Did you know that at the end of every school year, BSSM dissects every aspect of the school? From elective courses to main session speakers to outreach, we look at everything we’re doing and decide if it’s working, what can be improved, what’s not working, and what the Lord wants us to focus on in the next year. Hopefully in this post we’ll explain why we conduct year end evaluations and help you plan out some year end evaluations for your own school. You have to get pruned in order to have fruit, but it’s important to prune with intention.
At the 2017 Fall Leader’s Advance, BSSM 2 Manager Hayley Braun briefly mentioned feedback and its importance. Hayley noted that without feedback, you can’t have a grid for success. Feedback from leaders and students allows your team to grow into greater success for your school. Year end evaluations is an opportunity to become the best school in your region and to grow with your students. If you have a long-term vision, you are not panicked with short-term problems.
At BSSM, we’re about to wrap up our 21st year of school. It’s been a wild ride, and we can say with confidence that we are only getting better! We have many keys to success, including an amazing team that honors and loves each other, leaders who value and empower their team members, and students who are willing to follow Christ at all costs. But one of our strongest weapons that few know of is our end of year evaluations.
Additionally, at the end of each term (about three times per year), the students are required to fill out feedback forms in regards to their elective classes, and at the end of the year they are required to fill out a feedback form in regards to their Revival Group Pastor, other staff, their schedule, speakers, and other elements of the school. This helps our leadership evaluate what is working in the school and what isn’t.
“Even after 21 years of school, we are still learning every year.”
Each Revival Group Pastor is given their evaluation forms that were filled out by their students and they are able to see what worked for the year and what didn’t. Many pastors say that while the feedback given by only one student is great, it’s the repeated feedback that is most valuable; i.e., if only one student gives feedback about a certain aspect of Revival Group, that may not be something to be overly concerned with. However, if numerous students give feedback on a particular aspect of Revival Group, the pastor may want to pay attention to that aspect and reevaluate it. This helps the pastors pinpoint areas of excellence or weakness in the way they pastor their group and interact with students. They are then able to continue with areas of excellence or make necessary adjustments.
When you first start a school, the first year will be a guide for your following year, and the second year will be a guide for the next year, and so on. Take some time to think about the questions you want to ask your students. Don’t be afraid to get their feedback in areas such as speakers, sessions, activations, outreaches, components of your schedule, homework, leaders in your environment, and anything else you can think of.
Spend time polling both your leadership team and students. At the end of every year for about a week, the BSSM Revival Group Pastors and school leadership gather together and go over every aspect of the school year. They review every elective we offer the students (even the ones that have been taught for years or are taught by our lead Bible instructor), the schedule options, teachers, guest speakers, homework and assignments, and every other possible aspect of the school.
Traditionally, our BSSM school schedule was determined because of revival – the nights would end late and none of the leaders would want to get up early for school. Recently, we’ve added an 8:30am elective sessions Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays for students to give them more options to take classes. We weren’t sure how the students would respond to this, but after positive feedback, we decided to keep the time slot. This schedule change came after feedback received from the students about more class time slot options.
Some great areas to assess with your team are:
- What are we teaching?
- Do these topics efficiently cover what our students need to learn?
- Are we teaching effectively?
- Is the order of what we are teaching appropriate? (i.e., are we teaching the prophetic after identity, or healing before God’s goodness, etc?)
- During the year, ask yourselves if the teaching is too slow or too fast for the students and adjust appropriately.
- How are your students developing?
A great tool to use to survey your students is Google Forms. A Google Drive comes with any gmail account for free, and from there you can create a Google Form. Here’s a great introductory tutorial on how to create a Google Form. This is a great tool for schools because it’s free and simple to use. There are other options available, and how you choose to survey your students is up to you. You can even print out questions and have your students fill them out and hand them back to you. Whatever works best for your school, do it!
Meet with your students on a regular basis and ask them questions about their development and where they are at with the Lord. Listen to what they are saying and what they are not saying. Give your students surveys and ask them questions about their courses, schedules, homework, teachers, and more. Don’t be afraid to ask your students for feedback about their year, and don’t be afraid to make changes based on that feedback. While it can feel scary or like a personal attack when you are given feedback, view it as an opportunity for growth. We bless you to build your year wisely and to make the changes your students need!
Additional Resources: Check out this list of questions BSSM asks its students at the end of every year.