Survey respondents cited meeting individual student needs and building educator capacity as their primary focus.

March 30, 2016, Camden, NJ – Catapult Learning, Inc. today released the results of its Annual Education Leadership Survey. The overall results of the inaugural survey reflect educational leaders’ focus on meeting individual student needs and building teacher and leadership capacity within schools.

Catapult Learning, the largest provider of K–12 contracted instructional services in the U.S., developed the survey with the goal of better understanding school and district’s instructional and professional development needs. The survey’s 266 respondents represented more than 40 states and included over 100 superintendents as well as assistant superintendents, district department heads, and school building leaders. Survey questions ranged across the education spectrum and included the impact of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), technology-supported learning, increasing graduation rates, and serving special needs students.

The release of the survey, soon after the passing of ESSA, provided the opportunity to gather feedback from educational leaders about this law’s impact on their schools and districts. While the law is not scheduled to go in effect until the 2017−18 school year, fifty-four percent (54%)of respondents expect ESSA to significantly affect systems in the 2016−17 school year, while seventeen percent (17%) responded that they expect ESSA to never substantially impact their school systems.

Other survey questions focused on challenges to technology-supported learning and serving students with special needs. In both, respondents identified hiring and training staff efficiently as their greatest challenge.  Regarding how to increase graduation rates, respondents overwhelmingly agreed that intervention based on early identification of at-risk middle school students was the most effective path. A final open-ended question, which the majority of participants (68%) responded to, asked, “What is the most important thing you have learned in the past year that has contributed to the success of your school system?” The most common theme was related to meeting students’ needs (13%), followed by leadership (11%).

Jeffrey Cohen, Catapult Learning’s CEO, cited the survey results as both timely and significant in their findings.  “As a company, our focus and priority is the students we serve and the academic outcomes that result from our services. This focus is very much aligned with that of our survey respondents and understanding this will enable us to strengthen our school and district partnerships and best serve our students.”

Catapult Learning’s Leadership Survey will be conducted annually, providing the opportunity to identify and compare educational leaders’ focus year-over-year, as the passing of ESSA marks the beginning of a new era of education policy.

About Catapult Learning

Catapult Learning, Inc. has dedicated the past four decades to improving academic performance for at-risk and struggling students, including potential dropouts and those with learning and emotional disabilities. The company’s team of 5,600 educators works to achieve sustained academic gains and build teacher and leadership capacity through research-based programs that include intervention, alternative school education, special education, assessment, school improvement, and professional development solutions. Founded in 1976 and headquartered in Camden, New Jersey, Catapult Learning partners with over 500 school districts, including 18 of the 20 largest districts in the United States.

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