Advocate Drum education survey results

WATERTOWN, NY — Advocate Drum, the Fort Drum Regional Liaison Organization, recently completed a survey on the community’s satisfaction level with the North Country’s primary and secondary education system. The survey was conducted last fall by the Center for Community Studies at Jefferson Community College under the direction of Joel LaLone and Larry Danforth. The
quality of the local education system is a top priority for military families deciding where they want to be assigned.

Advocate Drum Executive Director Fritz Keel said the purpose of the survey was two-fold. “We wanted to take a holistic approach to the North Country Education System and learn what was going well and to identify any gaps in the quality of our children’s education from the family perspective.” The survey was administered to 19 school districts and had nearly 1700 student experiences evaluated. Of the families who participated, 387 identified themselves as having an active-duty military member in the household stationed at Fort Drum and 1184 said they did not. Families had the opportunity to complete the survey for each student in their households. The survey asked questions in five areas: Academic Experience,
Relationship between the school and families of the students, School Culture and Climate, Ease of Transfer into the Current School, and Demographics. The study queried about the level of satisfaction with the current school as well as how the current school compares to a previous school outside of the North Country. “We wanted to capture the opinions of our military families in particular about how they feel currently and how their school experience compares to where they were stationed previously,” Keel said.

According to the results, satisfaction with the North Country’s Education System is
overwhelmingly positive. As an example, 82% of the survey respondents stated that they agreed with the statement “Instruction and Instructional Staff are highly qualified and competent.” For those who identified as having an active duty servicemember stationed at Fort Drum, the level rose to 84% for the same statement. Student safety was another area of interest and 84% of survey respondents agreed with the statement “Students feel safe and secure at school.” Again, when just looking at active-duty families assigned to Fort Drum, the level of agreement increased to 86%. When asked how the school environment here
compared to their last experience, 82% of survey respondents and 85% of active-military respondents stated that they believed the schools here were the same or better than where they come from in terms of feeling safe and secure at school.

“Ultimately, this survey confirmed what we thought we knew, that our community is
very happy with the quality of our education system for our children in the North Country. Now we have some scientific data to back that claim up,” Keel said.

The full survey report is available online at