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Summarizing Learning Environment Surveys from Bronx High Schools

July 17, 2011 pm31 3:23 pm

Learning Environment survey results came out earlier this month. Most people ignore them. Quite a few look at their own school, or schools of a few friends, or a school or two that’s been in the news. Scan 16 pages of tabulated results, and move on.

But I decided to look. Maybe the data was readily available. I don’t know. But I searched for schools in the Bronx with grade 9, and downloaded the pdfs, one at a time. I considered campus schools, non-campus schools, CTE schools, and specialized schools. I considered 6-12 schools. I also threw in charter schools. I did not use data from D75 schools. There are several schools that do not yet have data. There are several where too few teachers filled in the surveys to be considered meaningful (Bronx Leadership Academy II, Global Enterprise HS, ELLIS, and Bronx Studio School for Writers).  Two small schools that are not completely staffed had 100% or almost 100% of the staff – I included them even thought the raw number of teachers was small: Crotona Academy and the Cinema School. I looked at 115 schools.

I chose four questions to summarize:

The Principal is an effective manager who makes the school run smoothly
I trust the principal at his or her word
To what extent do you feel supported by your principal?
School leaders invite teachers to play a meaningful role in setting goals and making important decisions for the school

In other words: Competent? Trustworthy? Supportive? Collaborative?

Each question had four responses possible: Strongly agree, Agree, Disagree, or Strongly Disagree for all but the third question, there the responses were: “To a great extent,” “to some extent,” “to a small extent” or “to no extent.” I considered both the percent in the two positive categories, and the DoE’s ‘score’ (they used a 3-2-1-0 weighting, rating each question from 0 to 10).

Mostly principals who I have heard good things about rose towards the tops of the categories, and principal who I know no-so-good things about show up near the bottom of most lists. Some results were surprising. Some principals I thought ogres showed up in the middle of the list. But those were exceptions.

The type of school does not seem to correlate strongly with the position on the list. Transfer schools are a bit over-represented at the top of the list (like-minded people come together to work with older students who have had difficulty in previous schools). And 6-12 schools are under-represented at the top, and cluster further down; I suspect the demands inherent in running two complicated systems – a middle school and a high school – are too much for an ordinary administrator to handle, and we don’t know who among them are ordinary. But campus schools spread from top to bottom, and the two specialized schools are at the extremes. Three of the four CTE schools run low, reflecting how poorly they have been treated recently.

The three charter schools sit unremarkably in the middle. They show up in two other interesting ways: percentage of new teachers, and students and teachers responding that there are not enough courses to engage them.

I’ll be summarizing the results in the next few days. I’ll put more detailed articles here, and quick lists at the New Action website.

For now, the superlatives, those principals rated the best (and the worst) on the teachers’ section of the Learning Environment Survey:

principal school type percent DoE score
most competent Gary Eisinger Bronx Academy Transfer 100 10.0
least competent Sharron Smalls Jane Addams CTE 20 2.6
least competent Richard Bost, removed Fordham Leadership Academy Campus (Roosevelt) 33 2.5
most trustworthy Gary Eisinger Bronx Academy Transfer 100 9.8
most trustworthy Nancy Mann Fannie Lou Hamer  D12 school 100 9.6
least trustworthy John Tornifolio School for Community Research and Learning (SCRL) Campus (Stevenson) 24 3.5
least trustworthy Lisa Luft John F Kennedy Phase out 27 2.6
most supportive Rex Bobbish The Cinema School Campus (Monroe, 2 years old) 100 10.0
most supportive Estelle Hans, retiring Collegiate Institute of Math and Science Campus (Columbus) 100 9.9
least supportive John Tornifolio School for Community Research and Learning (SCRL) Campus (Stevenson) 18 2.7
most collaborative Rex Bobbish The Cinema School Campus (Monroe, 2 years old) 100 9.7
most collaborative Gary Eisinger Bronx Academy Transfer 100 9.6
most collaborative Sue-Ann Rosch Community School for Social Justice D7 school in a shared building 96 9.7
least collaborative Charles Ogundimu Monroe Academy for Business/Law (MABL) Campus (Monroe) 23 2.6
least collaborative Lisa Luft John F Kennedy Phase out 24 2.4
8 Comments leave one →
  1. July 17, 2011 pm31 5:57 pm 5:57 pm

    I wonder if there’s any correlation between schools with administrators receiving positive reviews and schools that are exempt from Regents exams. Nancy Mann, for example, administers a school that does not have Regents.

  2. hello permalink
    July 18, 2011 pm31 10:56 pm 10:56 pm

    Great chart. I actually personally know one of the principals on your Bronx list and I would have to agree with the positive results.

    I would love to see you do the same analysis with the Queens high schools. My principal did terrible on the school survey but it was pretty accurate.

    • July 18, 2011 pm31 11:01 pm 11:01 pm

      When I search for schools with a grade 10 in Queens, I get 79 of them. Take out anything brand new, and D75 schools, and you’ll still have a lot. I did the Bronx, that was a lot; I think we need a Queens person to do Queens (I’ll be happy to publish the results)

  3. sotiredofbeingthreatened permalink
    September 11, 2011 pm30 10:39 pm 10:39 pm

    principal –ogundimu– is one of the worst administrators I have ever meet! he hates teachers and loves to blame them for his administrative failures. this chart is so important! this should be published in the NYTimes — the UFT should conduct their own learning environment survey and compare results to DOE survey and the results of the best/worst principals/administrators should be published.


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