Gallup Poll Takes Schools Beyond Academics

January 10, 2013

Today, the Erlanger-Elsmere Independent School District treats causes by using data to better understand the challenges and opportunities among its students. That data includes findings from a special version of the Gallup Student Poll, provided to 83 schools across Northern Kentucky as part of Ready by 21.

The Ready by 21 National Partnership and Gallup selected Northern Kentucky as the pilot site for an enhanced Gallup Student Poll, which asks students about their hope, engagement and well-being. While the standard student poll provides school districts with aggregated data reports by school and grade, this enhanced poll connects a composite “Ready for the Future” index to individual student identifiers.  

“The Gallup Student Poll data allows us to know more than just the academic pieces in a student’s life,” Burkhardt says.

Over the past two years, 83 Northern Kentucky schools have administered the poll to more than 25,000 students in grades five through 12. Schools combined the Ready for the Future scores with academic and other data to identify the need for individual student interventions and school-wide initiatives. The Northern Kentucky Education Council served as the lead agency for coordination and administration of the two-year pilot, with support from the United Way of Greater Cincinnati and Vision 2015.

Student interventions include goal-setting, mentoring, counseling and service-learning opportunities. At the school level, administrators are using the Gallup data to align school and community-based programs such as tutoring, mentoring, truancy diversion, service-learning and afterschool programs to address the needs of their students.

For example: The Erlanger-Elsmere district saw that it needed to nurture and engage middle schoolers after school. “The time they spend outside of school is just as important to their development as the time spent during school," Burkhardt says.

The district worked with the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Cincinnati to launch an afterschool program that offers health and fitness activities, art, service-learning projects, games, computer classes and academic help. It also worked with the nonprofit Brighton Center to set up an After-School Youth Leadership Development program, which provides structured opportunities for youth to build-decision making skills, life skills and leadership skills.

“You really have to know your students to know the obstacles they are facing,” Burkhardt says. “We have to give them the support and strength they need to climb over these obstacles. It takes more time, but it’s worth it.”

Enhanced data from the Gallup Student Poll is now part of the Forum’s Ready Youth catalyst package, which provides tools and technical assistance to collect and analyze data about youth. Leaders use the findings to carry out community conversations that drive solutions. Find out more here.