Outgoing seniors say HHS below average in maintaining drug free environment and consistency in rules enforcement.

Hannibal High School is doing a good job overall of providing an education to its students, according to a survey of 2017's graduating seniors that was released recently.

The strongest response from departing seniors came when asked if they would be able to easily find a job that will support them. Ninety-three percent of respondents were optimistic that they would. That's two percent higher than 2016 grads and equal to the level of hopefulness expressed by 2015's seniors.

Seniors gave positive responses – 80 to 89 percent - to six other inquiries.

• Eighty-nine percent of students felt the foundation of technology use was above average. (An identical percentage of grads responded positively in 2016.)

• Eighty-seven percent of students said their educational experience at HHS was positive.

• Eighty-one percent of students felt challenged to experience growth each year, and felt that teachers were knowledgeable about the curriculum being taught. (In 2016, 89 percent believed teachers were proficient in the material they were teaching.)

• Eighty percent of students said teachers generally held high standards and demanded quality work, and felt HHS provided a strong foundation in the use of technology. (In 2016, 92 percent of students indicated that teachers held high standards and sought quality work, which was down from 96 percent in 2015. As for providing a strong foundation in the use of technology, 89 percent of graduating seniors responded positively in 2016.)

In 2016, 11percent of graduates reported having experienced harassment while attending HHS, which represented a 5 percent decrease from 2015. As for 2017, no survey results were provided regarding harassment. However, HHS Principal Ted Sampson, in a written report, said "administrators are and will be receiving additional training on improving methods of investigating reports of bullying, harassment...”

Not all student responses were positive. In 2015, 17 percent of graduates expressed the opinion that rules were not consistently enforced. In 2016, that number grew to 24 percent. In 2017, 39 percent of outgoing seniors rated HHS below average in consistent rules enforcement.

During the July Hannibal Board of Education meeting, where the survey results were presented as part of the HHS program evaluation, Sampson said he was not shocked by the response.

“Every year that's always been one of the few negatives we've had with students,” he said.

Sampson suggested students may frequently draw conclusions regarding how a situation was handled that are based on incomplete information.

“Honestly, I think it has to do with discipline, day in and day out,” he said. “You can't explain to people why things are handled a certain way because of confidentiality, so they will jump to the conclusion that maybe things weren't handled (consistently). I really think that's a lot of it.”

The other concern cited by departing seniors had to do with drugs. Almost half of respondents (49 percent) said a below average job was being done when it came to maintaining a drug-free environment at the high school.

In his written report, Sampson indicated that HHS “will continue to work collaboratively with community agencies to increase awareness and address the dangers of using drugs.”

This year 149 of 213 graduates (70 percent) took the time to use Google Apps for Education to complete the survey prior to graduation. In 2016, 152 of 247 graduates (62 percent) participated in the survey. In 2015 the number of survey participants totaled 100.


Reach reporter Danny Henley at danny.henley@courierpost.com