Feedback to the future: K12 reader survey for 2019

For the second year in a row, growing mental health needs of students tops K12 priorities
By: | Issue: January, 2019
December 20, 2018

Heading into 2019, educators plan to focus even more intensively on the emotional and physical well-being of students. For the second year in a row, the growing mental health needs of young people topped the priorities of the nearly 340 district leaders who participated in DA’s annual Outlook Survey.

Nearly 80 percent of respondents reported feeling “very concerned” about the issue, while more than half expressed urgency around social-emotional learning and improving supports for students with special needs. Nearly half of the leaders also planned to boost efforts to prevent the abuse of opioids and e-cigarettes in 2019.

As far as instruction, the hard sciences continue to lead the way. STEM and career and technical education will get the most attention in 2019, respondents said. At the same time, more leaders expect students and teachers to adopt mindfulness practices (such as meditation) and growth mindsets. Preparing new teachers for the modern classroom and closing achievement gaps also ranked highly as areas of academic focus.

When it comes to edtech, it’s all about embedding it into instruction, adding Chromebooks and ensuring all students have access to a device.
Readers also weighed in on improving security, preparing for emergencies, and planning for construction and renovation. You can examine all the results on the next few pages.

1. Special focus

What will get the most attention in 2019? (Could choose three)

  • STEM 42%
  • College prep 15%
  • Career and technical education 45%
  • Makerspaces 12%
  • Online learning 15%
  • Social-emotional learning 38%
  • Graduation rate 15%
  • Faculty PD 26%
  • Special education 16%

What will be priorities in the classroom? (Choose four)

  • Inclusion strategies 23%
  • Blended/online learning 23%
  • Personalizing instruction 34%
  • Managing student behavior 25%
  • Trauma-informed teaching 26%
  • Growth mindset 33%
  • Coping with larger class sizes 9%
  • Meeting new learning standards 28%
  • Adopting new assessment strategies/techniques 32%
  • Incorporating new/increased instructional technology 37%

2. Troubling Trends

How concerned are you about the following issues?

Changes in federal education policy and funding

  • Very concerned – 50%
  • Somewhat concerned – 40%
  • Not at all concerned – 10%

Teacher shortages or strikes

  • Very concerned – 47%
  • Somewhat concerned – 36%
  • Not at all concerned – 17%

Growing mental health needs of students

  • Very concerned – 79%
  • Somewhat concerned – 21%

Teaching noncognitive skills (e.g., social-emotional learning)

  • Very concerned – 53%
  • Somewhat concerned – 43%
  • Not at all concerned – 4%

Ensuring new teachers are adequately prepared for today’s classrooms

  • Very concerned – 55%
  • Somewhat concerned – 40%
  • Not at all concerned – 5%

Serving the growing special needs populations

  • Very concerned – 54%
  • Somewhat concerned – 42%
  • Not at all concerned – 4%

Bullying prevention

  • Very concerned – 26%
  • Somewhat concerned – 54%
  • Not at all concerned – 9%

Closing the achievement gap

  • Very concerned – 47%
  • Somewhat concerned – 46%
  • Not at all concerned – 8%

Establishing more equitable discipline policies

  • Very concerned – 26%
  • Somewhat concerned – 50%
  • Not at all concerned – 24%

Moving to online instruction

  • Very concerned – 18%
  • Somewhat concerned – 52%
  • Not at all concerned – 30%

Supporting LGBT students

  • Very concerned – 16%
  • Somewhat concerned – 55%
  • Not at all concerned – 29%

3. Building Specs

What facilities plans do you have for 2019? (Could choose three)

  • Bond issue for a major construction project 21%
  • Bond issue for major tech upgrades 9%
  • Launch of a building construction or renovation project 38%
  • Begin or expand an initiative to repair or replace aging infrastructure 33%
  • Implement or expand an energy savings initiative 16%
  • Improve athletic fields or facilities 20%
  • None of the above: No funding for projects 8%
  • None of the above: Already built or renovated what we needed 7%

4. Edtech expansion

Which will grow significantly in your district? (Could choose four)

  • BYOD or 1-to-1 initiative 36%
  • Virtual/augmented reality 12%
  • Artificial intelligence 4%
  • Internet/Wi-Fi infrastructure 31%
  • Tablets 14%
  • Chromebooks 43%
  • Free or low-cost instructional software implemented by teachers 16%
  • Network/data security 28%
  • Cloud computing/storage 14%
  • Internet of things 8%
  • Productivity and other business office software 11%

5. Wellness Check

How will you treat health issues in your district during 2019?

Focus on nutritious and healthful school meals

  • Increase in importance – 27%
  • Decrease in importance – 5%
  • Same as 2018 – 68%

Mindfulness

  • Increase in importance – 49%
  • Decrease in importance – 4%
  • Same as 2018- 48%

Employee wellness programs

  • Increase in importance – 32%
  • Decrease in importance – 7%
  • Same as 2018 – 60%

Preventing vaping

  • Increase in importance – 49%
  • Decrease in importance – 6%
  • Same as 2018- 45%

Impact of the opioid epidemic

  • Increase in importance – 45%
  • Decrease in importance – 4%
  • Same as 2018- 51%

Student physical fitness

  • Increase in importance – 28%
  • Decrease in importance – 6%
  • Same as 2018—66%

Sex education

  • Increase in importance – 12%
  • Decrease in importance – 6%
  • Same as 2018- 82%

Concussions

  • Increase in importance – 30%
  • Decrease in importance – 4%
  • Same as 2018- 66%

6. Defense mechanisms

Which security measures will your district invest in during 2019?

  • Physical security (entry barriers and the like) 50%
  • Surveillance security (cameras) 59%
  • Biometric security (fingerprint or eye-scanning technology) 3%
  • Emergency notification systems 35%
  • Personnel (guards and monitors) 31%
  • Active shooter preparation 56%