The Orem parent group surveys teachers; most opposed to new school district | News, Sports, Jobs
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The Alpine School District Education Center is pictured Friday, August 24, 2018 in American Fork.
Evan Cobb, Daily Herald file photo
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New teachers watch a presentation during the Alpine School District’s New Teacher Orientation at Lone Peak High on Wednesday, August 4, 2021.
Jared Lloyd, Daily Herald
On Tuesday evening, the Orem City Council will hear from Discovery Education Consultants about what the company discovered through its feasibility study on the possibility of Orem separating from the Alpine School District and having its own school district.
The meeting begins at 6 p.m. and it is expected that council chambers will be filled with supporters and opponents of a split ready to speak at the public hearing portion of the program.
The content of the study will be the driving force for City Council to see if it votes to have the DEA pause in the November ballot.
The first of three public meetings begins at 7 p.m. Wednesday, allowing the DEC to present and answer pre-submitted questions during the Q&A portion. Other meetings will take place on July 19 and 28.
As DEC presents its study, other members of the community have taken it upon themselves to gather relevant information on the subject.
One such group is parent group StrongerTogether, a political issues committee registered with the state of Utah, which released the results of a survey of Orem educators solely regarding the formation of an Orem district. . The survey collected the views of teachers, administrators, and other ASD employees working in Orem schools regarding the possible formation of an Orem-only school district. The results of the survey included:
- Educators are overwhelmingly opposed (91.5%) to the formation of a separate district.
- A majority of teachers (84.4%) said they would seek to stay with ASD if voters voted in favor of Orem district.
400 people responded to the survey and 371 completed it. Of those who responded, 94.75% were aware of the discussion to part ways with the ASD. Currently, 70.64% said they don’t think they would ever support an Orem-only school district.
Nearly half of survey respondents have been in their position for more than 12 years. Among all respondents, 220 or 53% were connected to elementary schools, 48 or 12.94% to middle schools, and 123 or 33.15% to high schools.
The mix of respondents included 75.51% faculty, 13.48% staff, 8.63% student services (nurses, counselors, and psychiatrists), and 5.39% administration.
Around 48% of respondents said they had worked part of their career outside the Alpine District.
Weighted questions included:
- What are your reasons for supporting an Orem district?
- What are your reasons for not supporting an Orem district?
Of the 10 respondents who support an Orem district, 4.9% said this would result in increased support for schools; 4% said a new neighborhood would provide better opportunities for Orem families; 3.7% said he would be more responsive to teachers’ concerns; 3.1% said it would better address parents’ concerns; 2.8% said he would be financially stronger; and 2.5% said it would give the respondent better opportunities.
There were 344 respondents to the question indicating that they do not support the new district. Of these respondents, 4.92% said it was because there would be reduced resources; 4.59% said a separate district would be financially weaker; 4.26% there would be reduced opportunities for Orem families; 2.92% said there would be less attractive opportunities for the respondent; 2.5% said there would be less responsiveness to teachers’ concerns; and 1.81% said there would be less responsiveness to parental concerns.
“Orem schools, students, teachers and residents are best served by staying with Alpine School District,” StrongerTogether said in a news release announcing the survey results.
In an open-ended portion of the survey, teachers shared their views on the benefits of being part of a larger district.
“There would be fewer people to contact for collaboration,” wrote an unidentified teacher. “In my position, I serve 4 schools in Orem each week. There are about ten other teachers throughout the district who hold the same position as me. We regularly collaborate with each other on how to improve our jobs and how to help our struggling students. I love having a community of 10+ minds to work with so closely. In an Orem-only district, the teachers I could collaborate with would be reduced to 1, maybe 2, and we would all become weaker teachers because of it. We need the strength of our numbers. Having a party of more than 10 spirits brings a lot of wisdom and experience to the table that would be lost with an Orem-only district.
Another teacher shared his experience with the Jordan-Canyons district split.
“I taught in Jordan School District after it split from Canyons. It was a mess! I learned and grew a lot as a teacher in Alpine District,” the respondent wrote. “Although definitely ( not) perfect, the Alpine District has amazing people and programs in place. We would lose SO many amazing leaders. And we would be in limbo for many years as we try to recreate the things lost in the split of the District. How many children would fall through the cracks at that time?
StrongerTogether provided a full copy of the study, with personal information redacted, to Orem City as well as the Alpine School District. The public can also view the survey results at https://www.strongertogether.education/survey-results-ppt.