TELL Colorado Survey begins February 6

As educators know, there is a clear connection between teaching conditions and student learning. This is why CEA is working with statewide partners for the third time to offer the TELL Colorado Survey to teachers from February 6 to March 6. We want to find out more about Colorado’s K-12 schools from the people who know them the best.

The TELL Colorado Survey is an anonymous, online survey which gives teachers and other licensed school-based educators the opportunity to tell their perceptions of the teaching and learning conditions in their schools. The survey data will provide educators, schools, districts, the Legislature, Colorado Department of Education (CDE), and CEA and its partners with information we can all use to improve our schools and support pro-education policies.

The TELL Colorado Survey (TELL stands for Teaching, Empowering, Leading, and Learning) was offered in 2009 and 2011, supported by funding from the Legislature. State-based versions of the survey are offered in a dozen other states in partnership with The New Teacher Center. CEA is working with CDE, CASE, CASB, the League of Charter Schools, and the Colorado Federation of Teachers on this year’s survey.

The TELL Colorado survey takes about 20-30 minutes and addresses issues of time, empowerment, leadership, resources, student conduct, community engagement, professional development, and mentoring. In their schools during the last week of January, educators will get individual letters with personal codes for taking the survey. After the close of the survey on March 6, The New Teacher Center will analyze data from all the schools that have sufficient participation for a written, school level report. Through this analysis, each school will have its own data to use in school improvement planning. The initial data will be available beginning in April.

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Are teachers more tolerant of challenges because they feel fortunate to be working?

The TELL Colorado Survey released its initial research this week, revealing that Colorado educators are somewhat more positive about their teaching-learning working conditions than they were two years ago when the first survey was conducted.

According to the New Teacher Center, the survey research partner, initial findings say that, overall, teaching conditions improved in the last two years across Colorado. On every question in the survey asked in 2009 and 2011, a greater percentage of educators agreed in 2011 that positive conditions are in place.

• More than eight out of 10 educators (84 percent) agree that their school is a good place to work and learn, up from 73 percent in 2009;
• More than nine out of 10 of educators (94 percent) agree that their faculty is committed to helping every student learn, compared to 88 percent in 2009;
• Three-quarters of educators (75 percent) agree that students at their school follow rules of conduct compared to six out of 10 in 2009 (62 percent).

The New Teacher Center commented that these results are “somewhat surprising,” given the economy in Colorado and the challenges it has created for educators.

Read three TELL Survey briefs on the TELL Colorado web site: What Are the Voices of Colorado’s Teachers Telling Us?; Supporting New Teachers; and Supporting Principals to Create Positive Teaching and Learning Conditions. There’s are also presentation slides on the “Voices” research.

Fifty percent or more of teachers in nearly 850 schools took the 2011 TELL survey and received school level survey results. Overall, more than 30,000 teachers and principals took the 2011 survey, an 11 percent increase over the 2009 survey in which there was only 36 percent participation.

Teachers, did you TELL?

Schools are competing to win $500 in the run-up to the close of the TELL Colorado Survey. How? By getting their TELL Colorado participation rate to at least 50 percent.

Six schools have each won $500 so far:
West Jefferson Middle School (Jefferson County) with 100% participation;
Irish Elementary School in Ft. Collins (Poudre) with 65%;
Trinidad High School in Trinidad with 100%;
Basalt Elementary School in Glenwood Springs (Roaring Fork) with 63%;
Northglenn Middle School (Adams 12) with 85%;
Erie High School in St. Vrain Valley with 100%!

A huge THANK YOU to the teachers in these schools for getting great participation among all teachers!

There’s less than one week left in the TELL Colorado Survey window – it’s open only until Monday, February 28.

With the announcement last week of Gov. Hickenlooper’s proposed budget cuts for K-12, we need the results of the TELL Colorado Survey even more. We need teachers to TELL the Legislature what they need to deliver a quality public education to our students. We need teachers to TELL the school board and administration what they need. We need to TELL the public what we need. If we want to use the survey data, we need a strong statewide participation rate – and that takes every teacher’s help.

Please join teachers across Colorado and TELL Colorado what working conditions YOU need. The survey is entirely anonymous. The confidential access codes that teachers use to take the survey allow only one use and cannot identify the survey-respondent.

CEA Association Representatives (ARs) should have distributed TELL Survey Codes right after January 31 when the survey opened. If you don’t have your access codes (for any reason at all), contact the TELL Help Desk right away: by email at helpdesk@tellcolorado.org or by phone at 888-280-7903, Monday-Friday 7:30 to 4:30. On the TELL Colorado web site, click on the Instant Messenger in the left menu and get to the Help Desk.

Go to TELL Colorado to learn more and to check the Live Response Rate for your school. Please take 20 minutes from your busy schedule to take the survey and encourage everyone in your school to take it too.

Did you TELL?

K-12 teachers, there are only nine days left until the TELL Colorado Survey closes. Have you and your colleagues at your school completed the short 20-minute online survey? It’s a great chance to TELL Colorado what you want and need as a teacher, especially because of Gov. Hickenlooper’s proposed budget cuts for 2010-11 and the Legislature’s tough decisions in the next two months.

CEA Association Reps received the confidential survey access codes by January 31. If you have your code, but have not yet completed the survey (seriously, it takes only 20 minutes), please find some time to do so TODAY.

Get information, contact the Help Desk, look at your school’s response rate, check your district’s response rate too: all at Tell Colorado Survey.

Time to “TELL” Again: Jan 31-Feb 28

Because we want Colorado educators to have the supportive working conditions they need to help their students achieve, CEA is a partner in the second TELL Survey for teachers and administrators. The survey will be open for four weeks: January 31 through February 28.

“TELL” stands for Teaching, Empowering, Leading, and Learning. School-level results of the 2009 survey have helped teachers and principals improve student instruction and plan school improvements, and we have great hopes that this year’s survey will be even more helpful.

The New Teacher Center (NTC) is overseeing the survey for the second time, along with the TELL Partners: CEA, Colorado AFT, Governor Hickenlooper and the Colorado Department of Education, CASE, CASB, and the League of Charter Schools.

You may wonder who should take the TELL Survey. All full and part-time licensed teachers including instructional coaches, mentor teachers, vocational teachers, literacy specialists, endorsed school librarians, itinerant teachers, long-term substitutes and other specialists such as counselors, special education teachers, speech therapists and audiologists, school psychologists, social workers, and school nurses. Plus all building-level administrators including principals, assistant principals, deans, etc., and all charter school teachers regardless of their licenses.

We are working hard this year to improve the percentage of educators who took the survey in 2009. More than 23,000 educators responded then, about 36 percent. We want to improve this because we know how valuable the survey can be for those who work in every Colorado K-12 school and because we want everyone to have the opportunity to tell about their teaching and learning conditions. Research strongly supports these conditions as major influences on student achievement and teacher retention.

The key findings of the 2009 survey can be found online at the TELL web site, along with information about the 2011 survey. Each school with at least a 50 percent participation rate on the survey will get its own data.

CEA Association Reps have received individual letters for all educators in their schools with personal, anonymous, and confidential security codes that will enable educators to go online and complete the survey in 20-30 minutes anywhere with internet access.

Anyone with a question can contact the TELL Colorado help desk by phone at 888-280-7903 or helpdesk@tellcolorado.org

What else do educators need to know?

1. Get your letter and personal security code from your AR.

2. Take the survey as soon as you can.

3. Encourage your colleagues to take it so you can get well over 50 percent participation in your school (how about 100?).

4. Help CEA put your experiences and perceptions front and center in everyone’s efforts to improve public education for Colorado’s students.