In May 2010, The Patterson Foundation surveyed Sarasota County Public School teachers regarding their connections with arts, science and history organizations throughout the county. Approximately 17 percent (440) of Sarasota County public school teachers responded, more than double the expected return.
Some of the findings and learnings from this survey include:
- After briefing Superintendent Lori White on the extent and impact of the current connections, the Sarasota School district has amended the district strategic plan to recognize cultural connections as part of the student learning experience.
- There is clearly a need for a collaboration space for the school district. Especially a forum for the teachers and the organizations to work together to build deeper curriculum connections and links.
- Connections largely depend on teachers and organizations getting together. Both see this as labor intensive and sometimes frustrating. They see great opportunity for more effective curriculum connections if it was easier to handle the logistics.
- Elementary links are strongest; weaker at middle and high school
- There could be more career links in programs that expose students to creative, scientific and other professions.
Time and transportation are two biggest challenges for schools and organizations. We need to search for new ways to connect including using technology and increasing summer opportunities
- The Next Generation State Standards and national common core standards offer a unique opportunity to re-work connections. These standards focus more on rigor and relevancy, especially in mathematics and science.
- Even with tough economic times, nonprofit organizations offering student education experiences have maintained or increased program funding. The largest source of funds is general operating at 40 percent with donors / foundations accounting for the next highest followed by student fees. Most organizations have funds to pay for students who can't afford fees. Funding levels range from under $25,000 to over $500,000 annually.
The data from this survey will continue to be used as the Cultural Connections with Students Initiative continues on its journey to create New Realities in education.
Learn more about this survey