“I would appreciate it if CVHS invested in the mental well-being of all its students and staff.”
“A bigger organized and updated library”
“I just feel like the school doesn’t really listen to what students are asking or need.”
Those are three samples from the written responses submitted by Coachella Valley students and adults to a recent survey by Alianza’s Community Justice Campaign.
A total of 361 students and parents/caregivers, mostly from within the east valley Coachella Valley Unified School District, participated. And while responses were not uniformly critical or concerned about how east valley schools were doing, most respondents noted areas of needed improvement across categories.
For example, less than half of students responded that their school did an “excellent” or “good” job when it came to mental and emotional support, creating a positive climate, valuing student voices, and prioritizing good relationships between students and staff.
Overall, the survey report identified these top concerns:
1. Wellness Centers are needed in schools to address students’ mental health needs and academic stress.
2. Expanding academic programs and educational resources to help students better prepare for college and future careers.
3. Enhancing COVID-19 safety for the upcoming academic year since students are returning to school.
4. Improving the quality of staff and school facilities as teachers need more training and many school facilities need remodeling.
Survey responses were collected between April and June, the same time area school districts were starting to decide how to spend hundreds of millions of dollars in additional pandemic support funding. COVID-19 relief aid totaling $13 billion will be sent to California schools this year. Coachella Valley school districts are expected to receive approximately $7,000 to $8,500 per student.
School districts must listen to students and parents/caregivers so that these millions of dollars go to what students need the most.
“All of these are needs that parents and students have uplifted for years now,” said Alianza Program Manager Patricia Carrillo. “And all of these needs have been exacerbated by the pandemic. Now there is an opportunity for school districts and cities to use the additional funding to make substantial changes.”
Other findings from the survey included:
- Students and parents/caregivers overwhelmingly agreed that the pandemic has had negative consequences for young people, including for their academic performance.
- Almost two out of three students (63.6%) responded that they felt pessimistic about school, while just one in four (24.6%) reported feeling optimistic.
- Many respondents brought up the need for better communications between school districts and stakeholders.