“Each experience was well organized and engaging. It was fun for the adults as well as the students!” – Sarasota County teacher“EdExploreSRQ organizations make it easy to include outside resources to add interest into the core curriculum.” – Sarasota County teacher
Every two years, Sarasota County Schools conducts a comprehensive survey of teachers about EdExploreSRQ. Our teachers are our primary customers and so the EdExplore Community Partnership Committee continually assesses the quality of our website, explorations, and support for teachers, so we are responsive to teacher needs.
We know how fortunate Sarasota County students are to grow up in a region surrounded by incredible arts and cultural treasures, and innovative science-based experiences. We are also grateful to The Patterson Foundation for initiating EdExploreSRQ to ensure the connections between these dynamic community organizations and the schools are enhanced to provide high quality experiential learning experiences for Sarasota County students. Currently we have 53 organizational providers and eleven teaching artists.
The initiative was created to honor Dorothy and Jim Patterson — who enjoyed and supported the arts. They felt children should have cultural opportunities because these experiences help students understand and appreciate themselves and others.
At The Patterson Foundation, everything accomplished requires trust and alignment to leadership, willingness, readiness, capacity, and culture to ensure continued success, so having a continuous cycle of reflection and evaluation based on factual data is essential to EdExploreSRQ’s thriveability.
This survey offered us new insights and reinforced the value and impact of this program for students in Sarasota County. We compared the 2017 results with those of 2015.
Here’s some of what we learned:
– In 2017 there were more teachers who were very familiar with the EdExploreSRQ website.
– Most teachers first discover EdExploreSRQ through their principal, colleagues, at a workshop where EdExploreSRQ was introduced, or from The Community Foundation of Sarasota County and the Education Foundation.
– English and Language Arts, Fine Arts, Science, and Social Studies were the content areas with the largest EdExploreSRQ participation in both 2015 and 2017. Math and other content areas remained consistent for both years.
– There was a significant increase in positive teacher responses regarding working and collaborating with providers (organizations and teaching artists) from 2015 to 2017.
- Accessibility and ease when working together
- Students’ understanding of standards and benchmarks
- EdExploreSRQ helpfulness in connecting students with community resources
- Teachers more likely to recommend EdExploreSRQ to other teachers
- EdExploreSRQ viewed as a reliable source of information
- Easier access to grant funding
- Teachers More likely to incorporate EdExploreSRQ into planning lessons
Some of the teachers’ candid comments offered us the most valuable insights and validated the significance of EdExploreSRQ for students and teachers.
“I love being able to access so many explorations in one place and that the funding for the grants is on a rolling basis rather than funded once a year. The variety of explorations that are available is great, too!”
“I have been thrilled with the providers every time! I have been to three different providers and they have all been fabulous, kid friendly, and grade appropriate. They have all been very easy to work with and flexible in arranging the trips. I love the opportunities I've had to take students to these places they wouldn't otherwise visit. I look forward to continuing to write these grants. Thank you so much for this program.”