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Staff – serious drop in responses for Professional Development, School Safety
  Parent – opinions dropped below 50th percentile for every Summary Measure

What do Staff members think about Penncrest High School?

Penncrest STAFF were asked to respond to the statement “I would recommend this school to a friend or colleague as a great place to work” using a 5-point scale.

  • 1 = Strongly Disagree 

  • 2 = Disagree

  • 3 = Neither Agree nor Disagree

  • 4 = Agree

  • 5 = Strongly Agree

Youth Truth reports the response as an average of all responses from Penncrest STAFF members and also compares the averaged response to how Staff in similar schools responded.

  • The averaged response for this statement was 3.77. That is, close to “Agree”.  Sounds like a good response.

  • However, other schools’ staff were much more positive than the Penncrest staff is.  This is noted as a “percentile” – PHS staff’s response is ranked as the 41st percentile.

  • This means, if the schools’ responses were sorted in increasing value and ranked from 0 to 100, 3.77 would be 41st.  That is, 40% of the schools scored lower and 59% of the schools were given a higher score by their staff.  Not a score to be proud about if almost 60% of school staffs were more likely to recommend their school than Penncrest.

  • TRENDING: It also matters (a lot!) if your staff is scoring its sentiment more negatively than it did in last year’s survey.  Penncrest staff’s response to “would recommend this school” decreased both as an average response (it was 3.87 last year) and compared to other surveyed high school staffs (about 55th percentile last year).

  • As a visual and short-hand way of presenting these responses, Youth Truth uses charts, both for individual questions and also for the combined score of all questions for a topic, ex., for SCHOOL SAFETY.  This is a Percentile chart for this “would recommend this school” statement. You can see, at glance, that both this year’s score (3.77) and percentile (41st) became worse since the 2021-22 survey.  And you should wonder why?  And what can be done to fix this?

PHS Staff_General_Recommend School.png

Penncrest STAFF were also asked to respond to this statement: 

"I am not seriously considering leaving this school in the next academic year.”  

  • The average response was 4.07, which placed Penncrest staff responses in the 68th percentile.  Note this is a significant decline from 2021-22, when staff responses were 4.22 (4.34 for Instructional staff) and about 80th percentile.

  • It is difficult to find and hire school teachers these days.  The response to this statement is significant – how many of our teachers will leave RTMSD in the coming year?

  • An averaged response of, say, 3.0, might be calculated because all of the responses are between 2.9 and 3.1.  Or they could all be Strongly Agree (5) and Strongly Disagree (1).  It is important to know the dispersion of the responses to project how many teachers may need to be replaced.

  • The Youth Truth survey analysis uses another chart, the Response Distribution Chart, to provide this information. It shows that 17% of PHS Staff are considering leaving the school.  It also shows that last year, only 6% were considering leaving. With respect to other surveyed high schools, PHS’ staff retention rate fell from being much better to being worse than other schools.  This is very bad news!

Now, let’s quickly look at other concerning responses from Penncrest STAFF in this year’s survey:


“Students are getting a high quality education at this school”

(3.71, 41st percentile) 
The trend is way DOWN – last year the staff scored “high quality education’ as 3.99, 66th percentile


  “I have opportunities to learn at work”

(3.29, 4th percentile) – last year 3.51, 7th percentile

  “I have opportunities to grow professionally at work”

(3.02, 2nd percentile) – last year 3.31, 8th

  “I have access to meaningful professional development”

(2.67, 2nd percentile) – last year 3.25, 15th

  “Students are safe from bullying at my school”

(2.95, 33rd percentile) – last year 3.03, 21st

  “Adults at my school try to stop bullying and harassment”

(3.78, 20th percentile) – last year 3.87, 19th

  “Students are safe from violence at my school”

(3.56, 43rd percentile) – last year 3.82, 42th



  “Students treat staff with respect”

(3.19, 35th percentile) - last year 3.40, 32nd

  “Staff treat students with respect”

(3.97, 29th percentile) - last year 4.14, 50th

Among the Key Measures, the averaged responses to these questions bear discussion:

“I understand my school’s goals”

(3.35, 9th percentile) - last year 3.51, 12th percentile

“I feel empowered to play a meaningful role in decision-making at my school”
  (2.98, 12th percentile)
 - last year 3.03, 11th percentile

“My school communicates a clear direction for the future”

(3.05, 20th percentile) - last year 3.02, 13th percentile

“My school sets high expectations for students”

(3.16, 24th percentile) - last year 3.28, 23rd percentile

In fact, the PHS STAFF’s responses are ALL  “lower than typical” for Suburban schools

  • As Youth Truth defines percentile comparisons, any Key Summary Measure, a.k.a., “themes” or question which is  lower than the 40th percentile should be considered to be “lower than the typical” school.

  • Staff’s responses for the Professional Development & Support theme place it in the 7th percentile

  • That is, 93% of surveyed schools have a more favorable scoring by their staff for these questions!




  • Penncrest High School STAFF responses for the Key Measures questions are MOSTLY MORE NEGATIVE this  year than their responses given during the 2021-2022 survey.

