Panorama Culture and Climate Survey

In March of 2021, the Ames Community School District surveyed students, staff, and families using the Panorama Culture and Climate Survey. The survey included questions around social and emotional learning, school satisfaction, and staff and family engagement, among others. This was the third consecutive year that the District has utilized this survey.  

Earlier this month, building and District administrators had a first look at the results. On Monday, March 22, District results were presented to the school board. We are now sharing a direct link with our families and community to District level results to the following surveys:

  • Student Survey (Classroom Level) – grades 3-5
  • Student Supports and Environment (Equity) – grades 6-12
  • Teacher and Staff Feedback Survey
  • Teacher and Staff Adult Socio-Emotional Learning Survey 
  • Family-School Relationship Survey

The Panorama Survey results can be found at

In the results, each survey has a summary section that illustrates the percentage of respondents who surveyed “favorable” to the questions and topics. Panorama also compares to how those scores benchmark nationally. Because this is the second year of administering the survey, we are also able to note the change to last year’s results, with the exception of the new equity-related survey questions. 

Response rate – The Panorama survey was opened on March 2nd for all stakeholders. More than 1,100 families responded to the survey, followed by more than 300 teachers and staff members, and more than 2,400 students. This response rate makes this our most widely accessed Panorama survey thus far in the district. 

Purpose of this survey – The purpose of the survey is to gather perception data from key stakeholders as a way to set and continue the evaluation of specific goal areas around the District’s Purpose and Priorities. 

District Insights:

Insight #1 – Feedback and Coaching – 30% of ACSD staff responded favorably to survey questions about feedback and coaching, a 7% increase from the previous year. All questions about feedback and coaching (including questions such as: “At your school, how thorough is the feedback you receive in covering all aspects of your role as a teacher?”, “At your school, how thorough is the feedback you receive in covering all aspects of your role as a teacher?”, and “How much do you learn from the teacher evaluation processes at your school?”) saw increases in favorability of at least 5% since last year’s survey. This is an area we will continue to improve moving forward. 

Insight #2 – School Climate – Families responded to questions about school climate with an overall 65% favorability rating, which shows a 2% increase from the previous Spring, placing Ames community school in the 50% percentile nationally. The question from this topic with the highest favorability rating was “Overall, how much respect do you think the teachers at your child’s school have for the children?” with 77% responding positively, and the question with the lowest favorability was “How motivating are the classroom lessons at your child’s school?” with a 46% favorability rating. 

Insight #3 – School Climate – Elementary students responded to questions regarding school and classroom climate with a 76% favorability rating, which compared to other schools of similar demographics nationwide, places us in the 99th percentile on this topic for elementary students. Secondary students responded to questions about school climate with a 50% favorability rating, showing an 8% increase from the previous year. 

Insight #4 – Classroom Teacher-Student Relationships – Students responded favorably overall to questions about teacher and student relationships. Elementary students responded to these questions with an 85% favorability rating, showing a 2% increase from the previous year and placing Ames in the 99th percentile compared to similar elementary systems nationwide. Secondary students rated questions in this topic with an average 64% favorability rating, showing a 2% increase since last year, and placing Ames Middle School in the 90th percentile and Ames High School in the 80th percentile compared to similar secondary systems nationwide. 

Insight #5 – School Safety – The survey topic for families that saw the largest increase from last year was school safety, with a 77% favorability rating marking a 6% increase from Spring 2020. 88% of ACSD families reported that their students “feel safe in school”, a 5% increase from last year. 

Insight #6 – Sense of Belonging – This is an area we, along with districts across the country, have been striving to improve at the district and building level from the onset of the pandemic last spring. Elementary schools responded to these questions (such as: “How connected do you feel to the teacher in this class?”) with an overall 67% favorability rating, showing a 3% increase from the previous year and placing Ames elementary schools in the 40th percentile nationally. Secondary students responded to these questions (such as: “Overall, how much do you feel like you belong at your school?”) with an overall 38% favorability rating, showing a 3% decrease from the previous year and placing Ames secondary schools in the 30th percentile nationally. 

Insight #7 – Barriers to Engagement – In accordance with our district priorities, an area we continue to seek improvement in is overcoming barriers to engagement for ACSD families. This year, families responded to questions in this topic area with an 81% favorability rating, marking a 1% improvement from the previous year and placing ACSD in the 30th percentile nationally compared to similar districts.  

Insight #8 – School Leadership – The survey subject with the largest increase from Spring 2020 to Spring 2021 for both teachers and staff was that of school leadership. This year, staff responded to these questions with a 66% favorability rating, and teachers responded with a 52% favorability rating. 

Insight #9 – Cultural Awareness and Action – For secondary students, the survey topic that saw the largest improvement from 2020 to 2021 was that of cultural awareness and action, with a 60% favorability rating, showing a remarkable 26% increase from the previous year. Questions with the highest favorability ratings include “How often do you think about what someone of a different race, ethnicity, or culture experiences?” (80% favorability) and “At your school, how often are you encouraged to think more deeply about race-related topics?” (79% favorability). Questions with the lowest positive responses in this topic include “How comfortable are you sharing your thoughts about race-related topics with other students at your school?” (40% favorability) and “How confident are you that students at your school can have honest conversations with each other about race?” (41% favorability). 

Insight #10 – Cultural Awareness and Action – Overall, teachers, and staff responded positively to questions about cultural awareness and action with an adult focus within their buildings and the district as a whole, with a 65% favorability rating for staff and a 63% favorability for teachers. An area we aim to continue improving is cultural awareness and action with a student focus, as teachers responded to this topic with a 58% favorability rating. 

To support transparency and to create a culture of feedback, we encourage our families and community to review the data on their own. We want to thank everyone who was able to participate in the survey this year. The data provides us with important feedback that allows us to better understand school climate and culture in our schools and District.