spends too much money on technology. Computers are nice, but most of the students' work involves game playing. Whenever we try to do big projects it takes an inordinate amount of class time away from instruction. Our students are way below grade level in basics. Too much is also spent on fancy inservice programs. Once the money is spent and the program is taught, we never hear another word about it. Nothing is changed; all it does is enhance someone's resume. Too much emphasis is being placed on inservice by the state. Teachers on the campus could be more effective in teaching inservice. Our salaries are TOO LOW. Whenever the state gives a raise it is deducted from our supplement. Our benefits have also been "cut to the bone" as our past school board president put it.
We have a complete communication breakdown with district administrators. Teachers and other staff are strongly reprimanded for making any kind of negative comment about how the district can improve or problems that arise at the schools. As a result of these reprimands, teachers have become increasingly afraid to speak out for fear they might lose their jobs. Teacher opinions are not valued.
We teach for the TAAS all year. Reading and Language Arts teachers have two preparations, Math only one and all the other teachers have no preparation at all. This is at the fourth grade level. The burden is put on a few. We have entirely too much paper work to do and too many unnecessary meetings to attend. The required computer training for teachers should be optional. Teachers' morale is very low.
Fences needed around all of school(s) for added security. Science books confusing, difficult to find answers for questions, and dated. Some students' behavior is excused or passed over because of who the student is, while other students are dealt with most harshly for similar misbehavior.
Some of the employees are concerned that the administrators gave themselves a salary raise, but lowered the salary of our bus drivers.
The "children first" motto is used as an excuse by MPISD administration. Teachers are required to do things and do without things in "the best interest of the children." Upper administrators seem to get what they need or want. I guess their whims don't affect the children because they never come in contact with students. People that run schools should spend some time in them.
There are many, many good things about this district but those are due to individual efforts that go largely unrewarded. There is no discipline where children of friends of central office are concerned. Teachers can be attacked, drugs found, violence engaged, but if the student has an "in" with the downtown administration or the board, nothing will be done.
I did not appreciate losing my above-base stipend due to the district's lack of funding. This action became harder to stomach when the superintendent asked for and received a pay raise for himself. I have worked as many as three part-time jobs simultaneously to replace that lost income.
MPISD should look into a more comprehensive site-based decision-making in which administrators promote and request input from all sectors of school personnel.
There should be more communication between teachers as a group and between administrators and teachers. We need to set aside time to have meetings to communicate priorities and plans of concentrated effort to solve problems.
In the past, during times of "crisis" there used to be a better atmosphere of congeniality, collegiality and cooperation among the teachers and administration at the high school.
The high school went six weeks without an official roll check the first six weeks. Student schedules were incorrect. Students were in the wrong classes. Students were unaccounted for and still are unaccounted for. The administration has had to get on the Public Address system and call a student to the office when a parent came to see their child, because they could not locate the student. Students are still wandering around because they have not withdrawn from a class.
Inconsistent enforcement of discipline. If you are a part of the "country club" and white, the punishment may be less severe. If you are friends with the right people you can get your way.
People feel jobs are at risk when they speak the truth or buck the administration. We need intelligent leadership that is open to suggestions and listens. Why does our district need three deputy superintendents while other districts do not?
We spend a great deal of money and place a disproportionate amount of emphasis on athletics rather than academics. Our superintendent is an ex-coach.
The school district cannot hire enough qualified teachers because our pay is not competitive with many schools in the area. The pressure the school experiences; the drop out rates and failure rates have resulted in lower academic standards. Students do not see the value in an education and parents do not help by not being involved and non-supportive. School districts buckle to try to prevent lawsuits. All responsibility is shouldered by the school district.
I suggest that the district straighten up their act or it's gonna flop.
We, as teachers, feel threatened to talk to the administrators at the "White House". Many times I have been dismissed by [the superintendent] when I have approached him with concerns. I really feel that dishonesty plays a big part of our school system. I feel the blame for problems are always being shifted to someone else. I guess I am really ready for a school system with honesty and integrity.
The size of this school demands better organization and more personnel. The deficiency in this regard adds to the overall chaos.
Counselors should not be allowed to usurp the powers of teachers and principals.
New teachers are thrown to the wolves with no support. No wonder there is a revolving door of teachers here.
Thugs roam the halls and the sidewalks. This school is not safe. This school should either be transformed as soon as possible or shut down.
