As a teacher, administrator or anyone related to the education sector, you want to be equipped with the tools and the knowledge to best serve your school. But knowing what to focus on in a sea of data can be daunting. Worse, you could end up putting your time and resources into the wrong places. Schools are constantly presented with data and asked to act upon it. It can range from budgets and attendance to lunch counts and test scores. I could tell you who was present, what sandwich they had for lunch that day, and how they did on their latest exam. What I couldn’t tell you was how they were feeling, connecting, and experiencing their school’s climate and culture.
Like many educators, I did not have a tool for measuring or collecting student feedback about social and emotional issues with staff. Hope, bullying, cyberbullying, depression, connectedness, agency, and relationships - all were unquantifiable. I realized schools were missing a way to measure key factors of education and growth - factors that mattered to students and their emotional wellbeing as people and not just as numbers on classroom reports. Additionally, I was missing all of that same information about my own school staff.
Our recent endeavors have found a way to change all of that. Through our work with experienced organizations like Kelvin Education and Resilient Youth Australia, No Bully has developed Survey of Students (SOS), which utilizes technology to easily administer gold-standard mental health, safety (including bullying/cyberbullying), and social and emotional surveys directly to students and staff. Best of all, the interface is non-obtrusive, and SOS can be given over a window of time when each user can thoughtfully answer the short surveys confidentially. Wherever they feel safe, students simply click on the survey icon within their web browser at any time. The questions take only 5-10 minutes and are asked at multiple points throughout the year. Multiply this by the student body and you have a comprehensive map of your school’s well-being.
This makes SOS a great supplement to our current school programs. The latter emphasizes mental health, empathy, and safety to solve incidents of bullying and to outline a guide for positive school culture. The former provides exact details on how the current environment could use improvement and where to best spend school resources.
Stress and bullying are increasing for young people in the education system globally. With the rise of smart technology and the Internet, the pressure of each is becoming increasingly complex and pervasive. It is becoming a problem we cannot even begin to solve unless we can correctly identify the where, why, and how. By asking the students directly with SOS, we are able to give shape to the otherwise unwieldy enigma that can be bullying. We are gathering data at the source of the problem and hearing what needs to be changed from EVERY student, not just a fraction. That data can then turn into an evidence-based plan created by the school to address exactly what is needed. To help the school community, we are now able to ask the community itself what they need and why.