Seniors, alumni grade the district

  • By KAT SORENSEN
  • Tuesday, November 7, 2017 8:52pm
  • News

A majority of students who have graduated from the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District wish the district had focused more on personal finance and postsecondary finances, according to a survey completed by last year’s graduating class and alumni.

The survey, which was administered in partnership with Hanover Research of Virginia, had a total of 342 seniors and 194 alumni responses that passed quality checks.

“The purpose of the surveys is to gain an understanding about how well the district prepared students for both college and career,” according to district documents.

Less than half of student respondents said they were satisfied with their personal finance preparation, with 42 percent satisfied.

Also, 30 percent of respondents who are not planning on a postsecondary education reported that they could not afford further schooling, or had to work to support themselves.

This further suggests “that financial options should be presented,” the survey states.

Both seniors and alumni reported being satisfied with their core academic preparation from the district, which include writing, English, science, social studies and mathematics classes. But, they were less satisfied with their career preparation.

“Alumni note that career assessment and career and technical education are among the top areas KPBSD should focus on,” the report states.

In terms of post-graduation plans, 44 percent of the 342 senior responses said they were planning on leaving Alaska after graduation, and more than half plan on continuing their education.

In comparison, 34 percent said they were planning to stay on the Kenai Peninsula and 23 percent said they were planning to find a part-time or full-time job instead of continuing their education.

Alumni responses were gathered from an array of graduates, with 96 percent of responses coming from an individual who spent all four years of high school in a district school. Fifty-five percent of respondents graduated between 2011 and 2015, which nearly a quarter graduated before 2010 and the other quarter graduated in 2016.

Two-thirds of alumni respondents enrolled in post-secondary education after college, the report states, and similar to the seniors polled, 47 percent left Alaska for their post-graduation plans.

“Most alumni who attended a postsecondary institution studied or are studying medicine/health services (16 percent), sciences (15 percent), business (13 percent), or education (12 percent),” according to the report.

Overall, alumni said they were satisfied with their education but also indicated a need for better college preparation, in both academic rigor and in test-taking and time management skills. Less than half of alumni said they were well-prepared for college-level work and only 40 percent found the transition from high school to college to be easy.

“Additionally, alumni indicate KPBSD should focus more on career preparation,” the report states. “Only 27 percent of alumni are satisfied with the career and technical education preparation at KPBSD … Moreover, career and technical education and career assesments are among the top three areas alumni indicate KPBSD should emphasize more.”

The survey’s findings were presented to the Board of Education on Monday during work sessions. The board, along with district administration, discussed ways that the information could be utilized but no formal action has been taken.

Hanover surveyed the senior respondents form the class of 2017 in May 2017. The alumni respondents were surveyed between August and September 2017.

Reach Kat Sorensen at kat.sorensen@peninsulaclarion.com.

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