Teachers don't speak out for fear of retaliation. The present stipend was taken away. We went from $2,000 a year above base to $500 a year.
I want to know how much everyone gets paid, from superintendent to custodial staff!
Too much focus on remediation/intervention programs - reading recovery drives regular Language Arts instruction.
Have a great math program K -3 when implemented curriculum director stated "a necessary program, but not sufficient" - did absolutely nothing to provide training with regard to how to supplement to make it complete - did not monitor or evaluate (until third grade TAAS math scores) - now we're in danger of losing it - K-3 kids are very successful with program.
The technology trainers that we have know nothing about what we need at the high school level. We are forced to participate in senseless technology training that is of no benefit and it is always after school and on weekends. Training could be provided on school time if it were really necessary. Again, we just seem to be paying salaries to people who don't know what they are doing and really aren't necessary anyway.
We are asked to go and to do so many extra things that we don't have time to teach. For example, we have hours of computer training --we have to do class projects (two a year). How can you do that when there is only one computer in the room and no other time? (Time is needed to teach for the TAAS tests). I am so stressed that I am thinking of leaving the teaching field - I love to teach!
We never seem to know where the money is, how much, or where it goes. The teachers in our district are afraid they will lose their jobs if they speak out. There is a lot of intimidation.
Discipline of the students is out of control!
As a professional my wages are not reflective of that fact. Health insurance is extremely high, especially considering the restrictions.
The 10 years I have worked for MPISD have been great. I have enjoyed every day I worked here. I honestly believe the MPISD puts children first and are always trying to better the education for the students. The administrators are doing an excellent job. I love teaching and my ultimate goal is to make a difference in every one of my students' lives.
There are some people who complain about everything if given the opportunity. I think performance reviews such as this are harmful in many respects because dissatisfied employees will use this opportunity to harm those they don't like for reasons non-related to the job they are doing. Your time and ours could be better spent.
Teachers need to be allowed to use their conference time for planning and conferencing. They also need to have some free time away from school instead of spending after-school hours in continuous meetings, technology training, and other time-consuming activities. Teachers also need more pay.
Because of our community not agreeing on bond issues and educating all students, it has made it difficult to address issues with a positive attitude. The district does strive to meet the needs of all students, but sometimes we fall short.
When the state gave teachers a state-funded raise, MPISD took away our supplements, city lack of funds - however; administrators - every one got raises at the same time as teachers were having supplements taken away. Why can the administrators get raises each year (or almost each year) that are funded by the district but teachers cannot? I do not understand that. The district has enough money to pay a superintendent and three assistants (where one used to sufficient) and allow these four people to get constant raises, while not reinstating the full supplement that was taken away. We are told we never have money for stuff, but if it is for football or such we have plenty.
The good old boy network is an archaic way to operate a school system. It is time that was put aside and a more efficient method was used to operate.
Rooms are not cleaned like they used to be. Trash bag in wastebasket is only emptied - not changed. Not enough money for classrooms. New teachers come in with nothing and only have $225 to use for the entire year.
Mt. Pleasant is an outstanding place to work, but respect for teachers is lacking at central administration. Turnover is too high; morale is too low. Building administrators don't get the backing they need from central administration.
Teachers are assigned an excessive amount of training hours, leaving us too little time to plan effective lessons. We want to implement technology, but it has become a "negative" because of the way administration implemented training requirements. Free training was a plus.
There are many very capable at MPISD. Unfortunately, some who are not are running the show.
The high school is over-run with problems. Safety is not a consideration. There has been a 200 percent increase in fights in nine weeks than all of the previous year. However, many of these fights are undocumented so the numbers "look" good. Senate Bill 1 is not followed as a rule. In this district, who parents know is correlated to the treatment and education of the child.
From my personal experience, I think that principals tend to pay more attention to teacher complaints/needs than they do to student needs. There are kids that don't fit into the disciplinary procedures that are set up by the district. Punishment is not black or white. There are degrees of transgression. Let punishment fit the crime.
I think the level of education and caring quality of teachers decreases at the middle school, junior high, high/senior high level. I did not begin to be concerned about my own children's education until the sixth grade.
Inclusion of Special Education students is not working. The Special Education child is forced to sit and listen to the regular teacher explain a concept then has to go to the MALL to get it explained again or some peer tutor "helps" them -by telling the answer. This doesn't help anyone's self-esteem. Each Special Education student should be evaluated for the amount of time needed to be in the regular classroom (K-2). These students needs small group (qualified) instruction from the get-go.
