More teachers feel the climate of their school has been positive during the 2013-2014 school year compared with the previous year, according to a new survey released by the Charleston Teacher Alliance.
A total of 72 percent of the teachers surveyed viewed their school as having a positive climate during the 2013-2014 school year, according to the survey. That's up from 62 percent last school year.
More than 1,000 teachers employed by the Charleston County School District responded to the school climate and leadership survey, which was conducted between March 30 and April 30.
This is the ninth climate and leadership survey conducted by the alliance.
"Overall it looks really good for the administration and the superintendent," said Charleston Teacher Alliance Chairman Kent Riddle.
Only two schools - Hunley Park and Springfield elementaries - had principal effectiveness scores at or below 33 percent.
That's a significant improvement from last school year when 11 schools scored below 33 percent for principal effectiveness. A total of 76.2 percent of teachers surveyed reported that they felt their school's principal was an effective leader.
Riddle said the goal of the anonymous survey is to give an "unfettered line of communication" between teachers and school district administrators. The survey is sent to school Superintendent Nancy McGinley and each member of the school board.
"We want to reflect what's going on in the district," Riddle said, adding that it's a chance for school officials to hear about "what teachers believe is working and what is not working."
Other revelations from the survey include that teachers at four schools - including Angel Oak Elementary, Garrett Academy, Haut Gap Middle and James Island Elementary - are concerned about retaliation from school administrators with less than 33 percent of those surveyed reporting that they didn't have to worry about payback for disagreeing with or reporting a concern to a school administrator.
A total of 57.84 percent of all teachers surveyed reported that retaliation wasn't a concern.
A majority of teachers surveyed - 72 percent - agreed that McGinley is an effective leader, up 4 percent from last year. The survey revealed slight dips in teachers' perception of McGinley's accessibility, which dropped from 58 percent to 55 percent, and whether she seeks teacher input which dropped from 45 percent to 43 percent. But 73 percent of teachers said McGinley effectively communicates with them which is up from 69 percent last year.
One take away, Riddle said, is that teacher input into school district initiatives is a critical issue that needs to improve. "If you don't have teacher input and buy in, it makes it really hard to make changes and begin initiatives," he said.
Reach Amanda Kerr at 937-5546 or at Twitter.com/PCAmandaKerr.