  • Their responses in the 2022-23 survey drive PHS further below from baseline of the conditions in other Suburban high schools.

Signal concerns for PHS STAFF

  • …perceives its Professional Development to be seriously deficient

  • …considers itself left out of District decision-making, given unclear goals and direction

  • …students and staff are less safe than the previous academic year

  • …respect has decreased between staff and students



  • It is useful and important to take the pulse of STAFF’s sentiments.  We must know what these very key stakeholders are thinking about how the District is being managed.

  • PHS Staff feels neglected and left out. 

  • This could lead to resignations and difficult discussions for the upcoming teachers’ union contract.

  • The RTMSD school administration should discuss this with the school board and act to correct the trends PHS is following to mitigate the serious prospects ahead.

What do FAMILIES think about Penncrest High Shool 

PHS’ FAMILY survey responses are somewhat higher than the STAFF’s, but are still uniformly low. 

  • All of its 7 Key Summary Measures are lower than the 46th percentile.

  • As with the STAFF responses, many (5 of 6) FAMILY themes’ responses are less positive in this year’s survey report.

  • Here are a few responses to specific survey questions which illustrate the chief concerns of PHS Families:

“I feel empowered to play a meaningful role in decision-making at my school”
(3.02, 32nd percentile)
 - last year 3.01, 30th percentile

“I receive regular feedback about my child’s progress”  

(3.09, 18th percentile) - last year 3.08, 17th percentile

“I receive information about what my child should learn and be able to do”
(3.07, 24th percentile)
 - last year 3.11, 29th percentile

“Teachers clearly communicate expectations for my child’s progress”
(3.08, 21st percentile)
 - last year 3.15, 28th percentile


“My child is safe from bullying during school”

(3.26, 34th percentile) - last year 3.31 38th percentile


  • Trends:

    • Penncrest High School Family responses for the Key Measures questions are MOSTLY MORE NEGATIVE this year than their responses given during the 2021-2022 survey.

    • Their responses drive PHS further below from baseline of the Family sentiments in other Suburban high schools.

  • Signal concerns for PHS Families

    • …communication from PHS regarding children’s progress and teachers’ expectations has not improved

    • …families empowerment to improve conditions at Penncrest High School has not improved



  • It is useful and important to take the pulse of Families’ sentiments.

  • Families are not as attuned to the conditions inside of schools as are the Staff and Students.  Once the Families learn the responses from Staff and Students, who are all personally aware daily of what is going on in the schools, their reaction is likely to be severe.

  • The RTMSD school administration needs to face the issues raised by this year’s Youth Truth survey and quickly get out in front of the outcry which is likely to result from them.

Understanding the Survey 

  • LOOK FOR THE TRENDS:  Is Penncrest doing better from year to year?  If not, shouldn’t we be asking why?

  • CHECK OUT THE RESPONSE RATE for the STAFF surveys.  From the 2021-22 year to the 2022-23 year, the STAFF survey population dropped from 232 to 143!  Why?  And the RESPONSE RATE of those who took the survey dropped from 73% to 66%.  YIKES!  Why would so many staff NOT WANT TO TAKE THE SURVEY?

  • The FAMILY SURVEYS had a response rate of 21%, DOWN FROM 39% in the previous year.  This is MUCH LOWER than the AVERAGE RESPONSE RATE for the 190 PA schools used as a comparison to Penncrest (61%).   We need to ask ourselves why.

  • LOOK AT THE PERCENTILES, BECAUSE THEY MEASURE HOW PENNCREST PERFORMED compared to 190 other suburban schools in Pennsylvania.  

  • “What is a Percentile?”, you ask?.  Good question.  “Percentiles indicate the percentage of scores falling below a particular value.  They tell you where a score stands relative to other scores. 
    For example, a person with an IQ of 120 is at the 91st percentile, which indicates their IQ is higher than 91% of other scores.” 

  • Want another example of a percentile, closer to home? 
    The STAFF survey responses from Penncrest High School are all LOWER THAN THE 38TH PERCENTILE, for 6 critical measures of performance, including SCHOOL SAFETY. 

  • For more information, click here for an explanation of terminology used in the report.

  • In two separate years, RTMSD gave online surveys to Students, Faculty/staff, and parents (or caregivers), for each of its 6 schools.  The Surveys are called “Youth Truth”.  Catchy, right?

  • These surveys are designed by an organization called www.YouthTruthSurvey.org  You can check them out for yourself.

  • The purpose of the surveys were to get the opinions of these groups about how the District was doing.  Perhaps because the survey results are poor for many questions, the District presented to the School Board the results of only 1 question to the School Board.  It seems important to check them out.  So that’s what we have done here for you.

  • It seemed that the method for the survey process is:  Get a snapshot of opinion from a broad audience; Contrast the results with the results from the same survey taken by other SUBURBAN school districts; and make improvements to RTMSD based on the outcome.

  • RTMSD’s stated purpose for conducting the surveys can be seen here: Youth Truth Survey 2022-2023.
    You may download the results for yourself and draw your own conclusions.

  • We hope you found our Weekly Report #2 to be informative.

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