Sonoma County Office of Education

Record participation in YouthTruth surveys of students, staff, parents and guardians

02/25/2022 -

Sonoma County students, school staff, and parents and guardians took part in the most recent round of YouthTruth survey at historically high levels, helping provide crucial insights into our school communities’ challenges and needs during a once-in-a-century pandemic.

The surveys were distributed among 130 school sites across Sonoma County, part of an expanded, three-year commitment to support schools. The effort is part of a broad, multi agency collaboration between the Sonoma County Office of Education, Community Foundation Sonoma County and the Career Technical Education Foundation of Sonoma County, as well as other community organizations and service providers.

The first phase of surveys in this expanded effort were completed by 87% of students and staff, and 35% of parents and guardians. The parent and guardian response rate, representing 11,769 individuals, is well above the typical response rate of 15% to 20% seen in similar YouthTruth survey efforts. The national nonprofit, which began working with local schools in 2017, gauges and harnesses student perceptions to help educators and community organizations improve outcomes for students.

Overall, nearly 61,000 people took the surveys, which covered a broad array of topics including engagement, relationships, culture, belonging, college and career readiness and mental health. That level of participation represented about 60% of the population who received surveys, up three percentage points from last year’s effort. In 2021, about 38,000 people from 90 school sites took the surveys.

“We’re excited to see the unprecedented number of Sonoma County students, staff, parents and guardians who took this opportunity to help improve the lives and educational outcomes of our school-aged children,” said Dr. Steven D. Herrington, Sonoma County superintendent of schools. “I look forward to seeing the new initiatives and partnerships that arise once districts and schools dive into the thousands of thoughtful responses.”

Now that the surveys are complete, individual schools and districts will on Friday, Feb. 25, begin analyzing the data and developing plans to support their students, staff, parents, and guardians.

Nine individual districts or schools will be launching deep, three-year collaborations with dedicated coaches and partner agencies to develop plans to address particular needs identified in the survey responses.

An overview of the surveys' findings will be forthcoming at a later date.