Sequoia Union High School District administrators extended the deadline for students to fill out the Healthy Kids and Panorama surveys because the district didn't hit the target number of students it wanted to participate, officials said during a May 12 governing board meeting.
The last publicly available Healthy Kids survey data from the district, which has an enrollment of roughly 9,300 students, is from the 2014-15 school year (during this cycle, the district had even lower participation). The survey, used by public school districts throughout the state, includes questions for students on their mental health, along with their alcohol, drug and tobacco consumption. The survey takes about 15 to 30 minutes for students, parents and staff members to complete, according to the survey's website.
"The Panorama survey deadline has been extended for another week to increase participation," said district spokesperson Ana Maria Pulido in an email last week. "The survey's preliminary results will be shared at the next board meeting (May 26, after The Almanac's press deadline) along with our Healthy Kids survey."
For the Healthy Kids survey, the district's target sample size for ninth graders was 2,222 students and some 1,877 filled out the survey, an 84% response rate. The district aimed to have 2,256 11th graders fill out the survey; 73%, or 1,654 students, filled it out. The overwhelming majority of students who took the survey were remote learners. The response rate was 82% and 66% for ninth and 11th graders, respectively, for the 2014-15 survey.
Preliminary results for the Healthy Kids survey shared in the May 26 board packet show that 68% of ninth graders felt very lonely at least sometimes over the past month. Some 74% of 11th graders felt very lonely at least sometimes, according to the packet. Over the past year, 34% of ninth graders have had chronic sad or hopeless feelings, while 43% of 11th graders felt chronically sad or hopeless.
Some 12% of ninth and 11th graders have seriously considered suicide over the last 12 months. This is actually lower than the 2014-15 statistics, which show 16% of ninth graders and 17% of 11th graders at the time had contemplated suicide.
Some 2,743 students filled out the Panorama study. Some 78% of students surveyed said people at their school understand them well as a person. About 86% said they feel like they at least somewhat belong at their school. The survey also touched on racism, with at least 85% stating that their school helps students, at least somewhat, speak out against racism.
The Sequoia district missed the 2017-18 Healthy Kids survey cycle because it no longer had a grant, which also helps fund tobacco-specific student instruction, reinforcement activities, events and intervention programs for students.
In 2018, the district began to administer the Panorama survey, which focuses more on school climate and culture, engagement and communication. Panorama doesn't include questions about students' alcohol, drug and tobacco consumption.
At the recommendation of the Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) Task Force and the Mental Health Action Team, the district seeks to add Panorama climate surveys to assess student and staff social-emotional learning during the spring of 2021 and three times a year for each subsequent year of the contract. Survey administration, analysis, and reporting, at an incremental cost of $3,375, would bring the new contract to $90,375.
From January to May, 43 teachers, classified staff, school board members, counselors and others participated in the district's Emotional Learning Committee. The Mental Health Action Team, a subcommittee of the committee, is having conversations about what kind of support students need as they return to campuses, said Interim Superintendent Crystal Leach during the May 12 meeting.