Ninety Percent of All Academy Principals Expressed Their Concerns in Survey

Posted on February 1st, 2011

Last October, AAF administered a survey to 108 academy principals to assess how Adventist K-12 schools are functioning. AAF received an unprecedented response rate with participation from nearly 90% of principals. Thirty respondents were from boarding academies and 63 from day schools. Due to the sensitivity of the survey most questions were optional. Yet the high response rate reflects the accuracy of wide-felt concerns among principals.

AAF is releasing a sneak peek now of what’s to come in a full report later this month.

Funding is the top concern lamented in the survey. In fact, principals report that the biggest obstacle they face when working to improve or change their schools is a lack of financial resources. More than 50% said it is a serious concern that most schools function on a deficit budget and do not have the financial systems in place to grow. Nearly 60% are seriously concerned that churches view local Adventist schools as a “financial drain.” Hand-in-hand is the concern that schools have inferior fundraising and development programs.

Contributing to financial difficulties is wavering enrollment. Eighty percent of principals expressed that they do not have confidence that Adventist K-12 schools will grow in the next decade. Twenty-nine percent of respondents reported that their school experienced a slight decline in enrollment in the past five years.

Besides lack of funding, principals stated that the second largest obstacle faced when working to improve their schools is resistance to change, a lack of vision and motivation to improve. Three-quarters of respondents said it is a serious concern that the Adventist community has lost sight of the value of Adventist education. Furthermore, only 1 in 8 principals said they have confidence that the Adventist community perceives Adventist schools to be excellent.

While some of the survey results are daunting, a striking 98% of principals expressed their loyalty to Adventist education, showing hope for the future. Many leaders thanked AAF for joining the cause by attempting to find better solutions. Some principals felt this was “the most succinct and accurate list” of concerns they’ve seen as it relates to Adventist education.

An extensive report of results will be released late February. Information gathered from the survey is being used to help AAF develop a new management model for schools.

The Commonweal Foundation, with encouragement and input from the NAD Office of Education, sponsored the survey.

Filed under News

One Response to “Ninety Percent of All Academy Principals Expressed Their Concerns in Survey”

  1. Karen Fedak says:

    Wow, I am looking forward to the report to be released in February. It is the same story we have here in Olympia, Washington at the Adventist School. What we are experiencing is a large amount of families who are deciding that they will homeschool their children instead. Our enrollment numbers have struggled every year for at least the 12 years I have been affiliated with the school. I hope this report sheds some light on what we are to do as a community of believers.

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