As a teacher of 13 years who is certified and has taught in many other states, I am surprised to find the effectiveness of Texas schools does not rank higher. Texas schools have some of the most talented and dedicated teachers I've ever worked with. In regard to quality of education, I feel that Texas has accepted the impossible task of educating such a broad and diverse population of students, that certainly the level of quality is lowered without increasing and supplementing all programs. Not just programs to meet the needs of at-risk students, but programs that enhance and challenge average and especially above-average students. We are certainly planting trees in the way of progress and construction. When an average to above-average student comments, "The teachers never pay any attention to us," something is seriously wrong with our education program.
Please understand and work with teachers who enjoy teaching and are certainly struggling to do so. It is our goal to prepare students to meet and prosper in society. We will always need sharp minds and progress. Instead of educating all children well, we are spending an amazing amount of time developing strategies to assist at-risk and bilingual students.
Please help! I am excited that your office is concerned and eager to fulfill all our obligations.
It's becoming increasingly harder to teach, the students seem to be lacking respect for authority - discipline has become an increasing problem. I blame TV and media for the increased violence. We have an increasing Hispanic population - many from Mexico - it causes an attendance problem at our school as well as lowered scores.
There are some things that the district takes for granted that a new teacher should know and often don't teach incoming teachers.
There has been added stress and low teacher morale with the threat of contract renewals as a result of low TAAS scores. When a subject needs to be discussed with a teacher or teachers, it is talked about with other members of the staff beforehand, and the subject matter is found out about from other staff members not involved.
MPISD is a great place to work. As a Special Education teacher, I often feel left out as to what the mainstream is doing. Our in-services are usually different. My administrator really tries to "fill me in" on what is happening. Overall, I am very happy to be working for MPISD.
My room has flooded about 12 times over 10 years. My books have been ruined and the carpet has mildewed. The teacher across the hall had a toilet overflow in her room - smelled horrible. The carpet needs to be replaced for health reasons.
Salaries in the state are low. Class size is average but would be great if around 18. The Hispanic children come out of our schools bilingual and our children (unless they take foreign language in high school) come out speaking only one language.
I feel very fortunate to be at my campus. I feel the students, teachers, and staff are priorities. Special needs students need help.
Special programs do not facilitate appropriate integration of second language learners. The bilingual program needs more support and that teachers of monolingual students increase their awareness of our local program.
If my principal leaves, I think I'm looking for a new job. She has been to me a family, a mentor and friend. I aspire to be just like her someday. I love teaching Spanish-speaking students. They are the fuel behind my energetic and effective classroom.
The population of students in the bilingual program is increasing every year, while the books (class and library) and instructional materials have not. Bilingual supervisor needed to coordinate activities, curriculum and facilitate program.
The district adopted art textbooks for this '98-'99 school year. After repeated attempts, I still have not received my fourth grade textbooks and support materials. I had received third grade in plenty of time previous to school starting. We are beginning the third six weeks soon and I have no explanation from administration.
The cleanliness of our campus is a disgrace. My art room, which has tile floors, is swept once a week (if I am lucky). That is the only thing they do. I teach all 670 students. This is the same problem in music, library, and gym.
I am very disappointed in the above state minimum money paid to teachers. $200 for an advanced degree is a slap in the face. Taking away our $2,000 over base pay and replacing it with $500 also was disappointing. The high turnover rate, especially at Mt. Pleasant High School, reflects these conditions along with the lack of communication and apparent lack of appreciation of the hard work and dedication of the teachers.
Our district has its priorities way out of line. We spend tons of money on athletics - including buying the varsity football team dinner prior to each game, but we have rats at our three or four school and many classrooms do not have an overhead or adequate classroom libraries! The reality is we are a community of poor people who lack much, most importantly language! Yet, a majority of our school and teachers set up and treat kids "like we've always done it." Our high school especially is a huge mess! Ninety percent of the "teachers" are assignment-makers who care little to nothing about children unless they have the right last name! Our administrators' response is we really can't do anything about it. My hope? That you all can!
Thank you very much for your participation. If you have additional comments, and would like to provide more input directly to the Comptroller's office, you may call 1-800-531-5441, extension 5-3676.