Stakeholders in the Davenport school system say individualized instruction for special education students, and engagement with "diverse racial, cultural and socioeconomic groups," are among the district's strengths.
The online survey of administrators, community members, parents of Davenport students, Davenport students, support staff and teachers was released Wednesday. It was part of a leadership profile report compiled by Hazard Young Attea Associates that assessed the strengths and challenges of the district, and issues it faces, along with the desired characteristics for the next superintendent.
Strengths included technology, facilities, teachers personalizing “instructional strategies to address individual learning needs [including] special education” and the district’s engagement with “diverse racial, cultural and socioeconomic groups.”
The two latter are at odds with the view of the Iowa State School Board, which has found systemic violation of special education plans and “disproportionality” which, in part, refers to the disproportionate number of students of color facing disciplinary action, including suspension and the use of seclusion or restraints. The district has been working to come into compliance with state standards, but state board members have been critical of the progress, and will conduct a more in-depth “Phase II” visit as early as January.
Despite the discrepancy, the report also found the special education audit and issue of disproportionality and the district's finances were "nearly universally noted," as challenges.
Data was collected via an online survey, which 982 people participated in, along with 96 personal interviews or focus groups. According to the report, “the online survey results were consistent with input received from the individual and group interviews.
Teachers made up the largest group of respondents for the online survey, at 39.5 percent. Parents were next, at 27.6 percent. No students were involved in the personal interviews or focus groups, but seven completed the online survey.
The report does not detail how people were selected for personal interviews or focus groups. District officials did not respond to a request for comment Wednesday.
Many of the programs at the high schools were singled out for praise, including North's dual enrollment program with colleges, West's career and technical education and Central's performing arts programs.
The survey will be discussed at Monday’s school board meeting. The meeting begins at 6 p.m. at the Achievement Service Center at 1702 Main St. in Davenport.
The report can be found online at davenportschools.org, under the School Board tab, agendas and minutes. It is included with the agenda for Monday. School board meetings are open to the public.