Results of the Minnesota Student Survey was provided to the Hopkins Public School Board at the Jan. 21 meeting. The survey is voluntary and consists of feedback from fifth-, eighth-, ninth- and 11th-grade students within the district. The report was presented by Alex Fisher, director of community and engagement, and Holly Magdanz, One Voice Community coalition coordinator.
“We’re going to look at some of the highlights from our Hopkins results. In terms of what students are telling us in regards to school and learning, general health and wellness, mental health, as well as substance use and non-use,” Magdanz said. “Together, we’ll explore some areas for school, family and community response. We have a strong history here of utilizing the data here in Hopkins to better understand the changing needs of our students.”
Survey data from 2013-19 found Hopkins students caring about doing well in school in high percentages across all grade levels. Those percentages are down from 2016 when all students surveyed were in the 90% range, as the 2019 students surveyed are still within 80%.
“Overall, we can see here from 2013 to 2019 pretty steady rates of students caring about doing well in school, which is great,” Magdanz said.
Students were also asked if they felt teachers care about students, and 80 and 90% of the students strongly agreed or agreed. Those percentages are similar to those in 2013 and 2016.
New questions featured in the 2019 survey included if students felt an adult has helped them think about educational options after high school. The results showed lower percentages in Grade 9 at 65% and higher percentages in Grade 11 at 79%. Both rates are higher than the state averages, which are 62% for Grade 9 and 77% for Grade 11.
“As you can see here, we are just slightly above the state average for that question,” Magdanz said.
The second new question, which yielded a significantly lower percentage with Hopkins students and the state average, was if an adult in the school has helped students find career-focused field experiences, such as job shadowing. For Grade 9, the Hopkins results matched the state average with 37%. For Grade 11, the response was 37% of Hopkins students felt that was the case. The state average for the older class is 46%.
“One I think that fits in neatly with Vision 2031 and the transformational ways of approaching our students is increasing opportunities of job shadowing,” Magdanz said.
Students were also asked what they saw as the main thing they plan to do after high school and those results yielded 68% of students planned to attend a four-year college or university. However, that percentage has decreased from the 2013 and 2016 results. The percentage of Hopkins students planning to attend a four-year college or university after high school was 86% in 2013 and 79% in 2016. This is the same for state averages and the percentages for Hopkins still exceed the state averages.
“In Hopkins, we’ve seen a decrease for 11th graders reporting that they plan to go to a four-year college or university right after high school,” Magdanz said. “We’re more closely mirroring the State average with that question.”
The responses to questions about bullying found that fifth-graders reported the highest level of bullying, but showed a decrease in cyberbullying from 18% in 2016 to 13% in 2019.
“We did find, across every bullying question, fifth-graders reported the highest rates of bullying and bullying tends to decrease as students grow older,” Magdanz said. “We did see in 2019 some positive decreases.”
High percentages of students felt safe in their schools across all groups. This percentage remained stable from previous years.
“Hopkins students answered a little bit higher or right at the state average for school safety,” Magdanz said.
A primary area of concern highlighted in the survey was mental health. The district has been utilizing information from the 2016 data to address those concerns. Survey data showed that over half the students in Hopkins and across the state had been bothered by feeling anxious, nervous or on edge. Those percentages were at their highest in Grade 11.
“The biggest question for me is regarding the mental health topic,” said Joe Ramlet, the board’s student board representative and a senior at Hopkins High. “Obviously, the survey is anonymous, it’s not linked to any individual, and I know that there’s been a considerable amount of work done at the secondary level for having resources available for mental health support. What are we doing and what can be done?”
The information provided in the survey will be brought to teachers to work with students and used to inform decisions to address concerns.
Follow the Sun Sailor on Facebook at facebook.com/mnsunsailor.